(Topic ID: 169440)

Pinball Expo - worth the visit?

By thall17

2 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 28 posts
  • 24 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Whysnow
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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    #1 2 years ago

    Considering going to the Expo in Chicago, never been. Is it worth the visit? Multiple Days?

    #2 2 years ago


    Compared to other shows the free play area is somewhat lacking, however I never spend much time playing games anyways. There's so much going on between the vendor hall, the seminars, the tournament, the Stern factory tour, etc. that you'll certainly have a great time regardless. Plus there will be several new and exciting games being unveiled at the show this year!

    #3 2 years ago

    Time of your life. something for everyone. Stern tour, seminars, play pinball all night on a couple nights. See the latest and greatest in pins. Never know who you'll see next, lots of famous people from the industry roam the place. Autograph session. LTG : ) Seminar. And so much I'm probably forgetting. Maybe even get mugged.

    One thing, if you go. Don't be a wall flower. Assert yourself. Have fun, meet people. You get out of Expo what you put in.

    Just go. You'll be glad you did.

    LTG : )

    #4 2 years ago

    Honestly, Its not the vendor hall, the free play, the seminars, or the tournament that I enjoyed best at expo last year, it was the people I met, and the all the friend I made, From Lloyd, to Rob Anthony and even Jersey Jack himself, I love this community, and I love Expo.

    #5 2 years ago

    Some years it is better than others but it is always a good time.

    #6 2 years ago

    This show is not going about playing pinball like many of the others. As others have said, its about announcements, Stern tour, Meeting people , ect. Its a Heck of alot of fun! this year should be SUPER cool.


    #7 2 years ago

    Travel with friends that like pinball, and you will have a blast. Wish I had started attending years before I started. This will be my 10th Epxo.

    If you travel by yourself, eat meals by yourself, expect to find a MM for $3,000 , you will likely be far less satisfied. We have seen posts from guys done that.

    #8 2 years ago
    Quoted from thall17:

    Is it worth the visit?

    Looks like you're in driving distance, so yeah. I've been every year since 2001 because I'm local, but I wouldn't fly for it.

    Sure! Earlier the better, actually. Thursday is my favorite day. Most of the games have arrived, almost nothing has gone down or been sold, and the hall isn't packed full of travelers yet. On second thought, don't show up until Saturday.

    #9 2 years ago

    If it were closer I would certainly drive to it but Ohio is about my driving limit.

    #10 2 years ago

    Frankly, last year was terrible. I mean "I swear I'm not coming back again" terrible. The year prior it was the opposite - great time. So, it runs hot and cold. With the scaling back of Pinball Life's event, that takes some of the fun away from the weekend. I enjoyed PBL's day as much as any other single event. However, with at least 3 new pin announcements, there is the potential that this year's could be a great one. Mike heard the complaints about last year's event, so hopefully those will be eliminated.

    Is it worth multiple days? Depends. If you are there to meet and greet, yes. If just to play pins, see vendors and announcements, then probably one day (Friday or Saturday) is enough.

    #11 2 years ago

    I've heard a lot of people say last year was terrible. I fortunately didn't go last year I guess. However this will be my third 14 hour road trip down ('12,'14 and this year) and both previous times were AWESOME! Always good seminars great people and touring Stern and the Expo brawl tournament is great. not to forget the Stern Epic night on Friday which is unique to this year. We're there for the whole Expo Wed-Sun and it's going to be a great time!

    #12 2 years ago

    So ... if we have never "seen" pinside people before, how will we know who is who? Pinside nickname tags on your back so we can see who is in front of you in line to play pins? I'd like to shake a few people's hands if I know who is who ...

    #13 2 years ago

    Last year wasn't much different from the years prior. The big batch of EMs from 2014 didn't make it, and some newbies got their first dealings with Mike, which is where most of the "worst ever" comments originated but seriously, unless you're a vendor who doesn't like dealing with stressed and crabby organizers, Expo is a blast. Come have fun. No other pinball show like it, guaranteed!

    #14 2 years ago

    Expo is one of the most fun times of the year for a pinball guy, no doubt, for all the reasons mentioned here, but it always comes back to one thing for me, the people.

