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.

European Pinball Championship 2015 - Sint-Niklaas, Belgium - 2-4/10/2015

I've been looking forward to this trip ever since the unforgettable trip to EPC'14 in Rimini, Italy. I'm no stranger to Belgium, but so far I had never taken part in a tournament in there, so it was finally time to go check out what the guys had in store for us. This was also very special trip to me as it's first time ever my folks joined me in a tournament outside our own arcade, not to talk about a different country.

I wish I could say our arrival in Belgium was an uneventful one, but having our plane getting stuck at the gate and the local railway company skipping our connecting train made us arrive extra late and dead tired. I was looking forward to hear the Stern presentation, but no can do. Wandering around in Sint-Niklaas' nightlife I found numerous familiar faces, first of them being Germany's very own Jochen, with whom I searched for the other Finns, whom we found in various stages of being wasted. After getting some pizza I finally retired to our hotel, which turned out to be a lot better than what I had expected for the price.

The night club-turned-pinball heaven awaited us!

I arrived at the venue a bit early next morning just to check out what they had in store for us. In addition to latest Sterns and Williams-Bally DMD-era machines, the highlights included Stern’s latest, The Game of Thrones, Heighway pinball's Full Throttle, Wizard of Oz, Whoa Nellie and Kiss. I wish I had gotten to play Game of Thrones a bit more, but at least I can say I've tried it now, although I still have no firm opinion about it.

Teams tournament

After playing couple of of free play machines I realized I was far from optimal playing shape. I wish I could limit my energy drink consumption, but once again I found myself downing Red Bulls hoping to wake up. Team Finland was back with last year's line-up of yours truly, TEN, TTV and OMO as the team captain. We'd play against 5 other country teams, so that 2 from our and 2 of the opposing teams played one one machine. Winning player would bring 5 points to his/her team, 2nd 3 points, 3rd 1 point and last one no points. Two teams with most points would go into the finals.

TEN starting the Indiana Jones against the Italians

Me and TEN starter against Italy in Stern's Indiana Jones. It was a total crapfest for me since the very first seconds. At ball 3 I was in the last position, hoping to start the Last crusade multiball for which I had already locked two balls. No dice, did a really pitiful left outlane drain from the captive ball.

Gottlieb's Waterworld wasn't exactly too familiar machine for any of us, but we got some last minute coaching for it. We went against the Danish team on it. Little good that coaching did, as I got two house balls and the last was a rather futile attempt to catch others. Another rather frustrating last position. I know I can be a real mister sunshine when I'm doing badly, but I've been trying to work on that and build playlists to help with my mood. Not sure how well that went, tho.

Getting my ass kicked by Kevin Costner

With Fish Tales being the next game against Team 3G&K, I knew this crap streak had to end some time. Apparently it wasn't however on this game, as I locked two balls and had the captive ball up to Rock the boat lit on 3rd ball, but then I got a nasty bounce from an attempted center shot and had to slap to save it. The game tilted! Oh for the fucks sake! It easily had what was needed to totally own this round as our opposing team members completely tanked the video mode.

At this point I was feeling like I had totally failed our team. With the 4th game I however felt the Austrian health drink was finally kicking in and I had a bit more fighting spirit in me for game against team Dzikle Kaczki on Frankenstein. I have no idea where this team was from, I can only assume Romany or Hungary from the name. After couple of so'n'so balls I really kicked it up a notch and took home my first #1 position with mainly playing modes. I had hard time finding the multiball lock hole, but slowly homed into it in the end. I however didn't do much with the multiball at that game.

As the luck would have it, we got to play the same game again against Team Stadion. Finally I was awake and finished several modes, and nailed the main multiball in the end. Damn it felt good to be back in the game again!

Starting my game of Frankenstein

While acing the last two games, the team didn't recover from the really bad games in the beginning and we were out. I can only hope next time we get to play a bit more late into the night. Our team got 44 points, when the last qualifying team had 47. I wish I had been more awake in the early rounds.

Main tournament qualification

The main tournament consistent of qualification on 8 games, with one joker game. Players had a range of games to choose from and points were awarded based on their scores on each game. In the end all the points were summed up and the player were ranked by amount of points.

To be honest, when first registering to this tournament, I had been planning to take a closer look at the game list and build some kind of an attack plan. But things falling as they were, here I was again, having to just wing it.

I knew I would probably choose some of the less mainstream games to make it. Looking at the more offstream machines I quickly added the Gottlieb System 3 machines, Gladiators and Stargate on my list. I was wondering about using Whoa Nellie as a backup since it wasn't exactly a conventional modern pin. Other than that, there was a lone EM game, Super Soccer in there, which seemed awfully familiar.

I started out with Gladiators. I had pretty clear plan of attack for it; get DOUBLE for each ball, grind hard on the modes that actually make points and then finish with the final mode. Well, turns out the one played a lot different than mine. The upper right flipper didn’t want to co-operate with tap passing and I couldn’t make the upper saucer shots to collect DOUBLE letters. I played all the modes, having the semi-final mode, Calm before the storm lit, when I double drained from the main multiball. I wasn’t too happy about the 66.5M score I got, but later on learned it was actually among the top scores. Had I started the Calm before the storm, I would have probably made it the #1.

Me, playing Gladiators

Next up was Walking dead. I had very crappy round, with two house balls and with the last ball I just wanted to start the Well zombie, but got center drain from that. With only 8.2M on the board I chalked this as the game where I’d probably spend my joker game on.

