(Topic ID: 86352)

Building a better Pinball Show (Ann Arbor MI model)


By cfh

5 years ago



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    25
    #1 5 years ago

    As many of you know, we've started a pinball museum near Ann Arbor Michigan called VFW pinball (vintage flipper world.) Here's an article about it before it really took off....
    News story: http://www.annarbor.com/news/pinball-museum-story/
    Show web site: http://www.vfwpinball.com

    So as part of our charter we are allowed to be open up to four weekends a year. So we thought we would do a pinball show (May 16-18, 2014). But we wanted to address a lot of concerns that we saw at other pinball shows. Stuff that really is bothersome and that obviously could be improved upon.

    Personally i've been going to pinball shows for nearly 20 years. I've seen a lot of stuff and a lot of ideas. But basically the biggest problem is that every show models itself on other shows. There isn't a lot of solutions to common problems. With the Ann Arbor Pinball Show, we feel we've addressed nearly every concern, making this model a far better event.

    GAMES.
    Simply put, people go to pinball shows for one big reason, the games. With arcades nearly non-existent, pinball shows put together a lot of games in one location at one time. The problem is, they are doing it "ass backward." That is, every show bring the games to the people, opposed to people to the games.

    What i mean is that all pinball shows rely on the public, collectors, operators to bring their games. That means they have to tear them down, get them up the stairs, get them to the show, set up the game, and then baby sit the game during the show. After the show there's a limited amount of time to tear down the game, load it back up, drive back home, bring it back down the stairs, and then set it back up. Of course, you have fix anything that broke during the show (at your expense and time), and re-clean the game. And what is your compensation for this work? Free entry? Really? Like $20? If someone said to me, "hey can i rent your pinball for the weekend, and you deliver it, and you have set up, and you have to fix anything that breaks, and you have to remove and bring it home, and i'll give you $20." I would be like, "ARE YOU NUTS?"

    So why is it that pinball shows ask people to do this? It makes little sense frankly. Sure i get it, your a hobby guy, you like to show off your toy, fine. Go for it. But just be fore warned, that most game damage occurs when a machine is moved. Also chiropractors LOVE pinball shows, for obvious reasons.

    In addition you have the problem of duplicates at shows. Do you really need five Addams Families at a show? wouldn't you rather have one Addams, and four other unique game titles??

    Also there's the problem of "show whores", where someone brought a piece of junk so they could get in free, sell it for free, or get it fixed for free. (Heck i know show promoters that bring broken games to their own show so that the volunteer help fixes it for free!) This is a big problem at a lot of shows.

    At the Ann Arbor show, we have a different solution. We have TWO HUNDRED unique machines already on site. Already set up. Already working. All ready to go. That's 200 different games, no duplicates. Most shows struggle to get 100 games. And all games at the Ann Arbor show are of known quality. That is, there aren't any "show whores".

    Games at the show: http://www.vfwpinball.com/games.php

    OVER CROWDING.
    Another problem at shows is the "people-to-game" ratio is terrible. If there's lines 5 deep to play every game, how much fun is that? Heck can you even move around in that environment? Show promoters generally aren't the types that are going to turn people away at the door. Heck they want your money. Some may say they are making money on the backs of their volunteer help. But regardless, i've never ever been to a show that turned people away.

    At the Ann Arbor show, we're doing it differently. That is, we cap the number of tickets available. When that number is reach, like a concert, it's sold out. This keeps the people-to-game ratio nice, so there are not lines to play. Sure there will be more people likely wanting to play Medieval Madness than OXO, but even still, if the number of tickets sold closely matches the total number of games, isn't that a better can of beer? Sure it is.

    TOURNAMENTS.
    Put frankly, tournaments are good for a very small number of people. If you're one of those people, great, but most show goers are not tournament players. So why do shows take a row of 10 or 20 prime games, and limit them just to tourney players? Talk about the needs of the few getting higher priority of the needs of the many.

    At the Ann Arbor pinball show we too will have tournaments. But ours are different. First it is not the emphasis of the show. Second it will be "classic" and "EM" tourneys only. So you won't see the most popular and newest solidstate games being used in the tourney. Third the tourney games can also be played, at ALL times, by show goers (at no cost) whom aren't participating in a tourney. So even the games in the tourney are not "locked away" from the masses.

    VENUES.
    Let's be frank. Most facilities that have pinball shows are not set up well for pinball. Have to take a game to the show and use an elevator or stairs? Yea right! like that goes really well at the end of the show when everyone wants to get their game out, and are lined up waiting. Or going across the parking lot 300 feet with a hand truck and a game. Or electrical and lighting that just sucks for large numbers of games.

