Danish Pinball Open - The Pinlab, Copenhagen, Denmark - 25/10/2014

Less than a week from the K15 Open I was on the road again. This time it was Denmark's turn to host the tournament. We actually almost visited the Pinlab in 2013 as a part of our trip across the Europe, but ended up missing their Wednesday game night. From what I heard later on, we would have seen the old Pinlab back then as this was the first DPO in their brand spanking new arcade. And what a place it was! Being used to seeing the cellars and old industrial buildings the new Pinlab was a welcome sight, although it's really the pins that make the arcade.

JAX, OMO and JOE checking out their qualification group pins.

The game format was the good old score based qualification with a quick player vs player first round of qualifications and then the IFPA-styled 4 player games where each round eliminates two of the players. The qualifications were played in four groups, where each group played two games on each machine and the best score was recorded. The players then had one joker attempt on a freely chosen machine in their group. 24 first qualifiers went to group A playoffs, 24 next to group B and the rest were sent packing.

My group was: Avatar, Creature from the black lagoon, Monster bash and the Twilight zone. Looking at the other groups, I was rather confident about the machines. Avatar was the only machine that had a tad too much randomness for my taste, but other than that it was a perfectly doable feat.


Arriving at the the Pinlab required a short walk from the nearest commuter train station. Still, it was enough to put my back into a world of hurt. After one round of the free play pins I had to give up and find the nearest pharmacy. The locals wouldn't sell any strong stuff but I scored myself a 20-pack of 200mg ibuprofen based painkillers which finally did the trick, but I was still far from optimal playing condition.

Back in Slovenia I heard that the "Swedish breakfast" is an Asperin
and a glass of water. Well, here's the Finnish breakfast.

I started out with the Avatar. I actually learned something new about the machine: the Ampsuit multiball doesn't have to be lit before stacking it with Link. Instead you can start it from the point where the barrier is down once you get Link multiball running. I'm not sure if that helped much, I took the Ampsuit barrier down and pounder the rest remaining shots after starting link. I still fell short from my average 30M+ scores on both tries, ending with a recorded score of 18M.

My first attempt at the Creature was a total failure. The next again did show some promise, I got big millions running but did nothing with it. I was just about to abandon all hope, when I finally got the multiball running on the second ball. Took 3 shots to complete the rescue and I also got the jackpot quite easily. Failing at the big millions however left me with a sub-200M score.

What an odd TZ. It had transparent flipper rubbers!

The Twilight zone again worked a bit better. It had no Powerball, so the first shot at the Gumball machine gave the emulated Powerball round with one shot to Powerball mania. My own TZ never gives a nice Slot machine feed, so I tend to forget how easily it can work on other TZ's. This one gave a nice, controlled bounce from the right flipper to left inlane and the right orbit was really hard to miss! On my better game I played a rather long, but jackpotless Powerball mania. As the right orbit was such an easy shot, I took the easy maxed out Gumball shot as often as I could. While it wasn't exactly a stellar score, I still was still happy with the 380M score, especially after witnessing several 50-100M games from others.

I spent some time getting some reads on the Monster bash. My fellow countryman JAX commented on the center hole that fed rather annoyingly straight on the slingshot. The machine had no rubber posts on the sides, so all vertical motion was a recipe for a disaster. I played two rather even rounds. They both aimed to get some modes running, then start the multiball, but the game played so out of control I spent the first balls on just trying to get the Frankenstein completed and started it as a stop gap measure on the last ball. At 30-something million I wasn't exactly celebrating the outcome, but then again it was way better than some of the worst ones I saw on it.

OMO playing the TZ. JOE getting some reads on the machines.

There was also a 50/50 side tournament played on Mustang and Taxi. My group played on Taxi. Not much to tell home about the game, two first balls were unceremoniously drained from the bumpers, the last ball I actually got to play enough to lock a ball but never got the multiball started.