I had been eyeballing the Super soccer for some time. It had virtually the exact same ruleset as Snow queen; spin the spinners enough times to add to bonus. Once the bonus was full, there was a hole in the upper left playfield to collect it. Skillshot lit double bonus. Many players I observed scored something between 10-20k, I put 57k on it, and it was instantly in the top scores. Ahh, the old clunkers <3

After playing Super soccer I noticed my joker game entry had been spent. The guy keeping scores said it’s nothing to be worry about, but I could ask the main guy if I wanted. I did, and appears I really had used the joker for some reason. I was asked to talk to another guy, who was apparently behind the whole scoring system. After asking if I had really played all the scores I had on my score sheet he promised to look into it. As everyone was super busy at that point, I wasted almost half an hour of game time over this, but I guess it’s better to deal with it now, than at the end.

Next it was time to play the Gottlieb System 3 game even our country IFPA president, OMO doesn’t completely hate - Stargate. I was very bummed to learn the upper flipper was completely useless and I could make the ramp shots. Still, I found the skillshot from the early on and played one very nice multiball I got from that. I played all the modes, but couldn’t cash them out as well as I would have liked. I finished the game with the final mode lit and 369M on the display. I was fine with that.

I was a bit unsure about playing’s Stern’s Kiss. On the other hand not everyone had played it before, but then again I only had played it couple of times myself. Then again I knew its very multiball oriented gameplay worked great for me. And it did, I finished with 42M, which was only half of my very first game, but still in the top scores. I just love the STAR standups shot on this game for some reason. Unlike the one I played at Orivesi pinball open, this one didn’t feed straight down the middle from the main lock.

After Kiss, I returned to my “play less known games” plan with Austin powers. I observed TTV playing before me, seeing him rack a 100M+ score on it. I also learned that the center ramp magnet didn’t work. I wasn’t sure of it was a good thing or not, but once I started playing it I realized it only made the game a lot easier. Normally the magnet grabs the ball when the center ramp switch is activated. Without the magnet the ball is deflected down the ramp, and it gives another center ramp hit. The downside is that it’s directed pretty much between the flippers, so a slight slap save was required at times. I finished all henchmen modes except Fat bastard, racking up 154M and another spot among the high scores.

At this point I really, really hoped I had noise cancelling headphones. The sound of 10s of pinball machines played at the same time was just deafening, especially when I tried to fade it away by cranking up the volume. For the next tournament I’m SO going to buy a proper headphones!

Before moving on to the next game, I had to check how I was doing. Much to my amazement not counting the crap luck Walking dead, each of my entry was in the 100 qualifying point range, putting me easily inside the qualifying range. Whoa!

Curiosity got the better of me, and I chose Whoa Nellie as my next game. Well fuck-a-doodle-doo, I got two house balls and one pitiful round of random bumper flailing for my last ball, giving me 264 points. Apparently good scores were among 2000-3000. This was the first game giving me no points as all for the tournament.

For my final entry I played Sopranos. It wasn’t anything special, I expected to play one Stugots multiball per ball, but only got the multiball going on my last ball. I used it to bash the safe and get couple of super jackpots, ending up with 22M. It was better than nothing, but far from what I had hoped.

Me versus The Sopranos

The Sopranos was my 8th game and looking my score sheet I had 5 really good games, one okayish (Sopranos) and two real bad (Whoa Nellie and Walking dead). Whoa Nellie was a bit too random for my taste, so I opted to play Walking dead again. The score keeping guy however wasn’t having any of it, and told to my face that there was 2 guys before me on that game, and I wouldn’t have time to start another game. Well, that was a bummer, as I believe I’d easily make play better game on the second try. With just 16 points from Walking dead and no points from Whoa Nellie I had very little choice over what to play next. With a grimace I took on Nellie’s melons for the second time.

Whoa Nellie is a really odd game. It’s a 2015 remade version of 2011 made retro game with short flippers and score reels. It was originally made out of a real EM game, and then produced as a modern SS game that still has the score reels. The 2015 version however also has a small LCD display that has the familiar 128x32 dot matrix display, and it runs on Stern’s Linux-based Spike platform.

Nellie's miniature display revealed it to be a modern game at heart!

My second game wasn’t that much better, but I finally found the skillshot and made at least some points. Too bad I ended up with a score of only 748, which was still way better than the 265 on my first try.

I finally got some points from Nellie, taking me up to around 36th position. There was still one group to go, but I was pretty sure I was safe from being eliminated at this point. I was also happy to see so many of my countrymen making the cut as well.

Classics qualification

In 2014 I had a real nice run in the classics, being 12th in the whole tournament. Looking at the line-up I found many games I planned to play. The odd thing was, that the whole Classics tournament had very different format than the main tournament. In the main tournament there was just one entry for each players, with 8 machines and one joker. In the classics again you could play as many entries you wanted (or had time to!), which each entry being 3 machines. The space was really cramped, hot and way overcrowded most of the time.

The classics section

Many of the classic SS games suffered breakdowns, making queuing for them really frustrating as after half an hour you're just being told the game is now broken and you're out of the queue.

In the end I had the time to play 4 entries, out of which none were anything to write home about. Williams’ Space mission was my favorite, as it’s very close to being a normal body version of Contact. Other than that my entries mostly consisted of two total crap fests and one so’n’so game.

If there’s anything worth mentioning, it’s TTV’s relentless attempts at qualifying, and then at the very final entry he played 3 good games in a row and made it. That’s the Finnish fighting spirit right there! Another Finn to make it was JAX a bit earlier on. With 16 qualifying, my 161st didn’t do much for me.