    At the Ann Arbor show, the facility is a full time pinball venue. That is, it's designed for pinball. The electric is robust. The load in/load out is all ground level and 10 feet from a drive up zone (though frankly this isn't much of an issue since you don't have to bring a game, but if you want to, it's easy to load/unload.) The lighting is optimal for pinball, as is the heating and cooling. We're designed for this, not adapted from some hotel or expo hall that also has a show for motorcycles or cats.

    FLEE MARKET.
    There's only a few pinball shows that have a flee market. Frankly I find them quite fun. We have the space at the Ann Arbor pinball show to have an outdoor (covered) flee market. So you can trade and sell parts. There's no vendor cost for this either, besides buying a ticket to the show itself.

    CONCLUSION.
    At the Ann Arbor pinball show, we've tried to address the problems of current pinball shows. I think you'll see that it's a good model. I encourage everyone to attend the show. Thanks!

    #2 5 years ago

    So are collectors bringing games to your show paid more than the entrance fee of the usual $20?

    #3 5 years ago

    I really like the idea of not using modern games in tournaments. Modern pinball competition is more about having insider-information on games/rulesets and tricks and less about true pinball play skills.

    Good luck with the show Clay! I wish I was closer so I could visit, but I hope to soon!

    #4 5 years ago

    My Dad, my buddy Josh, and myself all bought tickets for Saturday a couple weeks back. Excited!

    #5 5 years ago
    Quoted from Blackbeard:

    So are collectors bringing games to your show paid more than the entrance fee of the usual $20?

    No they aren't paid anything. Frankly we discourage people bring games. We can accommodate their game(s) though, but there really is no need to bring a game. So there's no financial incentive. If you want to bring a game because you're a hobby guy and just want to "show off" or share, cool, then bring it.

    Also you have complete control of your game. That is, it can come and go when you want. If you sell/trade it, and the game wants to leave right then and there, no problem. If you can't get there until tuesday, no problem. If you want to bring it 2 weeks in advance, or collect it next monday, no problem. We can accommodate all these things. And of course your game is under lock and key, so there's no issue with security either.

    #6 5 years ago

    You have covered the two reasons I go to shows. Play pinball and look for parts. This is why I bought my tickets already.

    #7 5 years ago

    The show sounds AWESOME, and now I really want to go! You're not sold out yet, are you?

    #8 5 years ago

    I'm a Kickstart contributor and haven't made it there yet. Looking forward to seeing the final product!

    #9 5 years ago

    Please put up notices/calendar of when these events will be happening. I may have to plan a few months out, but I'd love to check out the joint!

    #10 5 years ago
    Quoted from PinballHelp:

    I really like the idea of not using modern games in tournaments. Modern pinball competition is more about having insider-information on games/rulesets and tricks and less about true pinball play skills.
    Good luck with the show Clay! I wish I was closer so I could visit, but I hope to soon!

    I like having the games available for everyone, but must disagree with your assessment on modern games in tournaments not based on skill and just insider knowledge.

    #11 5 years ago

    Pinburgh sold out 400 spots in a little under 2 hours @ $175 a ticket

    Since the Museum has 200 games, I assume that is 600 tickets over 3 days if you are keeping to your 1 person to machine ratio @ $20 a day.

    How many tickets have been sold in the last 48 hours? I assume it's not sold out since I can still buy tickets? (not that I want one though)

    But yea us tournament players are in the minority

    #12 5 years ago

    When will the next show be after this one?
    I unfortunately already have plans for that weekend or I woudl make the 7 hr drive to Ann Arbor for this.

    Also, as a kickstarter backer, I thought I got one free entrance? Does that work for a future show or can I come on a non show weekend?

    #13 5 years ago

    I've only visited the new place once and it truly is a pinball nirvana. You'd be bumming if you didn't attend. It's just too bad he can't be open year round to the public.

    #14 5 years ago

    I don't have an issue with your format, but still wanted to comment.

    The reason I took my F-14 to the Ohio Show this year was simply so people could enjoy it, not to show off or anything. Just wanted to contribute where I could. If I had a vehicle to bring more, I would have. The only damage I had to fix was the plunger spring.

    5 Addams Familys or 4 unique machines? Can't it be both? Multiple of the same title equals shorter lines, yes?

    One thing I'd like to see with tournaments is making them more accessible to less skilled players like myself. I'm not in the same world as the top players, so I don't bother trying to get entries. It would be nice to have a C and maybe D division to encourage more people to try their luck.

    I'd love to see your museum sometime, and I think it's fantastic that it exists.

    #15 5 years ago

    sounds good I'm in, Road trip! well small road trip..

