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 :(