(Topic ID: 78017)

MI Pinball Expo vs. Pinball at the 'Zoo


By Thunder424

7 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 93 posts
  • 42 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by cfh
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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    #1 7 years ago

    Hey guys. I'm planning on attending one of these two events later on in April. I would most likely bring my wife and my 7 year old and we would be there for a good chunk of time on Saturday. Most likely, head up Friday after work, stay the night, and go on Saturday.

    My question is... which one? If you had to pick one, which would you recommend? What are the pros and cons of each? Cost of the ticket isn't a worry... I'm looking for variety of games (both new and old), along with short lines, friendly people, and an overall nice facility (perfect world, I'm sure).

    Thanks.

    Tyler

    #2 7 years ago

    MI Expo has had more pins than PATZ.

    Although, that obviously could change

    12
    #3 7 years ago

    The MI Expo has alot of games but the crowd is what kills it and standing in lines that are 5-6 deep at times just to play a game is not my sorta thing. The show has outgrown the room that its in and needs to be moved some place else to hold all the games and people.
    The Zoo show has lesser games usually but more space to see and play everything. Plus there are many more vendors if thats of any interest to you.

    I guess its sort of a toss up but if your bringing your seven year old I would think the Zoo show is more kid/wife friendly.

    John P. Dayhuff
    Battle Creek, Mi.
    269-979-3836

    #4 7 years ago
    Quoted from Dayhuff:

    The MI Expo has alot of games but the crowd is what kills it and standing in lines that are 5-6 deep at times just to play a game is not my sorta thing. The show has outgrown the room that its in and needs to be moved some place else to hold all the games and people.
    The Zoo show has lesser games usually but more space to see and play everything. Plus there are many more vendors if thats of any interest to you.
    I guess its sort of a toss up but if your bringing your seven year old I would think the Zoo show is more kid/wife friendly.
    John P. Dayhuff
    Battle Creek, Mi.
    269-979-3836

    Best part of my trip to PATZ last year, was the visit to John's house the night before. I did not feel the need to play any games while at PATZ, just shop the vendors.

    #5 7 years ago

    PatZ. Great people. Lots of parts. Lots of games. Lots of fun.

    --
    Rob Anthony
    Pinball Classics
    http://LockWhenLit.com
    Quality Board Work - In Home Service
    borygard at gmail dot com

    #6 7 years ago

    Patz doesn't have as many games. Great selection of vendors. Mike and john usually have cool parties around the event ( both have great collections.) and the focus is on people. You see and spend time with pinheads from all around.

    MPE has a much larger selection of games. A great kids tourney. Not many vendors. Usually really busy.

    Both have tourneys. Try to go to both if you can.

    #7 7 years ago
    Quoted from Dayhuff:

    The MI Expo has alot of games but the crowd is what kills it and standing in lines that are 5-6 deep at times just to play a game is not my sorta thing. The show has outgrown the room that its in and needs to be moved some place else to hold all the games and people.
    The Zoo show has lesser games usually but more space to see and play everything. Plus there are many more vendors if thats of any interest to you.
    I guess its sort of a toss up but if your bringing your seven year old I would think the Zoo show is more kid/wife friendly.
    John P. Dayhuff
    Battle Creek, Mi.
    269-979-3836

    And don't forget it is now 3 days long.

    #8 7 years ago

    I really appreciate all of the responses. It sounds like Pinball at the Zoo might be the better option, even though there might be fewer machines. But, I'm particularly intrigued with the Kids Tournament. My son would love to do something like this and the MPE tourney seems (at least from what I have read on their respective websites) more organized. Now I'm back to being stuck...

    Thoughts, specific to the Kids Tourney?

    #9 7 years ago
    Quoted from Thunder424:

    I really appreciate all of the responses. It sounds like Pinball at the Zoo might be the better option, even though there might be fewer machines. But, I'm particularly intrigued with the Kids Tournament. My son would love to do something like this and the MPE tourney seems (at least from what I have read on their respective websites) more organized. Now I'm back to being stuck...
    Thoughts, specific to the Kids Tourney?

    MPE is very kid freindly. As noted, they have the kids tournaments which are well organized. They also make sure they have plenty of the stools all over for kids to stand on and play the games. As noted, if you go at the peak times/days (usually Saturday afternoon being the most crowded) it may be hard to get on certain games. But I guess that's a sign of a good show?

    I agree MPE may have outgrown their current location and given the interest in the show could likely move to a slightly larger venue. They might even attract more out-of-state visitors if they moved it a little further South (like maybe the Novi Expo Center?). That would cut 45 minutes of driving time for many folks coming from the South/West.