    #16 5 years ago

    On the tourney, it's non wpr so that should keep the pros away. Also the show is the same weekend as a big tourney in Colorado so is should be pretty easy going and casual. But I hear ya, I want to compete too but feel out gunned against Trent and the likes.

    You could bring your f14 too, no problem. But we already have one and having multiples seems like a lot of work without much benefit.

    #17 5 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    When will the next show be after this one?
    I unfortunately already have plans for that weekend or I woudl make the 7 hr drive to Ann Arbor for this.
    Also, as a kickstarter backer, I thought I got one free entrance? Does that work for a future show or can I come on a non show weekend?

    As a kstart guy, you can come any Friday. We really appreciate that support.

    #18 5 years ago

    Clay, all the best with the VFW and your show, but no need to diss other shows and the way others do things (mostly from necessity). This probably could have been framed a little more positively without peeing in people's corn flakes to make your point.

    #19 5 years ago

    No disrespect to any particular show. The show format was originally developed by rob Berk and expo, and everyone has copied that format. All shows have the problems outlined above. As game values have gone up, the problems outlined have gotten bigger. What we are doing is clearly different and we're just demonstrating there are alternatives and solutions to these common problems.

    In my opinion the only show that really addressed some of these problems was PPE. Unfortunately that show is now gone.

    #20 5 years ago

    I'm in on Sat.....

    Can't wait

    #21 5 years ago

    Sounds awesome....love the way you are putting it together.

    #22 5 years ago

    don't hate on good players thow. we didn't start from the top. no need to punish us for being good. practice is what it takes. i used to play lower divisions too and i got better with time. when you hang around good players, it makes you play better and new learn things.
    heck, there are kids 5 years old that play well from practicing. Pinburgh is a Tournament and there were kids, girls, boys, women, men of all ages and skill levels. There is no reason to be afraid of the word "tournament".
    tournaments doesn't mean "expert only". out of the more than 20,000 ranked players, under 100 are true expert players. non experts are the majority of the tourney scene.
    there are usually several levels to choose from and with new software, it prevents players from qualifying in lower levels than they should. just as in pinburgh with division restrictions.
    so me being an "A" player, if i was playing bad in a tourney, the software would still only let me qualify in A division, it would just put me at the bottom of A standings.

    11
    #23 5 years ago
    Quoted from PinballHelp:

    Modern pinball competition is more about having insider-information on games/rulesets and tricks and less about true pinball play skills.

    Man there ought to be some sort of gameplay video or tutorial series so that this information can be easily understood by the average player.

    Oh, I remember now: http://papa.org/play/games

    #24 5 years ago

    If a show doesn't have a quality tournament, I won't attend. That's probably not the case for most people but it seems lame to not have a quality tournament when it can easily be done without wrecking the show for everyone else. Also, anyone claiming that tournaments on modern games are about insider knowledge is completely out of touch with reality. I learned about 99% of what I know in the last three years by watching Bowen's videos and, most importantly, actually getting out there and playing pinball instead of agonizing over what Hallmark toys to put inside a machine.

    #25 5 years ago

    No disrespect to the PAPA crew or anyone organising tournaments and I may be in the minority here but one issue I have with the tournaments that have aired on the PAPA channel lately is the high proportion of modern Stern machines in the line up. I mean, I know that Stern was the only manufacturer for most of the last decade but there is such a diverse range of late 70s, 80s and 90s machines out there. I personally find it a little boring when you have, say, ACDC, Stern Star Trek, Metallica and Tron in the same competition. In my opinion it would be great it if it was mixed up a little more. If the classics tournament was also televised that would help as well.

    Anyways, I guess we'll have more variety soon, looking forward to seeing JJP and Spooky games in tournaments.

    The Ann Arbor thing looks so cool and I wish I lived in the neighbourhood.

    12
    #26 5 years ago
    Quoted from KevinDDR:

    If a show doesn't have a quality tournament, I won't attend.

    You wont be missed.

    Quoted from KevinDDR:

    That's probably not the case for most people but it seems lame to not have a quality tournament when it can easily be done without wrecking the show for everyone else.

    So games in the tournament row not available for all to play without a donation to top ranked players isnt ruining others good time....... where you come up with that crock of shit ? To most casual players, seeing a newer Stern available for "tourney players only" does ruin a good time if you look at the promise of free play that comes with admission. Most go to shows to play the games they dont have, and most shows put the newest games available in the tournament. Nothing sucks more than going to play title XXXXX and it being in tourney row for $5 a play.

    Quoted from KevinDDR:

    playing pinball instead of agonizing over what Hallmark toys to put inside a machine.