After a long deliberation, I spent my joker game on Avatar. I played another rather bland Link-Ampsuit multiball and got to a bit over 20M. Still, it was a bit better than my original games on it. I later learned that I had actually made 2 points with the 1.2M better score!

In the end I watched my name slipping from the bye position of group A, then jumping between group B bye positions and group A last. I even saw myself out of the whole tournament, but it turned out just to be a glitch and was quickly fixed. After the rest of the scores were in, I was 3rd in the group B. Not being in the top dog fight was a real letdown for me and almost made me hope I would have been completely eliminated in the qualification.

After the qualification we finally go to eat. I had completely forgotten that there was a meal included in the ticket price! I've seen that couple of times, but it's usually something small and cheap. Well, not this time. The Danes really outdid themselves and offered us a real feast!

Food .... FOOD!

Quarter final, group B

Being in the top-8 of group B I got one bye and spent that time grinding away the free play machines. In the end I was put against three other players (I usually look up my opponent's names from the official score list, but as I can't find one online, I have no recollection on who I played against!) on Demolition man, Jackbot and Star Trek: the next generation.

Starting out with Demolition man, I was the 4th player. None of us got anything done on the first ball, couple of multiballs were seen on the 2nd ball but it wasn't until 3rd ball when one of my opponents pulled a nice streak of multiballs, getting to the Wasteland multiball. I still hadn't played a single multiball at that point, so things looked a bit grim, especially when I had spent the two first balls on trying to start even my first one! But then on my third ball I finally nailed it, and nailed it so well I played the museum multiball as well, got maximum freezes from the Computer and player a successful Wasteland as well, pulling myself from the last position to first much to the others' great dismay!

Thanks to my bullet dodging pull at Demoman, I was the first player on Jackbot. I found the short plunge on the first attempt, hit the visor one shot open spot and started the multiball. I made several attempts at super jackpot but failed. After draining the other ball I hit the visor shot again, playing a second multiball as well, finally draining after getting 750M on the clock! The others fumbled with the 'bot's harsh outlanes, while I player all modes except the slotmachine. I was still in a strong lead when my 3rd ball started, and I started multiball from the Slotmachine, getting to 1.5B. I finally drained after trying to start Casino run, and with the bonus I ended up with 1.8B. It was easily enough to also bring this game home, sealing my place in the semi final as I now had a lead none of the others could catch. 

Our last game, Star Trek: the next generation was more of just having fun with the game as I had already secured my place in the semi final. I however still had to play as my position was meaningful for the others. I started out by going after the multiball, which I finally had lit when my 2rd ball started. I have never actually thought about what happens when the multiball is already lit (the 3rd lock is open) at the ball start. Apparently the "lock ball" skill shot option just gives bonus multiplier instead. I played a good multiball, and then finished couple of modes as well. In the end I managed to keep a good distance to the others, winning my 3rd game as well, getting 12 points and getting to the semis.

Semi final, group B

On the Semi final I was playing on Creature from the black lagoon, No fear and AC/DC. The creature was the only pin I had played here. From the little what I had watched someone playing No fear, it was rather unforgiving with its outlanes. AC/DC again was a total mystery.

I played a rather unremarkable game on the Creature. It only took one jackpot to actually win it, but this time I managed to cash out the multi millions a bit further, ending up with 146M. Many of the others had just rough luck with the machine, the final scores ranging from 19 to 81M.

Next up was No fear. Apparently it was a new game for at least two players, who listened very closely when I explained the basic rules to them. I didn't bother with the modes and went with the multiball instead. My first ball was rather short, but it didn't drain before the super jackpot. This put a lot of pressure on the other players, who paced behind me during the whole ball! My 2nd and 3rd balls were rather useless, in retrospect I should have just gunned for 2nd round of multiball instead of getting greedy and going for the final mode by actually playing the modes and not just timing them out. In the end, one of the players who I coached actually managed to pull couple of successful super jackpots and got past me on his 3rd ball. Oh well, I still rather win by playing than by withholding information. I actually remember several games where I've lost as I've briefed my opponents about what they should do. Still, no regrets.

