Danish Pinball Open - The Pinlab, Copenhagen, Denmark - 24/10/2015

The wacky guys at Pinlab had another event brewing for us at Copenhagen. Last year's event was the "Happiness edition", referring to Denmark having the happiest people on earth with us famously cheery Finns fitting right in. This year it was called the "No T-shits edition", where dress code forbids the most common pinball players' outfit; t-shirts. For a moment there I was thinking about trolling the whole thing with in a tuxedo combined with my trophy receiving hat, but in the end opted to go with my standard work clothes.

The DPO had both main and classics series like last year, with the exception that the classics was now a 'proper' tournament instead of  two machines showdown. The main group consisted of players being divided in 4 groups, with 5 unique qualification machines in each group. Despite being in groups, the qualification itself was everyone vs. everyone. The classics followed the same pattern, but with only 2 groups, with 4 machines per group. One quirk in the game play was that players were given two tries per game, but both tries mattered.

Like last year, 24 best players got to play a play-off bracket to the victory of the whole tournament in group A. The rest went to group B, that had similar bracket but the winner would be 18th of the whole tournament, although taking home a trophy. And in case you're wondering why 18th and not 25th, well, the first round of group A playoffs dropped the losing players into B group.

What was that? I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am thanks to my noise cancelling headset!

When it comes to headphones, this time I came prepared! I still had fresh memories of ringing ears after trying to fade away the background noise of EPC'15 game in Belgium by just turning up the volume. No more of that, I'm now an owner of the Beats Studio Wireless headset. Take that, noise!

The tournament area, main tournament banks left and right, classics in the back.

In the main tournament my group had the following line-up: Twilight Zone, Monster Bash, AC/DC Premium, Metallica Premium and Time Machine. The other games were pretty familiar to me, the Time Machine again I had only played couple of times before, last time somewhere in Colorado. Pintips told me to gun for the ramps, so I guess I had only that to go with. Oh well.

Main qualification

A fun detail in the qualification were the poker chips that had our tags in them. You'd give your chip to a score keeper when you started, and got it back when you were finished. I'm still bummed I didn't manage to pocket mine in the end!

My group's line-up

I started out with the Time Machine. It was just as bad as I had remembered. Back in Colorado my games were either like 300k or rolled over the display. This time all I could do was 305k and 641k. I just couldn't find any of the ramps and the whole gameplay was pretty much random flailing.

Hoping to recover from the poor start I went for the Twilight Zone. Before me was Jörgen Holm, who took quite a beating in the game with around 280M and 120M games. Watching him I wondered what they did to the game, as I recall this very same TZ playing quite nice, although a bit slow last year. When it was my turn I realized there was absolutely nothing wrong with it, and I gunned 378M and 353M on it, being 2nd best in the tournament at that. Thank you, Rod!

Williams' Monster Bash was whole another beast. It's speed totally caught me by surprise after the slowly flowing Twilight Zone, and my first game almost tanked, but on my 3rd ball I finally got at least something going on, and ended the game with 32M. My 2nd attempt went absolutely nowhere with just 5M.

I had high hopes for AC/DC, but it was more of the same with 7M and 12M games. At this point I wished I had just given up way earlier yesterday and gotten some extra hours of sleep. Well, there was still one game to go.

Metallica was my last game in the mains qualification. It was fast just like the AC/DC, and had to play really carefully to start even the Sparky multiball. I found it bit ironic that the 2.5M for collecting the extra ball in tournament mode was actually worth more than the whole multiball. I ended that game with 14M and the next with just 3.9M.

Classics qualification

My classics groups consisted of Xenon, Dolly Parton, Gorgar and Taxi. I tried getting some reads on the machines, but learned nothing especially interesting. Out of that line-up Xenon and Taxi were my personal favorites, and also the ones I had highest hopes on scoring big.

I started out with Taxi. Oh, this one was a brutal bugger! I played 3 multiballs, yet ended up with sub-1M score. It didn't play bad, just couldn't get that damn multiball working. I changed to alternative approach on my 2nd game, following the game's main objective. Nope, 350k. I took my fail and GTFO'd.

Next it was Xenon's turn. Nope. With 71k and 185k I was nowhere near being happy with the outcome. Again, the game played alright, but again I could do nothing with it. I can't even describe with words how frustrating it is to practically be the spectator of your own game, watching ball after ball just drain no matter how much I try to fight it.

Taking old Dolly out for a spin!

Dolly Parton is one of those good(?) old early Ballys with bonus multipliers as in-line drops. I took the very same approach to it as to Bally's Viking; nail the drops first, then flail around to get some bonus to go with it. On my first game I finally got to my target on at the very last ball, ending up with 144k. My second attempt yielded 100k less.

