austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

From Soho down to Brighton

Round two. 12:15. I'm on bank 59, Pyxis. The modern game is Batman: The Dark Knight, one of the little-loved mainstays of Grand Rapids Pinball League. I know what to do: collect the Batmobile ramp, get Joker Multiball ready to go, get Scarecrow Multiball ready to go, start Joker Multiball, and keep the ball in play. Trouble is finding these shots, particularly Joker, on an unfamiliar table without practice. Everyone else has trouble doing that too, but as I remember, I come out in third place. That's all right; I started the first round the same way. The electromechanical game is Freedom, a 1976 Williams that's all about shooting the ball up into the scoop at center. It's got Christan Marche art, but the Bicentennial theme means it doesn't get as extreme as his styling might get. Doesn't help; if I remember right, I come in last, but not by far.

The early-solid-state game is Gottleib's 1981 Force II, a game I like without ever really getting traction on. It's a big mass of drop targets to hit by way of side flippers. My recollection is I end up in second place. The late-solid-state game is Gottlieb's 1990 Vegas, which nobody knows anything about and that just plays weird all over. It hasn't got ramps, which is weird for the era. Different areas of the playfield are tied to different games, but what to do to get anywhere on anything? Nobody's quite sure. I come out in third place, if I have it right, on a lot of balls well-controlled as they come out of the pop bumpers.

It's a disappointing round for me. I have four wins, eight losses, bringing my total to 10-14. It drops me to a many-way tie for 534th place. If they drew the division lines in now I'd be in low C, but it's early. One good round and I could vault safely into B. Could easily happen: part of why I got so few wins was someone in our group went 11-1, barely missing out on one of the precious medals given out to the people who have a perfect round.

bunny_hugger, on set 13, Tatooine, has had a slightly better round, going 5-7 despite what really seems like a bad call by the referees. (A game's kickback doesn't fire strongly enough to send the ball back into play. She's certain this is rated as a ``yeah, sucks when the machine doesn't work right'' judgement call. The tournament official, pressed by fellow Michigan player AJG, rules it ``yeah, the game's hopeless, play a replacement''.) She drops to 471st. High C.

Round three. 2:30 pm and the last before lunch/dinner. I have set 39, Auriga. The modern game is Stern's 2011 Transformers, for which I have no love but for which I have a strategy. Hit the center target and start Optimus Prime Multiball. Along the way I find the super-skill-shot, which won't win the game but is nice to have. The electromechanical is Gottleib's 1973 High Hand, with nice familiar Gordon Morison art of some card-decorated superhero fighting a spiral vortex of playing cards. I dunno. Most of the banks in Pinburgh have some kind of running theme --- games about fast cars, games about spaceships, games about monsters --- but this one and the previous one are a mystery to me. Sometimes you just have scraps.

The late-solid-state is Bally's 1986 Motordome and may I ask you to go look at its backglass art? Thank you. If you were a teenage boy in 1986, wouldn't you have wanted to see the stupid movie that had that VHS cover? Yeah, kinda. Like a lot of games of that era it's got some weird transparent ramps over the playfield and about seven jillion fiddly little targets to hit. I remember this as the most fun of the set. The early-solid-state game is Bally's 1980 Skateball, with an athletics theme (maybe the bank was trying to be about recreational sports and Transformers just couldn't fit in?) but that's smashed by the backglass art having a bad case of Late 70s Pornstache. But I like the layout and do very well finding some valuable drop targets I can keep bonking.

I believe I won that table. It's not much of a win. I come out of the round with another 4-8 record. My cumulative is a meager 14-22, leaving me tied for 620th. Draw the dividing lines now and I'm in high D.

Where I had a bad round, bunny_hugger's had a catastrophic one. On bank 1, Canis Major, she's gone 2-10 and plummeted into 700th place. Middle D, were the divisions drawn now. It's disheartening stuff to go to lunch on.

Still, it could be worse. In the third round of the first day in 2016, I had a perfect failure round, going 0-12, and plummeting to 617th place. I came back after lunch with one great and one good session to land safely in the middle of C Division. And the way later rounds are assigned we're going to be placed against more people with similar seedings. If we face people who're worse players, as opposed to people who just had one or two unlucky rounds, we can jump right back up again.

Trivia: 17th Century Astronomer Royale John Flamsteed's star charts and lunar tables were originally planed to be issued by the end of 1675. They would not be printed until 1725, published by his widow and two assistants, and then in incomplete form. Source: Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution, Lisa Jardine. (Flamsteed fell into a bit of a perfectionist work-spiral.)

Currently Reading: Luna: Pittsburgh's Original Lost Kennywood, Brian Butko.

PS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Diophantine Equations, which turned out to be more fun writing than I figured on it being. Go figure.

Tags: pinball, pinburgh

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