Observations from the Michigan Pinball Expo 2012

Started 2 years ago by vid1900 in forum All PinballAll Pinball.


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Observations from the Michigan Pinball Expo 2012


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  • Started 2 years ago by vid1900
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    2 years ago
    #

    So I made the trek up from Ohio, to Ann Arbor to pick up my med school GF, and then finally to the greasy armpit of America - the Detroit metro area.

    The parking lot was full so we parked on the rear grass. There were plenty of geeky vanity plates on the cars in the parking lot lot, like "P NUT", "COMICS", "GAMER".

    There were plenty of geeky people heading into the expo - you could certainly tell the Pinball people from the students...


    2 years ago
    #
    vid1900 said:

    the greasy armpit of America - the Detroit metro area.

    Lol! You're gonna make friends saying stuff like that!


    2 years ago
    #

    The two things everybody wanted to see was of course WOZ and Predator.

    WOZ was prominently featured on the flyer and posters, but it was not to be found at the expo.

    Not a whitewood, not a monitor/backbox, sadly nothing.


    2 years ago
    #

    The first thing you DID see when you entered the main hall was Predator!

    Although void of any side or playfield art, the Predator was up and running for everyone to play. We played the crap out of it and you could tell that it was well thought out and fun to play.

    The CPU for the game was sitting outside the cabinet and could be tweaked at will by the owners

    (ALL OF THE PICTURES ARE LARGER THAN THEY APPEAR ON THIS PAGE. DOWNLOAD THEM TO SEE THE FULL RESOLUTION)


    2 years ago
    #

    I'm there. We made the finals for our bracket for Pinbrawl, and got our a@%es kicked. Our opponent racked up 1.4 billion on his first ball on WCS. Ouch.

    Having a fun time. I got my pf glass, so I'm happy. Now's it's just down to watching the clock, before I pick up my new WOZ!


    2 years ago
    #

    The ramp entrances are going to be opened up in the final production model.

    The inserts were simply marked with a Sharpie Marker.

    The cabinet was made from very high quality plywood. Not the 5 core junk from Home Depot.


    2 years ago
    #

    Williams flippers and bumpers - Yeah!!!!

    Here you can really see the Sharpied inserts.


    2 years ago
    #

    Here you can see some of the lighting effects.

    The upper part of the playfield will be covered in heavy jungle canopy - but we have been assured that the ball movement will still be visible.


    2 years ago
    #

    Woo-hoo! Thanks for the pics & insight, vid1900. I'm really looking forward to seeing how Predator turns out.


    2 years ago
    #
    ThePostmaster said:

    I'm there. We made the finals for our bracket for Pinbrawl, and got our a@%es kicked. Our opponent racked up 1.4 billion on his first ball on WCS. Ouch.
    Having a fun time. I got my pf glass, so I'm happy. Now's it's just down to watching the clock, before I pick up my new WOZ!

    Looks like you got DOUBLE CROSSED!


    2 years ago
    #

    We're you one of them?


    2 years ago
    #

    Predator summary:

    Super DTE (down to earth) guys designed it. No bragging about how much they paid for the movie rights, no bragging about being the best company on earth, or putting anyone else out of business. Just real pinball fans who put everything they ever wanted to see in a pinball machine, in an actual pinball machine. They WANTED to hear suggestions, they WANTED to watch you play, cool cats for sure.

    Great multiball mode where Mac (the smaller of the two black guys) mows down the entire jungle with a chaingun. Once all the balls drain, you hit launch and get back to regular play. The game plays fast, so much swearing came about.

    Williams hardware = easy maintenance and familiar feel.

    Stainless Steel lockdown bars and rails = durability. There is a sad trend with painted hardware nowadays that is going to chip and wear off. Being at a Pinball show and seeing stainless games 30 years old and still looking great gives you a real sense that 30 years from now that paint is going to be worn to bare metal.


    2 years ago
    #

    Yeah I was the one that didn't get that score...and im the better one. That was a huge game. Watch out foes singles....those machines are brutal!!

    ThePostmaster said:

    We're you one of them?


    2 years ago
    #

    The expo did a great job keeping the pins up and running.

