Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bumper City: A Pinball Exposition WRAPPED UP

Holy moley! My little pinball show went real well!
Thanks to everyone who attended Bumper City: A Pinball Exposition. I couldn't have made it happen without all of you! I know it's pretty cliche to say that but I don't care, this is my blog and I will say what I want! I will say thank you again to everyone that supported the event.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson - The Black Cat Gallery
Gotta send some big thanks to Dan of The Pinball Sessions and Nathan of The Pinball Club for helping organize this event with me. Big thanks to Andrew of The Black Cat for providing the space! It looked real good with all the pinball machines! For those that weren't able to make it out to the lil expo, let me show you around!

Andrew was able to hook us up with a real nice vinyl window sticker of the very same logo you see up above. Now let's step inside the gallery...
The main point about this show is we didn't just want to bring in a couple of pinball machines and just have people play them. No, we wanted people to really experience pinball and learn about it. We had a timeline of pinball history set up along the wall opposite to the machine with all sorts of pinball and historical facts beginning in the 19th century all the way to the present day!
We also set it up in a way that would lead you straight to the bar, haha! In addition to the pinball timeline, we also had write-ups for each of the machines.
Learn about the historical background of each machine, details of the design team, how many were produced of each table, and other cool facts, such as the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 being the theme of Fire! or Strange World being Gottlieb's last EM. Speaking of the tables, we of course had a fine selection of pinball tables available for play.
We brought in some real choice tables, if I do say so myself! Strange World was our Electro-Mechanical entry, a rare Gottlieb Wedgehead from 1978. Strange World was a fine example of pinball's early years when there were no electronics, just a lot of relays, switches, and wires.
Not only is it a fine example of an EM table, Strange World is also the last of its kind as it was the final EM table that Gottlieb made before switching to Solid-State.
 Speaking of solid-state, Fire! showcased pinball's entry into electronics-based technology, although Fire! was quite a few years after the first solid-state machine, having been released in 1987. Nonetheless, Fire! is a fantastic entry in 80's pinball, with all the characteristics that came to bear during the decade of decadence. Multiball mode, dual ramps, a variety of rudimentary sound effects and music, and a rising ramp that leads to a second story shot!
Fire! is a System-11 machine with a fast-playing, symmetrical playfield and was the suprise hit of the show. People fell in love with the simple, yet fast-paced gameplay and beautiful artwork throughout the table.
My friend Sean brought this Fire Warden hardhat to the gallery and I spruced it up a bit.
Of course, we had to have the ultimate pinball machine, Twilight Zone, to round out the exposition!
What can I say that hasn't already been said about Twilight Zone? For those new visitors of Bright Lights Bumper City, Twilight Zone is considered the high water mark of pinball. This is the pinnacle of pinball design.
After the success of The Addams Family, the design team of Designer Pat Lawlor, Artist John Youssi, and Sound Designer Chris Granner, were given free reign to create the machine of their dreams, which manifested into Twilight Zone. Considered one of the most complicated and arguably one of the greatest tables ever made, TZ has it all. Deep rule set, multitudes of toys, and the playfield design that Lawlor is known for. Twilight Zone is also known to have one of the worst outlanes ever.
The bumper cluster is located just above the outlanes with one of the exits leading right down to the post that seperates the lanes. So many times, I saw that ball come out of the bumpers, bounce down onto the post and make it's way over and down the left outlane. Sunday night, after things had slowed down and I had the place to myself, I played a bunch of Twilight Zone and so many times, that left outlane ended my game... I hate it so much...
Anyways, enough about Twilight Zone, we are no longer on speaking terms. Something worth speaking about is what went down on opening night, August 21st...
Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson - The Black Cat Gallery
InnerSpace on the Space Channel came by to check out what we had going on as well as a pinball lesson for one of the hosts, Morgan! Click here to check out the interview!
Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson - The Black Cat Gallery
I was unable to attend the event on Friday Night as I had to be down on the mean streets of Oshawa for the debut of...
what's this? that doesn't look like a pinball machine...
We debuted this mean machine at Oshawa Auto Fest and lemme tell ya... it was a head turner!
It was a busy weekend for me. Mere hours after debuting the hot rod, I was back on the road to Toronto to mind the shop at Bumper City on Saturday night. A couple of friends came by and we just had a few beers and a couple of games of pinball for a little while! good times.
I couldn't stay out too late because I had to open the shop up again at noon... but I stayed up late anyways. I had to do a bit of pinball repair as Fire! was being uncooperative and wouldn't start up. Luckily, Dan knew what the issue was and was able to walk me through it over the phone. Thanks Dan!
After all the machines were up and running, I had a donut and a coffee and the day began! We had people coming in and out all day and it was fantastic to see so many people enjoying pinball!
I was supposed to close the doors at 6 but I stuck around for a little photo shoot with the machines and some more friends came by for some last minute pinball! I couldn't deny them and let them play to their hearts' content.
Maybe I spent a little TOO much time there on Sunday night... I didn't close shop until 10 PM. I think I got... LOST IN THE ZONE
Suffice it to say, I was super exhausted. Even days after the event, I was still trying to regain the energy I spent getting this all together and keeping it going all weekend! I am very glad to say that the event went on without a hitch and I wouldn't trade a single second for anything. I had an absolute blast putting this event on and I hope that, for those who attended, that you had just as much fun as I did! It was awesome to see people from all walks of life drop by the show to play pinball. A couple of pinball fans from Atlanta, GA, (BAD STREET USA) were in town, heard about the event and dropped by, a family that lived in the neighbourhood spent much of their weekend playing pinball, people that haven't played in years came by to rekindle their love of the game, and of course, all my friends and folks that I play pinball with dropped by! Thanks again to everyone who helped make this happen and attended this event!
lookin' like a TOTAL GOOF

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