Happy birthday, my dear bunny_hugger. It has been a wonderful year; I hope it is at least as good ahead.
Some of the pinball tables at the Baby Food Festival were familiar ones, like Wheel of Fortune or Flash Gordon. Some were kind-of familiar; a different Johnny Mnemonic had been one of the Lansing League's first five tables, although it's been gone for years and we've never been somewhere to play it regularly. Some were new to us, such as X-Files, a late-90s game based on exactly what it says. This game would annoy me. The strategy for getting points in a hurry is to start two of the multiballs, one of them by hitting the file cabinet target in the center of the game, and one by rolling over the lit 'X' targets all over the playfield.
When you start the game you get to play as 'Mulder' or 'Scully'. Pick Mulder and you need fewer file cabinet hits for that multiball. Pick Scully and you need fewer 'X' target hits for that multiball. So I worked out that you'd want to play Scully. The file cabinet target is a pretty easy, safe shot; the 'X' targets are just all over the place and the fewer of them the better. Thing is you select who you play as by hitting the left or the right flipper, with Muller depicted on the right side of the display and Scully on the left. But Muller's name is printed first and Scully's second, and I matched that to Muller-left, Scully-right, so several games I screwed up my choice. The game's since moved to the Blind Squirrel League, where we've gotten some more experience, and now I know to avoid that mistake but still, I'm annoyed I have to think about this to avoid making the mistake.
Anyway, qualifying for the Classics and the Main tournament, and for bunny_hugger the women's tournament, followed exactly the process we'd gotten good at. Go around and play everything once, and then check your standings to figure out what game you're most likely to do better enough on to raise your standing. I think that my first round of things put me in marginal-but-qualified for both tournaments, and after that I could focus on how to better my position or get experience for finals. bunny_hugger came in a bit lower, but then she also had to use some of her entries and game time to qualify for the women's tournament.
Add to that one of the scratch-off lottery games being ``Pinball Wizard'' and it was easy to feel pretty good about our chances in finals.
Didn't last. In the first round of the Classics finals I played ADM, reigning state champion, and he whalloped me two games to one. I don't remember who bunny_hugger played, but she was out quickly too. And MWS didn't last any longer than we did. MWS and I had to content ourselves with hey, there's still the Main tournament, and we could get some practice in on those tables while the people still in Classics were working on that.
bunny_hugger qualified as one of the top four women for the side tournament. SMB didn't cheat her of that. (If SMB did ``cheat'' anyone of a finals was KEC, who ended up in fifth place.) This was three games of the four playing and bunny_hugger worried that she looked like an amateur after one of the games was lousy, and I wasn't able to console her usefully. Still, the three-game, PAPA-style scoring (4 points for the top finisher, 2 for the second, 1 for third, 0 for fourth) means a single game can't really sink you. She ended the match in third place, just ahead of SMB, and a great job at that.
And then! Finally! On to the main tournament, with the top twenty people who qualified battling it out in best-of-three matches and oh I'm sorry, I lost already. Right then. Well, at least bunny_hugger oh no, she's done too. All right. We can wait to see how close MWS comes to winning the no he's done too. By the end of the first round we were all knocked out.
Trivia: In 1914 Germany had 6,500 troops in overseas colonies. Source: The Vulnerability of Empire, Charles A Kupchan.
Currently Reading: The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, Carl B Boyer.
PS: Some more pinball beauty shots! None from games we played at the Baby Food Festival; this is the VFW Pinball Hall of Fame.
bunny_hugger getting some quality time in with Rudy. Fun fact: I've been playing FunHouse since 1990 and it's among my favorite games of all time and I have no idea what message it was sending that the camera shutter only allowed the letters 'LUS' in from.
Lower playfield of The Bally Game Show, 1990, a fun little game and a theme you'd think would have been used more. Also what's got to be the last pinball game to actually include the name of the company in the game's title. I mean, everyone in pinball will understand your referent if you just say Game Show, but if you search the Internet Pinball Database for those words it can't find the title. You need 'Bally Game Show' to somehow remove excessively many matches.
The VFW has a quite good collection of the few games made by Alvin G and Company, the attempt by Gottleib's son to carry on the business after the business got bad in the early 90s. Here, the table for 1993's Mystery Castle, with a fun theme of a scavenger hunt in an old castle to earn the crown.