(Topic ID: 179489)

"Nic's North American Pinball Tour" (aka I'm coming to fix your games!)

By NicoVolta

4 years ago


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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by pinwiztom
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    #701 4 years ago

    New page post. Nic congrats on your pick up!

    #702 4 years ago

    And congratulations on hitting the 100 followers mark for this thread!

    #703 4 years ago

    Sheba?

    #704 4 years ago

    I'm guessing Rancho

    #705 4 years ago

    ShebaBG (resized).JPG

    Ryan ain't joining Club Sheba without me.

    #706 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Ryan ain't joining Club Sheba without me.

    Congrats on the pickup, I know for sure if it isn't it, will be running perfectly.

    #707 4 years ago

    Ahhh. I was thinking you were getting a Bally El Toro?

    #708 4 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    Ahhh. I was thinking you were getting a Bally El Toro?

    LOL actually, space permitting, I would!

    #709 4 years ago

    Visit #30 -> David Morris (Bay78) in Winnipeg, Manitoba – “O Canada!”

    The subjects: Flip Flop, Sweet Hearts

    It was a friendly day at the Canada border… after reassuring the guard, that is. “Sir, do you have any weapons with you? What about at home? Any weapons back home?”

    “Back home”? An odd question, but I didn’t have to lie: “Nope. No knives, no guns.”

    Then I added, “OH… I see… is it because I’m from Texas? All of the guns and stuff?”

    He nodded.

    HA! Good old Texas! Blastin’ its way to FREEDOM! Maybe.

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    Topographically, Winnipeg is a lot like Dallas. Flat, paved, spread out, and entirely car-based. Except no creamy sriracha option at Subway… awwww.

    Otherwise, the similarities end there. Canadian money is colorful, waterproof, and no one dollar bills to fuss with. Instead, you get smile-inducing “loonies” and “toonies” ($1 and $2 coins).

    Speaking of color, I spotted quite a few rainbow flags flying everywhere (it is June, after all). In most cities, the rainbow flag only shows up in "the gayborhood" somewhere far across the railroad tracks. Whereas in Canada, businesses of all types treat it like just another high-five or seasonal holiday.

    Live and let live, aye? Aye indeed. Canada... teach us how to lighten up a bit!

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    David Morris is a proud member of the Manitoba Pinball League (and busy father of four!). He began collecting pins in 2010 and has slowly traded up to a solid A-list of games.

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    David acquired this Operation Thunder for $800. It might have been the nicest original Premier game I’ve ever seen. A neat feature is the necessity to earn “fuel” throughout the game or else your flippers will lose power and stop working.

    Note: Addams Family topper in the background. The room was deliberately built within a centimeter of its height. Priorities, man. Serious pinball priorities.

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    One of the 500 Limited Edition Lord of the Rings occupied a slot in the lineup. I do love my EM’s, but I think this is going to be my first big solid-state purchase. LOTR has really grown on me over the years.

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    Next to it, a Ghostbusters Premium w/deluxe topper.

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    What have we here? A relatively uncommon Capcom Airborne. This was the second game produced by the brief-but-glorious Capcom brand. It plays REALLY FAST, which is appropriate for the stunt-flying theme.

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    Split Second always makes me chuckle. It flips well and is fun, but the sounds are among the most hilariously mismatched for a circus theme. A calculator-robot voice calls out the various events: “MEEP! TREE! TWO! ONE! MEEP! MEEP! HURRY, HURRY, HURRY, HURRY! MEEP! PERFECT!”

    Seriously, someone needs to re-theme this game as 1979: Battlestar Galactica - Cylon Circus.

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    The EM’s were at papa’s house, so we began with relay class on Flip Flop.

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    When the switch stacks are bridged together, they must be removed together.

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    Watch the biscuits (spacers)! Sometimes they fall off and land in the worst, most unfindable places.

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    Finally a new issue to discuss on the tour: Carbon tracking! The player-up unit was sparking and throwing smoke with every click. Can you see why?