    Very few mods at the VFW clubhouse, and where there is a mod, its used within good taste, like color dmd's or some led's.

    I personally will never put another game that i take to a show in the tournament. The slapping of the sides of the game, slamming down the lockdown bars, and GASP...... intentional tilts when tourney player has a bad game....... you act like this doesnt happen when its a daily common thing !!!!!! Besides, i want my games to be enjoyed by all, just not the privileged few who look at my prized possessions as another game to beat the hell out of.

    #27 5 years ago

    Tournaments are fine for what they are. I will probably never play in one.
    I like to relax and enjoy the show, talk to people, and check what the vendors have.
    I'd prefer to see the games all set up for general play. Flea market/swap meet type area seems like a great idea.

    Looking forward to the VFW show. Thanks guys!

    #28 5 years ago
    Quoted from solarvalue:

    No disrespect to the PAPA crew or anyone organising tournaments and I may be in the minority here but one issue I have with the tournaments that have aired on the PAPA channel lately is the high proportion of modern Stern machines in the line up. I mean, I know that Stern was the only manufacturer for most of the last decade but there is such a diverse range of late 70s, 80s and 90s machines out there. I personally find it a little boring when you have, say, ACDC, Stern Star Trek, Metallica and Tron in the same competition. In my opinion it would be great it if it was mixed up a little more. If the classics tournament was also televised that would help as well.
    Anyways, I guess we'll have more variety soon, looking forward to seeing JJP and Spooky games in tournaments.
    The Ann Arbor thing looks so cool and I wish I lived in the neighbourhood.

    Did you watch either the PAPA Circuit Final or the Pinburgh final? Probably 3/4 of the games used were not modern Sterns, and there was an EM in every single round.

    #29 5 years ago
    Quoted from JDubbbs:

    So games in the tournament row not available for all to play without a donation to top ranked players isnt ruining others good time....... where you come up with that crock of shit ? To most casual players, seeing a newer Stern available for "tourney players only" does ruin a good time if you look at the promise of free play that comes with admission. Most go to shows to play the games they dont have, and most shows put the newest games available in the tournament. Nothing sucks more than going to play title XXXXX and it being in tourney row for $5 a play.

    Very few mods at the VFW clubhouse, and where there is a mod, its used within good taste, like color dmd's or some led's.
    I personally will never put another game that i take to a show in the tournament. The slapping of the sides of the game, slamming down the lockdown bars, and GASP...... intentional tilts when tourney player has a bad game....... you act like this doesnt happen when its a daily common thing !!!!!! Besides, i want my games to be enjoyed by all, just not the privileged few who look at my prized possessions as another game to beat the hell out of.

    The false assumption here is that the machines brought for tournament play would be brought if a tournament didn't occur. Maybe this is the case at shows with crappy tournaments where they just yank the best games off the floor for tourney use, but I'm not talking about those ones. At most shows with good tournaments, the games brought for tournament use are brought by tournament organizers and players so that the tournament can have good games. Those people would not be likely to bring those games if the show had no tournament. I'd also be surprised if games were more likely to receive damage by use from good players in tournaments than they would be by the general public that pays whatever entry fee to come to the show. Bopping the sides of a cabinet is a skillful method used to control the ball and does not cause any damage to the machine. Slamming the lockdown bar, while a dick move, also does not cause damage to the machine. Intentional tilts, while also dick moves, don't cause damage to the machine. I don't recall any incidents in the over 150 tournaments that I have played where a machine got damaged by a player other than one isolated incident of someone punching through a playfield glass. The player was punished and immediately offered to pay compensation to the machine owner.

    Do many shows really have a problem with not having the latest Sterns available for play outside of the tournament? Good tournaments tend not to use exclusively Sterns and I imagine distributors usually bring the latest games as well.

    Sorry if I come off as overly confrontational, it's just frustrating to see things that are inherently untrue being said about tournament play and tournament players. I obviously understand that tournament play isn't for everyone, nor should it necessarily try to be. However, I think tournaments enhance shows more than they detract from them and ultimately pinball gains great publicity from things like PAPA TV which highlights tournaments at good shows across the country.

    11
    #30 5 years ago

    To me it's simple numbers. Say a show has 100 games, which is pretty typical. And they use 10 games for the tourney. Again typical (at least for shows around here.) now of the show going population, do they comprise 10% of the total population? I would say heck no, probably more like 1 or 2%. Again it's catering to the few at a cost to the many.

    My opinion, but I feel the attitude of some tourney players is that the rest of us aren't worthy of the top games. At least that's how it feels to me. I just refuse to sacrifice top games for this. I would rather have the other 98% enjoy the games.

