League night #6 of 8. Games played: Ghostbusters, Lord of the Rings, Fish Tales, Attack from Mars, Junk Yard.
The big news for last league night was the arrival of a Ghostbusters LE at the Avenue, taking the former spot of World Cup Soccer, which has moved upstairs. While everyone loves seeing a new game go in, it does feel a bit too ironic that we have gotten such a fancy new machine while several other games remain unplayable for league. On this occasion, Jack-Bot’s right eye saucer was not registering. Demolition Man and Austin Powers continue to steal quarters at an alarming rate. Terminator 3’s right ramp does not register (or doesn’t register reliably; there’s some disagreement about this point). Monster Bash has long been excluded from league play due to a straight-down-the-middle scoop kickout. As a result, we have been playing many of the same games (the more reliable ones) repeatedly. I joined the league when there were only 5 games present, period, so it doesn’t bother me quite as much; still, with all the variety we now have available (in theory), it would be nice to be able to change out games more often.
Ghostbusters gets mixed reviews from the league. Some people like it, some people want to like it, others are quite vocal in their dislike. I don’t mind the Pro that I play elsewhere so much, but the LE at the Avenue makes very unpleasant use of the so-called “magnetic slings.” During my league game, I was in the process of getting the ball in hand for a jackpot shot when it suddenly froze dead center between the flippers and then dropped right down the middle. It isn’t just me, either; others reported the same phenomenon. I’m not a fan of magnets on the playfield in general and this is a particularly bad example.
Strangely, a refrigerator has appeared where Joust and Dig Dug briefly stood (it was empty yet turned on), and the video games have been moved out to the area near the back door. At one point Sam outright insisted that I get inside the refrigerator for a photo, which he borrowed my camera to take. I couldn’t get both of my legs in safely so he fortunately could not shut the door on me (but he tried). Afterward he ran around with my camera for a few minutes and took some of the best shots of the night. The reason his photos are so good is that he completely ignored etiquette and took shots of people playing up close (to be fair, they weren’t playing league games), which I am too timid or too polite (your choice) to do. He also shot from the hip, not literally but close to it, so he got some of those great serendipitous shots that are made possible by not trying too hard. All the photos in this entry were taken by Sam.
One of the surprises of the night was the return of Danny after at least a season’s absence. We did have some advance notice that he’d been around by the fact that Ghostbusters already had DMCs all over the high score table. Danny was in my group, and one of the stranger events of the night that I witnessed involved his game of Lord of the Rings. On ball 3, he drained with a pretty low score (especially by his standards). I went to take down the score and found that it wasn’t ending his ball. After some confusion, we discovered that his ball was back in the shooter lane. He confirmed that his ball definitely drained between the flippers. It wasn’t an extra ball, either; everything was acting as though his ball was still in progress. The rest of us told him to go ahead and play it. After all, the game said his ball was in play. He shrugged, went back to work, and put up a monster score. (I’ve had that happen to me at least one other time on LotR, though not on a league game. I don’t know what causes it.)
Tonight we’re going to be playing our seventh meeting of the season (out of eight). Some of the positions have really narrowed a lot (see the standings for more details). I know my 7th place is in danger and I need to keep my nose above the 8th place water mark to ensure playing in A division again. I’ll see you soon – I hope!