June 10th, 2018

krazy koati

Burning down the house

And before my next big event report, how about a little pinball tournament? This was one held at a person's house. Two people's, properly. That father-and-son team on the eastside held a tournament in their home, on eight pinball machines there. It was eight rounds, four-player groups, PAPA-style scoring. That means the top-scoring person in each group getting four points, second place gets two points, third place one point, last place zero points. Many of the games were modern ones, including the new Grauniads of the Galaxy table. But they brought in some older games too, including the weird mid-80s solid state game Tag Team, and the electromechanical Boomerang. And Genesis, my old friend from Pinburgh finals.

I had a lousy day. I mean, the pinball-playing was fun, yes. But I played lousy, coming in last or in third place all the time. Incredibly, I didn't bottom out, but I did finish in 13th place out of 16 competitors. I couldn't even get a break on Genesis.

bunny_hugger, though, now she was on fire. Er. No, that wasn't her. That was the game she was playing. She had just put up a compelling lead on Boomerang, and another player stepped up and drained, and then BIL came up for his turn. Then BIL turned the game off. bunny_hugger was baffled; she didn't see that the game was filling with smoke, and for a moment thought this was bizarrely out-of-character for BIL. They ignored my question about whether we should be adding much fresh air to something smouldering, at least without a fire extinguisher on hand, and opened the pinball machine up.

So the knocker, that strikes a mallet against the cabinet when the replay score's been reached, had melted. It looked like when bunny_hugger reached the play score, the hammer tried to strike, and something went wrong. The knocker kept soaking up energy until it heated up and the plastic smouldered. And, have to say, that's pretty awesome.

Boomerang is an electromechanical, with scoring wheels that don't move when the power's turned off. Also they were able to turn off the power to the correct game on only the second try. But this did mean that they were able to keep everyone's scores for the interrupted game, and --- once the power to the knocker was snipped off, and the game tested out --- resume.

bunny_hugger was in favor of resuming, on the general principle that if it's possible to resume a game after a major malfunction you should. On Tag Team, which had gotten its power knocked out in the first attempt to unplug Boomerang, this was impossible; the scores were lost and everyone had to replay from scratch. But while she's very well-versed on International Flipper Pinball Association rules, and loves following discussions of tournament rulings, she couldn't make that call even if she were one of the designated officials. BIL was, but he was playing in that game too. But her opinion, and BIL's concurrence, supported actual tournament director JMA in carrying on the game.

Well, bunny_hugger had a mediocre last ball, and BIL and one of the other players had great last balls and she fell to third place and she grumbled that she should have insisted on playing a replacement table.

She would have a good day, overall, and get into the playoffs. The first round of that went all right. But she tied for advancing to the second round of finals, and had to play GRV. On Genesis. They both have lousy games, although GRV has a slightly less lousy game, and I can get back to reassuring bunny_hugger that she isn't an awful pinball player and nobody thinks she is.

Also while I've had games break down while I was playing them, she's the one that's set a game on fire.

Trivia: By 1663 English King Charles II's household owed the royal rat-catcher £12, the bowling-green keeper £91, and the watchmaker more than £500. The apothecary bill was maybe ten times that. Source: A Gambling Man: Charles II's Restoration Game, Jenny Uglow.

Currently Reading: Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service, Devin Leonard. Yeah so a late chapter talks about that period in the late 80s and early 90s where lawful gun-owning postal workers decided to shoot people at work, and it mentions how in 1986 Patrick Sherrill killed fourteen other people and wounded six more, the ``third-worst mass shooting in American history'' (not counting when packs of white guys would decide to destroy a non-white community). Jeez, these days that'd barely close school early.

PS: Rye Playland! And it turns out the Grand Carousel won't reopen until 2020, as it's being restored from water damage. The work's being done by the people who had it already in very good form, so that's reassuring at least.


More of the Flying Witch's facade, with figures that poke out from it. The demon on the right has teeth that rotate as ... well, teeth of a geared system.


The witch of the Flying Witch; she rocks back and forth while the ride's in attract mode.


Where the train cars emerge from the Flying Witch ride; also, something to airbrush on your white van if you find yourself in 1983 for some reason.