So how did the tournament go? Well, we started with some exasperation as we couldn't find a clear, good parking spot. The Avenue has a tiny parking lot behind, shared with a bunch of businesses, and the lines have all faded beyond recognition. People park randomly, and a bunch of the meters just don't work anymore. Trying to obey the rules in these circumstances is difficult. You lose a lot of spots you could, really, get away with using.
But. The upstairs games were all in good working order. People got in early and weren't expected to pay for the punk show. We had a good mix of people who're always at bunny_hugger's tournaments and people from the east or west side of the state who don't get to Lansing much and even a couple people who're just locals. And we were able to keep up on traffic management, the struggle of recording the scores of people, and whether they'd beaten the threshold to move on to the next game. Mostly, anyway. Also this time we were ready for the glitch on Fish Tales that can cause a leading digit of 8 to look like it's a 3. All was looking good.
And then the punk show started. We were prepared: bunny_hugger had a box of earplugs and kept offering them to people. We'd learn later there were people who didn't know what they were being offered, possibly because it was too loud to hear the question. But still, we did our best. The concert --- two warmup bands and the headliner --- probably saved us time in play, too. It can be hard to play without sound cues, so if that lowered the average quality of play then at least we got through sooner.
There was one game that it was a blessing to not hear, South Park. It's a very annoying game, made during the first or second year of the show's run (reasonable; the show was hot and who would have imagined we would never be done with that show about the obscene Colorforms). So it has very few sound clips to use, and a very limited set of jokes to build on, and it's mostly annoying. Also the rules are very primitive. We have evidence that our table has an early set of the game ROMs, too; for example, when you start the Kill Kenny mode, the screen helpfully provides the text 'KILL KENNY HURRY-UP INTRODUCTION SCREEN'. (The second row is a line of 'MMM-MMPHMMM-MPHMMMMMM', which is at least amusing.) As it happened this would be the last game of the race. To have its sounds blocked out by punk music would be a blessing.
Well, it came down --- for me --- to whether I could beat something like 12 million points. If you shoot for the Kill Kenny mode, you can get ten million points easily, and it's an easy mode to start. I couldn't get anywhere near Kill Kenny, or anything else, and I bombed out of the tournament, then went downstairs to wash the game off my hands.
Ah, but who was left in? bunny_hugger, as part of the four-player group who'd play head-to-head for the championship. (There has to be some direct head-to-head play for a tournament to get ratings points.) She, ADM, CST, and IAS --- ADM's a past state champion, and CST wins any tournament he puts his mind to (ten-time, never-defeated champion of the Lansing Pinball League) --- would play three games on randomly drawn tables, the cumulative winner to be the champion. And I would step up as the umpire for any ruling that directly involved bunny_hugger. (This isn't ideal, but the best person to make rulings about her would be CST and you see where that's a worse problem.)
bunny_hugger would by the way put up an astounding, fantastic game of Junkyard, one that's possibly her best ever on that table and that just creamed the competition. This, as mentioned, against ADM and CST who are both among the top 200 ranked players in the world. She wouldn't repeat that performance on the other tables, sad to say. And during the last game it looked possible that she would end up in a tie for second. I drew a random number to select the table.
It wasn't necessary. She ended up in third place, sparing her the agony of a tie-breaker game of Fish Tales against CST. (bunny_hugger hasn't had many happy experiences with tiebreakers. And while anything can happen in one game, in a contest with CST on Fish Tales I would bet on CST.)
We did hang around a bit after the tournament. But the show was still going on --- MWS, eliminated just before I was, even went downstairs to join the mosh pit and showed the bruises later when we caught up with him later in the week --- and we could only talk to one another by pressing our heads together and still talking loudly. So we made what goodbyes we could and cleaned things up and went back home, with bunny_hugger's newest trophy and, I think, the first one of her own that she's taken home from a competitive event.
Trivia: ``B.U.'' was a 1930s semi-jocular abbreviation for ``biological urge'', that is, lust. Source: American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny, Christopher Miller.
Currently Reading: Timekeepers, Simon Garfield.
PS: How about I photograph the boring stuff of an amusement park? If you're a true amusement park enthusiast, you'll be glad I did.
Menu at the snack stand opposite the Party Castle and that was apparently long-closed when we visited Bowcraft Amusement Park in June 2017.
Water fountain at the front of Bowcraft. The golf cart someone had come out of the main building --- like thirty feet to the left of this photo --- and drove out to that spot to park. I assume there's reasons for this. Note there's a hefty binder of something or other on the passenger's seat.
Management building and arcade for Bowcraft; also, the gate that serves as entrance and exit. You can see a strip mall on the far right, across the street.