As always we closed Pintastic NE with a final interview with the founder, head man and provider of 20 count them 20 Pinball machines for people to play for free Gabriel D’Annunzio
Gabriel’s efforts bring the first of my ten thoughts about Pintastic into focus. The amount of work he puts in to bring this show together is incredible, he and the volunteers give up a lot of time to make a ton of people happy and they are succeeding.
Even if you ignore the effort of running the show proper the amount of effort to physically bring 20 pinball machines to and from this location is a herculean task. Pinball machines are not light, even the least expensive of his machines could sell for several thousand dollars and most amazingly he does this in the expectation that said machines will get more wear and tear in those 3 to four days than they might the entire year. I try to treat the machines I’m playing there with kid gloves because they aren’t mine.
The Southern New Hampshire Pinball Club, facebook page here was there in force with over a dozen games. For a $30 monthly membership you get a key to go in and play as much as you like 24/7. For $10 you can get a day pass. They run regular tournaments and have some creative ideas (including Pinball Ninja warrior which we played at Pintastic) Their space was in the old VIP room from last year and it was constantly full.
One of the things I mentioned in my interview with Gabe was the family friendliness of the event, the number of parents and kids, particularly on Sunday was huge. Sights like this were very common.
You can’t grow a hobby without youth and this is a great sign.
Speaking of youth Jersey Jack mentioned something during his seminar worth repeating here. He was giving a tour of the factor and the games and showing how they worked etc and noticed one thing in particular. None of the kids were looking at their cell phones with their head bent down. In 2018 that’s really something!.
While we had downpours the first day of Pintastic the heat that replaced it was MUCH worse, particularly for those hauling multiple games home as Gabriel does. We gave a hand to some folks form Rhode Island who had seven games to put on a UHaul and the Heat was unbearable. I can’t imagine how they got all that stuff on and off the truck without the good folks at Pintastic there to help back home.
The Sturbridge Host Hotel is a perfect place for Pintastic, they have a small private beach on a lake/pond two indoor pools and a small pub and a fancier restaurant right there and best of all the price is right. My only fear is that in a few years Pintastic will grow too big for the venue which would be a real shame as they’ve been excellent hosts. There is also a McDonalds, Burgerking and CVS in practically the same parking lot along with a seafood restaurant so there are plenty of lunch options
One of the newest fads nationwide have been barcades, bars with acrades built in including Pinball. Combined with Pizza joints that include pinball arcades like the one in Bethesda I vised at CPAC and the one in Kansas I hit while out west they are a growing trend and a great one to boot.
For a guy who has lost most of his Doctor Who Mojo I confess I spent a lot of time on the Doctor Who pinball machine which was one of the most popular games in the place
I’m still surprised that we haven’t seen a new one since the series revival but it would be hard to improve on the old one which, with the exception of the backglass art) is an excellent design with some fun voice work from Sylvester McCoy
Finally one of the best parts of Pintastic NE was to get away from the political back and forth. There were plenty of Bernie bumper stickers in the parking lots but I also met someone in a “Deplorable” t-shirt and one head of the college republicans there too. At Pintastic it’s all about the pinball which unites us, there’s plenty of time to argue about the other stuff the other 51 weeks of the year.
With Pintastic NE 2018 over I wanted to get some stray videos from the Q & A seminars posted that you might have missed unless you viewed the entire playlist
First from Jersey Jack’s:
Availability of parts for “Retired” games
Given the playload of home based games that’s a question that will be an issue in a few years.
A question on remote pinball
While you can compare scores I imagine it would require additional camera work to transmit our opponent games as a live stream onto your system and would of course require your system to be connected to the net.
One on various pinball game ideas that are out there
The creative process for deciding what games to make
Unlicenced games (that is games that don’t require paying the owner of a product (like Dialed in) vs ones that do (The Hobbit)
and Nostalgia games
I’d like to see a Travels of St. Paul game, I think the letters of Paul combined with his travels in acts is built for pinball and would have a ready made audience.
And you can’t talk code updates without talking auto updates too
Many people outside the hobby don’t realize that there are roms and chips involved in pinball. They still think of the machines as purely mechanical without coding involved.
Can new game prices come down?
I don’t think you can have a cheap game drive the hobby but it has to be inexpensive enough to sell which leads to the next question concerning games too expensive to make
That’s an important point, while you can’t go too cheap if you are paying as much for a pinball machines as a new car then it becomes a hobby only for the very rich and thus not feasible for mass production.
The was a great question about low scoring threshholds
And let’s finish Jack’s section with why he made it as a manufacturer of Pinball Machines while others have not.
While Jersey Jack is a maker of new Pinball machines Todd Tuckey is a fixer of old ones, Jack ribbed him during his seminar
But Todd’s seminar was all about the restoring and repairing of an old machine, many of them 30 years old or older, so the questions that came were about the hardware side
Removing particular parts..