    #10 7 years ago
    Quoted from Thunder424:

    I really appreciate all of the responses. It sounds like Pinball at the Zoo might be the better option, even though there might be fewer machines. But, I'm particularly intrigued with the Kids Tournament. My son would love to do something like this and the MPE tourney seems (at least from what I have read on their respective websites) more organized. Now I'm back to being stuck...
    Thoughts, specific to the Kids Tourney?

    Patz also has a kids tourney. Not as grand as MPE though.

    #11 7 years ago

    PatZ; lots of vendors, no lines, lesser selection of games (but still plenty of good ones), usually an auction on Saturday
    MPE; less vendors, long lines on Saturday, huge selection of games, no auction but plenty of games on the floor for sale
    Both are very similar in most other ways.

    #12 7 years ago
    Quoted from dfsays:

    PatZ; lots of vendors, no lines, lesser selection of games (but still plenty of good ones), usually an auction on Saturday
    MPE; less vendors, long lines on Saturday, huge selection of games, no auction but plenty of games on the floor for sale
    Both are very similar in most other ways.

    Just curious ... Does Gary Stern or other big names make it to PATZ? I know names like Jersey Jack and Gary Stern and Matt from Back Alley (and on and on ...) make it to MPE every year. So if you're interested in meeting any of the big names in pinball I would also add that MPE has a fantastic lineup of presenters at the show too.

    #13 7 years ago

    Good point! There are some good speakers usually at MPE, but PatZ doesn’t have anything like that. PatZ raffled off a Road Kings last year. Don't know if MPE did anything like a raffle, though they did give away a WoZ for a tournament or something I think.

    #14 7 years ago
    Quoted from dfsays:

    Good point! There are some good speakers usually at MPE, but PatZ doesn’t have anything like that. PatZ raffled off a Road Kings last year. Don't know if MPE did anything like a raffle, though they did give away a WoZ for a tournament or something I think.

    I am pretty sure MPE gave away a Hobbit last year.

    #15 7 years ago
    Quoted from gearheaddropping:

    I am pretty sure MPE gave away a Hobbit last year.

    Yes, they did. And they gave away an ECLEWOZ the year before. I believe you had to play in PinBrawl or bring a game to the show (or help out in some other way) to get a ticket in the drawing.

    #16 7 years ago

    OH, and if you do happen to go to MPE you should really also check out "The Arcade" in Brighton, MI. Amazing lineup of all the high-end pins (60-70 pins?) like STLE, ECLEWOZ, MM, AFM, CV, etc etc. Not to mention 60+ CLASSIC arcade games from the 80's. Very kid friendly as well.
    https://www.facebook.com/thearcadebrighton

    #18 7 years ago

    Here are all the pins from 2013 Michigan Pinball Expo:

    http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/mpe-michigan-pinball-expo-2013-highlights

    #19 7 years ago

    If you go to PatZ, you can also visit nearby pinball haven Pyramid Scheme (with a couple dozen high end pins). http://pyramidschemebar.com/ (though not so kid-friendly)

    MPE has The Arcade (mentioned above) as well as Marvin's M3 nearby.
    http://marvin3m.com/ (both locations very, very kid-friendly)

    #20 7 years ago
    Quoted from dfsays:

    If you go to PatZ, you can also visit nearby pinball haven Pyramid Scheme (with a couple dozen high end pins). http://pyramidschemebar.com/ (though not so kid-friendly)
    MPE has The Arcade (mentioned above) as well as Marvin's M3 nearby.
    http://marvin3m.com/ (both locations very, very kid-friendly)

    Yep.

    And don't forget Pinball Pete's in Ann Arbor:

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/pinball-petes-ann-arbor?nb=1

    All your favorite games (MM, AFM, MB, ToM, Funhouse....) for only .50 cents .

    If you go to Webbers for dinner, you are right there.

    #21 7 years ago
    Quoted from chad:

    And don't forget it is now 3 days long.

    Yes I know....how could I forget?...ugh.

    John P. Dayhuff
    Battle Creek, Mi.
    269-979-3836

    #22 7 years ago

    Lyman came to PATZ two years ago. Trent also brings about 10 or so NIB sterns. On occasion he'll force one on you buy giving a rediculous price since he bought machines and needed room in his truck =)

    #23 7 years ago

    The best Michigan show will be in May this year. Of course i have a horse in this race so my comment isn't exactly fair...
    http://vfwpinball.com/?p=128
    200 games guaranteed of excellent quality and no lines to play (no overselling.)
    Aside from that I like PatZ as it's relaxed and there aren't lines.

    Since you qualified your visit as wanting short lines, the Zoo is it. They have a *huge* building nothing short of spectacular in size.The attitude is extremely casual and friendly, like no other show i've ever attended. Also the number of sheer visitors to the show is about 1/6 of MPE so there's just less people to deal with. Since Zoo is marketed more to "pinball people" than the general masses, I find it to have all the faces i've come to expect at a pinball show. Also there are vendors in mass at the Zoo (they actually ran out of vendor space last year.)