    As soon as a game ran out of free credits (Yes, many older games did not have a "free play" mode) someone would come and put 50 more in. The moment is was reported that a Star Post was floating around the playfield, a tech would come, insert some toothpicks into the hole and re install the post. If you have never been to an expo before and a game has a malfunction that could cause damage (broken bulb glass, loose part, broken rubber...), turn the game off (so no further damage can occur) and report it immediately.

    The lighting in the main hall was terrible. There were overhead "can lights" that should have been turned off. The glare on some games was terrible. There was a poor Black Rose that had black flippers, black rubber and a black ball. The glare was so bad it was practically unplayable.


    2 years ago
    #

    Hey Vid, thanks for the 1st hand Predator info. I communicated a bit with Kevin and he seems like a super guy for sure!

    I'm sort of curious about the insert layout between the flippers. They're all grouped together really tightly with a lot of wood just above. Really makes me wonder what they're planning for the PF art?

    Can't wait! I'm definitely going to have to make the drive down to meet these guys when my game is ready.


    2 years ago
    #

    Really makes me wonder what they're planning for the PF art?

    Can't help you with that, but if it's anything like the existing art and gameplay - this thing is going to be a winner.


    2 years ago
    #

    Another new game was Whoa Nellie!

    Your conservative Christian wife is not going to let it into the house, but for the rest of you testosterone laden lads, this game was gorgeous, cheesecake fun.


    2 years ago
    #

    This game has to win best theme execution of all time.

    The cabinet is crazy clever, the more the wood gets scraped and worn the better it will look.

    That is the speaker on top.


    2 years ago
    #
    Drano said:

    I'm sort of curious about the insert layout between the flippers. They're all grouped together really tightly with a lot of wood just above. Really makes me wonder what they're planning for the PF art?

    I imagine and hope its Arnie in his infamous press release (now used on dvd and blu ray covers here in uk at least) pose, with his guns tensed holding his assault rifle with grenade launcher aiming right at the player, with all the over characters from the squad behind him.

    Either way its been a long long long time since I've actually been in an excited anticipation of real playfield "art"work.


    2 years ago
    #

    One thing that did rock from Jersey Jack was the Invisiglass.

    Many games had this installed and it looked and worked great.

    Yes, it was very gay of them to sandblast their logo on the plunger side rather than the left side, but in actual use it was NOT very bothersome at all.

    $300 clams is a lot of money, but nobody thought that the glass was a rip off who saw it in person.

    I tried to get a shot with the most glare I could, and as you can see, Invisiglass is good stuff:


    2 years ago
    #

    Whoa Nellie Summary:

    An EM style table with a faster gameplay and modern sounds.

    Great music. Uptempo pickin' music. Tasty tracks with the correct pacing for the game. Not twangy at all.

    Fun features like the Turkey. I overheard a woman bragging that she had "Put it in the Turkey 2 times!". She apparently did not know that the Turkey Hole gobbles up your balls and you don't get them back.

    Best original theme of the show, if not of all time (BBB the only thing close?).

    Greg Freres hit an artwork home run with bases loaded. When was the last time you saw a vibrant original work like this? No Photoshop cut and paste movie scenes, just the real deal!


    2 years ago
    #

    thanks vid, really appreciate the info - helps us down here in Aus. (again no thumbs up icon to give you).


    2 years ago
    #
    swinks said:

    thanks vid, really appreciate the info - helps us down here in Aus. (again no thumbs up icon to give you).

    You are very welcome.

    Lots more info to come; I'm just posting when I have downtime.


    2 years ago
    #

    Stern had a couple of Transformers set up with an HD camera above each one.

    The cameras then projected the gameplay up onto a giant screen on the wall besides the machines.


    2 years ago
    #
    Rick471 said:

    vid1900 said:the greasy armpit of America - the Detroit metro area.
    Lol! You're gonna make friends saying stuff like that!

    Yeah...my thoughts too;) Such an elegant introduction...lol.

    Wife and I were there all day. Really noticed a decrease in pin quantity and variety from last year. Such a shame. Last year they had two other rooms downstairs with pins as well. Not this year. Was crowded. Loved the guy and lady that hit 4 player as they looked behind at my wife and I standing in line. Then proceeded to play it out 2 games each for them. Wish there was more courtesy in the world:(

    Going back to tomorrow to pick up a box. I won't say which one until I have it in my son's GMC Jimmy and I know for sure it is mine. Last year I was jipped on a deal for a pin because the seller accepted $50 more after we had a deal and I left the show late Saturday.