Main tournament playoffs

Oh man, oh man. Being the perfect being that I am, I have very little flaws save one major: I wasn’t made to wake up at 8 in the morning. After a very long Saturday, I was literally dying getting up once for the 7th time in a row in ungodly hours. The coffee at hotel’s breakfast did absolutely nothing and I once again had to resort to energy drinks to get me going. One of these days Red bull’s gonna give me wings, for real.

The playoffs’ format was to play best 2 out of 3, until there was only 4 players left. Losing in the main bracket didn’t automatically mean the player was out, as they fell to the loser’s side of the bracket and had to play again on the same round. On the loser’s side it was just one game, played with 4 balls. Lose that and you’re out. Keep on winning, and after 5th round you had a chance to rise back to the winner’s in the final.

Playoffs, round 1

On my first round I was put against Jean Louis Passerieu, who qualified 34th. I was still a bit bummed about the whole thing of not being able to play Sopranos again, so I had to start from the round 1. Oh well.

We started out with Data-East’s Guns’n’Roses. I still remember getting my ass kicked on it at St. Michel Open, when my opponent just chose Super bumpers instead of progressing the multiball. I did just that now, and just kept the ball in the bumpers, watching those 2M bumper hits racking up. My opponent got couple of nice modes in, but I still took this one home.

Our next game was World Cup Soccer. The game was rather harsh for both of us, we both had multiball lit for the last ball, but didn’t get to start it. In the end my opponent won the game by just what he got from the bonus, taking us to the 3rd game, Metallica.

I was a bit nervous about Metallica, as it’s what I call a grinder game; a game that doesn’t have that many difficult but hugely valuable shots. Nailing your opponent is more like a death by thousand cuts. We both had really crappy first two balls, so at ball 3 it was more like sudden death round. I did one VERY careful attempt at making Sparky, got it and got past my opponent. First round over, I was still in the game!

Playoffs, round 2

I went against Michel van den Elzen from 19th position. So, I guess now I was playing against the big boys.

We started out with Whoa Nellie. I was kind of glad we did, as I was afraid I’d just get my ass kicked if we had a grinder machine to start with. I got almost 1000 points with my first ball, where my opponent got under 100. I finished the game with a bit over 1500 points, where my opponent did a valiant attempt, but was left with 1200 points. So, Nellie was favorable to me this time.

Next we got a grinder game, 24, and it was just as bad as I had feared. 24 is not a new game to me, and it wasn’t about not knowing the rules or playing badly, I just got to start with two house balls where my opponent totally blew me away with 3 successful balls. I noticed Michel followed the same plan as I would have done; start a multiball, then other multiball on that and then some more. In the end 24’s stackable multiballs would make Xzibit proud.

We ended the round with Shadow. I played a very strong ball 1, while my opponent just got crap luck right from the start. I continued with strong game, finishing the miniplayfield, playing 2nd Khan multiball, the main multiball and couple of modes. Michel got second bad ball. I spent my last ball trying to start Khan multiball once again, but couldn’t hit the hole. I was leading over 900M at that point and my opponent didn’t catch me on his last ball. As an icing on the cake for winning this round I got two enter my initials for this game.

Playoffs, round 3

With round 3 I had the sinking feeling I’d be soon paired with one of the world stars. When the lads told me I’d be playing against Daniele Acciari, I thought they were just pulling my leg. Then when I saw Daniele there with all smiles, I realized they weren’t kidding.

Having travelled around with Daniele in the recent years, he’s one of the guys who just isn’t some random pinball player to me any more. If I was to get my ass kicked, I guess it was better if it was someone I highly respected to do it.

We started out with Metallica. Until the 3rd ball it was really surprising game. We both played Sparky on our first balls, did nothing on our 2nd balls and all the sudden we were in a situation where Daniele had 10M and I 12M at the beginning of ball 3.

Daniele was all about getting another round of Sparky, but made a shot that ended up the ball screaming down towards the center drain. He did a very strong slide, getting two tilt warnings in a rapid succession, but no tilt. I could see his a bit worried face turning to a glee, when he waited for a second, then banged 110M more to his score. I tried my best, but drained at around 30M.

Our next game was Stern’s Avengers. I’ve been honestly thinking about buying this game some day, just to play it and then dump it. I tried asking around if there was some sane way to approach this game, but now. Everyone I asked were like “It sucks. Repeat the left orbit ad nauseam, play multiball, rinse and repeat”.

That was also Daniele’s approach to this game. He just did it more and longer than I did, winning the game.

Losing 2-0 to Daniele didn’t mean it was game over for me.

Playoffs, loser’s side, round 3

Having lost to Acciari dropped me to loser’s side of the bracket for some sudden death styled play. I was put against another eliminated player, Kevin Roelants on No Fear.

No Fear is a bit hit’n’miss game for me. Either it goes very well or it’s a crapfest beyound description. With Kevin I had the rare opportunity to see just that, but Kevin getting the short end of the stick. This game had some extra rubber bumpers around the start mode hole, which made the jackpot shot really annoying to make. I found the shot after 5 or so tries, but Kevin just struggled and struggled with it - his frustration was just palpable.

After finishing my 4th ball I was just under 2B, while Kevin was around 300M. But then all the sudden Kevin found the shots, and started racking up the points. I was standing there with OMO, sharing the nerve wrecking moments of watching jackpot after another being scored. Kevin finally ended with a bit over 1B, which meant it was round 4 for me.

Playoffs, loser’s side, round 4

Just for the record, this is to date my best personal modern game tournament EVER! All I hoped was that we wouldn’t get Avengers or other crappy shitfest of a game now. I went against Ernö Rotter on …. Avengers. I wish I had a picture of my happy face, as I’d put it right here. Right with 2 middle fingers.