    #24 7 years ago

    Went to MPE last year and the first night was the best for playing. My buddy and I agreed that the trip was worth it only because Clay invited us over to hang out at the clubhouse 1 night. The machines there were amazing and we had a blast!

    MPE game selection vs cramped ratio was not good enough for me to return.

    Still had fun and would recommend anyone try it once but I would try PATZ just for something new over returning to MPE a second time. Maybe I will do PATZ this year?

    #25 7 years ago

    Sounds like Pinball at the Zoo is going to be a better fit. I would much rather have space to walk around and not feel cramped. Consider it done... see you guys there.

    If you have any tips for attending, let me know and post here!

    #26 7 years ago

    I should have also said that if a trip to WI is an option (just realized that you may be closer to WI than MI depending on where you are in IN) then Midwest Gaming Classic is amazing and well worth the trip!

    #27 7 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    I should have also said that if a trip to WI is an option (just realized that you may be closer to WI than MI depending on where you are in IN) then Midwest Gaming Classic is amazing and well worth the trip!

    I appreciate the thought, but Kzoo is 1 1/2 hours away and Detroit is 3 hours away. Wisconsin, while I go there a couple of times every year for work, is at least a 5 hour drive away. Thanks, though. It looks like it would be a great option for the future.

    #28 7 years ago

    If you can't make it to both, try one this year and the other next year. Since it's not that far away, you could make another trip in May to Clay's. Going to shows is one of the best experiences in pinball for me. You get to meet lots of great people and probably spend too much on pins and parts. I even manage to get a game in now and then.

    #29 7 years ago

    as far as "stars" at patz.
    lyman goes to patz, python angelo was at patz last year, and lots of star pro players go there as well.
    vendors galore with lots of nos and used pinball AND video game parts.
    due to the show being 3 days now, the tournies have lots of changes. check the website.

    #30 7 years ago

    I have been to both and really enjoyed both. I have a daughter who is 12 and she liked the Zoo because of the auction and she could play the games. Expo is good and very well run with a great selection of machines, just VERY crowded. The Zoo is farther for me but based on the crowd, would be my first choice with a kid.

    #31 7 years ago

    For the Ann Arbor pinball show case May 16-28, 2014 at the VFW museum you can see a list of games that will be there here:
    http://vfwpinball.com/?page_id=244

    #32 7 years ago

    With a name like Vintage Flipper World we can still call it the VFW hall. LOL
    Howie

    #33 7 years ago

    PATZ is more casual from what I've heard. I have never been to MPE so a I can't speak to it. I know John works hard to put on a good show and is aware that he will need to seek a larger venue soon.

    Regarding the machine selection at the Zoo, we are working to get more machines there. I can point to myself as "part of the problem" in that I attend but don't bring machines...then wonder where all the machines are lol. WE are the show...the collectors and enthusiasts.

    To remedy that I've put out a challenge to the Grand Rapids Pinball League (of which I belong to). I will provide 4 machines and a truck with a lift. I would like to see the league players offer six more that will go down with me. That's my goal this year to have a row of ten machines "Sponsored by the GRPL."

    If we can get some other collector groups to do the same we'll have a full house Anyone else up for the challenge? Anyone else bringing machines?

    -Tim

    #34 7 years ago

    The challenge of having many games at PatZ is getting power to them in order to function correctly all at once. Hopefully a plan is in place to accommodate the games people appear to be bringing this time around. Looking to be a record turnout with the Pinball League challenge being made.

    Otherwise both shows are go to events in my book for general pinball playing fun.

    #35 7 years ago

    I've been to MPE for the past 3 years with a buddy. We decided last year that it would be the last. Just too crowded. This spring will be our first trip to the Zoo.. Looking forward to if.

    #36 6 years ago
    Quoted from CraZ4Pin:

    Yes, they did. And they gave away an ECLEWOZ the year before. I believe you had to play in PinBrawl or bring a game to the show (or help out in some other way) to get a ticket in the drawing.

    And dont forget the NIB Tron that was givin away to a pinbrawl player. MPE gives a NIB machines away every year for the pinbrawl participants .

    #37 6 years ago

    we are bringing at least 8 games to patz and we r not local. primo stuff. there is enough power if all of the pulls are pulled down from the ceiling. there are wall outlets as well. hidden ones to boot. a major problem i see with people bringing games to patz is there are a few people in kalamazoo area and more people within 30 minutes to an hour in all directions who dont bring games to support the show. some have rather nice size collections. its easy access, lots of close parking and people to help load and unload. its not that hard. the closer you live the easier it is. the show is 3 days this time, you have more time and wont be rushed. it doesnt start till 2pm on thursday and 1pm on friday. people are really needed to bring games to support all shows. you dont have to bring an MM or other high dollar pin. any working pin shall suffice. I like the challenge underspin has set out.

