Pelihelvetti Pinball Masters 2016 - Orivesi, Finland - Pelihelvetti arcade - 17/09/2016

Pelihelvetti Pinball Masters has been an annual tournament modelled after our own Kouvostoliitto Kickback Open tournament ever since 2015. With our calendars pretty much full we really didn't have time to participate the qualifications, but players attending to Oriveden Flipperikisa 2016 tournament were given the option to also try qualifying, so I took it back then and what do you know, I was 9th out of 16 qualifying players and since one player declined their place, so in the end I got one bye and would start the play-offs from the 2nd round.

Having played the EPC'16 tournament in Poland the previous weekend, I really could have used some downtime, especially after arriving home late on Monday-Tuesday night and going to work the next morning. I had a really bad feeling during the 3+ hour drive towards Orivesi.

The play-offs were best 3 out of 5, with 2 byes for top-4 and one bye for positions 5-8.

Play-offs, round 2

On my first round I went against the arcade proprietor's son, Topi. Looking at his scores in the qualifying machines I see he had done pretty well. He had started from the round 1 and fought his way up from there.

We started off with Grand Prix. After the first 10 seconds I knew I was SO fucked. I couldn't get anything done even when I had some idea of the game and its rules. No matter, I lost when Topi just flailed away when I tried to start modes and play them.

Next was Pirates Of The Caribbean. Starting off with a shitty game unfortunately tends to lead to a feedback loop with me, the next game going even worse. I couldn't get anything done in the Pirates either and we were neck to neck with around 2M right until the last ball, when I finally managed to kill my first ship, got the multiball running and grinded a bit over 10M out of that, ending up with 15M to Topi's 4M.

It's pretty rare for me to come across games I haven't played before, save the new games these days. Icarus was one of them. I had no idea what to do here and Pintips gave me nothing. Looking at the playfield I noticed the bonus was in 10k's and the 5 drop target bank on the left scored 5k + one bonus. I concentrated on those and by the 4th ball I was in 400k lead. Topi decided to lean onto the machine on his turn, pressing himself against the start button and reset the game. Slamtilting, resetting or other means to interrupt the game voids the game, so I won by default.

Up next was Metallica. I had extra shitty game here and me and Topi were tied at around 1M until my last ball, when I finally got the Sparky multiball running and pounded 17M out of that. This was the 3rd victory so the round went to me. Man, that was some joyless playing there.

Play-offs, round 3

On this round I went against the proprietor himself, Toni and we started off with Icarus. I actually registered on Pintips just to tip off people about the drop targets. They did their job quite well and I got a pretty clean victory over Toni with 749k against his 260k. The Icarus played pretty slow and it was probably the only game I felt comfortable playing so far.

Our next game was Pirates of the Caribbean. I didn't bother to do anything else but go for the ships. The game's flippers were in really odd angle and it made most of the center playfield shots really hard. I got one ship down and got enough points out of that so I didn't have to play my 3rd ball. With me having 10M and the game's owner 4.5M, we both agreed this was a really bad game for both of us.

Then off we went to Jackbot. Oh man was that even worse than the POTC! I tilted all my 3 balls and was left with 443M to Toni's 1.7B. Not much else to say here but fuck-a-doodle-doo.

Our first possibly deciding game was No Fear. The trend of getting nothing done continued and I was getting really super frustrated. I wasn't the only one doing real bad and after missing the super jackpot twice in a row, I ended my 3rd ball as the player 1 at 625M while Toni was at around 300M. I couldn't watch him play and paced back and forth, until I heard NF's bonus count sounds. Toni's last ball wasn't that long, but it was long enough to make that missing 300M. In the end he had 525M, so I won this round.

To be honest, I was rather bummed about the whole thing. I knew now I wouldn't going to see any good games from here on, only frustration and lucky wins. If this was a video game, this would have been the point where I just exited without saving.

Play-offs, round 4

On the 4th round I was pitted against another young promise, Markus. We started out with No Fear, that went a bit better than last time. I played the main multiball twice and scored the super jackpot on each round, winning this 2.1B to 308M.

Next was Wrestlemania. I still remember scoring 80M on this game back when it was new. Now I could make a single shot and ended with 4M to Markus' 9M. I seriously felt that my heart wasn't in this any more.

Then we played Stern's Kiss. Love gun multiball was easy to lit and worked pretty well. I still wouldn't mind getting some alone time with this game to check it out better, but 52M had to do for now. Markus had rough luck and the machine started to suffer the flipper coil overheating problem on my last ball, and Markus got his share of it too. After some discussion this was ruled as the platform's "feature" and I got to keep my score, winning this one after Markus ended with 6M.

Our 4th game was Scared Stiff. Markus played a really strong first ball, which after me missing both; extended coffin AND extended crate left me chasing him throughout my game. I was just couple of millions away, playing Stiff-o-Meter when I drained, only to see I ended up with 7.8M and Marcus was at 9.3M. Sigh.

Being tied now, the deciding game was Grand Prix. It sucked ass and gave me more SDTM drains from the start mode hole. I should have just closed my eyes and flailed around. I lost, which meant I was now playing the losers' side.

Play-offs, losers' side, round 5

While I still had a theoretical chance to be in the finals as this was a double bracket play-off, I had pretty much lost my will to fight at this point. I played Metallica and No Fear against Juha, who won both games fair and square.

I really can't think of many tournaments that have left me so empty and devastated. Sorry guys, but I couldn't even stay for the trophy ceremony and bailed out to have one extra depressing drive to home.

The outcome

I was 9th in the qualification, but because of one player declining their place, I got a bye.

I was 5th in the whole tournament, out of 85 players.

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