With both main and classics going this wonderful, it was Gorgar's job to put me out of my misery. I learned the very hard way, that this Gorgar's magnet released the ball to it rather unceremoniously landed between the flippers. I ended up with 114k and 61k, which also meant I was done with both qualifications.

All this once again left me banging my head against the wall of not learning to go sleep early. I made the very same mistake last year, taking it 'till the last call at Mikkeller's, and now until midnight at the local hacklab. I guess I'm just too old for staying up late and expecting getting some scores done the next day. Mornings aren't exactly my strong suit anyway and coming in late (yet alone in hangover) is taking it to 11.

I knew I was out of the classics even long before I saw the final scores. On the main game again I dangled on the very last position to get to the A group, until finally taking the plunge and ending up in B group with one bye, thus skipping the 1st round of playoffs. I was less than ecstatic about the outcome and to be honest would have just preferred to end the tournament there, without pretty meaningless group B play-offs.

Playoffs, Group B

After the excellent dinner that was on the house, I finally had someone to play against in the playoffs. The playoffs were played head-to-head, best 2 out of 3 on randomly drawn games.

Round 2

I was put against SLO, with Monster Bash being our first game. Our game pretty much mirrored the same old what had been going on in the qualification. By the 3rd ball we were both at around 2-3M. SLO got his game going for the last ball, and I was left to bridge the 8M gap between us. I very carefully gave the old Frankie could of hits, started the multiball and grinded away to win the game.

Our next game was Avatar, which was no fun to play at all! I personally have grown to like Avatar as a game, but this one had such a fascist tilt it gave tilt warnings just for giving it a stink eye. I tilted my two first balls, but got the multiball going on my last ball. As a side note I made the link captive ball shot on my first ball, but my opponent cashed it out and I spent my whole Amp suit multiball for trying to make the lock again. SLO tilted in the end, and I won marginally, also winning the round 2-0.

Round 3

After some idling JBW came to challenge me on the 3rd round, starting with Funhouse. Argh, this particular Funhouse has something personal against me, and it did show from the very first ball. In the end I pulled a somewhat successful quick multiball and won.

Next we played Mustang. Finally the worst frustrating started to fade away and I was just jamming to my background soundtrack. Mustang played at the perfect pace for that moment and took me to easy victory after couple of multiballs.

Round 4

4th round was also semi-final for group B and I couldn't escape the irony of finally starting to get my game on when it mattered no in the big picture. I was put against JAN, with Roller Games being our first game. I don't know Roller Games that well, but I found myself still gaining a noticeable lead on my 1st and 2nd balls, ending up not having to play the last ball at all.

Then Tron was drawn, with me as 1st player. I really love Tron's soundtrack, and since there was no chance of hearing it from the game, chose Tron Legacy Reconfigured album as the background music. I played surprisingly good game for such a fast game, being Gem short from finishing all the main objectives. JAN had it worse and he couldn't catch me on his last ball, sending me to the group B final. 

I can't help remembering last year's group B final: with 3 trophies available I was 4th. As this year they only gave a trophy to the winner, I kinda guessed I'd probably be the second. Well, a pessimist never gets disappointed and so forth.

Group B final

I had been eyeballing the DPO'15 official shirts for some time, and I couldn't help myself buying one. then I rebelliously broke the dress code by wearing it!

Take that, dress code!

In the end, TWS, RUN and LED were in the final with me. LED however chose not to play, so it was just the three of us.

TWS gunning for the ship!

We started out with Black Rose. This is one game that I'd need some quality time with some day. RUN totally dominated this game, with me getting past TWS on the last ball. The outlanes were magnetic on this one!

After that came the less amazing Spiderman. It was moderately fast, with me having strong hopes for the Sandman modes but in the end having less stellar results with it. RUN won this one, again, and since we didn't have the 4th player, he had also won the whole group B. So the last game after this was just me and TWS going for the 2nd and 3rd places.

The deciding game was Ironman, which was a total crapfest from the very beginning. Naturally since I was doing so badly, it was also the game under the camera rig. I couldn't start the multiball and ended being 3rd. TWS was 2nd and RUN swept the round with his 3rd victory. I was 2nd.

The outcome

In the main qualification I was 30th out of 24 players getting into group A. In group B I got one bye, won 4 play-offs rounds in a row with clean victories, being 2nd in the group and getting 19th position in the whole tournament.

In classics I was 47th, when 16 best qualified.

I can't say I'm that happy with the results, but that's pinball, folks. On the more positive side, I was reunited with a newly found friend from the 2014 EPC in Italy, and spent the remainder of the night grinding away the free play machines with him. A refreshment or two might also have been enjoyed.

Other non-pinball related noteworthy moments were the Copenhagen Hacklab, Miao Cat Cafe visit and getting to see Finnair's brand spanking new Airbus A350!

Until the next time.

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