Oh, darling, happy Casino Pier anniversary!
Another of June's events: Richfield Rollapalooza. This was a pinball tournament in a Flint bowling alley and thank you, let's take your crack as read. The event run by AND, was a rare-for-us payout tournament in which most-or-all of the entry fees would go back to the people who made finals. MWS, who lives near there, told us we'd do well to go: we'd almost surely qualify for finals and hey, there'd be an interesting selection of games. The latter was true. The former are famous last words. Indeed, MWS's first moment of frustration great enough to make him proclaim he was quitting pinball forever came after a tournament he went to on the promise that he'd surely qualify for one of the payouts.
We set out a little late. MWS had suggested we might visit his house and play Betrayal at the House on the Hill if we got out of the tournament early and he got back from the wedding(?) taking him away most of the day. We forgot it the first time we set out, and had to backtrack, losing maybe fifteen minutes of qualifying time. I argued we wouldn't need them anyway, because when has the last-minute qualifying game ever been that important? These, too, were famous last words. Note that I lost out of the Meijer State Games from fall of 2015 by one last-minute game.
As promised, though, it was some good banks of games. Half were 'Classics', electromechanical or solid-state tables. Half were 'modern', late solid-state games or modern dot-matrix-display era tables. We could qualify for either. The process: up until the appointed hour, play one of the tables. Submit your highest score. You get points for how many people your highest score beats. The sum over five (or whatever) of those determines your rank in classics or finals. Top 16 go to the A Division finals; next eight who aren't division-restricted go to the B Division finals. The division restriction is to keep some top player from slumming and taking an easy B Division win. The slight twist this time: they didn't have enough people and networked devices to have scorekeepers come over and verify your scores. You just took a picture of a score you wanted to enter and brought it to the table. So I have a partial log in photos of my progress for the day, as recorded in score tables. Oh, there'd also be a $25 prize awarded to whoever put in the highest score on a table, regardless of whether they made finals or not.
I stepped up to the Classics bank, my traditional relative strength, and put a quarter in to Bobby Orr's Power Play, a late 70s game I'd had some success with in a Flint tournament a few months back, and proceeded to put up a score so embarrassingly bad I didn't want it recorded. Not an auspicious start.
At the tournament was AJG, one of the state's best players and probably the number-one seed for the state championship for February 2018. He's a precision player. He plays a game of Party Zone that is so boring it is compelling. One repeatable shot on this game is to shoot up the left ramp, for an award that starts at 100,000 points and increases by 100,000 until ... I don't know that there is an upper limit. It restarts at 100,000 the next ball. The ball comes down another ramp on the left side and if you give the machine a tap at just the right spot the ball can bounce from the left flipper to the right, in position to shoot this up again. It's a safe payout, if you can make the shot reliably. Most people can't repeat a shot that many times, for lack of control or maybe just boredom. Not AJG. He keeps shooting it, again and again. He gets it to scoring over twenty million points per shot, and keeps on going. It's hypnotic. He comes out with a score of something like 930,000,000, against a field that mostly puts up something like 20 to 50 million points total. My best score was just over 20 million. bunny_hugger, having worked out secrets to the table, came in at 55 million. It was astounding.
Trivia: More than 12,000 children were tried for smuggling at the salt court in Laval in 1773. This includes only children caught with fifteen pounds or more of contraband salt. Source: The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, Graham Robb.
Currently Reading: Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle, Steven Vogel.