Tuesday, March 31, 2015


If you have been a long-time follower of Bumper City then you would know that I have made a few trips out to this great nation's capital, Ottawa. I have a friend that lives up that way so whenever I go to visit him, you know that I have to check out the latest in the pinball scene up north. I gotta say, Ottawa has one helluva scene! Between House of TARG and the Ottawa Pinball Expo, there's plenty of pinball to go around.
It's cool to see the differences in pinball communities between Toronto and Ottawa. Whereas Toronto has a multitude of machines all over the city with about one to two tables per venue, Ottawa has a centralized location to get your pinball kicks. It's great in the winter when you don't have to trek all over the city to play a few games.
This wasn't my first time at House of TARG. I went to the holy grail of pinball back in July 2014 for a few games and a few reviews. If you want to check them out and get up to speed on House of TARG then let me direct you to the main TARG hub. The preview post contains links to each part of my summer TARG review all in one nifty section at the end of the post.
There was a bit of a different line-up this time around. A few machines from my last visit were switched out for new ones (so long Baywatch...) while some were still among the line-up and even re-vamped! Rollergames was in rough shape last time around but on this visit, it was all fixed up and playing real fine!

I have been doing a lot of hustlin' with this little blog. Posting it here and there, getting out there on social media and whatnot. I have met a lot of great people from pinball communities all over the world. During my latest visit to House of TARG, I had the opportunity to meet a few of the folks from the Ottawa pinball scene. Great set of people and so cool to meet other fellow pinball fiends outside of Toronto!
Ottawa really has something special with House of TARG; not just a legendary bar but the people that come here. I spent a good few hours on a Saturday at the venue and got to see people from all walks of life. I got there mid-afternoon and there was a children's birthday party going on so there were a bunch of young kids running around and playing pinball. A little while later, the older crowd started piling in for the night's festivities and I got to see the people that make up Ottawa's punk scene! Very cool stuff.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


When I found out about this table earlier in the year, I was ecstatic. I'm a big fan of wrestling as well as pinball so having two of my favorite things together as one was a dream come true. There was a release party for Wrestlemania in late February that I was hoping to attend and get a review of the table but unfortunately, other plans got in the way...
Though a trip to House of TARG is nothing to scoff at!

Some of my friends went to the release party and told me a bit about Wrestlemania but it just wasn't enough to satiate my hunger. I needed to play Wrestlemania. I needed to step into the squared circle and fight for the top score. Even before the table was released, I was getting in the ears of any bar proprietors that I could, telling them that they should, no, have to get Wrestlemania. Luckily, my prayers were answered by my favorite little pub, Monarch Tavern. @MrMonarchy tweeted me to let me know that Wrestlemania had arrived... and I marked out pretty hard. I made plans that weekend with the Toronto Pinball Crew to hit up California Sandwiches for dinner and pinball then go to Monarch Tavern to take the new table for a spin.
Wrestlemania was a hit with the crew. The pro wrestling theme is well integrated into the design which makes for a great game. Wrestlemania was designed by John Trudeau, his second table under the Stern banner. Mustang was his first and turned out to be a bit of weak table. According to Trudeau in his interview with Pinball Magazine, he was unfamiliar with the Stern formula and so I think Mustang suffered due to that. It seemed as though Mustang was stripped of a lot of things Trudeau wanted to do and was considered a bit of a "filler" table until the release of The Walking Dead. In addition to being saddled with what some consider a "weak license", Mustang just didn't do so hot. I liked the theme though I am a car guy so I have a bit of a bias. But I digress... The Wrestlemania pinball table feels like Trudeau has gotten his style locked down within Stern's parameters and is ready to go for the top title!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Guelph Pinball Club Part III - TAXI

Part THREE of Guelph Pinball Club? Yeah, why not! I mentioned in Part Two of my Guelph Pinball Club reviews that I was going to do Twilight Zone or Star Trek: The Next Generation but the same Twilight Zone already made an appearance at Bumper City: A Pinball Exposition and I just don't feel like writing about ST:TNG just yet. So I got to thinking, Guelph Pinball Club has a pretty impressive roster of System-11 era tables, like the Natural Disasters, Earthshaker and Whirlwind, which we got to check out in Part 1 of the Guelph Pinball Club trip reports. Pin-Bot was also a part of the lineup as well as a classic System-11 from Mark Ritchie, that is ...
Taxi! Taxi! There is just something about System-11 era tables that makes them so much fun. They are like the NES-era of pinball; primitive and rudimentary yet groundbreaking and historical for their time which left such a great impression on the people that played them. Wherever I go, whether it's a barcade like House of TARG, pinball expos like Michigan Pinball Expo or Ottawa Pinball Expo, or private collections, there is at least one System-11 table. These tables were revolutionary. Never before did you have ramps, music, and sound effects like this! Sure, there were some tables that did have those features; Jungle Lord had a dual playfield with small ramps but not the kind that started appearing with the advent of System-11 tables. Loads of ramps with criss-crossing habitrails were par for the course on many System-11 tables, Taxi especially!
Not only that but the gameplay of pinball was evolving. No longer were you just hitting everything on the table for points but now you were actually trying to complete objectives for really big scores! In the case of Taxi, you were tasked with picking up several passengers, ranging from Dracula to Pin-Bot and Santa!