Again all I got for Avengers was “repeat the left orbit”. I did. Once again my opponent just did it more. We were pretty much tied until the 3rd ball, after which my opponent played one monster ball, leaving me over 20M behind him for my 4th ball. I couldn’t catch him, which meant I was out.

Still, what a tournament! I wasn’t even pissed off thinking how far I got!


Teams: Finland was eliminated in qualification.

Classics: I was 161th, 16 best qualified.

Main: I qualified and was eliminated on 4th round of playoffs, being 21st.

Let me begin with a praise to the organizers: this was THE best tournament I’ve been attended to, and not only because I did relatively well. The organizers had done extraordinarily good job, so we played clean and well working machines with very clearly organized environment. The venue was excellent with 2 bars, and the BBQ on Saturday was spot-on, couldn’t have asked for more! I guess the only downside was me visiting the promised land of beer and chocolate, and not liking either of them :)

This was the first ever tournament outside Kouvola where my folks attended as well, and I was so glad for them being able to try out the very latest the pinball scene has to offer. I noticed Wizard of Oz making quite an impression for the old timers pinball players!

It's the folks vs The Wizard of Oz!

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Belgium and the whole EPC’15 team! You rocked hard!

Orivesi Pinball Open 2015 - Orivesi, Finland - Pelihelvetti arcade - 12/09/2015

After couple of months of downtime we headed towards Orivesi for their annual tournament. The venue owner, Tonza, reminded me about the fact that I have never attended this tournament without winning it, so no pressure there. I was in surprisingly good spirits, although I expected very little of my playing after rather stressful week. I've been meaning to come and check out the new location for a long time now, so now I got one item off my to-do -list as well. I found the new place to be much more accessible than the last one. I'm very sorry to hear that such a central location didn't help much with the declining flow of visitors.

The tournament format was score based qualification, with players picking 5 out of 7 machines. 10 qualification entries in total, maximum of 3 per machine. The playoffs were head-to-head best 3 out of 5, except for the bronze game which was best 2 out of 3. The line-up was: Lord of the Rings, WWE Wrestlemania Pro, Kiss Pro, Scared Stiff, No Fear!, Black Rose and Party Zone.

Having the 2 latest Sterns sure caught my attention, although I have to admit that I wasn't that keen on Wrestlemania after having played it in Louisville earlier this year. Picking the 5 to play was somewhat tough call: I really, REALLY wanted to try out the Kiss, but I had absolutely no idea how it behaved, I hadn't even had the time to look at the rule sheet yet. Then again with several different multiballs being advertised in the instruction card I picked it just for the laughs. Lord of the Rings, Wrestlemania and Scared Stiff went all onto my list. Party Zone and Black Rose were both a bit too random for my taste. No Fear again isn't much of a problem usually, but this particular No Fear has always hated me, and I still remember the horrible finals game I played on it last year. Having 4 machines picked I just opted to play and worry about the last machine later, if I had any extra entries left.

Stern's Linux pinball combo!

While waiting for the energy drinks to kick in, I observed others playing the games. Kiss seemed rather bouncy with a sensitive tilt. Multiballs were plentiful, although they weren't that well scoring. Still, I noticed collecting all the STAR standups lit one multiball, and the pretty obvious main multiball with White Water-styled lite-lock -targets wasn't as bad as it seemed first. Before seeing it in action the whole lock thing made me wonder if the standups would give nasty center drains.

With something old and something new, Kiss called me to play!

Wrestlemania apparently had way newer software than the one I played in Kentucky. Yet it didn't seem to bring much anything new to the game. Most players seemed to concentrate to the upper playfield and that's what bored the hell out of me the last time. To quote Mr. Acciari, "Ah, not very good".

LOTR was very hard on all players that I observed and I almost reconsidered it, but then again I only needed 13M to be #1 on it, which was doable with just couple of modes and then some multiball grinding on that. The outlane posts had an excellent bounce, and the game's tilt was on somewhat liberal setting. That'd come in handy later on.


Eversince the IFPA11 at Denver I've been listening to music to help with my concentration. I only recently moved from having locally saved mp3 collection into streamable Apple Music and before starting I realized I had no pinball playlist at all! I felt like some dance groove, but my work-in-progress groove list had only 3 songs so far. Went with that anyway.

I started out with Lord of the Rings. Many players commented on it being really harsh and the current qualification highest being 13M I thought there might be something to it. My first attempt on it was pretty pitiful 6M in a game where I had 3 multiballs lit for the last ball, and then drained that down the middle when trying for the Gollum multiball saucer. The second game was a bit better, played two multiballs and couple of modes for the total of 20M. It was way off from what I was going for, but at that point of the qualification it was the #1 score, so I took it and moved on.

The brand new Kiss was nearby and seeing others play it I was glad I picked it instead of Party Zone. I found it actually playing quite nicely and I hit the current high score of 40M during my 2nd ball. The right ramp looked intimidatingly steep, but turned out to be a really easy shot. The main multiball lock targets that I had feared worked just like with White Water - just hit the lock hole so the ball licks the target, then do it again for the other side. The only bit annoying thing was the ball return from main lock, which often needed a slap save just to be sure. My personal favorite was the STAR multiball, which was a really long, but safe shot from the right flipper to the very end of the playfield. As I finished my first game, I got to sign the game for a new GC for 81M, so I guess it was a good game.

