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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Time Event
12:10a
It's hard to believe that it's my last time

With the daily tournament entered, and feeling warmed up, we could plunge into the important tournaments for Pinball At The Zoo. There were two that I could enter, the Main tournament on a set of ten pinball machines, and a Classics tournament on four games all from the 70s and early 80s. These would be scored like the daily tournament. The three (of four) highest point totals on Classics would select 16 players for finals. The top four (of ten) highest point totals on Main would go to selecting 24 players for finals, in A and B divisions. bunny_hugger would get to compete also for the women's tournament. And by some rules-parsing logic she did not have to decide before playing a game whether this was to qualify for the women's tournament or the Main/Classics tournaments.

Classics qualifying will end Friday night. The Main tournament will have some hours of qualifying Saturday morning. Plus an extra hour for players who help out by scorekeeping, a new plan that instantly solves the shortage of scorekeepers. I have my strategy, then: put in one game each on the tournament pinballs, Classics first. This goes well. I have a decent Flash Gordon, spectacular only compared to the messes I'd made at playing it at the Baby Food Festival last year. Then a fantastic game of Fireball Classic, a solid-state remake of the electromechanical, and one where I maybe realized a new strategy. I found just how far to pull the plunger for the skillshot's maximum value. The game has two balls that you can lock, and release, not to get to any jackpot but to have chaos and two or three things scoring shots at once. I was having a good day locking balls --- each one prompting a new plunge and new skill shot --- and releasing them. So ... why do anything but lock and release balls, as long as I have the skill shot? And so I basically went for that, focusing on a strategy that was boring but strikingly safe, and come to over 900,000 points. Not quite rolling the game, but near enough: this early in the day I have the table's highest score. Sky Jump, similarly, I just can't lose the ball on. By the third ball (of five) I look like I'm on pace to roll the table, but it doesn't last. I end at 69,670, good enough that MWS applauds. And El Dorado: City of Gold --- another early solid-state remake of an electromechanical game --- gives me a quite satisfying game, beating a half-million points and leaving me in the top five scorers. Somewhere around there. Three fantastic games and one decent one; I'm temporarily at second place of all the competitors. It's six hours until qualifying ends --- at 8:15 pm --- but I am, right now, in a great place. I can worry about qualifying in the Main tournament.

I check my standings over the day. Of course as more people come in and play the tables my standing drops. But not so fast; by 6 pm I'm still at sixth or seventh place. And I just care that I qualify; having a high seed isn't so important. My Fireball Classic gets beaten, but not by much. El Dorado: City of Gold gets beaten by more people.

By 7:30 I notice that I'm at 15th place. Still qualifying for Classics Finals --- which start that evening --- but only barely. I decide to shore up my games. (And by the way of course I don't remember these details so specifically. But the scoring software keeps track of when I played which game, so I can reconstruct the major pieces.) I get in the queue for El Dorado and don't do anything useful. Flash Gordon similarly. By 8:00 I'm in 16th place, still hanging on. I start queuing for Flash Gordon and for El Dorado, partly to better my standing, partly to keep any competitors off them. And finally the peculiar hour of 8:15 arrives.

I am in 17th place. Someone in the last five minutes knocked some score of mine down out of contention.

There is one way that I might be in the tournament yet, and that is if at least one of the top 16 people can't be found. In previous years, when Classics finals began Saturday morning, this would be likely. My rule of thumb would be to expect ten percent of the people eligible to not show up in those circumstances. But here? ... the first round of finals is to be at 8:30. Nearly everyone who put in qualifying games played today. None of the sixteen who, ultimately, beat me have left. I'm out.

bunny_hugger has had a worse time of it. She finishes in 26th place, never having even the one outstanding game on any of the tables. We can play to shore up our standings in the main tournament, and she to get in the women's tournament, but that's it.

Along the way I learn what happened with the daily tournament. As with Classics my great initial stance drooped over time, as more people played and put up new scores. When qualifying for that finished I was in tenth place; the top eight made the daily tournament. So that would be why I never heard anything about the daily tournament starting.

Still, there was the hope of the Main tournament yet, wasn't there?

Trivia: Between 1495 and 1504 about 100,000 tons of copper from Hungarian mines were sold on the open market in Europe; about three-quarters of the proceeds went to the Fugger banking family's accounts. Source: Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance, Lisa Jardine.

Currently Reading: The Zippy Annual, September 2001 - October 2002, Bill Griffith.


PS: There was still a roller coaster at Keansburg that we hadn't gotten to yet. What's it look like?

SAM_4928.jpg

The Loop-o-Plane in full loop-o!


SAM_4938.jpg

Waiting at the Looping Star for the ride operator to get things back in shape after a short break.


SAM_4941.jpg

Now this may look like Looping Star has an impossibly tight (and thus hard) loop. Don't be fooled by the perspective shot! The loop has a diameter of over six feet and you could definitely ride it twice in the same month, although we didn't.


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