    Peace all!


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    2 years ago
    #
    Atomicboy said:

    Rebuild your f'ing flippers...!

    I'd expect that the flippers are fine, and the machines are just set up slightly differently than you're used to. A lot of people have told me that my machines need flipper rebuilds -- no, they don't. They are set up at a super high pitch, and I don't upgrade my coils to make every shot. I'd rather make the game more difficult. I know a lot of JD owners that have high scores in the 2.whatever billions, mine is in the 200 millions, and that is after being in the MGC tournament for a couple years with really great players taking it on. That's how I like it -- the flippers are just fine.

    It could also be a power issue, as I have seen at some shows. If machines don't get full power, they can play a little weaker. It is an *expensive* issue to fix if you are going to do that, although knowing the Michigan show, it isn't a power issue -- it's that they set up their games like I do

    Having said that, I think that if you're going to a show, you're going to hang out and play games with others. If you're doing that, no matter what -- the game plays the same for everyone. If you and me take each other on in an EM or an ACDC LE, the game is ultimately going to play the same for both of us.

    If you drag the machine home, you can set it up and dial it in exactly how you want it to be. Easier, with better electric, or whatever. But enjoy the *people* at the show first. It's way more fun!

    Wish I could be there!!


    toyboy6

    Pinball addict
    1,151,500 4
    2 years ago
    #

    I was there on Thursday. I too noticed less games, however I was pleased this year with the level of play on most of the machines. I didn't play too many of the EMs, but the flipper action on all of the more recent stuff I thought was very good. I hit all shots and didn't notice any significantly dead or out of alignment flippers.


    2 years ago
    #

    Most of the flippers do need a eebuild. I can respect your making the game more difficult, but when the flipper doesn't have enough power to get it up the ramp, something's up. There were quite a few games like that, and flippers seriously mid-aligned, not angle slightly changed. All on all, I did have fun, other than TheLaw and his partner kicking our butt in the Brawl. That match was by fary worst playing.

    I did get a very nice back glass, for being one of the top 3 people to drive the farthest (700 miles one way).

    I will be there tomorrow, getting in some more pinball, before the 14 plus hour trip back home.


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    2 years ago
    #

    Lol


    2 years ago
    #
    Bribo13 said:

    HEY !! Here is my Question to all of you Flamers bitching and complaining about the "lack of Pins" the "Quality " of the pins, and the games that were "not level " or had " weak flippers ". WHAT GAME DID YOU BRING TO MAKE THE SHOW BETTER ?????
    Participation is Open to everyone, so no excuses, Here is an idea, Until you contribute something more to these shows ...... STFU !!! seriously STFU !!!
    Brian L
    Madison Hts MI.

    You need to get a grip bud. What every person (non owner contributor) brought was a $15 dollar entrance (if not pre bought). What every person also brought is the common knowledge they have obtained from either visiting the MI show in the past, or possibly other shows in other states/provinces. Just because someone did not have a pin at the show is not a reason to tell them to, "STFU". Maybe the fact that bringing a pin only gives you a one day entry instead of full show so you can watch over your investments is a reason some do not participate???

    Anyway, owners with pins there contributed...mucho labor and time to showcase their pins. Visitors contributed too with $$$. This is what makes the world go round and why the show is there lol....do you know why Chic-Filet was not open? Jimmy Johns? Not enough $$$ from attendance to get them to sign up and open. Thank goodness Subway signed up and opened to sell some food! Lol.

    Get a grip!


    2 years ago
    #

    I have nothing to say about the drama, except that the postmaster was robbed in the lower ranking he was in, when a higher ranking player was against him, masquerading as a lower level player. I suppose it's all pinbrawl at the end of the day, but I feel for the postmaster making all that trip and not getting a more fair competition.

    I got 2nd in B rank in pinbrawl, on my first time competing in such a high rank, I had the honor of being defeated by Team Wasted Potential (Mick McDonald and Jdubbs) so that was a good day in its own way.

    Here's some Predator pinball footage: » YouTube video

    » YouTube video

    and here's a vid from pingame journal that shows my gf and myself showing up at the end of the vid, I'm wearing a Transformers shirt.

