Friday, March 25, 2016

Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo 2016 Trip Report

Alright, let's get to talking about the 2016 Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo! I went way out of my comfort zone of Toronto to attend this one. For those long-time readers, you know quite well that I'm not bound to the city limits of the Big Smoke. I get around to all sorts of Expos, like Michigan Pinball Expo and Ottawa Pinball Expo. Now we can mark the Florida APE off the list! There has been something on my chest for quite some time about Expos that I just haven't been able to articulate until now. I picked up a book called The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross and in the foreword by Ken MacLeod, he says something in regards to conventions that "the peculiar melancholy of looking back on a con and realising no matter how good of a time you had, there was even more that you missed." That is exactly how I feel about pinball expos!
No matter how many machines I played, no matter how many pictures I took, I always think about the stuff that I missed. Shamefully, I missed out on playing the new P3 game Lexy Lightspeed as well as a few others I was hoping to play. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out; the lineup for a pinball machine is just too long or it's out of service while you're there. I just find it so difficult to wait in line for a pinball machine at Expos. You never know how good the person ahead of you is playing or if they're a goof and started a 4 player game for themselves. Pinball Expos must be a nightmare for those with short attention spans. You're waiting in line for a particular machine but there's so many around you making all this noise and lightshows that you just kind of wander out of line and find yourself playing something else. I have to say I am a pretty focused individual but when it comes to expos, I just lose all focus! There are all sorts of different machines I want to play, some that I rarely see on route or that I haven't seen before, like The Champion Pub!

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Alright, I'm just gonna get the cliche out of the way now... WHO YA GONNA CALL??

Well, looks like you will be calling Stern Pinball!
Now, with that out of the way, I would like to say "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH OH MY GORD!!!!!!!!!!" I am so SO STOKED to see this! Ghostbusters pinball! I can't believe it. Actually, yes I can. I'm ready to believe you. There has been rumors abound and leaks regarding the backglass artwork and whatnot but many claimed it was "too good to be true". Well, it looks TOO GOOD and it is TRUE because Stern made the announcement today!
Holy moley, this table looks downright amazing. Hand-drawn artwork, all sorts of toys, so many references to the movie and that ECTO-1 SIDEART OH MY!!
I'm calling it now... Ghostbusters is going to be one of Stern's BEST tables. At the very least it will be my favorite table! John Trudeau is the designer of Ghostbusters and based on the amount of stuff packed into the playfield, it looks like Stern has finally let him off the leash. There looks to be a ton of shots, a really big and steep ramp, a Slimer bash toy
and a big ol' Stay Puft looming over the table. The Slimer moves too; hitting Slimer causes him to "slime" the playfield and turn a bunch of targets green which you then have to clean up. The Pro table looks to be losing out on a few toys and features but at least it doesn't seem to be as pared down as Game of Thrones Pro was. The Pro version still features the same cityscape over the pop bumpers which I think is a really neat addition and helps build a little New York City under glass.
The Premium and Limited editions come with some sort of a ghost hologram target which sounds pretty neat along with upgraded metal ramps and magnetic slingshots. I'm interested to see how the gameplay varies with that. It sounds like getting caught up in the slingshots could get a helluva lot more unpredictable. There are also a few more new toys like the storage containment unit and public library.
The artwork, which is done by Jeremy Packer, otherwise known as Zombie Yeti, looks amazing and very colourful. (Neat fact, Zombie Yeti was the fellow that was working on John Popadiuk's Magic Girl pinball before that went belly up) There looks to be all sorts of little details and references packed into the art. There is even a little pinball machine tucked away in the Firehouse toy!
The premise of the table is similar to the 2009 Ghostbusters video game in that you as the player are a new Ghostbuster recruit and gotta bust hella ghosts (also bust some high scores)! Ernie Hudson was also brought on to do custom callouts along with classic quips from the movie so that should be pretty cool too.

I think I better start saving up my money because if there is one machine I need to buy, it's this one. I'll be keeping a very close eye on the Ghostbusters release so you better keep a close eye on Bumper City! When this baby pops up in the wild, you best believe I will have a review ready to go!