With 3 games left and still 7 entries to be played and 2 best scores in qualification I wondered if my luck would turn on the next game. I went to Scared Stiff, where the best score currently was 11M. That was easily doable with just the Crate had Stiff in a coffin multiballs, with one of them stacked with Double Trouble. I fumbled around with the two first balls, but for my 3rd ball I had extended both Crate and Stiff multiballs, and I racked up over 10M total score after those. Stiff in a coffin was also the last tale missing, so the game went into Stiff-o-meter after the multiball ended. The Monster multiball would have sealed a sure #1 place, but I hit a post next to the crate instead and got a center drain from that. As the bonus was counting I was pretty sure I was less then 500k short from the target score. The bonus however was way better than I expected and with 11.3M I beat the current highest score by around 200k. A close call, but also 3rd game down and 3rd #1 score!

With 2 games left, and 6 entries to go, the pressure was off and I thought I'd give the Stern's Wrestlemania a go. The game was as boring as as I had remembered and with such a bouncy rubbers the ball was actually harder to get out of the upper playfield than to keep it there. I just racked up whatever score was available there, then lit more stuff up there and continued. It wasn't my best game ever, but ending the game with 41M was another #1 position for me. Wrestlemania's frantic multiball really left my finger muscles hurting, good thing this was probably the longest lasting game around here.

Giving the Wrestlemania a stink eye after being done with it.

With 3 games to choose from, Party Zone was the least favorite as a score tournament game and I ended up juggling with Black Rose of No Fear. Seeing I only needed a bit under 900M for 2nd place in No Fear, I went with that. The game developed a stuck right flipper on my first attempt, which was promptly fixed by the host. After restarting the game, I played probably the most frustrating game of No Fear ever! I couldn't find the right jackpot hole no matter what I did, and for the first time in my life I had a multiball in No Fear without a single jackpot.

My second try at the game wasn't that much better, but at least I collected the jackpots and the super jackpot. I wasn't sure of what would have been the best option after that, so I just went with Payback time and drained at 918M, which was enough for #2 score. I tried again once more, but only got 606M, with the exact same pain with the jackpots.

So, with all 5 games played, I had the high score on 4 of them and 2nd highest in one. I realized I still had two entries to play, but since I had already played 2 games on No Fear and had #1 score in rest of the games, there was nothing to use the entries on! As the qualification progressed JEN dropped me to the 2nd position in Wrestlemania and TMA beat my 11.3M in Scared Stiff with 13M. Too bad I didn't have the time any more, but in the end I was tied for the 1st position in qualification with TMA. It wasn't meaningful, so we drew a card for it, which I won.


Getting one bye for a qualification position 1-4 gave me some time to relax while the first round was being played. Too bad I didn't get to play more Kiss, it seemed like an okay game. Eventually the game between JVK and T V ended with JVK winning 3-1 and I was back in action.

Round 2

Enjoying some doping before the round starts, JVK checking his score sheet in the background

Our first game was Lord of the Rings. I was a bit vary about it, as I've often found it to be a all-or-nothing kind of a game. Being the lower qualifying player, JVK started. It started out pretty unlucky for JVK; he drained pretty much as soon as the ball saver went out. I got a pretty good first ball, played both the Two Towers multiball and Gollum multiball, with some modes played too, ending with a bit over 20M. JVK got the Fellowship multiball lit on his second ball, but couldn't start it. I played Return of the King multiball, and Two Towers multiball again, in a rather long ball 2. JVK finally got to the multiball he had lit on his 3rd ball, but he drained at 11M. I opted to play my last ball, played some more modes, more Two Towers multiball and then finished the remaining multiball and started Destroy the ring, in which I drained pretty much as soon as I got the ball back, ending with 100M score.

Grinding away the LOTR

Next up was Black Rose, with me as player 1. I know this thing would come back to haunt me as I didn't play it in the qualification. My first ball lasted mere seconds, no ball save. JVK did exactly the same, except for some reason he got ball save, and played couple of millions on his first ball. I got to shoot with the cannon on my second ball, but missed and drained soon with a bit over 5M score. JVK got a multiball and went to 12M with pretty much random flailing, leaving me to catch his 7M lead for my last ball. The exact same thing happened as with my first ball, again no ball save. JVK won this round without playing his last ball.

Party Zone was our next game. It turned out to be pretty much flailing around for both of us. The only highlight of the game was me doing 3 consecutive Door prize skillshots and collecting way out of control. Neither of us made it to the multiball. Eventually I won the game 3.6M to 15.7M.

With the game being 2-1 to me, I was within one game win to get to the semi final. The last game was Sega's X-Files. I played a pretty straight forward multiball-only game, getting to the Cabinet multiball 3 times, ending up with 12.8M. JVK was damn unlucky with the cabinet bounces and only got to start the multiball on his last ball, but didn't get much done with it. This was my 3rd win, so I had cleared my way to the semi final.

Semi final

SAM found himself in a tight spot on the 2nd round against JEN, starting the round with two consecutive losses. That didn't however discourage him at all and he went to win the remaining 3 games and joining me in the semi final round.

Our first game was once again Black Rose, which turned into a horrible flail-fest for both of us. We racked up some points, but in the end SAM won and we both agreed that was some really bad playing from both of us. I don't even bother you with the scores, because they were BAD. As in "I've gotten bigger bonus than that"-bad.