    » YouTube video


    2 years ago
    #
    Pinballdad said:

    bringing a pin only gives you a one day entry instead of full show pass

    Just to clarify. Each game you bring to the show entitles you to a full show pass, not a day pass. Four games == four show passes. Thanks for coming out everyone!


    2 years ago
    #
    Atomicboy said:

    Buddy, I know what I'm talking about.

    Cool, I now see that you know more than I do. I guess I should have been able to tell that from the attitude in your first post.


    2 years ago
    #
    mipinballexpo said:

    Pinballdad said:bringing a pin only gives you a one day entry instead of full show pass
    Just to clarify. Each game you bring to the show entitles you to a full show pass, not a day pass. Four games == four show passes. Thanks for coming out everyone!

    I apologize if what you say is true. Perhaps I was misinformed. When I checked into participating I was told (I thought) each machine was one day. Since I can only transport one machine I figured I would have to pay for the other days and thus it was less appealing to consider. I have to go and confirm again I guess.

    If I am in error, thanks for pointing it out...that is real important...mucho thanks!


    2 years ago
    #

    First off, no one picked the division they were in. You were placed into your division by the organizers of the event--there was no play in or ranking round. So, no one was "masquerading" or sandbagging, as a lower level player.

    Secondly, I put up that 2.6 billion on World Cup and I had played that game a total of once in my life.

    I've never played in a tournament, ever. And this was the first Expo of any sort I've ever been to.

    Blakesell said:

    I have nothing to say about the drama, except that the postmaster was robbed in the lower ranking he was in, when a higher ranking player was against him, masquerading as a lower level player. I suppose it's all pinbrawl at the end of the day, but I feel for the postmaster making all that trip and not getting a more fair competition.


    2 years ago
    #

    Blakesell, it was nice to meet you and your girlfriend. I did have a great time. I had fun. Lots of great games there. One thing I did get from the show:

    I forgot how fun EM machines are. There was a good selection of EM machines.

    By the way, if anyone cares, the back glass I won was a fully restored Solar Fire. Beautiful looking BG. It will be framed, and put on display.

    Great show. I would have brought a game, but when you travel 1400 miles round trip, driving a truck that gets 15 mpg is not an option.


    2 years ago
    #

    Ironspider, I have no hard feelings, that was an awesome game. Congrats. You should have been in a higher division, but like you said, we were placed in the division. I do have bad feelings about how bad I sucked that match. I was playing well up to that point. Congrats on the win.


    2 years ago
    #

    It was nice meeting you and your brother as well! If I'm ever in Minnesota I'm hitting your store!

    ThePostmaster said:

    Ironspider, I have no hard feelings, that was an awesome game. Congrats. You should have been in a higher division, but like you said, we were placed in the division. I do have bad feelings about how bad I sucked that match. I was playing well up to that point. Congrats on the win.


    2 years ago
    #

    Oh wait, that may not have been your brother But I enjoyed meeting Aaron as well!

    ironspider said:

    It was nice meeting you and your brother as well! If I'm ever in Minnesota I'm hitting your store!
    ThePostmaster said:Ironspider, I have no hard feelings, that was an awesome game. Congrats. You should have been in a higher division, but like you said, we were placed in the division. I do have bad feelings about how bad I sucked that match. I was playing well up to that point. Congrats on the win.


    2 years ago
    #
    ironspider said:

    It was nice meeting you and your brother as well! If I'm ever in Minnesota I'm hitting your store!
    ThePostmaster said:Ironspider, I have no hard feelings, that was an awesome game. Congrats. You should have been in a higher division, but like you said, we were placed in the division. I do have bad feelings about how bad I sucked that match. I was playing well up to that point. Congrats on the win.

    That's dang cool. You guys having fun and also posting that you came all the way from Minnesota! Us Michiganders maybe don't often say it but on behalf of all of us, thanks for driving that far to attend! Everyone from outside of Michigan!!! We all know what gas costs these days, so it is an honor to have someone spend their hard earned money to enjoy their hobby here in MI!!!

