May 11th, 2015

krazy koati

Come to my house, be one of the comfortable people

Now for other pinball news. Don't fear; the Morphicon trip report will come soon enough.

When I went with bunny_hugger to the Pinball At The Zoo expo in Kalamazoo last year I felt a bit like a hick going to the big city. It was my first exposure to a pinball expo/convention, and to a tournament, and to many of the major people in Michigan pinball. Plus the visit to the pole barn full of pinball machines; I knew people who had one pinball table, but forty?

A sole year later and everything's different. We know many of the regulars, and we've seen pinball events small and large, and we know the Saturday expo (the only day we could attend) closes early so best go early. We'd have gone early anyway since they had tournaments. We watched the end of one in awe last year, and worried when CST warned us we were in one player's line of sight. This year we knew that player too.

We did get to the expo later than would be ideal, because it was just too early in the morning, but I was confident we'd have time to put in our qualifying plays. And we did, although bunny_hugger was right to say we didn't have much time to spare: we got in all our test plays mostly because it turned out qualifying ended at 12:30, rather than noon. I still think we're better off for having got a touch more sleep.

There were a couple tournaments going on simultaneously and qualifying for them all was going on at once. The Main Tournament was judged by your score on your selection of five tables, including an old electromechanical --- Monte Carlo --- on which I did way better than I ought to have, and the newest Stern pinball machine, Wrestlemania, which has some really sweet ramp shots. It's also got an amusing gimmick in which the ball gets batted around a little wrestling ring, with the rubber bands around the ring flicking in response to flipper hits. It's a weird gimmick but a fun one.

Between my weirdly good Monte Carlo score and a beginners-luck qualify Wreslemania I qualified for the tournament! Well, among ``B'' Division players. There were other people with higher scores than me, but they were also highly ranked enough that the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association tournament rules wouldn't let them play except in the A Division. I went into the single-elimination, best-two-of-three match for B Division with the highest seed and I immediately bombed out.

I'm disappointed I didn't do better after that qualifier, but I am happy with the qualifier. And the attempt paid off well: by the way the International Flipper Pinball Association counts things, I earned about two-thirds as much from that as I did in all of 2014.

I did make a mistake, of a kind, though.

Trivia: From 1958 to 1963 the Interstate Commerce Commission guaranteed loans totalling almost $250 million to fourteen railroad lines, including the New York Central. Source: The Wreck of the Penn Central: The Real Story Behind The Largest Bankruptcy In American History, Joseph R Daughen, Peter Binzen.

Currently Reading: Beggar Thy Neighbor: a History of Usury and Debt, Charles R Geisst.