Sunday, July 7, 2013

St. Catherines Pinball Journey 2013!

Back in 2011, my brother Shane discovered a page on Kijiji that listed a bunch of locations of pinball tables throughout the St. Catherines area. There were some pretty awesome tables to be found in St. Catherines so we put together a map and went on a pinball journey!

Here's just a small sample of what we saw...

Data East's Star Wars at Colonial Cleaners in Port Colbourne.
Premier's Super Mario Bros. at Entertainment Overload in Welland.
Bally's Theatre of Magic at Harborfront Inn in Port Colbourne.
Data East's WWF Royal Rumble at Doubletree Inn in Niagara Falls.


We set out on another journey to play old, familiar tables from our past adventure as well as discover some new tables that have popped up on our radar.

The nice thing about St. Catherines is that it is sort of a peninsula and so the pinball locations are not so widespread and are more tightly clustered together. It is very easy to make a day trip out of a pinball journey as you can do a sort of a horseshoe through the area and hit up a lot of pinball.

Our first stop was in Welland at Entertainment Overload, an independent video game store that sells all manners of video games, everything from the latest releases to copies of old Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo games. Not only that but they have a ton of memorbilia strewn about, some for sale and others for decoration. One of the store's biggest pieces of paraphenilia would be Premier's Super Mario Bros. pinball table!

Super Mario Bros. is a real oddball table. It takes most of its inspiration from Super Mario World but the theme is very inconsistent. There's artwork from Super Mario Bros. 2 as well as from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show cartoon. If you look at the backglass, you'll see the cartoon version of King Koopa in the top right. However, if you look towards the playfield, you'll see the SMW version of Bowser.

There's only one shot you really need to make if you're looking to rack up points. Hit the left ramp to get up to the mini-playfield then hit the big green ramp on the right side to earn big points, rinse and repeat.

The table is pretty banged up but there have been a few DIY repairs. The left button has been replaced with a different button that is convex rather than the usual concave buttons. A paperclip has also been implemented to block off the left outlane as well.

Our next stop was at the Boston Pizza up the road from Entertainment Overload. Here in their little games corner was Stern's NBA.

The table was pretty beat up and had a lot of wear-and-tear to the point where the basketball shots sometimes missed their mark in the basketball net.

Shane said he enjoyed NBA but I still don't really care for it. There is nothing really interesting about the table; the only two shots to make are the kickout hole that launches the ball into the net and the ramp that... launches the ball into the net. The novelty of seeing the ball shooting into the net wears off after a little while, especially after having to wait several seconds for the ball to launch from the kickout hole. There's a couple of Multiball modes to activate but beyond that, there isn't a whole heckuva lot left.

After Welland we made our way south to my favorite little town in St. Catherines, Port Colbourne! We dropped into a local laundromat that two pinball tables call home, those being Data East's Star Wars (there's a Star Wars table here in Toronto. Check out the review!) and William's Red & Ted's Road ShoooOOOOOOOAAAWHAAAAAAAAT!


Can you tell who designed Red & Ted's Road Show just by looking at it?

Don't those faces look awfully familiar?

I've seen these particular playfield designs before...

If you said John Borg, yer WRONG! Now, if you said Pat Lawlor then you would be correct. Red & Ted's Road Show was released 1994, hot off the heels of Lawlor's magnum opus, Twilight Zone. If you thought Twilight Zone was a complicated table then you haven't experienced Red & Ted's Road Show. The table is a wide-body and the playfield is just stuffed to the gills with stuff. Ramps, habitrails, plunger lanes, you name it, R&T has it. The table is a spiritual sequel to Funhouse as it has two talking heads, Red & Ted, as well as a couple of Lawlor signatures that can be found on Funhouse as well, such as the Bumper Cluster skill shot, third flipper directed toward Rudy/Red's mouth and the double plunger lanes.

There's also a ton of modes to go along with the crazy playfield. The jist of it is to travel across the USA visiting a variety of cities. In particular you go to New York and have to run over Taxi cabs, a mode that is infamous for it's stereotypical Middle Eastern taxi cab driver. In addition to travelling across the USA, there's also several modes like 2X scoring that you must light. R&T has to be one of the most complex pinball tables out there and stepping up to it for the first time can be very intimidating.

I mean, just at look at this table! Pictures don't do it justice. R&T is BIG. The table was a part of the Bally/Williams SUPERPIN lineup with other titles such as Judge Dredd (Check out the review here!) and Popeye Saves The Earth. Look at all the habitrails sprouting from the top left of the playfield! I didn't even know where the ball was going half the time when it went into that maze of metal.

A good strategy with R&T is to go for Multiball right off the bat. This is quite easy to achieve as all you really have to do is hit the bulldozer targets in front of Ted five times to light Ball Lock. Lock the ball, hit the bulldozer targets another five times and then put a ball in Ted's mouth to activate Multiball. 

When Multiball is lit, Ted falls asleep and begins to snore. Why do I mention this? Well, the table has a shaker motor installed so whenever Ted snores this table shakes. It's like a friggin' earthquake going off this table shakes so dang much. I think it was mainly because of the flooring at the laundromat which was tile but the shaking on this table is SUPER LOOOOOUD hahaha it's pretty awesome.

ALRIGHT, that's it for now. Part 2 of the St. Catherines Pinball Journey will be coming around the corner very soon! We will look at the other pinball table that resides in this little laundromat Colonial Cleaners, Star Wars....

As well as my favorite bar in all of St. Catherines, Harborfront Inn! What table can be found at this hole-in-the-wall? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT! After that, we'll make our way to Niagara Falls and see what's happening there!

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