Last, we played the AC/DC. With 6 points, 1 or 2 points from this would be enough to get to the final, depending on how the others did. I trusted I'd eventually find the the left ramp, so I could keep on backhanding it to ramp to collect the Rock'n'roll Trains and advance Jam multiball. I played three rather unremarkable balls. No any major screwups, but then again, I only played the Jam multiball once and didn't manage to cash out too much from the Rock'n'roll Train. Being the player 2, after my 3rd ball the #1 player was 7 millions ahead of me and the two rest were way behind. When the player 3 drained at 8M I knew I wasn't the last, and was nervously pacing around, wondering if there was still some way the last player could change things. OMO assured me I'd be in the final nevertheless, and even when the player 4 pulled himself from the last position to first, I was still in the final. Phew!

Final, group B

I wasn't that excited about the group B final as I knew the real outcome would be just another who-cares-th position after everyone in the group A. Still, I was positively surprised they had gone all the way to have actual trophies even for the group B finalists! 

I like the shiny things!

The final machines drawn were Funhouse, Scared Stiff and Jackbot. Those might have been my picks even if I had gotten to choose them myself, so no complaints!

I was the player 1 on Funhouse, and boy was it a blast! The wind tunnel was at Quick multiball, so I deliberately short plunged and went for it ... except the ball bounced to the bumpers and went straight down the middle. The second ball wasn't much better: I was still after the Wind tunnel, but the ball bounced off the tunnel hole more times I could count ... and then straight down the middle. The others were struggling with the machine as well, I recall we all were within 1 to 2M range at that point.

Getting my ass handed to me on the Funhouse.

I decided I'd stop playing around and did a full plunge, flipped the ball into the alley to open the trapdoor, hoping to hit the trapdoor on the second pass. I hit the rubber post just above it instead and drained from the left at 1.1M. The best score was 4.5M, with the 3rd best being 1.8M. With that trap door shot made I could have been close! 0 points for this one.

Next up was Scared Stiff. This one didn't have the mechanical spider working, which is a kind of annoyance for me - I seem to have great trouble timing the wheel when it's in the compensation mode, emulation the spinning spider's position with the lights. I missed both, extended crate and extended coffin on the first try, but then finally got the extended coffin on my second ball. No one was completely dominating the game at that point, the leader had around 8M after his last ball, which was doable on just one Crate multiball. I tried getting the Double trouble for my last ball, but missed the damn thing. I then started the Crate multiball, and pounded a bit over 5M out of it, before draining. That would have been 10M if I had gotten the Double trouble like I intended. In the end, I was second and got 2 points. Still, now I once again have a shot at the trophies!

The Jackbot was surprisingly even game for all of us. I gave the super jackpot several attempts during my first multiball, but failed once again. Then I managed to accidentally collect the second multiball from the slot machine, which meant only 2 ball multiball instead of 3. I was on my 3rd ball when then second multiball ended, and I noticed I had only one mode to Casino run. I collected it and made a shot at the start mode hole. Instead of making it, I hit the leftmost visor target and center drained from that. My chance to winning this game suddenly turned into struggle for the positions 2 or 3. In the end I was 3rd, getting one point and being 4th in the final.

I don't know which irks me the most, the fact that this was 3rd time I've been on 4th position this year, or that while this was only group B final, I had still set myself a perfectly doable objective of bringing one of the trophies home and hitting the worst case scenario.

The outcome

I was 4th in group B and 28th in the whole tournament.

Fortunately this tournament wasn't the only reason I visited Denmark this time. I've actually been to Denmark twice before, but on both times I was travelling by a car and didn't have much time to stop to look around at the Copenhagen area. This time how ever I took 2 extra days and explored both Roskilde and Copenhagen area on foot. While I normally don't care much for the larger cities, I enjoyed my stay. I actually enjoyed it so much I'm planning on returning some day on summer just to look around more.

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