Saturday 8th April 2000.

Another year, and another convention from the Pinball Owners Association, the United Kingdom pinball fans' club.

This year we're back in Birmingham, at the Students' Guild at Aston University. It's not the easiest place to find, and parking proved a nightmare, but the hall itself was just the right size, and there was plenty of beer nearby which can't be bad.

Once inside the hall, there was loads of space to walk around, and getting on a game never took very long.

There was a good selection of games from all eras, although there were no Pinball 2000 or modern Sega games.

These were the competition games. I didn't find time to compete so I can't comment how smoothly it went but that probably means there were no problems.

The queues were minimal, but it would have been nice to have an announcement before the competition closed, for players to have a last chance.

The game quality was good, with some exceptionally well-restored examples.

Special mentions to the Fish Tales from David Blake, and Ray Fosters' Stern Trident which caught my attention as having been excellently restored.

The POA stand saw some brisk trade, especially in T-shirts and sweatshirts. Simon Holman and Adrian Lodge manning the stall here.

Look out for the new posters from our Dutch colleagues at the DPO which feature a collection of modern game backglasses.

In total, 49 games made it to the convention, although a few didn't manage to work on the Saturday. I don't know if they made it by Sunday.

Many were for sale, and there were some good deals to be had. The aforementioned Fish Tales at £550 was tempting, as was a Star Trek TNG at £395.

Sadly some of the bargains proved too good for the visitors, and by the end of Saturday quite a few games had been carted off leaving gaps in their wake.

Again, I hope there were suitable replacements for Sunday's session.

So, all in all it was a fun day, and a good chance to meet up with old friends and acquaintances. The mix of pins was fine, and the quality generally good.
There were enough people there, without it becoming uncomfortable or crowded, but were there enough to make the show financially viable? We'll have to wait to see.

It was unfortunate that the show coincided with the German pinball show or we might have had more visitors from continental Europe. Similarly, Saturday's show clashed with the Grand National. Sunday attendance should have been boosted by a report on Central News. There was a camera crew from the programme shooting there on Saturday.

So a big thanks to Adrian and Sarah for putting the effort into organising this and lets hope the experience hasn't put you off organising another.


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