austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Two can have it all

One of the other tournaments at Michigan Pinball Expo was the Classics. This was a contest just among the players signed up for a given day to play on five, well, classic machines, ones predating the introduction of microchips and LED displays and such. Pinball machines of the most old-fashioned type. In many ways they're the hardest of machines, because there's not the kinds of modes and strategizing available to modern machines. On the other hand, if you get the knack for one, you can play nearly all day. The gameplay tends to be slow, and there's (essentially) never multiball. If you get into the zone you can stay there forever.

So I bought a round of tickets to try to qualify. You could play any of the five different machines, with your highest score on each given points relative to how many other recorded scores you've beaten, including your own earlier attempts. You can buy more attempts, too, and I would spend more than I really meant to trying to do a little better.

Because, gentle reader, I did lousy. I didn't put up the lowest score on all five machines, but I came mighty close. I could hope for a chance to qualify on these if and only if a major meteor strike took out most of the players above me, and then a large number of other players also independently dropped out. It was not a good day for my ego.

I did buy more tickets, as I said, and tried again, and got some standings that were just poor, rather than abysmal. And on one game, Jungle Queen, I stunned our friends MWS and GRV (both helping run the tournament, and sporting the official 'RUN MPE' t-shirts for it) by putting up the highest score on that machine of the day. I also stunned myself since, after my performance, I didn't believe them when they said my score was that high. I figured they were being nice to my ego. But it was so. My record wouldn't last --- it ended up being fourth of the day --- although CST did come over to say that he was dedicating his life and his fortune, if need be, to beat my score. As I say, if you get into the zone you can stay there forever on a machine of that vintage.

After this performance, though, I did go on to Target Alpha --- one of many reskins of the venerable El Dorado which I've played a lot (as El Dorado and El Dorado: City of Gold) including in Pinball Arcade version (City of Gold) and at the Silverball Museum the Canada Dry reskin, though not in this science-fiction-theme before --- and managed on my first ball to literally put up ten points. That is without exaggeration the lowest score attainable on a single ball. That's a performance so bad it doesn't even rate The Price Is Right wah-wah failure trombones. Mercifully I did better on the rest of the balls but, no, the Classics tournament was, with that one exception, a series of pricey mistakes on my part.

Trivia: The earliest recorded female telegraph operator was Sarah G Bagley, an operator in Lowell, Massachusetts, appointed in 1846 on a New York-to-Boston line. Source: The Victorian Internet, Tom Standage.

Currently Reading: Hoboes, Bindlestiffs, Fruit Tramps, And The Harvesting Of The West, Mark Wyman.

Tags: pinball

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