Games played: Junk Yard, Getaway, The Addams Family, Tales of the Arabian Nights, The Walking Dead.
July 26 was the second night of Season 7, but the first night for me and Joseph. We had missed the first night due to a family vacation, and did makeup games when we got back. For me, Season 7 got off to an unusual start, as Matt asked me to run league night while he was on vacation himself. It was my first time running the league by myself! I would need to be very organized and do everything just right to impress all my friends.
Well – not all my friends. I knew that a lot of people would be missing league night because they would be traveling to Pittsburgh the next day for Pinburgh, and didn’t want to have too much pinball fun. Joseph and I would be off to Pinburgh too, but we understand that others may not be as tour ready as we are. So several people, we already knew, would not be coming. We were expecting a light crowd. We were not expecting only four people, but that’s how many people were there at 7 p.m. I began wondering if this would be the first ever night with only one group.
I had arrived early to start checking whether the games Matt had selected would be playable. We had to scratch a series of games. T3 wasn’t registering the right ramp. The newly-arrived Demo Man (which I still have not played) played fine for about 30 seconds until a ball ended up in the Retina Scan saucer and would not kick out. Indiana Jones was resetting almost every game. Monster Bash’s scoop was still kicking out straight down the middle. I ended up using a random number generator to fill out the card with games that seemed to be working well enough. One of the games it selected was Junk Yard. I felt an ominous shiver, but shrugged it off. At Matt’s direction, we would be playing five games regardless of how many people showed up.
We had a couple of new members (new to me at least), Tim and Steve. (No, a different Steve from the Steve who played last season.) Steve was in my group, and he let me know that he discovered the league by seeing the flyers at Pinball Pete’s. That’s how Joseph and I first learned about the league too, except in our case, we saw the flyers at Pete’s in Ann Arbor, which is en entirely sensible way of learning about something that happens a couple of blocks from my house in Lansing.
I decided to stall and see if anyone else showed up, and finally at about 7:15 four more people rolled in more or less at the same time, so we divided into two groups. League went by very fast because I made sure the groups started a couple of machines apart, and so there was never any waiting for machines. At one point the other group sent an emissary to ask me for a ruling. Someone had, of course, slam tilted Junk Yard. (I heard later that it was Tim.) I ruled that the perpetrator would receive zero and everyone else would get however many more balls were affected, as compensation. (I was reminded later that Matt usually allows people the choice of compensation balls or restarting the entire game. I had forgotten this, and having to make a decision in the moment, I defaulted to the rules that I use for my Avenue tournaments.)
Then my group got to Junk Yard. Russell was having an awful game. The machine just was not cutting him any breaks. His third ball drained (he was player 1 or 2, I forget which) and he grabbed hold of the machine and went to rage-tilt. Imagine this next part in slow motion for best effect. I lunged forward yelling “Russell, don’t…!” but it was too late. The screen blanked and the game reset. Russell took a moment to register what happened, while I glumly informed him that he slam tilted. The rest of us got compensation balls, but in Junk Yard that’s pretty painful, since the bonus is very cumulative. Joseph had been having an outstanding game by the end of Ball 2 and while he wasn’t sorry with his overall score, he wasn’t able to do much with his compensation ball.
When people finished, things dried up pretty quickly and we went home to pack for Pinburgh. It really didn’t feel like a normal league night, with so many regulars missing and so few people attending in general. The results aren’t available yet, between the delay in my getting the notebooks to Matt (when I got back from Pinburgh he left on another trip before I could give him the results, so he just got them last night) and the fact that so many people still need to do makeups. There are a few more photos in the gallery.
Here’s hoping that we see a great turnout for tonight’s league! Just don’t expect to play Demolition Man. Last night it stole four out of five quarters Joseph and I tried feeding it, so we shut it off in disgust.