    I think it's far better to have events like pin burgh for tourney players instead of trying to wrap serious big dollar tourney play into a pinball show.

    #31 5 years ago

    I should also mention that I think the other portions of Clay's post are spot on. Nothing sucks worse than going to a show and constantly running into junk games that people bring just to get them fixed for free. Overcrowding also sucks. The part that kind of confuses me about the post is that it's not like any of this stuff isn't common knowledge; if we all had access to 200+ machines and a warehouse to run events in, I'm sure pinball shows would be better. It's just not a realistic or feasible option in most parts of the country. The way Clay's show is structured sound great, sure, but is the suggestion that people buy 200+ machines, spend years dialing them in, then open their collection up to the public at a loss? While some people like, for instance, Clay, and the great folks at PAPA might be willing to do that, I don't think the model of having collectors bring machines to a common venue will ever go away. It's really necessary in most parts of the country and I don't think it's really fair to call the Ann Arbor show a "model" upon which to base other shows when it's clearly just not possible to do so.

    #32 5 years ago

    Yes it is a unique situation but other shows like PPE have managed it. It takes work and money and time but it really is perhaps a better can of beer.

    #33 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    To me it's simple numbers. Say a show has 100 games, which is pretty typical. And they use 10 games for the tourney. Again typical (at least for shows around here.) now of the show going population, do they comprise 10% of the total population? I would say heck no, probably more like 1 or 2%. Again it's catering to the few at a cost to the many.
    My opinion, but I feel the attitude of some tourney players is that the rest of us aren't worthy of the top games. At least that's how it feels to me. I just refuse to sacrifice top games for this. I would rather have the other 98% enjoy the games.

    Clay, I sent some casual pinball friends of mine, who went to MPE with me yesterday, a link to your post here today. After reading what you had to say, they bought a pair of tickets to your show immediately. The solutions to the 'problems' of traditional pinball shows tracked perfectly with the problems they felt at MPE. There are indeed room for many models in the arena, but your model scratched their itch.

    #34 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    TOURNAMENTS.
    Put frankly, tournaments are good for a very small number of people. If you're one of those people, great, but most show goers are not tournament players. So why do shows take a row of 10 or 20 prime games, and limit them just to tourney players? Talk about the needs of the few getting higher priority of the needs of the many.
    At the Ann Arbor pinball show we too will have tournaments. But ours are different. First it is not the emphasis of the show. Second it will be "classic" and "EM" tourneys only. So you won't see the most popular and newest solidstate games being used in the tourney. Third the tourney games can also be played, at ALL times, by show goers (at no cost) whom aren't participating in a tourney. So even the games in the tourney are not "locked away" from the masses

    Should tournament players not get to play on games from '89-'14? For me the idea of competing against others in that era of games is the greatest enticement to play in a tournament at all.

    It would make the difference for me whether or not I went to a show if I couldn't play some modern games in a tourney. Maybe others feel similarly. If every show adopted this format (no games after '89), it would essentially disinterest me in tournaments all together, frankly.

    I like PAPA's model; two divisions. It may not be the most efficient model based on numbers, but it's the most enticing for me as a player.

    EDIT TO ADD:

    Additionally, based on your new format there would be one fewer reason to attend such a show and that is because I'm from out of state.

    You would be taking away (from people like me) two major reasons to attend:

    Tournaments with no modern games
    No (or very few) games for sale

    I'm assuming your 200+ inventory are machines that are not for sale.

    There would be very little enticement for someone to plan an out-of-state trip or any trip >300 miles to simply go to play a few games and pick up a few parts, IMO.

    #35 5 years ago

    Clay, maybe I missed it on your website, but is this a family friendly event? Minimum age requirement or cheaper children tickets? This sounds like a good time.

    Scott

    #36 5 years ago
    Quoted from bkerins:

    Did you watch either the PAPA Circuit Final or the Pinburgh final? Probably 3/4 of the games used were not modern Sterns, and there was an EM in every single round.

    Thanks for the reply, that sounds great, I would love to see them. I missed the Pinburgh final, looking forward to watching when it arrives on Youtube. Was the PAPA circuit final ever put on Youtube? I usually watch the broadcasts later on Youtube, the live broadcasts don't work too well with my computer and Internet connection.

    #37 5 years ago
    Quoted from solarvalue:

    Thanks for the reply, I missed the Pinburgh final, looking forward to watching when it arrives on Youtube. Was the PAPA circuit final ever put on Youtube? I usually watch the broadcasts later on Youtube, the live broadcasts don't work too well with my computer and Internet connection.

