Live report: Texas Pinball Festival 2022
Posted on March 24, 2022
Special thanks to: Todd Yoder.
Thursday, March 24
Today is setup day for most vendors and exhibitors. Below are some pics just to give you an impression.
By the end of the day, the game hall really started to take shape. Below are some pics taken just before the hall was closed. For pinball industry insiders, the setting up days are the best chance to catch up with fellow industry people. Once the show starts, there’s hardly any time for that. With TPF being the first big show since Covid-19, for many industry insiders it feels a bit like a family reunion.
So besides taking photos, here’s some of the highlights of Thursday:
- Breakfast with Kim Vanderveen, one of the co-organizers of the show
- Breakfast with American Pinball’s David Fix at a local ’50s cafe
- Played Godzilla Pro for the first time at the Cointaker booth. What a great game!
- Collected prizes for the So You Think You Know Pinball-quiz, which will be Saturday at 6:00 PM
- Wrote down a bunch of questions for the So You Think You Know Pinball-quiz
- Helped set up a bunch of games at the American Pinball booth
- Had a lovely BBQ dinner with a local flyer collector, who was very happy with the European flyers I brought him.
- Played Bally Airway in the Pre-war booth over a dozen times. Such a great, simple game
- Caught up with many at the bar
Starting Friday afternoon, there will be several seminars. For the full seminar program, see www.texaspinball.com/tpf/events. Seminars will be streamed live, and can be watched later, on https://www.twitch.tv/texas_pinball_seminar.
Friday at 5:00PM the show officially opened. Jared Guynes, social media strategist for Stern Pinball, shot some cool photos with a drone, which he shared with me.
Thank you, Jared!
At the time I’m writing this, the Friday of TPF 2022 is almost a wrap. Here are some of the highlights:
Mirco of Mirco Playfields held a seminar on the recently announced upgrade kit for Tales of the Arabian Nights. As Mirco is also a playfield supplier to Jersey Jack Pinball, and some people have experienced issies with the playfield in their game, he was asked to comment on that. Not surprisingly, Mirco responded he was not at liberty to discuss this, and I don’t think he should either. I mean, if you buy a new Volkswagen car and the tires tend to go flat, are you going to complain to Michelin directly, or to your Volkswagen dealer?
During the Jersey Jack Pinball seminar with pinball designer Steve Ritchie and company founder Jack Guarnieri, Jack indicated he expects the current playfield issues won’t be an issue on their next title. He also indicated their next title will be announced soon and later went as far as saying it should be out by June or July. We may even see a second new game from JJP before the end of 2022. Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast streamed the entire seminar, which you can watch on Facebook, or on the official stream.
Earlier highlights of the day included playing some of the pinball games that came out this past two years. I played some great games on American Pinball’s Hot Wheels and Legends of Valhalla, Jersey Jack Pinball’s Guns N’ Roses, and Stern Pinball’s Godzilla and Rush. I also played Pinball Brothers’ Alien and Spooky Pinball’s Halloween and Ultraman. While I enjoyed playing these games, I had to get used to them a bit. Partly because of the lack of visibility of where the ball is going. That doesn’t mean these are lesser games, but some games, or themes, are just not for everybody.
While vendors were still setting up I was also collecting prizes for the So you Think You Know Pinball quiz, which will be held tomorrow at 6:00 PM. The quiz is sponsored by several manufacturers who donated merchandise and other stuff to be given out to participants of the quiz. I can say, this year’s prizes are the bigger than ever: Spooky Pinball surprized me with a hoody and a T-shirt, Stern Pinball sent over three translites, T-shirts, caps and more, American Pinball threw in a Legends of Valhalla backglass, and Jersey Jack Pinball told me we can give away a Guns N’ Roses playfield! And there are lots of smaller prizes as well to be won as well.
Saturday morning kicked off with the traditional swap meet in the parking lot, offering a wide variety of pinball and video game parts, manuals, project games and such.
I was looking for a certain specific part and was lucky enough to find one for a different game, but with a color scheme that matches the game I need it for, so I’m happy 🙂
Following the swap meet I went into the show hall just before the show opened. Right at the entrance is a Safecracker pinball game that awards a special TPF token if you manage to crack the bank. Usually there is a line toplay the game, but as the show hadn’t opened yet, I took my chance. I was able to play three games before the doors of the show opened and I just started my fourth game. That was actually a pretty good game in which I managed to win the special token, which resulted in some cheering from the people waiting in line. Much to my surprise did the game dispend the ‘old’ TPF token instead of the new one, which was the main reason to play the game. Luckily, I was able to swap the old token for a new one at the registration desk, so I now have both versions of the token as souvenirs of the show. To clarify, the old token I already won at a previous edition of the show.