    I think this thread got off to a rough start...maybe it was the armpit thing, who knows? I just want to say that as a person who went to the show today...there IS NO WAY I can possibly understand or comprehend the amount of hard work that went into pulling it off. Yes I have my comments that last year I seen more...also though last year was my first year in this hobby and maybe I am being to haste in posting a review. I mean let's face it. The place was jam packed all day. The event was on FOX news TV like every 30 minutes so it had the attention of the press. Folks were parking on the grass as the O.P. admitted himself. Also.....also......

    THERE WAS AC/DC! While I cannot afford it. my wife and I played it and of course enjoyed every minute! What a machine. My wife is a big Stones fan...last year the Rolling Stones machine hit and to be honest we were expecting more...no biggie we caould not afford it anyway. But ....but...this AC/DC this year from Stern (the version with the lower PF) was unreal!!!!

    To close and go to bed. Thanks everyone that worked so hard putting on this event for others to enjoy! It was alot of hard work I am sure and not much gratitude from us here so far in this thread...sorry:( Thanks to the out of town visitors for loving pinball and saying, "Hey, Michigan is the place to be this weekend...the ExPo is ON!" Thanks for the Pinside being here for us to share thoughts. Thanks to the forum members reading about the MI Pin ExPo!!!!!!!!

    Thanks and peace all!


    2 years ago
    #
    Pinballdad said:

    If I am in error, thanks for pointing it out...that is real important...mucho thanks!

    No harm, just wanted to make sure that people know how we operate. None of this "we'll pay you your entrance fee money back at the end of the show for each day you are here" crap. That's just an interest free loan to someone for four days.


    2 years ago
    #
    Atomicboy said:

    Rebuild your f'ing flippers...!

    There were a few flippers that REALLY needed rebuilding:

    The White Water upper level flipper was spongy and was sticking in the liner.

    The Stargate that was on the end of the isle next to the MM had one bad flipper - too weak to do anything with.

    BUT we can't always blame the person who brought it. They may not know how flippers are supposed to feel (they WILL know after the weekend of playing all those great, correctly operating games), or as is often the case, along the way someone may have replaced a coil with an incorrect weaker one. A tech on the road did the coil swap as a quick fix, only to forget and have the game earn poorly, resulting in it being removed from service and sold. Also, many flipper rebuild kits don't come with the playfield bushing for some reason, so a beginner might not know it's even necessary.

    Most of the games seemed to me to have great or at least good enough flippers.


    2 years ago
    #


    2 years ago
    #

    Stern also brought AC/DC, hooked it up to an external speaker and had 2 cameras on it.

    Camera one was trained on the playfield, and camera 2 was trained on the player's face!

    Both were then played back on a 42" monitor above the game for everyone to see. It was funny to watch people biting their lip, throwing their heads back, wiping away tears...


    2 years ago
    #

    Sorry about the White Water upper right flipper. I had it dialed in and lined up with the guide hole the day before I brought it to the show. It was playing great on Thursday but by Friday and today, I had no time to check on it other than hearing the occasional "stuck/missing ball" report on it which was resolved by our tech staff. It's going to get a more thorough shop job in the coming weeks and hopefully will pass your flipper emissions check next year with flying colors!


    2 years ago
    #

    The AC/DC had the lower playfield installed and all red painted lockdown, legs and rails.

    The red paint looked great, but it will certainly not last as long as all of the stainless steel seen on most machines.

    The cab had lots of fake damage that looked like torn Tolex amp covering; familiar to any working musician. That was a cool touch - and could save some money on decals in the future LOL.


    2 years ago
    #
    mipinballexpo said:

    Sorry about the White Water upper right flipper. I had it dialed in and lined up with the guide hole the day before I brought it to the show. It was playing great on Thursday but by Friday and today, I had no time to check on it other than hearing the occasional "stuck/missing ball" report on it which was resolved by our tech staff. It's going to get a more thorough shop job in the coming weeks and hopefully will pass your flipper emissions check next year with flying colors!

    I'm sure it will pass, no problem!

    WH2O upper flipper is a harder one to rebuild because it is tucked up and under (let alone all that wiring). I usually put a molex plug on the coil wires so the whole assembly can be pulled out without any soldering in such a tight spot.

    Did not mean to rag on your game, it looks great without a ton of fade. My buddy Octo said he'd give me $500 if I could get to Vacation Planner; but then I saw why he was so confident - the flipper did not have enough jism to get up Insanity Falls. Ah, my so called friends.



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