    Expo is where I get to geek out on everything pinball for a week straight with people that share my love of the game. The great people I've met through the years I mostly only get to see once a year, for Expo.

    A lot of great people put a lot of work into making Expo a great show. Go, geek out on pinball, have some great food, enjoy yourself. You'll have a great time!

    Rob Anthony
    Pinball Classics
    Quality Board Work - In Home Service
    borygard at gmail dot com

    #15 2 years ago

    Coming from you, Rob, knowing what you've dealt with in the past, that is a huge endorsement Look forward to seeing you in 3 weeks!

    #16 2 years ago
    Quoted from robotron911:

    Frankly, last year was terrible. I mean "I swear I'm not coming back again" terrible.

    Seems like a massive exaggeration. Don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you.

    #17 2 years ago

    We have been attending expo for the last 6 years and have always had a great time. While last year was the weakest of all the ones we have attended, there is still so much to do and so many people to meet. Walking around the vendor hall is my favorite part. I love checking out new parts/mods and meeting people who have worked on their own machines. The free play area is fine, but its the other aspects of this show that make it so unique and worth the trip.

    Also, just a couple of food suggestions. Just down the street is Rise and Dine. Their breakfast is awesome and we eat breakfast there EVERY MORNING of the expo. Dont miss the Italian Skillet. So good.

    Superdawg and Portillos have great chicago style hot dogs and are within a few miles of expo.

    Lou Malnatis deep dish pizza is great as well. Its only 5-10 minutes away from expo. Make sure to bring some friends because its hard to even get through 2 slices.

    Have fun!

    #18 2 years ago
    Quoted from metallik:

    Coming from you, Rob, knowing what you've dealt with in the past, that is a huge endorsement Look forward to seeing you in 3 weeks!

    It'll be great to see you as always Larry.

    I've always said Expo is my favorite show in the country. Despite some hiccups occasionally, I always enjoy Expo, and I don't think I'll ever miss going.

    Eventually, at future shows, hopefully the only thing I'll need to worry about is who I'm gong to enjoy my next beer with.

    Rob Anthony
    Pinball Classics
    Quality Board Work - In Home Service

    #19 2 years ago

    Can't wait to see everyone there this year!

    #20 2 years ago

    Overall the expo is awesome. Lots to do and I don't take full advantage of it. The free play last year was weak in my opinion, but the prior year was off the charts fantastic.

    #21 2 years ago

    I didn't really care much about expo a month ago, was actually on the fence. Now that it's a sure thing that JJP title 3 is being revealed, highway pinball possibly showing aliens, spooky possibly showing a sneak peek of something, This Houdini project (plus all the homebrew projects that I love seeing), I'm at the very least going to go for Saturday.

    #22 2 years ago

    I would attent if there wasn't a f@cking ocean in the way.
    We have dutch pinball open,almost just as cool

    #23 2 years ago

    Oh forgot this emoticon

    #24 2 years ago

    Where are some of you staying that are not in the Westin?
    I'm sure it is sold out and expensive.
    Looking for a good priced nearby hotel.
    What would be best.

    #25 2 years ago

    This year sounds like it could be the gnarliest expo ever - hells yes you should go!

    1 week later
    #26 2 years ago

    I've attended twice now. Still working on trying to meet some fellow pinsiders part (only come on saturday's). Always have had a blast.

    This year I am looking forward to entering the Classics Tournament, since qualifying is still open on Saturday. Also, bringing the inlaws who have gotten a bit of a pinball bug since playing my two in the basement. So should be a really good time to show them a world past the EM era.

    That and hoping to run into Gary so he can sign my "Feel The Stern" shirt

    #27 2 years ago

    Ive waited almost 50 years to go....my first Expo!

    #28 2 years ago

    Expo can be really fun.

    2 things worth note. your fun is based on how much you put yourself out there and say hello. Expo is a social event and all about the new games.

    Second thing is spend time playing each and every custom one off game. Those are the pinball dork highlight of expo! Super amazing what they can do and it is the only place you will get to see many of these games ever!

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