So bunny_hugger was knocked out of the side tournament. I could go on after Tron. The first game was The Addams Family, with a threshold score of like four million points. I hadn't played the table that day, but I knew from feel about how far to pull the plunger for the skill shot, worth two million points. And I was good at the ramp shot that follows that immediately, worth a million points. And the shot that sets up, to the Graveyard, worth another million points. Another shot or two and I was safely in.
On to Centigrade 37, an electromechanical that treated me well except in the main tournament. It liked me again. I was safely through. I was off to the few pinball machines outside the alcove, a couple eccentric solid-state and electromechanical games like Grand Lizard and Dragon that I'd picked up a couple tricks on. Easy.
Back to the start of the roster: Freddy again. Road Show again. There was some kind of logjam going around World Poker Tour this time again. After a fair bit of waiting I skipped ahead to play a provisional game of Paragon, one that would count if I got back to World Poker Tour. This went poorly. However, someone did worse. The kid of that father-son pair, the one with the suspicious cloud around him, scored worse than I did on his provisional game.
The result was this especially vulture-like moment. I had to root for the kid to do well enough on World Poker Tour that his Paragon score would count. If he wasn't eliminated on World Poker Tour, he'd be knocked out on Paragon; but if he was eliminated on the earlier game, I'd be eliminated on the later one, unless someone else got even unluckier. Oorg.
But he got through World Poker Tour, and I did too. And somebody did worse on Paragon than he did anyway. I could race through the safe enclaves of Stars and then into the challenging patches of Game of Thrones and other modern games and I got to thinking the absurd. Two or three more games and I could be in the finals for the side tournament. I might take home a solo trophy, my first, and have it be on the State Championship Side Tournament.
I didn't. I put in a rotten Walking Dead and there weren't enough people playing to have a worse game than me. I was done, finishing in sixth place.
Several of our friends would be in the final four, including PH who'd crushed me in the main tournament and CST who was trying to organize it. The final four played a three-table playoff, using Professional and Amateur Pinball Association rules for quartets like this. It would be some intense play, some of the state's best players on some challenging tables trying to get the best score possible. (This is when that moment of the mother and her kids wandering in, realizing they were in the midst of some tense event, and retreating happened.) PH had bad luck on Dragon, so maybe I should've picked that in the main.
It would be getting late. MWS had already gone home, tired and demoralized after his 16th-place finish in the main and midrange finish in the side tournament. The winners of the side tournament posed for a couple pictures and got heading out too. bunny_hugger and I stuck around a bit, to play some more of the games we didn't get to touch enough and to mourn how we couldn't hit what we needed to on games when we needed them. We found that MWS had left his hoodie behind, and we took it home to give when we'd see him next.
And somewhere on the far end of midnight we drove back home.
Trivia: In 1819 New York City had 43 licensed auctioneers for the sale of imported goods. Source: A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America's Financial Disasters, Scott Reynolds Nelson.
Currently Reading: The Big Oyster: History of the Half Shell, Mark Kurlansky.
PS: A Leap Day 2016 Mathematics A To Z: Fractions (Continued), about something useful that also used to be popular.