As opposed to “wizardry”, that is. Participated in the annual Sörkka Pinball Open-championships, and didn’t exactly excel. Placed ~40th out of 54 participants, which is not really cause to celebrate (haven’t seen the official results yet).
The competition was indeed organized in Sörnäinen, in an industrial building put to better use. Filled with pinball machines, out of which six were chosen to select the champions out of mere mortals. Three electro-mechanical games and and three solid-state games. Managed to suck in both.
First up was a definite old-skool game, Williams’ Strato-Flite, whose simple layout didn’t exactly give clue what combos (if any) would lead to decent scores. As a result, the pickings were on the meager side.
Harlem Globetrotters, another old game was next (I’m not 100% sure whether this is indeed the game linked to – the playfield seemed to be plainer). Mechanically rather simple, but unforgiving nonetheless – this was the game where I began to experience very fast drains, something that didn’t really let up during the competition. In other words, no big score here either.
Scared Stiff was the first modern game to tackle. Never played it before, so in the face of a zillion combos I definitely had a disadvantage over more experienced competitors. Had a decent outing, and came away thinking that this would be near the top of the “Pins to Own”-list – which is to say that I quite liked the board.
The crowd was surging near the remaining two recent-ish games, so retreated to the world of mechanical pinball. Cleopatra was the first game of the day where I managed to play well, laying down the high score among the forty or so first players (no idea whether it remained to the very end). Definitely a simple game, where target pickup succeeded remarkably well. Second ball drained almost instantly, but the other two racked a very reasonable score.
The last two pins, Sword of Fury and Bram Stoker’s Dracula exhibited disturbingly similar pattern of quick drains. Did have some decent moments on both, but as a whole, pretty much sucked – lack of practice, especially specific and but also general rearing its ugly head. The former had an interesting extra playing field on the top right corner, which turned out to be hard to control – on the latter a powerful center shot was a bad choice indeed, since a head-on collision sent the ball back towards a certain center drain.
So, the competition didn’t go that well, but fortunately that was not the whole width of the excursion. More and more games of the collection were opened for free gaming, and they were put to good use. Had never seen Pat Lawlor‘s pinball/boardgame-combo Safecracker, and managed to score unexpectedly high on that. Another completely new game was Bally’s Speakeasy, that proved to be very generous with awarding of extra balls (at one time I had no less than four). Those extra balls didn’t however score well-enough, and despite a formidable surge on the first two, it was Matti who got the top honours in the game. This was one of the must-pay games, where scores were indeed tallied – between the three of us (yours truly, Matti and Lemmy) we got six replays, which, after a fifteen minutes or so of intese play didn’t feel like spending, so they were left in the machine fo others to enjoy.
The finale of the tournament was played on Banzai Run, another Pat Lawlor game. Would definitely have wanted to have a go at this odd two-field game (the backboard is used as well), but that’ll happen some other time. Not all of the machines were available, unfortunately, so I still haven’t tried out the likes of Guns n’ Roses or Baby Pacman.
Definitely a good competition, and one I shall attempt to attend next year as well.