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    Look closely. See the black spots between the circuit traces? That carbon is electrically-conductive! Whenever you see this on a stepper, you have to remove ALL of it or else you’ll get a short circuit.

    We used alcohol and the Magic Brush to scrub it away. No more sparking. When in doubt, clean it out!

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    A perplexing GI short (oh geez, not another one!) prevented the playfield from lighting up. The 6v playfield lamp circuit kept blowing fuses. David got to work examining all of the sockets.

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    Everything looked OK except for a pop bumper lead touching the bracket. Could this be it? *SNAP* awwwww.... another blown fuse confirmed it was not.

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    Time to get serious. We depopulated the playfield and vacuumed all of the lamp sockets.

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    And yet… the vacuuming was NOT ENOUGH. A tiny ball of steel wool was nestled in the uppermost far-left lamp socket. A possible case of sabotage?

    After plucking it out, it was time for another test. Fuse popped in... fingers crossed… here we go… ready… set… *SNAP*! Awwwwww. NOW what could it be?!?

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    I tested every pin to the jones connectors individually. The 6v circuit was good. Other connections good. We plugged the playfield back in and…

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    ALL GOOD NOW? I banged and wiggled the connectors and playfield just in case… no problems. Perhaps a tiny fragment of steel wool hadn’t escaped the lamp socket. We re-vacuumed it just in case. GI issues can be such a pain to track down!

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    At this point my memory gets a bit fuzzy. Flip Flop had drained our patience and it was getting late. We moved on to a $60 Sweet Hearts pickup. The reels were going bananas, pops locking on, triple scoring, fuses blowing… oh joy of joys.

    The icing on the cake? A switch at motor 1A was missing a contact. I bent and fixed it temporarily along with a few other things: Stopped the fuses blowing, reels were resetting again, pops no longer locking on, but nevertheless…

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    SWEET FARTS WAS AN UNREDEEMABLE TWIT. And thus, we end here, quoting its sales flyer...

    “Play Bagatelle & Drain! Up The Middle Or Down The Sides, Your Choice!”

    Next stop -> Sasktatoon, Saskatchewan – “O Canada!”

    #710 4 years ago

    Sweet Hearts is quite a fun sequence game and a nudger's paradise. I'm also quite partial to gobble holes. According to IPDB, this is the last gobble hole game manufactured by Gottlieb. Excellent risk/reward. The shots are very tight to get back up, but quite satisfying.

    You can also skirt the edge of the gobble to get back up - obviously both are risky - post->drain or accidental gobble drain. Aiming is key!

    #711 4 years ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    Sweet Hearts is quite a fun sequence game and a nudger's paradise. I'm also quite partial to gobble holes. According to IPDB, this is the last gobble hole game manufactured by Gottlieb. Excellent risk/reward. The shots are very tight to get back up, but quite satisfying.
    You can also skirt the edge of the gobble to get back up - obviously both are risky - post->drain or accidental gobble drain. Aiming is key!

    "Sweet Hearts" would have made a good woodrail. Put it in a "Lightning Ball" cabinet, and you got it. By the same token, "Wagon Train" could have been a wedgehead. It would look good in a "Foto Finish" cabinet.

    #712 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Ryan ain't joining Club Sheba without me.

    That's a nice game. I don't believe I've ever seen one. Got a body for the four-player counterpart; "Campus Queen". Still looking for a head for one, preferably English language.

    #713 4 years ago

    Yo Bingo-Nick! When I made this post, I thought of you: "Nick isn't gonna like this!"

    You and I are like two bookends on the EM-spectrum. We are both passionate and highly motivated people coming at the hobby from opposite directions.

    I will confess that I am not a nudger, bingo-er, or "play for specials" kind of person. At all. Like, not even a tiny bit. I've tried... I really have. But my brain only seems to be wired for shots, flow, and high tempo games. And maybe the occasional prewar machine where you can tilt the crap out of it.

    A ton of Gottlieb games use a half-bagatelle/half-pinball format where "completion" is the goal. Sweet Hearts is "the" example I use when referring to this type of layout. It appeals primarily to the OCD-reward path (gotta get everything lit!), whereas my dopamine payoff comes in the form of the crazy little dance the ball does across the playfield. Not too chancey, not too skill-locked, but right at the cusp of both.