    Circuit final:

    http://www.twitch.tv/papatvpinball/b/514858453 (recorded)

    Pinburgh:

    http://www.twitch.tv/papatvpinball/b/515630533 (recorded)

    #38 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    My opinion, but I feel the attitude of some tourney players is that the rest of us aren't worthy of the top games. At least that's how it feels to me. I just refuse to sacrifice top games for this. I would rather have the other 98% enjoy the games.

    Which games are in the tourney is not about excluding people.. but which games are best for the tourney!

    The newer games = less prone to breakage = better chance the game stays online for tourney (huge!)
    Newer games are often less understood so sometimes offer a advantage for the tourney
    Tournament admin is seeking the most reliable bank of games that are suitable for that format of play. If that means he begs a guy to put his Tron in the tourney.. it's because Tron meets the needs, while a TOTAN would not.

    At pinburg the last few years Trent always brings the latest Stern game and they usually are out on the floor for play like all other games.

    Unfortunately your 'answer' to all the negatives of other shows is "Have your own collection and invite people in". While that is a great answer, it's not fair to paint the other show organizers as just stuck in some rut. If there was a sugar daddy would open his doors in Allentown with 200 games that didn't need moving.. that would be awesome. But there isn't. So organizers work with what is available, not because they are unwilling to 'change the show format'. The alternative is NO SHOW... which most would agree is not a better solution.

    There are only so many permanent 100+ game locations capable of handling hundreds or thousands of people. Don't piss off your roof on others simply because more don't exist.

    #39 5 years ago

    Again the vast majority of show attendees don't compete in tournaments. So we really don't feel the need to satisfy the needs of the few at a cost to the many.

    As for game sales there should be lots of games for sale. But that is hard to tell for sure this far in advance.

    As for kids you can bring them sure. But there's no kid discount. This makes sure that the kids that are there are serious about pinball. Chimp flippers need not apply.

    #40 5 years ago

    There are plenty of sugar daddy's as you put it in pinball. Just most don't feel the need to share at this level. Nothing wrong with that but it's just how it is I guess.

    What people may not understand is that this whole thing has been in planning for many years. While many have been selling games, we've been collecting and restoring and keeping games. We just needed a venue to house them. Now we have that. We're not rich either. I can say that I'm probably the poorest paid guy here. I'm pretty darn sure you guys all make more money than I. But we've been working hard for many years and working smart towards this goal.

    -1
    #41 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    Again the vast majority of show attendees don't compete in tournaments. So we really don't feel the need to satisfy the needs of the few at a cost to the many.

    So no tournament would be better than a tournament with modern games? I don't see this as an issue. If you're saying that your model is better, then that implies that other shows should follow the same model--and that means no modern games in tournaments. I don't like that solution.

    As for game sales there should be lots of games for sale.

    Maybe I misunderstood your original premise, but you said that you discourage people from bringing games to the show... because you already have an inventory of games there. I assumed those would not be for sale.

    So... you're saying games for sale would not be on location? (People would buy the games on paper--order them at the show?)

    These are two major strikes against going to an out-of-state show, IMO.

    #42 5 years ago

    There is no cost to be a vender at the show. There is no restriction to when your games come and go. This encourages those to bring games for sale. Load in is ground level and 10 feet from where the for sale area resides. I don't know how it could be made any more clear or easy for those wanting to sell games.

    And finally, we don't need to rely on those for sale games to bump our total game count!

    #43 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    There is no cost to be a vender at the show. There is no restriction to when your games come and go. This encourages those to bring games for sale. Load in is ground level and 10 feet from where the for sale area resides. I don't know how it could be made any more clear or easy for those wanting to sell games.
    And finally, we don't need to rely on those for sale games to bump our total game count!

    Ok. Some of this information wasn't in the first post; that makes things a bit more clear. However, surely people going to a show to buy games want to be able to play them first. Is that possible? Or are the vendors (or people selling games) not given space to set up games? From how the original post was worded, it read like that was discouraged.

    Bringing them in to "sit" unplugged/still folded/wrapped (without having the games set up for play) isn't ideal for potential buyers.

    I don't want to dump on your thread/idea... just want to give you some feedback from a show-goer's perspective.

    #44 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    To me it's simple numbers. Say a show has 100 games, which is pretty typical. And they use 10 games for the tourney. Again typical (at least for shows around here.) now of the show going population, do they comprise 10% of the total population? I would say heck no, probably more like 1 or 2%. Again it's catering to the few at a cost to the many.

    Let's examine that a little bit. Take expo, for example. If I counted correctly, there were 169 participants in the main tournament (source). At 1-2% of the population, that puts expo attendance at 8500-17000 people. That's pretty comical to me. My guess is expo attendance is probably a lot closer to 1500 (though tbh I have no idea) which fits a lot better with the 10% model.

