Thursday, April 30, 2015

3 Years Later... 100 Posts Later!

Here we are at Post 100 of Bumper City! Just in time for the 3rd year anniversary of Bumper City! Back in April of 2012, I started this little pinball blog from the ground up, creating everything from the blog's first logo to a manifesto outlining what I wanted to do; celebrate pinball and it's continuing survival in Toronto!
Fast forward a few years later... and here we are, still going strong! From a tiny little feature in the back of my friends' zine...

... To national television! DANG
Back when I first started Bumper City, I was lucky to even get 10 views a day! Not that that ever deterred or discouraged me; I wrote every single post all for the love of the game. I still do, mind you, but I get a few more than 10 views a day which is nice to see! Since 100 posts is a pretty big milestone, I would like to use this post to pat myself on the back for getting this far and keeping at it this long. I would also like to say thank you to everyone that has taken time to visit Bumper City! I really appreciate your support and I wouldn't have made it this far without you! I have met a lot of great people through pinball and made a ton of awesome friends.
The last 3 years have been one wild trip! I've seen a lot of ups and downs in the pinball scene. When I first began, there was only a handful of machines in the city and it seemed like the game was barely hanging on. But in the last year or two, there seems to be quite a resurgence in pinball, all sorts of barcades popping up and wicked events going down! It's so cool to see pinball in such a lively and energetic state. I do a lot of writing on this blog and I mean a lot, so instead of talking about all the great times, I will let my pictures speak for themselves! Enjoy 3 years of Bumper City! Yer gonna have to open the post though ;)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I recently visited Ottawa back in February and took the opportunity to drop by House of TARG! How could I pass it up? During my latest visit, there were quite a few new tables in the roster compared to my Summer 2014 visit. One of the newcomers was Williams' classic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. We took a good look at the innovative table in my Round 2 review of House of TARG. The designer of T2, Steve Ritchie, was well represented at the House of TARG. The TARG lineup also included Rollergames, The Getaway, and Spider-Man, all designed by Ritchie. I have talked quite a bit about the first two tables but I have yet to really dig into Spider-Man here on Bumper City. Stern's Spider-Man table has had a few appearances in Toronto. I first came upon it at Ted's Collision when I moved to the city but it was in horrendous shape. Throughout the years, it had intermittent appearances at California Sandwiches. During its latest stint, I was able to get up onto the high score boards! 

This was around Summer 2014 when California had Mustang and Spider-Man. Mustang's novelty was starting to wear out so I spent a lot of time playing on Spider-Man. During my trip to House of TARG, I made sure to get a few rounds in on their Spider-Man table.

As I had mentioned, Spider-Man was designed by Steve Ritchie under the Stern banner. Ritchie's design philosophy is at full power on this table. Beautiful flow, tight shots, and the signature upper playfield flipper are all on display. Spider-Man is the perfect balance of the signature, combining well-flowing playfield with in-depth gameplay. There are so many shots and so many modes to complete, you can find yourself playing Spider-Man for a good couple of hours!

Monday, April 20, 2015


House of TARG takes their pinball game seriously, often switching machines in and out which makes my occasional visits all the better. Below is the latest lineup that I got to partake in during my trip in February.
There are a few staples at the barcade, such as The Addams Family, but compared to my last report, there were many new tables to play on. One particular new entry was the Williams classic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
T2 is a legendary table. It was one of the first tables to include a Dot Matrix Display though it was beat by Gilligan's Island due to a longer-than-expected development cycle. T2 was also the first to feature a video mode as well as an oscillating cannon!

Now, where have I seen a cannon before? Oh yeah, in my review of Stern's AC/DC
Before AC/DC, there was Terminator 2! The originator of the cannon was Steve Ritchie, who designed both T2 and AC/DC. Note the similarities between the two tables!
Dual ramps, kickback target next to the left ramp and a target bank in the middle, not to mention the cannon. If my review of AC/DC didn't make it clear how difficult some Steve Ritchie-designed tables were, then this look at T2 will put it to rest. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

F-14 Tom Cat at Junction City Music Hall

The Junction is quickly becoming the place to be when it comes to pinball! 3030 has long been a bastion of pinball with several machines always available for play. Now, Junction City Music Hall has been outfitted with a variety of tables ranging from Gottlieb Wedgeheads to classic Williams System-11's and a hidden gem in the form of Cue Ball Wizard! The Junction may be a little too far west for some but it is actually quite easy to get to. If you're taking the TTC, you can take Line 2 to Keele and take either the 41 Keele or 89 Old Weston north to Dundas West. After that, it's just a short walk westwards to find two of the best places to play pinball in Toronto!

In this post we will be looking at one of the tables from Junction City Music Hall. JCMH is located at 2907 Dundas West, tucked away next to Silk Restaurant.
Keep your eyes peeled because you may just miss the front door! Step in and make your way downstairs to the Music Hall!
To your right is the bar and to the left is a wonderful lineup of pinball machines!
Oh... that Fire! looks awfully familiar...
This table is the very same one that was at Bumper City: A Pinball Exposition!
As nice as Fire! is, I have something else on my mind. For the month of April, I'm dedicating all the posts to the King of Flow, Steve Ritchie! I have encountered a few of his tables in the last couple of months and since I'm a big fan of his work, I want to take a closer look at a few Ritchie classics! JCMH's roster has one particular table, the System-11 classic, Williams' F-14 Tomcat!
Coming hot off the heels of the formative High Speed, Steve Ritchie's follow-up table takes the term "high speed" quite literally! Just like the eponymous fighter jet that the theme is based off of, F-14 Tomcat moves at supersonic speeds. Everything on the table keeps the ball moving, whether it's the four flippers or the loop shots. The layout of the table is really tight and narrow which just adds to the high speed velocity of the table.