Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Canadian Pinball Tournament 2012

Get ready for my latest pinball adventure!

Oh yeah!
Miranda, Shane and I all ventured out to Playdium Missisauga to take part in the Canadian Pinball Championships! We had next to no idea what tables were going to be a part of the tournament but we soldiered on anyways in search of good times and good pinball. The only hint we had about the lineup was that the modern tournament would be played on the latest Stern machines.

So you have... AC/DC, Transformers, Tron: Legacy, Rolling Stones and Avatar.
Oh yeah... X-MEN was also there...

Not just any X-MEN table... If you have more than two braincells you should know. If ya don't then yer a GOOF. It's X-MEN: MAGNETO LIMITED EDITION!
John Borg and Stern did not disappoint on this table. Wait... Wait a minute! What's this?! It's... It's an...

First thing I thought right off the bat when I laid eyes on X-MEN...
gotta go out and get myself some cheap sunglasses!
It's super bright! Stern really goes all out on the LEDs on the LE machines. I found X-MEN to be a heckuva lot brighter than the Pinball Cafe's Transformers LE (just in general. I'm not speaking bad of Jason's Transformers Table). It is probably because there is a lot more white lights scattered throughout the table on X-MEN than on Transformers. This table is definitely in contention with AC/DC Premium Edition from Michigan Pinball Expo 2012. You gotta wear sunglasses when you play either table, dang!

The Dot Matrix Display is rocking Stern's signature red. I'm not sure why they started using red as the main colour for DMD's but HEY I'm not going to complain... Red's my favorite colour haha! But if I can be serious for a moment... I believe this started with AC/DC where it made sense due to the whole theme and all. I wonder if it's more affordable, more attractive to the eye or maybe just better to play in the dark with... I guess Stern is... SEEING RED HAHAHA X-MEN WELCOME TO DIE

I don't think it is the first time for a pinball machine to have different colour DMD's.  I know that Gottlieb's RESCUE 911 has a red DMD as well. There's even a company now putting out FULL-COLOUR DMD's! ColorDMD is recreating classic DMD games such as Williams' Medieval Madness and Bally's Attack From Mars!  The colour DMDs look really sweet, I saw a few at Michigan Pinball Expo 2014 (in the future) and it adds a new level to the DMDs.

The toys on Stern machines are often a sore spot with a lot of pinball fans. Many say the toys for various machines look cheap and like they were bought up from the local Toys'R'Us. Sometimes I don't doubt it...
The Wolverine toy in particular looks pretty rough. Take a close gander at his claws and you'll see what I mean.
The Magneto, however, doesn't look too bad. It's a pretty big toy and placed right in the center of the table so Magneto really pulls your attention in so you just kinda forget about the quality of it. Personally, I don't worry about the toys too much if they are just there for cosmetic reasons. For the most part, the toys aren't my focus when I'm playing pinball unless they play an important role in the machine.

The table art is pretty neat. The art found throughout the X-MEN table is by Comic Book Artist Kevin O'Connor. He does a pretty good portrayal of Magneto and makes him look mean as HELL.

X-MEN  >:-[
ALRIGHT enough about the aesthetics. Let's get down to brass tacks and talk about the table's gameplay. I'll be honest before I get started... I didn't play all that well haha. OK BUT I HAVE EXCUSES... I usually don't play well on new tables because I am not familiar with them. There's always a sort of learning curve whenever you're playing a new table. You gotta find out what shots do what, how to get multiball or light extra ball and so on, youknowhatimean. Also I was a bit nervous about playing in a tournament and trying to rock a good score.
Once I started getting into "the zone", I noticed that there is a hell of a lot of modes in this! Kinda makes sense though. There's a lot of X-Men so you gotta fit 'em all in with their own modes! I think Wolverine has two haha! It seemed like every shot I made was working towards some goal. X-Men also boasts the Stern tradition of Hit X shot Y times to light Z mode. I don't mind that though. It's really easy to stack modes and multiballs so you can get HELLA POINTS.

Multiball was tough to get on this table. There were at least two ways that I saw to get multiball. There's a ball lock below Magneto. You can lock one in there and it becomes a captive ball (this neat little trick can be seen on Stern's World Poker Tour). You then had to hit the captive ball several times to light multiball. The other way was to collect all the X-MEN. Each shot counted towards an X-Man and there is about seven shots to make to light each superhero. Most of the shots are pretty easy to make except for the dreaded THIRD FLIPPER. The third flipper set up is similar to Tron: Legacy, also designed by John Borg and previously discussed in my preview of X-MEN. A third flipper is placed on the far right top side and has a direct shot towards a ramp. The troublesome part about it is those third flipper shots can be really tricky and sometimes difficult to accurately gauge a shot from rather than from the two main flippers. Adding to the difficulty of that shot are the two targets on either side of the ramp so if your shot is a bit off it can sometimes bounce off the targets rather than go up the ramp and then things can get dangerous! This is a crucial shot on X-MEN as, you guessed it, it lights one of the X-MEN needed to light multiball. Unfortunately, I was never able to activate multiball during my games. I was pretty disappointed about that fact because I imagine there's some pretty cool multiball modes (I want to believe that the magnet in front of Magneto captures the balls before multiball and just whips them everywhere!)
I didn't really get a great chance to explore X-MEN as much as I would have liked to and missed out on an awful lot. Things of note are the Iceman Ice Bridge and the Nightcrawler pop-ups that kind of remind me of the Trolls in Medieval Madness.
Quit nudgin' Shane!
Otherwise, the tournament wasn't too bad. As I said, there was just the lineup of the latest Stern Pro tables there so nothing to really write home about. I did okay on each table, I didn't get any good high scores but I did do better than Miranda and Shane! HEH.
I didn't enter the Classics tournament so not much to say about that. There were only 2-3 tables for the Classics round and from what I saw, they were just old 70's/80's Stern tables.

The one criticism I do have is that the registration was a bit convoluted. I suppose the Toronto Pinball League was banking more on people pre-registering for the tournament rather than registering for the day of. Miranda, Shane and I got there later on in the evening and I was kind of confused about how it was all set up...

First, you had to buy entry into the tournament. That's $10 to get you registered. Then you had to buy entries for each bracket: A, B or Classics (heh, I get that). That's another $10. Okay that makes sense. The pre-registration bonus was basically 2 for 1. You get entry into the bracket of your choice depending on your skill level and a couple of other rules (B-Division or Casual required that you have never placed in a previous tournament or some such stipulation) as well as the Classics bracket all for $20. What I did not know (and I have a feeling a lot of other people didn't know) was that you had to buy CREDITS on top of the registration to play the games! This is where things got a bit frustrating and confusing. So, on top of the $20 we spent to get into the tournament, we had to purchase 125 Playdium funbux for a "special price" of $25. Personally, I never saw this part on the website for the tournament so maybe it was oversight on my part. I doubt it but there is the chance I was wrong. Things turned out to be getting a bit expensive but we all pitched together and bought the credits. On the bright side, the credits are good for any machine in Playdium and we can use them on any visit. PLUS, Shane and I got to play OUTRUN 2 in miniature Ferraris (I chose the F-40 OH YEAH!)

I didn't bother playing pinball outside of the tournament as the only two machines on Playdium's floor were my two greatest nemesises... nemesi? I don't know but Stern's Iron Man and Big Buck Hunter Pro were available to play on the floor... NO DICE.

All in all, everybody had a good time at the Canadian Pinball Tournament 2012! We chatted with a few pinball pros and legends (Hello Zeus!) and got an awesome surprise in the form of X-MEN!

No comments :

Post a Comment