Sunday, March 16, 2014


I gotta show some love for Community 54. It's a great vintage clothing store down on Queen St. W in the Parkdale area that has an a little arcade in the front lobby. Ever since I moved to the city a few years ago, Community 54 has always had a pinball machine amongst the various arcade machines. The machines are for sale and come and go often enough that they never outstay their welcome. The store sells a lot of 90's era apparel too so it's cool to see them go full-bore and even include a staple of the 90's in the form of an arcade. All sorts of pinball machines have passed through Community 54, everything from 70's solid-states like Charlie's Angels...
to Shaq Attaq!
What I find even cooler is many of the machines that come in are Premier/Gottlieb tables, like the Shaq Attaq above as well as Street Fighter II...
 and their latest addition, Waterworld!

You don't see much Premiers around any more. Premier tables get a lot of flack for being sub-par tables compared to the behemoths of Bally and Williams tables that they were competing against. Gottlieb was once considered a top dog in pinball but when the company assets changed hands and were sold only to be reincarnated as Premier in 1984, the quality of their output started to slip. Not to say their tables are trash, though; Premier did have a few good entries amongst the perennial favorites of Bally and Williams and are often unfairly compared to the paragons of pinball. People often point to tables like Tee'd Off as an example of Premier's quality, or lack thereof... and let me tell you, Tee'd Off is pretty crappy BUT there's also a few gems, like Stargate. Waterworld is another of Premier's tables that gets a lot of undue criticism. The table gets a lot of grief for being based on an infamous movie but HEY don't judge a book by its cover! Premier didn't exactly have the funds to acquire more desirable licenses but sometimes the weirder licensed tables tend to be a lot of fun, like Rollergames! Besides, Waterworld had a lot of hype going for it when it was released, being one of the most expensive movies made in 1995, and perhaps Premier was hoping to ride the hype wave. Unfortunately, that was not the case; Waterworld bombed both in the the theatres and the arcades. In Premier's case, they had to compete with the likes of Attack From Mars and Theatre of Magic, both released in 1995 to critical acclaim. Premier closed their doors a year later, with Waterworld being one of their last few tables.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pinball Update for March 2014

There has been a lot of action in the pinball scene this winter. During my last update in January, some new tables popped up in Toronto like Batman at Harborfront centre, which has now been replaced by Shrek. The Rolling Stones popped up at a new location, Bar Radio.
Speaking of old rocks, AC/DC has returned to the city.
The table is is at a new locale, Lipstick & Dynamite. The address is 992 Queen St. West, right around Queen and Ossington. The table is located in the back of the bar, near the washrooms. Word is that this particular AC/DC table has the updated code and it really shows. The game just feels much more fleshed out and there are now quite a few new animations on the Dot Matrix Display. The table is brand spankin' new right now; the playfield is so clean that you can hear the ball sliding across it. Everything is in order save for the cannon; when the ball is loaded into the cannon, it tends to stick and pressing the Fire button won't do anything. I also realized how much of a pain that cannon is. The right outlanes are obscured by the cannon and the ramps and makes it difficult to save your ball when it falls down near the right side.

Another War Machine championship for MUF!

This past Saturday, I went on a pinball marathon with my buddy, Adam, and played pinball all over the city, from 3030 to Monarch Tavern and everywhere else in between. Lipstick & Dynamite was the 4th stop on our trip and was my third time putting up my initials! Prior to L&D, we were at Boo Radley's in the Junction at Dupont and Symington. Wheel of Fortune is gone and Family Guy is now standing alone. It's been fixed up somewhat and the table doesn't spew out more pinballs at random as much any more. It still does, mind you, but not as often. One of the Stewie pinball slingshots is broken and blocks off the left outlane and makes for an awkward game. It's not too bad but it might screw you up once or twice.