Date: 20th June 2007
Location: Bologna, Italy (

Report by Federico Croci

Not your usual pinball party…

The “Pinball Frunz” open air pinball (and video game) party was born way back in the nineties, as the first event was held in 1994. And year after year, we have reached the landmark of the ninth Frunz.

But what is the “Pinball Frunz” exactly? You can tell it’s something about pinballs by the name, but… what exactly is a ‘Frunz’?

‘Frunz’ it’s a custom word to designate a night together with friends doing something absolutely crazy, like bringing out into the open air as many pinballs as you can, and playing them until the night is over.

The very first Frunz

We did it for the first time back in 1994 and we found it extremely funny! At the time we were just an handful of friends and it all was born by chance, as we were moving some games from one place to another, it was a hot Italian summer, the warehouse was an old barn near Bologna, and we thought “hey, we just moved these heavy games, why not to take a break before stocking them inside and just play them here in the countryside...”?

About 13 years later, the “Pinball Frunz” has become a regular open air party for all the Italian pinball fans, but not just for them as we also included something for people not so interested in playing a silver ball all night long!

We added two djs for the music; a big bang bar with coke and draft beer; and you can stay for as long as you want, enjoying talking with friends, playing, dancing to the music, visiting theinteresting stuff we include each year (such as the ‘flipper bus’, new this year), etc.

In this way, we managed to have about 250 attending at this year’s event, mostly for the games on free play, not only guys, but girls as well!

Year after year, we present games from our personal collections, but we had people traveling long distances, sometime bringing their favourite games for everyone to play.

Pinball and other games are installed in the gardens a couple days before, with the power supplied by a generator and with some large tarpaulins ready to cover the games in the unfortunate event of some rain.

One of only two times it has ever rained

But, thanks to the hot Italian summer, in more than ten years we only had rain twice - a fast downpour which after an hour was already over. In the meanwhile, girls kept dancing barefoot in the garden…!

But I suppose you may be interested in knowing more about the games than the other things :-) This year we played all night long with 15 different coin-op games; 11 real pinballs, a video flipper, one kiddie-ride, one table soccer / foosball game and a multigame video.

Harmony (Gottlieb)
Cow Poke (Gottlieb)
Ten Stars (Zaccaria)
West Club (Italian add-a-ball version)(Rally)
Super Duo (Gottlieb)
Subway (italian add-a-ball version)(Gottlieb)

Banzai Run (Williams)
Revenge from Mars (Bally)
Black Knight 2000 (Williams)
Guns N’ Roses (Data East)
The Simpsons (Data East)

Pinball Action (Tehkan)

The “Cow Poke” featured two internal video cameras to show what was happening inside the machine as you play it – very interesting to show the players the internal guts of the game!

Some Australian guys from England were there filming and interviewing attendees for a television pinball documentary…

Alongside the Pinball 2000 game, there was a large TV screen showing the newly released DVD from Greg Maletic “Tilt! The Battle to save Pinball”, with Italian subtitles – a first!

A slide projector also showed some old images from my trips to the pinball factories in Chicago back in the nineties, as well as pictures of rare games from the previous editions.

Back in the garden was an old bus adorned with large images of pinball characters, like Elvira, Rudy and the Doc from Party Zone… the Pinball Bus!

Add the night, the fresh air in the garden and a lot of beer, and the magic is complete …

You can find photos and descriptions of all the past “Pinball Frunz” at our web address, and more will be added!

Be sure not to miss our tenth edition in the summer 2008…


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© Pinball News 2007