    *shrug* que sera sera... the community is better for having us both.

    I hope to meet you and see your incredibly ambitious virtual bingo project someday. Very much admire your work to keep the old gals alive, however possible.

    #714 4 years ago

    Absolutely - as the saying goes - different strokes for different folks.

    Of course you're always welcome to stop by and give the bingos a whirl if you're ever in my neck of the woods. Maybe some other sequence games, too!

    As to the Multi, it'll be at the York show this year. If you're doing the encore tour by then, come see me at the end of Sept.

    I've been very pleased to see the continued incredibly positive response to your tour. Keep it up!

    #715 4 years ago

    Wow, like I said earlier. Canadian customs ...............

    #716 4 years ago

    This is a really cool post. As someone brand new to the forum, and pinball ownership circle I've enjoyed reading this. If you head through Phoenix, AZ hit me up .

    #717 4 years ago

    Really enjoying the spirit of this thread having recently got my first EM. The Magic Brush has arrived in England

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    #718 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    What have we here? A relatively uncommon Capcom Airborne. This was the first game produced by the brief-but-glorious Capcom brand. It plays REALLY FAST, which is appropriate for the stunt-flying theme.

    Per IPDB, Pinball Magic was their first title out the door.

    #719 4 years ago
    Quoted from astyy:

    Really enjoying the spirit of this thread having recently got my first EM. The Magic Brush has arrived in England

    Make sure you only use it at like 10-15% speed. Otherwise all the bristles will fold out flat and you will start losing them.

    #720 4 years ago
    Quoted from SuperDaveOsbourn:

    Per IPDB, Pinball Magic was their first title out the door.

    Thanks for catching that... now corrected. Seems I did an alphabetical sort by title instead of year.

    #721 4 years ago
    Quoted from Insane:

    The game is Williams Dealers Choice. I posted it here because Nic and I were talking about it when he was helping me fix my Cross Town. It wasn't so much a help me with this, just more of a look at some of what i am trying to fix.

    First off, thanks to those that told me my stepper was supposed to be missing teeth, it is cleaned and adjusted. Put back in and working correctly.
    Armed with the knowledge I gleaned from Nic and a misguided sense of invincibility, I am deep diving into fixing / restoring my Dealer's Choice. here is the thread for anyone that wants to take a look or offer advice when I will surely need it.
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/dealers-choice-repair-restore#post-3812606

    #722 4 years ago

    Nic(k) - great writing/stories/pics and thread! Thought I'd mention an item that I use -especially when cleaning EM's step units
    and using a lot of cleaning fluids - ndex gloves such as : amazon.com link »
    throw them on and toss them as they rip or are used. they're cheap and really help keeping ones hands and fingernails grime
    free. They fit tight too. (unless, of course, one doesn't care about getting your manly hands dirty )

    #723 4 years ago

    Saw you found timme at the nw show lastnight and his beautiful wedgeheads. Ask him about nudging. If he can't convince/teach you then never try again. Will try to say hi today. Welcome to our hood!

    #724 4 years ago
    Quoted from Beemus:

    Saw you found timme at the nw show lastnight and his beautiful wedgeheads. Ask him about nudging. If he can't convince/teach you then never try again. Will try to say hi today. Welcome to our hood!

    Timme's line up of EMs was the highlight of the show for me when I attended one year.

    #725 4 years ago

    I met Tim Meighan last night. We played some games and did a little shop/tech talk. His games were very nicely rebuilt and played among the best I've encountered at any show/collection.

    #726 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    I met Tim Meighan last night. We played some games and did a little shop/tech talk. His games were very nicely rebuilt and played among the best I've encountered at any show/collection.

    I could not get enough of his Top card wedgie last night. What a nicely restored pin. Played really crisp & snappy.
    I have had one of these in storage waiting on resto for the last five years. Need to get started on that!!

    #727 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    I met Tim Meighan last night. We played some games and did a little shop/tech talk. His games were very nicely rebuilt and played among the best I've encountered at any show/collection.