    Quoted from cfh:

    My opinion, but I feel the attitude of some tourney players is that the rest of us aren't worthy of the top games. At least that's how it feels to me. I just refuse to sacrifice top games for this. I would rather have the other 98% enjoy the games.

    Players have very little control what games are actually used in the tournaments. Plus, to MY knowledge, there is only one show that remotely fits your example, and that is expo. I believe at CAX, for example, they use lots of different games, and show a STRONG preference to games where multiple samples exist so they take away as little as possible from the show. At MPE the last time I went, most of the games were later model Williams games that everyone has seen and played to death that has gone to shows (for the most part). PAPA rarely uses more than 2 of the newest games in a given bank, and then has at least one more copy on the floor to practice on. Pinburgh has 50 groups and 200 games, and again, most of the newer games that are actually in the banks have extra copies available for everyone else to play.

    Going back to expo, the show that would seem to fit your Big Problem the most, here is my understanding of how things work: The tournament is run by Trent. Trent is a Stern distributor. Trent therefore has very easy access to all recent Stern games. If the tournament organizer is tasked with bringing along a bunch of well-working games that hold up over the length of a what, like 48-hour (of mostly non-stop play) tournament, you think he's going to bring a bunch of solid-state and EM games? If this gets you bent out of shape, then consider whether the games would even be there at all if he wasn't bringing them for the tournament. My guess is no.

    As for considering others not worthy: This is so unbelievably laughable that I think my eyes got cancer from reading it. Believe you me, NOTHING would make me happier than not having to compete in a bank full of Sterns.

    Quoted from cfh:

    I think it's far better to have events like pin burgh for tourney players instead of trying to wrap serious big dollar tourney play into a pinball show.

    As far as I can tell, you've given one example of a show that "steals" games from casuals, and even that is highly dubious given the circumstances. You may have other problems with tournaments or tourney players that you're not willing to disclose in public, but I can only go with what you've said, and I think it's ridiculous.

    13
    #45 5 years ago
    Quoted from chadderack:

    There would be very little enticement for someone to plan an out-of-state trip or any trip >300 miles to simply go to play a few games and pick up a few parts, IMO.

    I'm planning to drive about 300 miles to the Ann Arbor show precisely to play "a few games," aka 200-ish pins spanning half a century, many of which I can't play anywhere else. There's more to pinball than tourneys. There are literally hundreds of IFPA sanctioned tourneys per year for people to scratch their competitive itch. This show may not be for every pinhead, but it's certainly for me.

    #46 5 years ago
    Quoted from yancy:

    I'm planning to drive about 300 miles to the Ann Arbor show precisely to play "a few games," aka 200-ish pins spanning half a century, many of which I can't play anywhere else. There's more to pinball than tourneys. There are literally hundreds of IFPA sanctioned tourneys per year for people to scratch their competitive itch. This show may not be for every pinhead, but it's certainly for me.

    Cool. Good to get a different perspective.

    However, things are a little different where I live. Here, there are no tournaments. For a reasonable sized city, that sucks.

    A trip greater than 300 miles generally means:

    Hotel
    Gas/Airplane tickets
    Time off work

    in addition to the other expenses related directly to a show.

    How many games can a person play in a day, given that the most popular machines have lines? 100 games? 50 games, tops?

    It doesn't make sense to take a major trip (more than a 1 day trip) just to play a few games and buy parts. You can buy most parts online. I guess if the overall experience of going away for a few days and playing a few pinball machines is worth roughly $1000-$1500 (per person) to you (or a person having to make pay those expenses), then by all means.

    However, if you're thinking about picking up a game, the expense starts to make more sense. For some people, playing in an open tournament might be the only reason to go to such expense.

    I'm actually envious you can drive 300 mi to get to any show. Here it's more like 5-600 miles to the closest show--which means hotel and airplane, or long drive times and lots of gas.

    #47 5 years ago

    It's hard to get numbers from promoters. i have only a few data points. my guess is that chicago expo brings about 5000 people through their doors. If there were say 150 people playing in the tournament, that's about 3% of the total attendees play in a tournament. Three percent. Let me say that again. 3%. Sorry but tourney players are not the majority, or even anything remotely close, of that show's attendees.

    Another data point I have is MPE. But it's only a partial number. According to Mick's facebook page, they bring in 5000 people. I don't know their tourney numbers, but i would have to guess it's less than Chicago Expo. So let's make a guess at 100 tourney players. There's your 2% number.