Next what else, but Party Zone! I actually got my game on a bit on my first ball, getting to the multiball going and even getting a jackpot or two, draining at 10M. SAM followed my lead and ended up with 5.8M. I decided to go again for the multiball, and went for the captain's saucer, got a nasty bounce from one of the standups next to it and slam tilted the game. I didn't even push it forward, it was more of a rather controlled slap, and we both agreed it wasn't any kind of abuse or overly hard push. Looking inside the coin door we noticed the slam tilt sensor was a tad too strict. The game was ruled to be restarted, but since we knew the scores, we played only 2 balls each and summed the scores from previous game. The new game ended with my 2.4M to SAM's 2.1M.

We proceeded to No Fear, which was pretty much the experience I had had before during the qualification. It was even harsher for SAM, who had 263M at the end of his 3rd ball as player 1. I was at 595M at that point, and opted not to play the last ball. That game hates me, and the feeling is mutual.

Lord of the Rings started in 2-1 game for me. Unfortunately this was one of LOTR's all-or-nothing games for me, as I had a bit over 1.5M when I started my 3rd ball, while SAM was at 14M. Damn that right ramp shot is hard when your game really depends on it, but I made it, locked the last ball and grinded away the multiball. I was at 6M after the Two Towers, and had Gollum lit. Unfortunately I got a center drain from one of the posts near the saucer and was left with 7.6M to SAM's 14M, taking the semi final into the 5th and deciding game.

The deciding game was Stern's Wrestlemania. I was the player 2 and went on doing exactly the same thing as during the qualification. I played a monster long 1st ball, and during referee multiball a disaster stroke! My finger muscled had been feeling a bit sore for some time now, especially after the 100M LOTR game. I felt a cramp coming and pretty soon my hand cramped violently into a fist, leaving me playing the multiball with my wrist on the right side! I barely managed to catch one ball and hold it with my left hand, while trying to straighten my fingers against the floor in agony. After 5 minutes SAM started holding the ball and I tried to make the horrible cramp just stop.

The whole thing went on for like 10 minutes, until the cramp started to let go and eventually ended. I finished the ball, but playing was rather painful. I ended my 1st ball at around 40M. I took the second ball a bit more calmly, although the idea of starting a multiball and then just putting them all in the miniplayfield still worked great. I finished my second ball at 65M, SAM ended his 3rd ball at 19M and I didn't have to play the last ball.


After the semi final I had to cool off for some time. I felt pretty drained as the energy drink started to wear off, plus my hand hurt like hell. The only consolation was that I already had won a trophy, it was just the matter of color at this point. Only maximum of 5 games left.

MJS was the 4th in qualification and fought against our host, TMA in the semi final, sending the arcade owner himself to the bronze game. It was time for today's final round.

Our first game turned out to be no less than the X-Files. I was go glad I had played this game at least once earlier today, so I knew it had very nice and powerful flippers, good for both long ramp shots. I grinded away the Cabinet multiball on my first ball, ending up with 6M. On my next ball I finally collected The Truth and cashed that out pretty well, ending up with around 13M. MJS couldn't catch that on his 3rd ball, so I didn't have to finish my last ball. It was probably for the best, as I was almost seeing stars at this point.

My 3 song playlist finally started so sound a bit worn out at this point, so I had to go for my alternative playlist - "The best of Guitar Hero and Rockband Games" :)

Next another round of Lord of the Rings. Like I said earlier, with the LOTR it's either a marathon game or a real crapfest. Now was time for the crapfest for both of us. Being player 1, I finished my 3rd ball at 6.6M, with a game where the only thing I got some shots in was the Balrog bashing. MJS started his last ball with even worse position, started Bash the Balrog and somehow managed not to hit the Balrog during the mode. The frustration towards the end was almost painful to watch, and he soon drained after that with 2.7M. We both agreed we've played better rounds on this game.

With the game being 2-0, I would need to win any of the 3 remaining games to win the whole tournament. No pressure here, just give me a good grinder game to finish this!

Next game we drew was Scared Stiff. Again I had very clear approach to it: extend crate, extend Stiff in a coffin, use Double trouble on either of them. MJS was noticeably nervous, and missed the spider hole, draining soon after the ball saver went out. I played the extended Crate multiball for around 6M on my first ball. MJS had pretty much similar 2nd ball to his first, although he got the Crate multiball lit.

I played extended Coffin with Double Trouble, but it ended up disappointingly with just 2 jackpots. Still, they were doubled. MJS ended his 3rd ball with 4.4M, so I won the game before playing my last ball. I was pretty beaten up already, but I only had The monster's lab remaining for Still-o-meter, so I finished that from the spider hole, and started Stiff-o-meter. I really just wanted to see the Monster multiball on this machine, but drained on level 5 or 6. Oh well.

The outcome

I've now taken part in Orivesi Pinball Open 3 times; in 2012, 2013 and 2015. I've won it every time, so the stats are rather good on this one! After getting our trophies I was more than ready for that rum and coke our host had been promising us all day long. This is also the first trophy I've gotten this year, it was so close at Sörkka pinball open, but no.

I was so sorry to hear about downsizing of the Orivesi's only saving factor, the Pelihelvetti arcade. I hope you guys can still pull it off in the future.

Next time I'll see you folks in Antwerp, Belgium for the EPC'15!

- Results


The 3 song playlist, now in Youtube-form!

I need a better playlist :(

Sörkka Pinball Open - Helsinki, Finland - 30/05/2015

Sörkka pinball open is the oldest yearly tournament we have. On a more personal level Sörkka was the first ever tournament where I've placed in the top-3 and it was the first ever where I actually won on both personal and split series. I've been away from the local pinball scene for a while now, and hadn't it been the last chance to meet our New Zealander buddies, I would probably had just skipped this one altogether.


