Quoted from pinsanity:
I think for that to happen you would need to find a group of collectors who are disengaged from the local pinball politics that goes on down here and are not only willing to put up machines to bolster attendance numbers but would also need to withstand the fallout that will occur when they refuse to allow the local hierarchy to interfere with its organisation and implementation.
The current existing public pinball events down here are typically held for an ulterior motive (promoting themselves, promoting the local forums, flogging off beat up container pins in a public auction) rather than the primary goal of promoting pinball itself to the general public. This is why they lag behind our North American/European counterparts and always will.
Newcastle Pinfest may be considered by some as the front runner in a very small existing field but they need to sever the apron strings from the local forum if they ever want to attain anything remotely approaching world's best classification.
Above all, pinball in Australia needs to expand dramatically beyond its current clique status and place a much heavier emphasis on attracting new entrants. Broaden the userbase, lose the closed shop hierarchy mentality and the overseas pinball manufacturers will see untapped potential market growth and begin to take a much greater interest in what is happening in the antipode.
Pinsanity – why the continual hatred mate? My suggestion is move on with life whatever has happened in the past and enjoy the good things. That aside, I disagree with you comments. Some recent examples follow of events that have been either arranged and/or advertised well outside Aussie Arcade or Aussie Pinball – that said, the forums are one aspect of communication that are well used by people. You seem to suggest that unless you are ‘in the group’ or part of the forum, then you have no access to any events as they are held as a big secret. In my opinion, nothing is further from the truth. Maybe provide me with some recent examples as I may be wrong.
I am aware of one recent ‘invite only/exclusive’ event…..however, this was for a blokes 40th Birthday, and I’m pretty sure when its your birthday party you can invite who you want (in this case 100 plus pinheads), and not open it to everyone.
Recent non clique events that (to my knowledge) were not held for ulterior motives – and yes, these will be skewed towards Qld as that’s where I live:
Brisbane Masters – To date, Australia’s largest IFPA comp, approx. 130 competitors – quite a few of which were first timers and had a blast. I spoke to numerous other competitors who were not part of any forums and/or rarely contribute or view who heard about it through friends and/or facebook and some local promotions such as radio or flyers.
Townsville Winter Carnival - small event that I started as an 8 person comp a few years back – this year we had over 40 people over a few days. Promoted through Oz wide Facebook site, forums and local facebook groups and word of mouth. Flow on from this has been a local casual monthly comp start up with 15-30 regulars turning up. These include partners, kids and 90% of attendees have no idea of any internet forums to do with pinball. All advertising is through our local (anyone is welcome to join) facebook group, and I throw some comments on the forums to show things are active. This has also had a huge flow on effect, as one of the guys got so enthused, he has bought a heap of machines, partnered with a local guy and they have open a pinball and arcade bar. Tonight is the first organised comp – and of the people who have stated they are going on facebook, most are newbies to local pinball comps. The owner has also opened up the bar during unlicensed hours once a month to encourage kids and families to get into the hobby.
Local Brisbane monthly/fortnightly comps – yep, these are advertised a fair bit through AA, however also through local facebook pages and in various establishments – quite a few of the times I have attended these events, there are people that who have heard about them through friends, facebook or during visiting a location where the machines are sited. I know the Pinball Grotto on the Gold Coast comp series are also well advertised outside AA, with a big focus on attracting new people to the hobby, including training/familiarisation sessions where you can get tips and tricks from more experienced people.
Melbourne Matchplay – advertised through various facebook sites, plus forums – open to anyone.
Melbourne Flipout - yep, a distributor is running this event, so he prob wants to get sales no doubt. But it is open to the public and a great opportunity to play plenty of new machines that many wouldn’t otherwise get the chance. Plus plenty of the locals donate their own machines for the event.
Pinball Expo a few years ago in Sydney – was open to all and anyone, including some sellers/distributors that were out of favour with a few people, and was a great event all around. I spent most of the 3rd day helping the organiser to welcome people at the door – I was asked to question how and where they heard about the event. While I don’t have the written figures in front of me to quote, it was very surprising – the top reason from memory was a huge flyer on the freeway – most people did not hear about it through forums.
Pinfest – most of the advertising I see is done well outside the forums, and I am certainly not aware of any ‘exclusive’ parts of this event – and it is firmly focussed on a family friendly atmosphere with exposure of pinball as a hobby as the main idea.
So not really sure where you are getting the idea that every (or most) gatherings in Australia are secret and controlled by people who run forums. Of the above, the first 3 are completely run by volunteer enthusiasts with no financial interest – I can certainly assure you the events I run and assist with locally cost me money and plenty of time.
To those outside Australia, hopefully this provides some balance, and if you are heading over this way, sing out as there are plenty of regular fun filled events happening that are open to everyone – sure they are not to the scale of many US events, but things have progressed a lot in the last few years. For me personally, I initially went to these events for the pinball, now I have formed many genuine friendships because of them, and look forward to catching up with people more than the gameplay or hobby in many cases.
To anyone else in Australia who is a collector or entusiast and not sure where to start, do what I did – have a few people over for a casual get together, gauge interest for further events, and go from there. We went from 1 event every year with less than 10 people, to now 2 regular monthly comps at different venues, plus 2 major events every year. This has involved at least 200 or so new faces over the last couple of years (in a city of 180 000, so not huge population), and interest in the hobby has increased a lot.