After a short break for the holidays, league play resumed with the first meeting of Season 4 on Tuesday. The usual suspects were joined by a couple of new members: Kristen, whom I previously met at the Arcade and Marvin’s Leagues, and Sam, a Grand Rapids League member coaxed over to Lansing by Jake. Russell, who was absent for nearly all of Season 3, and Eric, who abstained from Season 3 due to work obligations, made a return.
We were scheduled to play Austin Powers, Theatre of Magic, Monster Bash, and Junk Yard. Prior to the meeting I had asked Mike to please use his gremlin powers to break Austin Powers for me. While Matt was feeding Austin Powers, it stole several of his quarters, so he decided to strike it from the day’s schedule and substitute Attack from Mars. When I next ran into Mike, he greeted me with, “You’re welcome.” The streak continues unbroken: I have never yet written a League Night Preview that actually included all the games we ended up playing.
Speaking of Mike’s machine-wrecking tendencies, no one slam tilted Junk Yard tonight. To make up for this, Matt helpfully slam tilted Attack from Mars, thus sparing Chris from the burden of having to rule the universe. I was downstairs and didn’t witness this event, but Joseph did, and he reported to me that Matt just slid the table a few inches. In Joseph’s opinion, it deserved a tilt, but was not nearly aggressive enough to merit a slam tilt.
Joseph had a particularly good league game of Junk Yard, and got to put his initials in as the Junk Champion. He got to enjoy this for maybe as much as an hour before noticing that the Junk Champion had gone back to CST. According to Mike, this happened during Chris’s league game too.
As for my group, I ended up with James, Danny, and Alex. I edged out the narrowest victory over second place James in our group’s Theatre of Magic game, but came in a distant fourth in all other games, while my group-mates performed admirably, especially in a high-scoring game of Monster Bash. I believe this was James’s best-scoring night since he joined the league.
Since I hate league night being over for two weeks, I almost always linger until everyone else gives up and goes home. This time I was joined in the late night lingering by Jake, Sam, Joseph, Greg, and Mike. We hung around until about 11:30 – which might be the latest I have managed to drag the evening out – and then Jake said, “Let’s all go to Theio’s!” I thought this was a brilliant suggestion. We all piled into a booth at Theio’s, where we discussed, among less printable things, roller coasters. As I have been a roller coaster enthusiast since long before I discovered pinball, it does not take much to encourage me to talk about them at length and in excessive detail. The only thing better than amusement parks, in my book, is playing pinball at amusement parks, and the only thing better than pinball is amusement park themed pinball. My life may have peaked last summer when Joseph and I played Cyclone in the arcade at Rye Playland.
It was great to see everyone again, and I’m also quite happy to have Theatre of Magic added to our selection of games at the Avenue. It was my original favorite pinball machine, and though it has been surpassed in my affections as I’ve become acquainted with more games, it is still easily in my top 5. The Avenue has it turned up good and loud, too, which is a nice change from the barely-audible Addams Family it replaced. The Avenue has also turned the lights back on in the downstairs alcove and though no one would say it’s bright in there, it is certainly an improvement.