    So again to take a bank of games that the other 97% or 98% can't use, especially *new* games that everyone wants to try (likely for the first time), makes no sense to me. but i'm not a tournament guy.

    Again we have a different model for our tournament. First off, ANYONE can play a tourney game. ANYONE. If you want to play a tourney game, and it's not being used, just go play it. If you want to play in the tourney, do a "buy in." That is, put a quarter or 50 cent through the coin slot. There, you're playing in the tournament. If you get a high score within the current top five, take a post it note and put your name and score on it. Attach it next to the others and remove the lowest score.

    Will people cheat this system? Maybe, but frankly we don't care. That's on their back not mine. If you're that low of a loser to cheat the system, go for it. (This is another reason why there won't be any WPR points.)

    At the end of the day, at a prescribed time, we'll take all the post it notes off the game and declare the winners. One hundred percent of the coin box money goes to the winner.

    This is a low cost and low work tourney. It's not PAPA. It's not trying to be PAPA. It's trying to be casual and fun. It's trying to encourage non-professionals to compete. It should appeal to masses very well.

    As for games we will use EMs and early solidstates. These games generally have low ball times, which works well in this system. Also, especially with EMs, it's not uncommon for a "nobody" to get an amazing score. We hope that happens and someone with no tourney experience wins. I used to run EM-only tournaments a few years ago at Crazy Carls and this exact situation happened a lot. It encourages people to compete and play pinball. It's a win-win for everyone.

    As for the "worthy" comment, i am sorry, but this is how i feel with a lot of tourney players. often they demand more than anyone else, whine and bitch about situations that can't be controlled, and generally are a PIA. mind you not all tourney players are like this. But there's always some bad apple(s) that ruins the pie. This has been my experience with running tournaments. You may not like that comment, but it's what i personally have experienced. This is the sole reason i stopped running tournaments.

    #48 5 years ago
    Quoted from chadderack:

    Ok. Some of this information wasn't in the first post; that makes things a bit more clear. However, surely people going to a show to buy games want to be able to play them first. Is that possible? Or are the vendors (or people selling games) not given space to set up games? From how the original post was worded, it read like that was discouraged.
    Bringing them in to "sit" unplugged/still folded/wrapped (without having the games set up for play) isn't ideal for potential buyers.
    I don't want to dump on your thread/idea... just want to give you some feedback from a show-goer's perspective.

    Games for sale have their own area and if the owners want to set them up, there's plenty of room and power for them to do that. It's up to them though. We have no involvement in their affairs. If they choose to leave them on their end, fine. If they want people to play them, that's fine too. Either way works fine with us.

    #49 5 years ago
    Quoted from ninjadoug:

    I like having the games available for everyone, but must disagree with your assessment on modern games in tournaments not based on skill and just insider knowledge.

    No, it's not "just insider knowlege" but people who have access to modern machines are at a significant advantage over those who aren't. A good player can typically step up to any EM game and be good competition, but the more modern games have such in-depth rulesets that it's not always obvious what to do, and this favors people who have more time and resources to learn the nuances of the game's scoring system as opposed to honing their raw pinball/flipper control skills.

    In our area, most of our players are not high-end competitors... and they favor classic and EM games because the rulesets are simplier and competition is more straightforward. On modern games, if you know certain tricks and ways to stack things you can have an exponentially higher score and your competitors in some cases, may not have any idea why. That level of competition doesn't work in every area. Some people just want to have fun and don't have time to know the intricate details of today's modern games super deep rulesets.

    I don't necessarily expect you to understand with your "PAPA" avatar logo - representing the upper echelon of pinball competitions -- you guys are probably really bored with shallow rulesets, but in areas where I'm at, where I'm trying to get a fledging competitive pinball scene going... a few players who are capable of destroying most everybody else on modern games deflates the scene. Our people have more fun playing SS and EM. The competitions are closer. Each and every time we host modern tournaments, it's more often the same X people who finish. There's a greater chance for more people to win tourneys on older games. If the same people win every time, then nobody wants to come out and compete (excepting the super-high-end competitive environment which is it's own thing).

    That being said.. I am hopeful that more modern games are coming out with better score balancing. I really like the way WOZ is going.. it almost plays like an old-style game because the scoring is pretty balanced. But a lot of DMD games aren't like that - they have tricks and ways to grab big points that you have to know too to win in competition if the other player knows 'em.

    #50 5 years ago

    I was at the Ohio show and there were a couple games in the tournament area that were the only copy at the show...
    so was unavailable.... they weren’t new games but ones I would have liked to play..
    with your selection it will be nice to at least try a lot of them and help me decide what my next purches might be..
    see you there : )

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