At 6:00 PM,Martin and I were scheduled to host our So You Think You Know Pinball quiz in the bar area of the Embassy Suites. That meant we had to prepare the area for the quiz, set up tables with prizes, put a raffle ticket on each prize and make sure our questions got displayed on the TV screen in the back. The TPF crew provided a small PA sound system to amplify the quiz with mics for Martin and me. We had prepared questions on Friday, which Martin put into a slide show.
The quiz was a big success as we had more participants than in earlier editions. Although we planned the quiz to run for an hour, we ran a little late as we still had some prizes left to give away. Please note that this edition of the So You Think You Know Pinball quiz was made possible with prize donations from Jersey Jack Pinball, American Pinball, Stern Pinball, Spooky Pinball, Texas Pinball Festival, Haggis Pinball, ColorDMD, Sunshine Laundromat New York, Pinball News and Pinball Magazine.
Following the quiz, I was part of a group of 10 people that headed to Hard Eight BBQ for dinner. This restaurant is a personal favorite and I’ve been looking forward to going back ever since TPF 2019. It’s almost a tradition. As I was supposed to present an award at the Twipies ater that evening, I was planning this visit to be sort of a quicky, but it wasn’t. As a result, I missed the award I was supposed to present, for which I apologized to the hosts and organizer of the show. Apparently, I missed it by 10 minutes.
Following the Twipy Awards, there was an after party in the seminar room with Scott Danesi and DJ mTort. Earlier on, we had talked about me joining them, but in the end it was their party and I didn’t want to take away any of their time to perform. Hopefully next year we can work something out.
While the party was going on in the seminar room, I headed into the show hall where I got to play Led Zeppelin pro, Cactus Canyon remake, Multimorphic’s Heist and Weird Al’s of Natural Hilarity. Congrats to Multimorphic! Both Heist and Weird Al are great games that enjoyed very much. Cactus Canyon remake is also very well done. I put up a decent score on Led Zeppelin, but the game didn’t impress me that much, as there’s hardly anything on it.
When I decided to call it a night I ran into pinball designer Steve Ritchie by the elevator. He invited me to join him and a few friends to drink some tequila. Tequila isn’t really my drink, to which Steve responded that I probably only drank the cheap stuff that isn’t any good. I needed to taste good tequila. If the king of flow says so, I’m not going to argue. Steve brought a bottle of tequila that costs $180.-. Although it still isn’t my drink, I could taste this was some good stuff. Thanks Steve!
Sunday morning, everybody checking out had to clear their room by 11:00 AM. So it was breakfast and then packing my bags. Ross Simpson kindly offered his room to store our luggage for the rest of the day, so we didn’t have to worry about that. I joined Mark Ritchie, his wife Trudy, and Kato from the Pinball Brothers at the terrace near the bar for an interesting conversation. Later that day I caught up with Ryan White of Chicago Gaming on the show floor.
When the show had ended, I ran into Steve Ritchie again, who suggested to sit outside in the shade. Martin joined us 15 minutes later. The plan was to interview Steve, but it turned out to be more of a pre-interview discussion. It was very interesting hearing Steve talk and we’ll be interviewing him soon, which most likely will become a bonus episode of our PINcast.
As it turned out, Nicolas Manaud of PinSound was on the same flight as Martin and I and offered us a ride back to the airport. Thank you, Nicolas! Before heading out, we enjoyed a few drinks in the Happy Hour bar of the hotel. We figured we’d find something to eat at the airport, but that turned out to be a mistake as most restaurants at the airport were already closed.
Rounding up this report, I have to congratulate the organizing TPF team for such a great show. I didn’t do a head count, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this year’s show had the biggest attendance compared to previous editions. Moving the tournament area upstairs seemed like a good move, allowing more vendors to be on the show floor. All in all, another great edition is in the books and I was happy to be there and be a part of it. I’m already looking forward to next year’s edition.
For a far more in-depth report on the Texas Pinball Festival, please check out the coverage by Pinball News.