    Tim's restores are amazing and he's fantastic about bringing his games to the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show every year and chatting with people about them. I love hearing him talk about his games, he's so knowledgeable.

    #728 4 years ago

    It was great meeting you last Nic!
    Thanks for the chat and the kind words about Combat. Hopefully we can meet up later today!

    #729 4 years ago

    Bonus stop -> Jason Carroll (smokedog) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – “O Canada!”

    The subjects: Pokey’s Pinball Bar

    At last, the time had come for the gargantuan Winnipeg to Edmonton connection: A 13-hour endurance-stretch across the Canadian prairie.

    Normally, I’d have knocked it out in a single trip. After all, I’m a native Texan, where it is possible to drive all day and still be in the same state! But by now, deep in the middle of this crazy road trip, the limits of my stamina were becoming a little too obvious. My body was telling me if I didn’t manage my recovery time carefully, I wouldn’t make it.

    Thus, I decided to take a shorter 9-hour drive and spend the night in Saskatoon (roughly two-thirds of the way to Edmonton).

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    First, I would like to take a moment to thank all of the Japanese restaurants in the world for existing. I absolutely love bento box lunches! Most can be had for around $10-$12 and offer a variety of healthy flavors in an aesthetically pleasing way. Salmon teriyaki and California rolls are my usual choice.

    “Bento box, bento box, you are so much better than… er… bagels and lox? Socks? Managing stocks?”

    *shrug* whatever… was glad to find one way out here!

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    After reaching Saskatoon, I couldn’t resist doing a local search for pinball arcades. Hey… what do you know? Saskatoon has one right down the street!

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    Pokey’s Pinball Café is owned by Jason Carroll (smokedog). What makes it so distinctive is its local proximity and quality of food. It is truly a walkable neighborhood bar offering “real food” with a Cuban bent and bread supplied by a specialty bakery down the street.

    You know you’ve got a good thing when you have customers coming in just to eat the food! It was tasty indeed.

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    Pokey’s is the first arcade I’ve found with a Heighway Full Throttle on route. Tough game!

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    Local drafts and specials are a must.

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    Every local barcade should have a high score board! A little friendly competition makes the world go round.

    Aaaand that’s it. Just a quick stop this time.

    From now on, whenever you stare at an empty-looking map of Canada’s north central region… you’ll know there is a fun little place waiting for you on the plains of Saskatchewan.

    Next stop -> Edmonton, Alberta – “O Canada!”

    #730 4 years ago

    Is that food? I kid, I kid. At least it's not sushi milk and weiners.

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    #731 4 years ago

    After 2 attempts with a not so good scanner, I decided to send off my Combat backglass to BGresto.
    My worst fear happened.. it broke.
    Luckily I sealed it before transport, so the pieces were scannable!
    Thank you Steve for making this bad situation into a good one!!
    I don't know what we would do without you.

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    #732 4 years ago
    Quoted from Travish:

    Is that food? I kid, I kid. At least it's not sushi milk and wieners.

    Lol well... I tried the weiners and coffee milk... now you gotta have a bento!

    Quoted from brenna98:

    After 2 attempts with a not so good scanner, I decided to send off my Combat backglass to BGresto.
    My worst fear happened.. it broke.
    Luckily I sealed it before transport, so the pieces were scannable!
    Thank you Steve for making this bad situation into a good one!!
    I don't know what we would do without you.

    Ooooooooo bad break, Dave. Glad it was recoverable! Speaking of which, I found a SS Combat conversion at NWPAS which was fantastically done. It was a basket case doomed for the trash can... totally resurrected by Josiah and Steve. Will post a video later.

    #733 4 years ago

    Pleasure to meet ya Nic! Hope I can make it down for TPF next year.

    We upgraded the boards after you left. Customers love the monthly resets!

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    #734 4 years ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    Customers love the monthly resets!

    do you reset all the games each month and then use the boards for the all time leader board?

    or vice-versa?

    #735 4 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    do you reset all the games each month and then use the boards for the all time leader board?
    or vice-versa?