The qualification line-up was Dealer's Choice, Dungeons and Dragons, Flash Gordon, Pokerino, Paragon, Sinbad and Black Knight. Out of those, only Dungeons and Dragons and Sinbad were bit of a mystery to me. I had played D&D last time in Mikkeli, and the only think I knew about it was to just gun for the multiball, then flail around hoping for the best. Sinbad again .. well, it was one of my less favorite Gottlieb sys 1's.

Overview of the main line-up

After observing the games for a while, I noticed my D&D strategy was surprisingly solid. The Dealer's choice again seemed extremely random with many skilled players concentrating on just trying to keep the ball in the play instead of trying to aim for something. Flash Gordon and Black Knight both seemed to have constant technical problems which was kind of sad as they were among my favorite games in Apollonkatu arcade.

I started out with Dealer's choice. I soon learned what the others had been cursing about: the game was in such a low angle the ball had no predictable tracks. It just changed direction from the every single slight bump in the playfield, bit like the Addams Family with the magnets on. I barely got 20k on it on my better game.

Dungeons and Dragons again was playing nicely and I spent my first game trying to learn the reflex for the player controllable outlane diverters. Once I got that, I played 3.6M on it, which surely was among the top-5 in the end. I recall it was the #1 score by the time I played it.

Starting my first game on D&D.

Flash Gordon let me play my two tries without a single stuck ball. I was going strong towards 1M score, but failed to get the maximum bonus multiplier and had to settle for 870k on my first game, and for less than 400k on my second.

Paragon was its usual self and frustrated me to no end. My better game ended at bit over 200k which apparently wasn't still the worst score played today.

Then .. Sinbad. To this day I have absolutely no idea what they were after with the double flipper design, as it adds absolutely nothing to this normal width game. On my first game I tried to get the drop targets in the mid-playfield, hoping I'd score some of the roll-over rewards. The game wouldn't have any of that, so on the second try I just kept gunning for the left orbit, hoping to make some points with the bonus. It wasn't much better, but I guess I'll take the 44k instead of the 20k I got on the first game.

Pokerino was actually way more playable machine than many frustrated players would believe. It plays exactly the same as my Contact, which is also a Williams system 3 game. It's one of those rare games, where you'll be doing 3-4 slight nudges for each flipper button press. The point is to keep the ball rolling, but never let it gain too much speed. Oh, and for the love of everything that's holy, do NOT attempt the flip when the ball is near the area where one flipper ends and the second begins. That spot right there will suck the ball like a strong magnet. My better game on Pokerino gave me around 500k, which I consider a good run.

Playing the Pokerino, hoping it won't turn into failino.

I waited to play the Black Knight for some time, until it turns out the game was withdrawn from the line-up because of a switch matrix ground short problem. I heard lots of angry comments about it, as some players had played their best games on it.


With 16 players going to the play-offs, 5-8 places getting one bye, 1-4 two byes, I found myself on the 7th place, being able to skip the very first round of play-offs.


This year the play-offs were played best 3 out of 5. As we were playing classic games that tend to give some curve balls even to the most experienced of players.

I was keeping the round 1 game 2 on close eye, as Andreas and Erno fought it till the 5th game, but ultimately Andreas won and went against me on the game 7 on round 2. Other noteworthy games were Pilvi versus Roni, which Pilvi took home 3-2 and Danielle, who swept the floor with the guys she was playing against in Flash Gordon.

Danielle showing the guys how it's done!

Round 2

The first game we drew was Pokerino. I had such a high hopes for it, but I had absolutely no idea what I was doing once the game started. Apparently you CAN end one ball with less than 2k. I got something done on the following balls, but Andreas took the first one home.

Enter the Jungle Queen. We both got some good balls in there, but I finally got the double bonus on my last ball, and took this one home. Thinking about the god-awful Dealer's choice, this Jungle Queen played really nice. I've yet to learn what the upper small flippers are actually for, I found I could use them for the drop targets, but the lower flippers are just way more accurate and even the lowest of the drop targets is easily doable with them.

The next game was Strike Zone. I still have good memories of this game, as it was the first ever game I've ever won a splits tournament on! Andreas gave a good chase for my win here, but I got 2 strikes on every ball and made an occasional skillshot as well.

With the game being 2-1 for me, the next game was my first chance to end this round short. We drew Paragon.

Paragon hates us both with passion. As #1 player I had 74k when I finished my last ball, most of that came from the random successful shots to the Golden cliffs. Andreas was at around 40-50k, closing up fast. By the time he drained he was at 65k, and I had to move in close to see his bonus. No multipliers, 8k bonus. Wow, this was cutting real close and as the bonus count ended with him having 73k, I was done with this round. Phew.

Pilvi was also on this round, but lost to Antti 3-0 and was 11th after the positions 9-12 game.

Round 3

Having being around for a long time, I've probably met most of the Finland's current pinball scene. Yet every now and then I run into a blast from the past, like with Mika here, who is the year 1994 champion in Finland.

We drew Strike Zone as the first game. We were actually quite even for the most part, my biggest failure here was that I didn't make even one successful skillshot, and eventually lost by the margin of two skillshots.

Next we played Sinbad. It was a total drain-fest for us both. I made that poor plastic spinner go around enough times to win by like 5-6k.

From there we moved on to Pokerino. It was just as bad as Sinbad. We came so close to eachother that a single bonus increasing target could be meaningful. I won, but barely.

After three games or playing this bad I was getting really nervous. All the confidence I had had before, was now gone and I was more dreading of what was to come. Then we drew Target Alpha.

