Day 4 was a bit of a slow day. I was very tired due to only sleeping for about 3 hours. Luckely the signs of that only started showing during the evening. Highlight of the day was the seminar of Python Anghelo and Phoebe James Smith on Bad Cats. Python is such a great character! I also saw the seminars by John Greatwich of about reproducing classic Stern backglasses and the Michael Gottlieb seminar about the Gottlieb factory. Both had some very interesting background details.


After the seminars there was an autographing session where all designers being present were available to sign anything you put in front of them. Well, almost anything 😉 The last seminar was reserved for Gary Stern, who just flew in from Italy. As many may know most of Gary’s seminars are the same repetitive talk, but after I made a comment about that I got the idea he threw in a few of stories I hadn’t heard before 🙂

In the evening there was a charity auction for the Make a Wish foundation. I put in a copy of Pinball Magazine which was signed by almost everybody in the magazine, like Roger Sharpe, Josh Sharpe, Zach Sharpe, Gary Flower, Gary Stern, Greg Freres, Dennis Nordman and Mark Ritchie. Silly enough I forgot to sign the editor page myself. Anyway, the magazine was put up for auction and announced as signed by Roger Sharpe. Too bad the others weren’t mentioned as that could have helped to raise even more money. The magazine was sold for $ 60.00!


After that the banquet took place, which basically was the first thing I ate that day. Joe Kaminkow was the speaker that night and presented a slideshow about his years in pinball. Afterwards the Hall of Fame ceremony took place. The late Steve Kirk and Stern pinball designer John Borg were inducted. To conclude the evening I played some pinball and hang out in the exhibit hall till around 2 AM and then called it a day.


Day 5 started with me having breakfast with Gene Cunningham. Gene was staying in the same hotel and I was asked to join his wife and son in law when I spotted them in the hotel lobby. Afterwards I helped them pack up their parts as it seemed they could use an extra pair of hands. Then they dropped me of at the Westin.


Day 5 had no seminars. The tournaments were being concluded and vendors were taking down their booths. Not that exciting and it should be no surprise there were only a few people present compared to the crowd of the previous days. I did shoot a short video of Roger Sharpe playing X-Men, which I will upload once I get back home. I finally got to play that game too. The design is interesting but I guess I’m just not that much into Marvel superheroes. On the plane I tried to watch the Avengers movie, but I just did not grab me.


I had some interesting discussions in the afternoon of Day 5. David Marston told me he noticed that tournament players hardly attend seminars and people who visit seminars hardly play in the tournaments. He was wondering whether that was a sign of the pinball community sort of dividing. Could be an interesting topic to discuss in a future issue of Pinball Magazine. Later that afternoon I briefly talked about it with Josh Sharpe. According to him the popularity of the tournament more or less demands the tournament players to stick around in that area. If qualifying would be limited to one attempt he would for sure be attending seminars.


I also had a great talk with Mitch & Terry, who took me out for pizza. We seem to have the same opinion on certain pinball related topics and even discussed ideas to make the weekend even more interesting. Who knows how that will work out 🙂


After dinner Mitch and Terri drooped me off at my hotel and that concluded my first Pinball Expo. It was great fun! I wish I would have started to come here years ago. Tomorrow Jean Paul de Win and I will do some sightseeing in downtown Chicago and then I’ll fly back home to catch up on my email and send out the delayed 4th batch of Pinball Magazines. Orders coming in till the 24rd of October are likely to still be included in that batch. So, if you haven’t ordered a copy yet, this may be a good moment to do so 🙂