Wednesday, May 14, 2014


The final tournament of Kensington Brewing Company and 3030 Dundas West's Pinball Sundays was held this past Sunday on May 11.
Now was the time for my redemption. I attended two out of the past three tournaments, Brass Taps and Get Well (click the links to see my recaps of the events) and came up short both times. At the Brass Taps tournament, I made it to the finals where I lost to my friend, Adam.
At Get Well, I was eliminated by Tyler in the Semi-Finals.
When I found out that the final tournament at 3030 was going to be postponed until May 11, I took advantage of the time between to practice my game. I spent a lot of time and money working on my pinball game, whether it was endurance practice at California Sandwiches...
playing on broken down machines at Bar 918...
working on accuracy and setting high scores at Unlovable and Monarch Tavern...

... or back in the mean streets of Oshawa at Leisure Lanes, mastering the finesse of the Whitby Shuffle
I put a lot of time in to build the five S's of World Cup Soccer...
May 11th rolled around and after having a nice Mother's Day brunch with my mother and family, I headed back to the big city in preparation of the final tournament. Days before the event, it was announced that there would be a mystery machine for the tournament. It ended up being Williams' JUNGLE LORD!
 I think it would be an appropriate time for an IMPROMPTU REVIEW!
Jungle Lord takes major influence from Black Knight; most evident is the upper playfield. Other notable influences include the magnasaves located above the outlanes. Trust me when I say this... Jungle Lord is much more punishing than Black Knight if you can believe it. It's a tough table to get a good score going and many of the shots are set up in such a way to cause instant drains. The problem with these sorts of tables, like Black Knight 2000 and Flash Gordon, is because the upper playfield takes up so much real estate, the lower playfield becomes very dangerous.

Many of the shots are much closer to the flippers and outlanes and so a stray shot can end up bouncing around in the slingshots and get thrown down through the outlanes. The middle ramp on Jungle Lord will mess your day up whether you're on the upper or lower playfield. It's located right above the center drain and tends to send balls from the upper playfield straight down the middle. The middle ramp is easier to hit from the left flipper which also causes some problems; the ball will sometimes hit the underside of the upper left flipper and come flying right back down the ramp. There are the magnasaves located near the outlanes to assist you in catching the ball when it's looking to drain but first you have to charge them up by hitting the drop targets on either side of the lower playfield.
The upper playfield is the key to rocking this machine as lots of points and multiball are to be had up there. Aim for the saucer above the right ramp or hit the other saucer located in the top right to start the pachinko-esque mini-ball on the opposite side.
This little mini-game looks a primitive version of Family Guy's Stewie Pinball. In order to activate Multiball, you must light LORD. Easier said than done; you have to nudge the ball through each lane to light the letters and they do not change over when you press the flipper buttons. You really have to nudge and shake the table in order to light LORD. There are the Tiger drop targets to hit as well but those can be risky as only a few will pop up at a time and missing them can launch the ball back down the ramps.
Jungle Lord sounds like a real punishing table and it really is. There are a lot of shots that cause you to drain and only a few that will award decent points. I felt the sting of Jungle Lord. When the tournament began, I squared off with my buddy Sean on Jungle Lord... and proceeding to get kicked all over the place.
I lost in the very first round. Luckily, there was a buy-in slot available. It was between myself, Ross, and AK to see who would get the buy-in round and get a second chance in the tournament. We decided to play on Space Shuttle instead of the harsh mistress that is Jungle Lord.
I am much more familiar with Space Shuttle than I am with Jungle Lord. I used to play it all the time on Farsight's precursor to Pinball Arcade, Williams' Pinball Hall of Fame. Space Shuttle has also been a part of 3030's lineup for a while now and I have spent some time on it. When it came time to battle in a Triple Threat match against Ross and AK, I defeated my opponents and earned myself a spot on the board! I had to play at a disadvantage though. I was up against Kareem in the first round but I had to beat him twice to get through; he only had to beat me once. I defeated Kareem not once... but twice and moved into the Quarter Finals. I then battled Kyle From Kensington Brewery and he too felt the THUNDERK!... by the way, my camera's battery died around this point so I was unable to take any more photos of the event. Instead, just have some pictures from before my camera died.
Shades of the Brass Taps tournament, Adam and I once again went head-to-head in the Semi-Finals. I've been playing with Adam since the Pinball Crawl back in September of 2013 and this dude has shaped up quite a bit. His pinball game is quite formidable and impressive given that he has been playing seriously since the Crawl. I took the win this time around and moved on to the finals against the man that knocked me out in the Semi-Finals at Get Well... TYLER.
I had been playing on Space Shuttle throughout each round of my second chance and was feeling quite good about it. I discovered the safest shot was to make the loop shot to the right of the main ramp as it awards 10,000 points and throws it into the rollovers that will light the bonus multipliers. I also busted out a secret technique... MUSIC. I put together a playlist on my iPod of Music to Play Pinball By, stuff that is wicked fast and exciting to put me in the zone. It was quite effective and helped do away with any distractions that may have come my way.
everyone warming up their hands before a game
So, the final round began... I put my headphones on, strapped on the ol' sweatband and got to work. I was able to pick up a good lead against Tyler by focusing my shots on the loop and building up bonus mulitpliers. Things were looking good and when I was on my third ball, I locked two balls, hit the drop target to open the ramp and light multiball when this song came on my iPod...
That's when things got REAL! I hit the ramp, activated multiball, grabbed the broom and proceeded to CLEAN HOUSE! From a poor showing leading to elimination in the first round to a second chance through a buy-in all the way through to the finals, battling foes of tournaments past, I accomplished what I set out to do all those weeks ago at the beginning of Kensington Brewing Company and 3030's Pinball Sundays, and that was become Pinball Champion!

It couldn't have happened at a better time either! This was the FINAL Pinball Sunday and my last chance at glory. I almost squandered my chance in the first round but I got it together and took the championship by storm!!
Eye of the Tiger!
Big thanks to Kensington Brewing Company and 3030 Dundas West for organizing and hosting these tournaments. Only recently have pinball events like these been popping up in the city and here's hoping to see Kensington Brewing Co. and 3030 host more events. It's a great way to get the pinball community together and play a few rounds. If you're interested in keeping in the know about any pinball events or just getting out and playing with fellow pinballers in Toronto, well I got something you might be interested in... I recently started up the Toronto Pinball Crew, a group on Facebook, where all the local pinballers can get together and talk about pinball. Post on the group page, mention where you're going to be playing or if anybody would be up for a game somewhere and get together to play some pinball! Anybody and everybody is welcome to the Toronto Pinball Crew so come and join up!

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