    Best in show is all time.

    Flava of the month is monthly high scores.

    #736 4 years ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    Best in show is all time.
    Flava of the month is monthly high scores.

    I like it! Any prize for end of month or for beating a Best in Show?

    #737 4 years ago
    Quoted from brenna98:

    After 2 attempts with a not so good scanner, I decided to send off my Combat backglass to BGresto.
    My worst fear happened.. it broke.
    Luckily I sealed it before transport, so the pieces were scannable!
    Thank you Steve for making this bad situation into a good one!!
    I don't know what we would do without you.

    Please tell me this means they will have Combat available. I am in need of one myself as ours came destroyed.

    #738 4 years ago
    Quoted from JosiahCox:

    Please tell me this means they will have Combat available. I am in need of one myself as ours came destroyed.

    If Steve has the scan and completes at least one backglass, he can do further runs with it as needed. So basically, yep.

    #739 4 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    I like it! Any prize for end of month or for beating a Best in Show?

    Yup. Gift certificates. Can't give away booze here.

    #740 4 years ago

    I like how the Best In Show games have the DELUXE LE font, whereas the monthly folks must be content with the pro version.

    #741 4 years ago

    Just getting caught back up. Nice to see some Zaccaria's getting some love on this tour.

    #742 4 years ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    Yup. Gift certificates. Can't give away booze here.

    Kinda like in Wisconsin and Indiana

    #743 4 years ago

    Visit #31 -> Bill LePage (NinJaBooT) and Jonathan Puckrin (puck) in Edmonton, Alberta – “O Canada!”

    The subjects: Dragon, Heat Wave, Volley, King Pin

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    Edmonton! Finally! By far the most distant (and northernmost) stop on the tour, as well as being the lone midpoint across a 1600-mile stretch of Canada’s vastness. A major milestone, for sure.

    A few drivers along the highway slowed down to get a look at me. Had this Texan lost his way? We don’t see many of those plates around here, aye? Made me wish I was wearing a cowboy hat. Occasionally it can be fun to pander to stereotypes.

    A foreboding storm loomed ahead. I pushed through the torrential deluge and high winds to reach Bill’s house in St. Albert…

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    Bill and Adrienne welcomed me inside. An Interflip Dragon was in the living room, in very nice condition. Bill told me he had picked it up for free... wow! Nice score indeed.

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    Several of the lights in the backbox weren’t lighting up (ack! GI strikes again!). I used a pair of alligator clips to jumper the common wire from a working segment to a non-working segment… LIGHTS ON! A wiring or soldering issue was to blame. For now, we put it on the back burner.

    Dragon was also given the stealth LED treatment. As you can see, the result was warmly received.

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    Adrienne introduced me to beer + Clamato… a stripped-down version of a Bloody Bull. I always wondered if these were popular up north due to the lack of sunshine during the winter months. Like perhaps a seasonal craving for lycopene?

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    We proceeded downstairs to evaluate a Heat Wave project. Looks like Mr. Sunshine got a little too enthusiastic about his job.

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    Looks like a sizzling good time. Crispy wires & a melted drop target coil underneath. Yikes!

    Luckily, the harness and nearby parts were largely intact. Considering the rest of the game was in nice condition, it looked like a good candidate for restoration.

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    The following day, Bill was unavailable due to an emergency work request. His pal Jonathan (a fellow pinballer) volunteered to take his place and indoctrinate me into the important Edmonton ritual known as Tim Horton’s. Coffee upgrade in place, we went to work.

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    Volley was the game and HEY JON get over here and stop taking pics! It’s work time!

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    The chimes didn’t sound quite right. Someone had hot-glued the screws and grommets! Probably in an attempt to quiet them down. Tip: Don’t do it this way.

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    One of the score reels was slipping backwards. I used the opportunity to demonstrate how to disassemble it, clean, readjust, and polish the plunger and spindle with Mother’s.

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    Oh yeah, we’re doing a relay too. Relays are the mandatory first syllabus in EM 101, yanno.

