austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

I'm falling down the spiral, destination unknown

So, in what feels like record fast time, the International Flipper Pinball Association recorded the credit for that ``Frosty Fest'' tournament I was just writing about. And goodness but my wildest guess about what it might be worth was correct. MSS earned 25.53 points for his first-place finish, close enough to the 28.63 that AJR earned at the Kalamazoo tournament in November. There was a little more pinball played in the November tournament, making the difference. So for that, bunny_hugger earned 3.45 points, enough to help her standing a bit. I earned 2.25, which is also in my top twenty for Michigan events for the year.

With that on Monday we did something different; we played in a pinball tournament. This one in Chesterfield, at the Sparks Pinball Museum inside a bowling alley. This is the venue we played at a couple times over the summer. It's a great spot, with like fifty games, nearly all of them 80s and 90s tables, almost perfect for us. It's just normally their tournaments are Monday evenings, when bunny_hugger's work schedule makes it impossible for us to attend. But this week? They were having one last tournament before the winter break. And bunny_hugger didn't have to be up early Tuesday for school. She was free, at least as long as she took some final exams in the car with her to grade. Also to bring in to the bowling alley to grade during down-time. Thus we went to the Chesterfield Pinball League Grinch One-Off Points Grabber tournament, as it was officially dubbed.

The format was a plain three-strikes tournament. Not progressive. Four-player groups, drawn at random and assigned to a table at random. The bottom two players on a game take a strike, whether in a four- or a three-person group. The top finisher in a group never takes a strike. Second place takes a strike in a three-player group, which seems unfair but if the second place player in a three-person group doesn't take a strike the tournament somehow goes on crazily longer.

We carpooled with MWS, who had just flown back from Walt Disney World that morning and who took a much-needed nap right up until we got to his house. And he had a souvenir Christmas ornament, with our pinball signatures, made for us as a present, which is just so kind and fitting of him.

bunny_hugger started off on Attack From Mars, which she thought a good omen after her crushing victory on that game on Saturday. But this time she had a bad start, with a first ball that didn't hit anything and drained right after the ball saver expired. She never recovered and took a strike she really shouldn't have. Me, I played Cyclone and got second place, spending most of my time trying to get the skill shot and noticing none of the other players seemed to know what it was. Next round was Twilight Zone and that was another homewrecker bracket. I had the ball of my life ball one, racking up three different multiballs and something like 400 million points, on a game where 100 million usually wins. bunny_hugger got 150 million points and second place, a triumph tempered by her being annoyed that everyone was asking if she saw what a great game I was having.

Well, we both had pretty decent nights though. She got a second place on Getaway. Took a strike on the Jersey Jack game Dialed In! when MWS and MJV both put up scores of over a half-million points, this on a game where 100,000 usually wins the day. A well-played Cyclone and a well-played Pin-Bot and then she got beaten on No-Good Gophers. Her third strike, knocking her out, as she cursed the unfairness of her Attack From Mars loss.

No-Good Gophers, one of a pair of mid-90s chaos-golf-who-needs-to-buy-a-Caddyshack-license games, was also my first loss of the night. The second came the next round, a three-player group with MWS on The Champion Pub. And I played fantastic on that game; it's just someone else put up somehow an even better score. I had a good game of Mousin' Around, and then an absolutely dismal Elvira and the Party Monsters.

This put me and three other people into a tie for fourth place, and since they had a fourth-place trophy they had us play off for this. On Cyclone, because of course. And on that I took second place, while MAT took first. So he ended up fourth place in the tournament overall, and me fifth. bunny_hugger tied for eighth.

bunny_hugger earned 1.55 points, not enough to help her in shoring up her state championship prospects. I earned 4.50, which did help me a fair bit. But MAT, with that game of Cyclone, took 5.84, enough that he's now a tiny bit above me in the state championship rankings. Gr.

And MWS? Who hadn't touched a pinball machine in a week, who'd been up since before 6 am apart from an hourlong nap, and who'd flown from Florida to Flint? He won the tournament, taking first place and a most healthy 16.22 points. So MSS had, with his incredible game of Bram Stoker's Dracula on Saturday, probably caught up to MWS's position in the state rankings. (I'm guessing. If there's a way to see what the standings were at a particular time I don't know how to get it. That only the top 20 events in a year count makes recreating past standings too much work for me.) But MWS flew back into the state and took the lead right back again.

There are seven IFPA-sanctioned events scheduled through the end of the year. We're figuring to be at four of them. So is MWS. I can't imagine MSS will not be at at least three of them. Going to be a heck of a time.

Trivia: In 1871 Reuters's Egypt manager E A Perkins was charged with misappropriating nearly £1,100. Source: The Power of News: The History of Reuters, Donald Read.

Currently Reading: Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered, Peter S Wells.

PS: My 2018 Mathematics A To Z: Zugzwang, the last of over two dozen essays that somehow all turned out to be 1700 words long!


PPS: Since people are awfully curious about The Beatles pinball game I'm going to jump briefly out of sequence in my pictures here and show you the actual game, in photographs that go back all the way to Tuesday. They'll include the plaque I won for doing quite well at The Beatles pinball at Marvin's last week!

SAM_2478.jpg

That short while that our house had two Beatles Launch Party Grand Champion plaques. The one on the left Stern Pinball sent bunny_hugger, in her role as local Stern Army coordinator, to award at the Lansing launch party. The one on the right I brought home as winner of the Marvin's Marvellous Mechanical Museum launch party. They're sitting on our Tri-Zone.


SAM_2480.jpg

And now on location! Backglass of The Beatles, showing the translite poster. Note the return of the 'A Game Of Skill' motto in the lower left corner. That's been passé since, I'm going to say, Roger Sharpe's famous called shot that got New York City to legalize public pinball venues. Underneath is an LCD screen, in the modern format. There's also two big speakers on either side, obscured by the contrast. The LCD screen is caught showing a video that's come to Stern pinball attract modes, part of the game teaching people how to play.


SAM_2481.jpg

And the playfield of the game. It's very close to that of the game Sea Witch. Notice there's two sets of flippers, one left and one right both at the base and at the middle of the playfield. The thing that looks like a single record in the center does spin during the game, not always and not always at the same speed.

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