austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Oh what a Renaissance, this is the Renaissance

bunny_hugger's Pinball panel would be, like the Species SIGs and the mucking panel I ran, in the Boardroom. It's not the best spot for this sort of thing since the room is long and narrow with a conference table that seems to maximize distance between people. But it's better than the suite, room 267 or whatever, that used to be given over to this sort of thing. The suite, while cozier, is off on the far end where people will not be walking by. Also, because the suite has two doors, only one of them has a room number posted on the outside, and that's room 269. If you go by the door signs there is no room 267. Also the suite was always, every single time, locked ahead of time, every Morphicon we ever attended. Anthrohio didn't get the suite, or if they did they used it purely for administrative purposes, at considerable advantage to making panels go on in usable spaces.

Anyway, for the panel we skipped setting up a projector. The idea of showing off and talking about pinball art from a computer would make a projector seem like a great idea. But goodness knows how long it would take to get one actually running. Also we probably don't have the cable to go from my computer to a projector. bunny_hugger has one, for her computer, but that was with her computer, back in Lansing. And anyway people sitting at the far end of the room would have to squint. Instead, we called up pictures on my computer and I walked it around the room while people looked and nodded uncertainly.

bunny_hugger has observed that in the classic, pre-licensing, days of pinball you just needed to smash two things together to make a pinball theme. On the one side put ``fantasy'', ``medieval'', ``space'', ``music'', or ``gambling''. On the other side put ``pool'', ``cards'', ``racing'', or ``spelling''. Smash them together and you have a pinball game. There are a good number of medieval- or fantasy-themed pinballs. Renaissance themed, not so much. But people are willing to elide the differences between medieval and the Renaissance and we were able to show off a lot of classic games. Yes, she pointed out the historic inaccuracies involved. This is how you know we're academics.

We were able to find some pretty good tables, thanks to bunny_hugger's diligence putting together a presentation ahead of time and my eavesdropping, or seeing previews, enough to help reconstructing it. The greatest absence was of some of her own photographs, as many are quite good. Also she had one of a topper on some editions of the Game of Thrones pinball. That machine has, in these editions, a topper with castle ramparts and a dragon which flaps its wings during parts of the game. We couldn't replace that, though, as there just aren't good pictures of that topper on the web. There's dragons in other games, but they're mostly inside the cabinet and harder to photograph through glass.

One lucky late find was the 1940 Exhibit Supply Company game Joust, which has got a theme that'll pass for Renaissance activities I guess, if we don't look too closely. And it allowed bunny_hugger to point out a nice bit of pinball history. She challenged folks to look closely at the playfield and see what's missing. Can you spot it?

So for all the worry going into things the event went off great. And people didn't act depressed for long that there wasn't an actual pinball machine there. Nor was there a virtual one in the game room; if anyone did bring Pinball Arcade or a similar game we didn't see it. I got to thinking idly about what if we did bring our pinball machine to a convention. Well, Tri Zone, with its Space Racing theme, wouldn't fit Anthrohio's ``Renaissance'' theme for 2016 anyway.

Trivia: John Josselyn listed in 1672 some 22 European species of weeds which had grown common in Massachusetts Bay. Source: The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession, Virginia Scott Jenkins.

Currently Reading: The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company, John Keay.

PS: What's The Longest Proof I've Done? I don't quite know, but I can point you to some big ones.

Tags: anthrohio, pinball

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