Now with this game we actually got something done. I've grown to like Target Alpha because of its long and relatively important shots to the back drop target bank. We went neck and neck, until Mika got a 15k gap on his 3rd ball, and I couldn't catch it even when I had double bonus lit. Rats.

So, the last and deciding game was Cleopatra. It has actually pretty clever bonus system, which reminds me of Joker Poker, but instead of the cards you need to make all the matching color shots on the playfield. Scoring both mid-playfield holes doubles the bonus.

Once again we played equally bad, until I got double bonus and got most of the more valuable bonus colors collected. Mika got the double bonus within the 10 seconds on his first ball, and I was there biting my nails to see which bonuses he'd collect. Much to my luck he only got the lowest ones and I can't even begin to describe the feeling of relief when I saw the final scores.

This was phenomenally bad round all around and really sapped my confidence to the upcoming final. Still, since the final is played as a 4 player game there's 75% chance of going home with a trophy, which also happened to be my only goal this time.


So, in the final I found myself going against Pekka, Olli-Mikko and Stefan. Unlike in the previous years, this year the final wasn't played on just one game, but on 3. It was played as a 4 player game, where the winner would be 4 point, 2nd place 2 points, 3rd place 1 point and no points for the last position. Who ever had most points in the end would win the whole tournament.

Final round 1 - Paragon

Well, Paragon, we meet once again in the Sörkka finals.

As the player 1 I got to show off my skills first. I plunged the ball, landed it to the right upper hole, to the bumpers and down the middle from there. With 1.9k score I thought I had seen it all. Pekka, as a 3rd player however somehow managed to beat even this and scored 1.3k on his first ball. My second ball was a house ball, and while on the 3rd ball I even got to flip it once, my luck had run out and I had to settle for 4th place and no points for this one.

Final round 2 - Target alpha

Now we were talking again - I felt somewhat confident about this game and it did show.  I played a strong ball one, ditto with the 2nd ball. As player 4 I started the last ball with 15k behind the #2 player. As I had double bonus for the last ball, all I needed was 7 drop targets and I'd bridge that gap even with bonus. After carefully going after the skill shot I managed to get a house ball, that hit the left slingshot, then went out from the right outlane. I was really bummed about this, as I would have gladly taken the 4 points, but I'll take the 2 points over the zero any day. 

I did a quick calculation on what needed to be done after this one. Pekka was at 5 points, thus he was my worst threat. Olli-Mikko was at 4 and Stefan at 3. In an optimum situation Pekka getting 0 points from the next game, me winning it, Olli-Mikko getting only one and Stefan 2, I'd win this tournament. With a 2nd place I'd be able to get a 2nd or 3rd place, depending a bit on how the other guys did it, so I was once again my back against the wall to win this one.

Final round 3 - Jungle Queen

I was pretty shaken up by the really close play-offs round 3, and the fact that I had completely failed on Paragon. It took virtually everything I had left to gather myself for the one, final push. With the right combination of background music and concentration I began the very final round of the game as a player #2.

My first ball worked out quite nicely. I nailed all the drop targets on the right, made the upper right hole lit for 5000 and kept milking it. I was hoping to go for the double bonus as well, but couldn't get the A-lane done. I ended up around 90k score and was rather satisfied with it.

My second ball was even better. I nailed all the drops early on, got A-B-C lanes done getting the double bonus and then got an incredible lazarus ball which I managed to slap save back into the game. When I finally drained at 190k, I was actually quite curious of what will happen once I roll the machine the second time. While most of the other players were within the range on 20-50k, I was pretty confident I'd come home with at least 3rd place trophy, which would also be the first trophy this year.

Olli-Mikko got up to 110k on his 2nd ball as the 4th player, but noticed the bumpers were giving extra points. I had pretty much ignored this, as I expected them to be worth 100 points when lit, and 10 otherwise. Turns out they were giving out 1000 points, which again gave Olli-Mikko over 30k in very short period of time. We had to pause the game there to think of the options.

We weren't sure which players had gotten these extra points and the whole thing soon materialized into my worst fear: a game which I was dominating (and I really, REALLY needed to win) was about to be voided.

We had the options to continue playing, fix the machine and restart the game, or pick a new game. As much as I wanted to just keep on playing, I knew I would have never been able to look at the tournament trophy without doubting if I had really deserved it.

The whole thing had dragged on for forever already, and without knowing for how long it'd take to get the Jungle Queen back online (or even if it was doable with this time frame), I called for a new machine and we all agreed. Sinbad was drawn and it made me cringe so hard as I had already had very bad experience with this Sinbad in the qualification.

Final round 3 restart - Sinbad

My ball 1 was really bad, just as I had expected. I stepped out for a while, only to return to a game where Pekka had over 100k and I was at around 3k. I was just so exhausted I couldn't do much more and while my 3rd ball finally wasn't a total house ball, the others were just way ahead of me, making this another 0 point round. With two 0 point rounds I was last in the final.

The outcome

I was 7th in the qualification, getting one bye.
I won the rounds 2 and 3 in the play-offs, getting to the 4 player final. I was 4th in the final.

I think this tournament hit the worst possible nightmare an organizer and a player can have. A game fails in a critical spot, so the game state or scoring is lost without any means of recovering it. Restarting the game from scratch isn't going to give the same results necessarily, which especially holds true with classic games and their brutal randomness at times. While I perfectly understand the ruling and wholeheartedly agree, I have to admit it felt like a raw deal and led to one very silent drive back home after this one. I've lost my place in the play-offs once in a similar situation, but never the tournament final.

P.S: Fuck you, Jungle Queen.