The NW Pinball & Arcade Show 2014 was held from June 6-8 in the Tacoma Convention Center, about 25 miles south of Seattle, WA. Pinball Magazine editor Jonathan Joosten attended the show for the first time. For an in-depth show report he refers to the website of Pinball News. Below you can read how Jonathan experienced the show for himself.


The past few years I have been watching the live streams from the NW Pinball Show. I think they were the first to do such live streams. This year I attended myself and did only see a few of the seminars as I could watch them later online. Instead I spent much time on the show floor and talking to pinball industry veterans like Steve Ritchie, Mark Ritchie, Pat McMahon, John Popadiuk, Ben Heck and Jack Guarnieri.

While John Popadiuk did not speak at a seminar, he did have the news of the weekend: After showing his KISS-themed prototype pinball machine at Midwest Gaming Classic in April of this year, with Stern employees being all over it, apparently Stern Pinball pursued the license. John had tried to get the license earlier on and was told to build a prototype first. Oddly enough that doesn’t apply to Stern as John’s lawyers confirmed to him the friday of the show that Stern had indeed secured the license.


John acted indifferent, but seemed mostly dissappointed that nobody from Stern had contacted him to work with them. Who knows that may happen after all since apparently neither designer Steve Ritchie or John Borg are interested in doing a KISS-themed pinball machine. Chances of Stern only taking the license to simply eliminate competition (and not building such a game) are considered unlikely as it seems that KISS would not sell the license unless the game would be build.


Jack Guarnieri also had some interesting news: Jean-Paul de Win, LCD artist for The Wizard Of Oz and The Hobbit is now also doing the playfield artwork for The Hobbit. Originally Jeff Bush was hired for the playfield artwork, but JP showed Jack he would be a better fit for this project. The upper left flipper on The Hobbit‘s playfield has been replaced by a kicker. On the images shown by Jack in his seminar it was not clear what type of kicker this would be. It could be a slingshot kicker, similar to what Spooky Pinball showed at Midwest Gaming Classic on their Pinball Zombies from beyond the Grave game.


The show itself was great. The only comment to make was that the air conditioning was cooling the building too much, making it quite frisky inside. Other than that: great show, great collection of games, great crowd, great team to take care of things. Attending this show next year is highly recommended!


While I only attended Seattle for the weekend I was able to visit Todd McCullog’s house and game rooms. Thanks to Julie Gray to show me around. Very impressive collection of classic and unique coin-op games. On a return visit i hope to be able to stay longer.


Over the weekend I was able to interview several of the earlier mentioned pinball industry veterans for Pinball Magazine No. 3. As they also discussed topics not intended for Issue 3 there may be some web only content coming up prior to the release of PM03.


Last but not least: Santiago Ciuffo’s PINBALL book was very well received by the visitors of the show. The book was offered by at the Pacific Pinball Museum stand, as well as in the booths of Rob Anthony and John Popdiuk.