Quoted from Frax:
Crawling, maybe. Austin and Houston have it right. Dallas and all of the north half of Texas, is failing, utterly and horribly, at promoting pinball. With only two VIABLE locations that have multiple pins that I'm aware of (Sorry, I love Free Play Arcade, but they haven't shown the skill and/or willingness to have their pins stand up to constant abuse AND play well....not even great....just well. Here's hoping that changes, as their arcade games are pretty choice, IMO.) We have very few tournaments, no leagues to speak of, and those two locations frankly aren't great for supporting tourneys OR leagues IMO.
Don't think the guys in ATX/HOU have any idea just how lucky they are. Their areas may become very important to pinball over the next few years, but Dallas? Hah. Keep on dreaming. We have far too many hermits and "good old boys" around the area for anyone to care to do the things that are necessary to have a functional community up here, and I was tired of beating my head against that wall a year ago. Things can always change, of course, but I'm not holding my breath.
I think Houston is actually very similar to Dallas. We have next to nothing in the way of location pinball. The few locations there are, the games are in a pretty bad state. We also have the same old guard of collectors and flippers. All great guys, just more interested in collecting than playing the game.
Despite these obstacles, we've managed to grow a pretty vibrant pinball scene. Our regular league location is not a pinball location at all, but a bar next to a retail shop in downtown, and the owner was kind enough to loan 6 games every week. We didn't have a good location, so we made one! Moreover, you have to market outside of the "old guard." The SCPL has thrived almost entirely on new comers. Advertise on Reddit, post flyers, talk to people at the arcade, encourage people to bring friends, etc. If you make a fun, inclusive environment, the new comers will enjoy it, and they'll stick around.
My hope is that we can keep the momentum rolling, and that somehow this will translate into more location pinball. That may be a pipedream, but we'll see what happens!