It was August 3rd, 2019, the third day of Pinburgh 2019. I had a rough go at my first ever Pinburgh missing E finals by a couple spots. D division is commonly referred to as the Drinking Division, and E, the Excessive drinking division, was not where I planned to end up. I was pretty unhappy with my play throughout the whole tournament but making the most of the extensive games PAPA has on available during Pinburgh.
I have an affinity for tracking down and playing games I've never played before, so Pinburgh offered a non-stop "first flip" opportunity for me. I was spending the day basically walking up and down each row of pins looking for games I'd never seen. I noticed Cyclopes earlier in the event and made a mental note to get back over to flip it at some point. I was particularly interested in Cyclopes for a few reasons: rarity, playfield layout, and my one experience with the game. I had seen a Cyclopes sell at auction in Wichita for $5,000, which seemed to be an absurd price for such an old game that wasn't in particularly good shape. This seemed especially so considering the prior year's pricing guide had the value at $750. The layout also seemed pretty unique having the left sling replaced with a pop bumper which increased my intrigue.
Each time I passed the game it seemed to have a line or group of people playing it, but finally I noticed it was not being played and walked up. I hit the start button when from behind me, a tap on my left shoulder and a quiet polite voice said, "do you mind if I join you?" To my astonishment, I turned around and the inquiring fellow player was none other than Roger Sharpe!
I'm never one to turn down a fellow pinball player’s request to join a game, and this request I was definitely not going to turn down. I added the second player and proceeded to play my first ball. Roger proceeded to tell me about designing the game during the Game Plan days. I had no idea he designed the game, and honestly, I was a little star struck. Though there was really no reason to be star struck given Sharpe's very polite and pleasant deminer, but I think the total randomness of him just asking to join my game when I didn't even know he was around played into my response. Afterall, I'm standing there playing pinball with the man who saved pinball on a game he designed...how cool is that? We played what seemed to be a very fast game with Roger starting the multiball on ball 3 and absolutely annihilating my score.
That game became the highlight of my first trip to Pinburgh. Rarely if ever, would a player have the opportunity for something like that to happen, but it happens at Pinburgh. Cyclopes was great, but meeting Roger Sharpe was an experience I'll never forget.