    #38 6 years ago

    We're giving away a game too at our May show case, but doing it differently than others. First you don't have to buy a $100 tourney ticket to enter the drawing. Anyone with pre-paid admission is automatically entered at no additional cost. In fact, that's the only way you can get in on the raffle. No raffle box stuffing. But we're giving away a far less expensive game than a Hobbit...
    http://www.vfwpinball.com

    #39 6 years ago

    Okay, so I'll pose a new question...

    PatZ is going to be where we will go for the Saturday event. We have a 100% operational Power Play... haven't seen it on any games lists and since it's a hockey-themed pin, it could be relatively popular. If I were to bring it up on Thursday and drop it off, could I bring it home on Saturday when we have to leave? What would happen if something were to break while it was up there?

    #40 6 years ago

    You can take it home when you're ready to go. There are enough volunteers and players that will cut power on your machine if they see an obvious problem. Furthermore there are plenty others around that might be able to get your machine up and running again. Most of us bring our toolboxes with

    #41 6 years ago
    Quoted from Thunder424:

    What would happen if something were to break while it was up there?

    It's probably the best place for your pin to break with so many great techs walking around.

    #42 6 years ago

    the show is a good place for a game to break, but only if the keys are available so people can fix it. no keys, no fixin'.

    #43 6 years ago

    Clay is right. Leave your keys with us. I will be there for most of the show. PM me if you'd like and we'll get in touch

    #44 6 years ago
    Quoted from tamoore:

    This spring will be our first trip to the Zoo.. Looking forward to if.

    I'm thinking of heading there myself, haven't been there since '05 I believe. I always had a good time, and I like that there's smaller crowds.

    #45 6 years ago
    Quoted from RonB:

    I'm thinking of heading there myself, haven't been there since '05 I believe. I always had a good time, and I like that there's smaller crowds.

    I'm hoping to go to the Zoo this year as well.......1st time.

    #46 6 years ago

    The auction at Patz is very cool. John does a great job and there are no premiums as I recall. Be sure to corner Kirb and tony for some fine whiskey. Stop by mikes for the after party. Hit Johns up for the pre-party. Bring mike from pinball life a blue alcohol energy drink and watch him saunter around like a drunk smurf all night. A bunch of us usually go out for sushi. Good times...

    #47 6 years ago

    i am very impressed with johns auction skillz. he does a fantastic job. parts and games..great stuff.
    @thunder424....yes we will lookout for your game NP, leave the keys as has been mentioned. i messaged you.

    #48 6 years ago

    I attended both shows last year (including volunteering time for 5 days @ MPE).

    MPE definitely had more machines and a lot more people. expect to stand in lines up to 5-6 people deep on saturday and sunday. not too many vendors for parts (last year had gary from IPC setting up late (and almost not getting display space due to miscommunications) and 2 other smaller vendors with boards, key chain fobs and the regular assortment of leg bolts, levelers and other such staple parts

    PatZ was a much more relaxed (and spread out) environment to the point that it looked almost empty, however it wasn't for the lack of games, just a larger room. power was definitely an issue (and it will interesting to see if the load balancing issues have been addressed). plenty of vendors, including coin taker, IPC and a few others (that I can't remember off of the top of my head) and mr. pop (a gourmet pop vendor), mix and match for some great flavors including 'dang! that's good' butterscotch rootbeer.

    python anghelo made the trip to both shows last year and was an absolute joy to chat with.

    python, jack guarnieri, and steve richie all participated in conferences at the fire side area @ MPE and for the 2nd year in a row, a NIB jersey jack pinball machine was awarded via a raffle for those that brought at least one machine or volunteered time (and participated in the saturday morning 'pin brawl' tourney)

    both shows have plenty to offer but are two entirely different animals. like many have claimed before, if MPE grows any more, they definitely need to look for a different venue that offers more space.

    #49 6 years ago

    Here's an alternative to MPE if you're into tournaments

    https://www.facebook.com/events/1447999402085508/

    #50 6 years ago

    Last year was my final year for supporting and attending MPE- I’ll just leave it at that.

    I have been attending the ‘Zoo the last two years and enjoyed it. I really like how the 'Zoo doesn’t have the unbearable smell of BO like MPE has. Also last year they had a reptile exhibit next door and I got to see some very unusual animals.

    I am also very excited about Clay's new Ann Arbor venue, seems to be amazing from his YouTube video!

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