May 2, 2004

And so it is Saturday.  The show started promptly at 10am but the main action was once again out in the parking lot where - as promised - the number of sellers had more than doubled since yesterday.

There was much that appeared to be junk (or to put it kindly, "projects") but I'm sure it would be treasure if it was just what you'd been looking for.

Knowing that none of these would qualify fit on the plane back home made it much easier to just ignore anything larger than hand luggage.

But there were plenty of people rummaging through boxes, crates, even buckets in search of a bargain.

There were also several vendors selling brand new parts or related products mixed in with the numerous playfields and cabinets.

The weather was bright and sunny, so standing around outside wasn't a good idea without some kind of headgear.

So we head back inside the hall to see how that has changed from yesterday's report.

And the answer is... not much.

Most of the games were the same and the vendors were unchanged, but there were many more visitors leading to queues at the entrance and difficulty getting a game.

It was no surprise that the most modern games were the most popular.  Ripley's Believe It Or Not! was played almost continuously all day as were the two Simpsons Pinball Party games.

The crowds peaked around midday and it continued to be busy until late afternoon when things eased a little before the prize draw took place.

Apart from the selling and the playing there were also a number of seminars at the show.  These were held in a side room in the Merchant's Square arcade.  It was fairly small with just 27 seats and a projector for slides.

The first seminar at 1pm was by Mark Niemkiewicz and was entitled "Winning strategies on Gottlieb wedgeheads". 

In this seminar, Mark went through a representative sample of Gottlieb's games from a 1935 Turntable through to a 1977 Golden Arrow.  Although these were not all wedgeheads, Mark discussed games such as Roto Pool, Cover Girl, Slick Chick,Sweet Hearts and King of Diamonds, describing the rules of each game and pointing out how to progress through them to win one or more specials.

Some common themes turned up across many of these games.  Firstly, the games' rules may not compare with the complexity of modern games but considering the mechanical nature of their hardware, they were surprisingly interesting.

Also, there is a common requirement to precisely and consistently make a skill shot from the shooter lane at the start of each ball. 

Doing this makes progress through the game much easier.  Finally, these games were really all about winning another free game, or in most cases, winning multiple free games.

The journey through the ages also included the phasing out of pins on the playfield, the introduction of the flipper and the many and varied cabinet and playfield designs.  Each game had its own story and Mark guided us through them.

It was particularly relevant as many of the games he spoke about were set up in the main show hall for all to play.

The next seminar at 1pm was hosted by Al Warner and was called "Customisizing Your Pinball". 

Al looked at the different types of mods and asked the main questions;

  • Why should you do a mod? 
  • What can you do?
  • What mods should you avoid?

In addition he talked about the extra parts you can make yourself and those you should buy, plus he spoke about using LEDs as replacements for traditional bulbs, to which end he showed the audience a modified Twilight Zone with white LEDs in the clock and the gumball machine. 

He also has a number of other mods lined-up for this game

Sadly, the lack of a working overhead projector meant that the slides he had prepared could not be fully appreciated.

There was another seminar at 3pm called "Ask the Pros Roundtable" but due to a gross dereliction of duty I went off to do some shopping at 2pm and missed it.

There is at least one (and possibly two) more seminars on Sunday.

The final item of not from today's happenings was the door prize draw a short time before the show closed for the day at 7pm.

As you had to be present to win a prize, many of the prize winners drawn from the box were absent, resulting in another name being drawn.  This process lasted a long time and although initially exciting quickly became a bit tedious as name after name was announced and found to be absent.

Sunday is the final day of the show and the doors close at 4pm, so I guess it will be a full day at the show, details of which will be in our Sunday report.



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