Date: 3rd - 5th June, 2011
Location: Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street Seattle, WA 98109, USA.
Report by: Keith Nelson
Day 2 - My day started off with seminar after seminar. It was grueling, believe it or not. To anyone who attended all of the seminars throughout the day (Mike Lorrain being one of the few, if not the only person who did so), my hat is off to you!
Jersey Jack Guarnieri gives his talk with updates on the new
The Wizard of Oz pinball machine
They've been playing around with red heeled shoes as toppers for the flippers. He mentioned that at some point in the game there will be some clicking of the "heels" as in the movie.
He covers the backglass, which we have all seen. He said that this backglass will be hand painted and he is looking forward to putting it in his office since his wife won't let him put it up at home!
A first look at the lower left hand corner of the game. This could be a ball kicker/ball save feature. Lots of positive feedback from the crowd about this unique idea.
Jack was asked if he and Gary Stern have had a falling out - according to both Jack (who showed the above awkward picture from years ago) and Gary (who was in the crowd), they remain friends.
Greg gets up to speak about his involvement with Wizard of Oz
John Popadiuk begins his Saturday seminar.
His talk covered everything from the start of his career through all of his game development up through today where he is creating virtual tables for the iphone and ipad. He is looking toward the future for a way to create a real pinball machine that is based on the virtual titles, and linking the two of them. John currently works as a professor at a design school.
John saw himself as the squirrel going feverishly after the nut when he was describing how he got his first job at Bally.
He took us through some pictures of the Bally factory and showed us a picture of his Canadian friend who got him the job. He noted that after being taken to lunch by the boss, he said he would not head back to the airport unless John was offered the job.
The factory floor at Bally when John began to work there
We see a whitewood of John's first game design followed by this whitewood that John worked on before creating World Cup Soccer. He joked that it took 10 years for WCS to become a reality because he was always getting pushed aside by other games.
Showing off a one of a kind Atari Zizzle which never made it to production
Gary Stern begins his Saturday seminar.
You really could call this seminar "Manufacturing Pinball 101." You might also call it "Licensing 101" as he discussed the difficulties of and impossibilities of Stern creating a non-licensed theme.
He says his people are begging him to create non-licensed themes and he simply says "no." According to him, if he mentions a non-licensed game to a European distributor they will say "send me 1 or 2 to try out" but if he mentions "Avatar" they immediately say "I'll take two containers full." He says it is just too risky for Stern to do a non-licensed game.
Then Gary congratulated Cayle George, and although I did not quite catch what was being said, I believe Stern is giving Cayle a Tron pinball machine in recognition of his recent IFPA World Championship win
Gary continued talking, discussing the finer points of the pinball business. He expressed his belief that games are more likely to be played multiple times if play times are shorter, and that the way they've decided to move forward with shorter gameplay is by an element of randomness put into the game by toys such as the Tron spinner and magnets like those found in Iron Man.
He also talked about how Stern sees the market as a three-legged stool and repeated it throughout the presentation. Leg 1 - operators, especially European operators who make up 60% of business. Leg 2 - doctors and lawyers who don't know anything about pinballs and just buy one as a status symbol because it's cool, & Leg 3 - collectors such as ourselves.
Gary asked everyone to put their games out there and support the operators and businesses that have pinball machines. I personally pleaded with Gary to recognize that to attract new players he will need to put digital versions of his games on Wiis, Xbox 360s and PS3s.
Saturday night, Steve Ritchie gave his seminar, part of which he covered by reproducing the voice of the Black Knight, utilizing the exact same type of voice machine originally used - provided by Jerry Thompson
Steve and John Popadiuk pose together on the stage
John Popadiuk plays a virtual version of his own design, Cirqus Voltaire
Another shot of John playing the game
On Sunday, Barry Shilmover discusses Visual Pinball, Future Pinball and the creation and modifications of a Hyperpin Pinball Machine
Greg Freres greets the weary show goers on Sunday morning. I missed Greg's talk but was able to snap this picture just before he began.
On Sunday, the tournament area is abuzz with qualifiers
Keith Elwin asks me, "Why are you taking my picture?" I had to explain to him it was for Pinball News, otherwise I would not have bothered! ;)
Getting ready for the Classics tournament
The qualifying list for the main tournament
I popped back into Greg's seminar to get a few pictures.
He was showing off Whoa Nellie! and discussing how he has 4 machines available for purchase. They might also make the game available in kit form but that has not yet been decided upon.
Then he talked briefly about how he would love to make some Zombies game with Dennis after they've finished their work on The Wizard of Oz. Apparently Jack said no, but they're working on him.
He thanked Seattle for hosting this event and having him out there.
Note that he made this year's show poster, which was fantastic! Asked if he would be making next year's he politely said he kind of felt like he blew his whole load on this one and didn't know if he had anything available for next year.
The poster Greg made for the show
The poster also made it on to the back of the show T-Shirts!
The poster that adorned the System 11 row. I didn't notice it on Friday, but I saw it on Saturday and thought it would be great to document.
Finally, here are some close-up pictures of the Tron pinball machine from the show.
Last but not least, just before I had to leave the show, I popped in and took this picture of Tim Meighan
Tim was giving a talk on the repair of electro-mechanical games
That's it folks! I had a great time and I'm looking forward to next year!
© Pinball News 2011