The last of my journal entries from my first year of pinball around Chicagoland:
Chicago Wizard World Comic Con
I can’t believe there was no pinball at Comic Con! There were Deadpools and Ghostbusters walking all over the place. There were rows and rows of comic book artists. Where’s Zombie Yeti? Where’s Stern? Somebody really dropped the marketing ball this weekend. You have to try pinball for the first time to realize how much you love it. Anyway, it was dreamy to hear Ivan Reitman and Ernie Hudson chat for an hour about shooting Ghostbusters. The David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson interview was bliss for an X-Files fan. I’m already looking forward to the day I own Sega’s 1997 X-Files pin.
Sterne’s Deadpool launch party in Chicago was a blast! It was easily in the top 3 of my pinball experiences. I played Deadpool for an hour with a fellow who ordered a Premium without ever playing the game. The more we flipped, the more it became obvious he was happy with his first NIB purchase. I had a big grin on my face as I watched lead programmer Tanio Klyce set up one of the machines for competition. He cleaned, waxed, leveled, and updated the code. Tanio was truly a full service pinhead at that moment. I also got to meet George Gomez for the first time. I gave him my first impressions of Deadpool and told him about missing out on bringing pinball to the masses at Comic Con. I think this evening was my first appearance on a Deadflip stream as well. I had to laugh when I got eliminated from the competition in under 60 seconds. Two house balls and my own flipper flub on ball three. What a night, I may never miss another launch party.
My taste in pinball continues to evolve. The first time I played Lost World I was completely engaged. I still love the art but the playfield is just too bland. The game needs at least some drop targets to keep me entertained. Which brings me to Blackout. Love it – it’s earned a place on my wishlist. Someday I’d also like to create my own pin. We’re talking years down the road, but I already know the theme: Twin Peaks. That’s a license that will never be made by anyone but us fans.
That’s right, I’m tragically missing my first Expo. In fact, I’m not even playing pinball this weekend because Greenville, South Carolina, is a pin desert. Can you believe this is a college town and its only barcade closed this year? I drove around Greenville updating the Pinside Map with the three games I could find. There was nothing worth sinking quarters into so I just followed along with Martin’s excellent coverage of Expo. Another year is so long to wait!
I missed this place! ORD shuts down for the summer due to a lack of air conditioning. Back in January I played Roger Sharpe here on Scuba in my first game of competitive pinball. Tonight I more than doubled my personal record on the machine with 7,003 points. That’s good enough for second place on the Pinside high score list. My new pinball routine works like this: I play at least three games on a machine and record my highest score on Pinside. As of today, I’ve recorded 53 PR’s. Occasionally my score rocks like on Scuba, but more often I’m lucky to break into the top 100 scores reported. That’s my goal, to have a top 100 score on every machine I’ve logged online. I have my work cut out for me on a few pins. Right now I’m sitting in the 300’s on Metallica and the Addams Family. One other observation this evening: I love Gottlieb’s Tag-Team, and no surprise, it’s another John Trudeau design.
Playa Bonita, Dominican Republic
There is plenty of sand, sun, and poverty in the Dominican Republic, but I didn’t see any pinball machines. It was a pleasure to escape from Chicago’s winter, but how good can a vacation be without the silverball?
Bummer! My office Christmas party was the same night as Stern’s release party for The Beatles. I’ve enjoyed Seawitch at ORD and am looking forward to flipping Beatlewitch someday soon. I tried saying Beatlewitch three times fast but nothing happened. This is a busy season at work; if I didn’t have pins at home I wouldn’t have a chance to flip at all.
I got to unleash some craft on a fellow Pinsider this Christmas via the Secret Santa gift exchange. What a fun way to share pinball-love with someone who can appreciate it. Much thanks to LesManley for making it happen.
2018 was my first year of pinball and I can definitely say I had fun playing, watching, listening, reading, and thinking about the silverball. I don’t recall dreaming about pinball, perhaps year two? Looking ahead, I plan to keep journaling and I plan to buy more pins. 2018 highlights: flipping with Roger Sharpe, the Midwest Gaming Classic in Milwaukee, Flip Frenzy, and the Deadpool release party at Logan Arcade. 2019 wishlist: MGC again, Expo for the first time, more Flip Frenzy, and pick up my very own Flash.