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    The Magic Brush transformed another set of switches into pinball jewelry.

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    Jon took a picture of my reel-cleaning technique. Same method I used at Bob Mlsna's place: Warm water and dish soap to get my fingers sudsy and gently glide them across the surface to remove dirt. Then follow with a windex-wettened q-tip over the white areas.

    Some (usually Gottlieb) numbers may turn into powder under the sink. It doesn’t happen often, but it all depends upon how much sun and heat the reels were exposed to.

    I just take my chances and hope for the best.

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    Next, we attempted to crack into a Williams Touchdown and evaluate its potential, but the door was locked without a key.

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    We didn't get far. Adrienne drove up to the garage, in tears. Bill was supposed to leave work early but had taken a rather nasty fall from a scaffold and was in the hospital! Good heavens! We rushed her to the hospital and remained nearby just in case.

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    During the waiting period, Jon instructed his son in the arcane art of Ghostbusting at a nearby candy shop. Note: Wonka portraits on the back wall... nice touch.

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    Outside, I donated a few toonies to a mariachi who performed for the 'lil guy.

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    I stepped inside of the local Beercade to snap a few pics. It was quite impressive in size with dozens of filament light fixtures and acres of natural wood covering every surface... very swanky. As well as an ample number of rainbow flags welcoming people of all stripes (a now-common sight in Canada).

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    We headed back to Jon's place after learning Bill would be staying overnight in the hospital, thankfully in good condition. Jon insisted upon a second stop at Tim Horton's for a frozen cappuccino and "Timbits" (donut holes). He simply would not take "no" for an answer!

    OK, you got me, Jon. I enjoyed it... maybe more than I should!

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    Back at Jon's place, he demonstrated his plans to substitute a much-scarier T3 head in place of the regular sunglasses-version.

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    We spent the rest of the day working on King Pin and going over some of the basics. Here's an oft-overlooked tip: Knot the power cord before putting the head back on. It's a cheap but effective form of strain relief. You may never need it (here's hoping), but if you do, it may prevent your motherboard harness from getting ripped out!

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    Obviously, with Bill in the hospital and our plans having veered far off course, the visit hadn't gone quite as expected. But Jon was a terrific stand-in who did all he could for his friend (who is now making an excellent recovery) as well as soak up some EM-tips in his absence.

    Edmonton has its own pinball and arcade expo known as YEGPIN, featured by the Die Hard Pinball League. If you're local, be sure to look these guys up and get involved. Really nice bunch of folks up here!

    https://www.yegpin.com/
    https://www.diehardpinball.ca/

    Next stop -> Revelstoke, Kelowna, and Vancouver, British Columbia – “O Canada!”

    #744 4 years ago

    Sunshine? Looks like a flasher locked on and started on fire. Was there a giant magnifying glass above that game? Holy shit, never seen anything like that.

    #745 4 years ago
    Quoted from CaptainNeo:

    Sunshine? Looks like a flasher locked on and started on fire. Was there a giant magnifying glass above that game? Holy shit, never seen anything like that.

    The drop target coil caught on fire without blowing the fuse! Fortunately it was constrained to a smallish area. Should be OK after some time-consuming coil and wire substitution.

    #746 4 years ago

    ahhh yes, the aluminum foil fuse.....the old standard

    #747 4 years ago

    Word to the wise... this is what happens when you bypass the fuse. You turn your game into the fuse!

    #748 4 years ago

    Hey NinJaBooT Bill, hope you're doing alright! Sorry to hear about your injury AND the awful timing during your tour stop.

    Speedy recovery,
    Ryan "Tour stop 21" Claytor

    #749 4 years ago

    Yeah, best wishes to Bill for a speedy recovery! As they say in the movies "He wasn't even supposed to be there that day!" or something like that from Clerks.

    #750 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Next stop -> A break in Revelstoke, Kelowna, and Vancouver, British Columbia – “O Canada!”

    Hey Nic! It's "eh" not "aye"... I hope you don't say it that way - pirate style, ha...

    I'm still Canadian at heart...

    Great meeting you at NWPAS...

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