The lamp board
they types of iron used to heat pins
Those pins being the pins of the circuit boards that all games except the pure mechanical ones have.
He also told a story about what a lightning strike can do to games even when they’re off
His own livestream that he shot at Pintastic is below
I asked each of them a question at their seminars, I asked Todd about the cost of the repair that he showed us on camera
And I asked Jack about the making of PG games
Todd is more of a showman and Jack but the bottom line is both are builders and doers and the hobby and the country are both better for having them.
There was more to Pintastic than Todd Tuckey and Jersey Jack there were the vendors like Ben from Pinbox 3000
his system has really grown since the first one
Steve from Rock Fantasy store/arcade in NY who has been to every pintastic but one
Clever to bring a machine that needs slight tweaking to a show full of tweakers
You have virtual Pinball well represented among the vendors, I spoke to Cliff of the VR zone
His virtual reality cabinet was so big it took two videos to show it
It’s a good solution for fans with limited space.
Of course there were the individuals like Chris
He brought his daughters which is no surprise as every year more and more kids are there with parents, which is why we saw old friend Maggie the Clown entertaining them, but in a cunning disguise sans makeup
Most of the kids however were to be found at the games on tiny step provided by Pintastic for them to reach the tables.
I wasn’t the only person filing in fact the good folks at Xtreme has a three person team which did live streaming of games with an excellent setup to do so.
this makes sense because even on the last day of Pintastic the stars of the show are the games
And the people who meet while playing them.
I was playing a four player game with the young couple to my right and my son, Pintastic is a great place to connect with people. It’s a place where people in Deplorable shirts share a parking lot with folks with Bernie bumper stickers because it’s all about the Pinball and the camaraderie of the joy of the games that all share.
We’ve got two more pintastic posts coming a compilations of Q & A and a wrap up post but those will not be leads so starting tomorrow expect a return to news and commentary in the lead posts here at DaTechGuy blog again
Between room, food and Passes Pintastic cost about $1000 to cover. If you think this coverage in particular and this site in general is worth supporting please consider kicking in here:
It’s 2 AM and the free play room is closed at Pintastic but it will be open at 9 am today so if you are thinking if it is worth your time to get a day pass today to play check out this video of the games you will gind
When you’re talking Pintastic NE you’re talking a lot of fun, such as the Batman 1966 game that has proved to be one of the most popular games in the Free play room.
But before you can start playing games like that here is a lot of work from the setup of the vendor room
to the setup of the free play room
And the man behind it all is Gabriel D’Annunzio who founded this event.
Of course once things get started, it becomes all bout keeping the machines, many of them 20 or 30 year old or more, running and that’s where folks like Tony come in.
Let’s give folks like Gabe and Tony a big hand, because though their time and effort along with all of the people on their team thousands of folks will have a great time this week away from the worries of the world.
As you are reading this I am in my hotel room in Sturbridge at day one of the 4th Annual Pintastic NE Pinball extravaganza.
If you are unfamilar with it Pintastic is four days of all things pinball with free play rooms, vendors seminars Tournaments and fun activities from the kids. There are machines on sale for as low as a couple of hundred bucks to brand spanking new releases for eight grand and there is even a bank on hand to process your loan if you want to buy one.
You can buy single day passes for $10 to $25 and kid passes for $5 to $10 dollars and if you are a huge Pinball guy who wants two or four days of 24 / 7 pinball they have a plan for you too.
I have been covering and enjoying Pintastic since the very first one back when it was a two day event (my coverage of 2015 is here, 2016 is here and 2017 is here) and my Pintastic 2017 video playlist is here My first interview from Pintastic 2018 is with Alex from Boston
This is an event that’s just plain fun, and if the news is getting you down (or if it’s not) it’s the perfect escape. Come on down and enjoy it.
I’ll try to get more video up as I can but with 24/7 pinball in front of me for the next few days don’t be surprised if I’m a tad distracted.
Update: The bank didn’t come this year, I think that’s a bad move, in a booming economy you’re much likely to have someone ready to buy a machine
By now all of you are likely sick of my CPAC 2018 posts so you will be pleased to hear that other than a guest post (that needs integration of the graphics and the text) this post will close out my coverage of CPAC 2018.
My primary goal at CPAC was to answer some questions I had about the conservative movement and its relationship with the Trump administration after year 1. Here is what I found:
CPAC is Donald Trump’s event and will remain so as long as he is President and chooses it to be so:
The biggest difference between CPAC 2018 and CPAC 2017 was the fact that it was clearly a Donald Trump crowd that attended. Last year there were plenty of establishment types supporting different candidates and agendas and it wasn’t hard to find folks who didn’t care for Trump among the attendees. This year was very different, except in media the folks who did not support this president were few and far between or for the most part silent. This was a Trump crowd and as long as the president keeps deciding to show up it will remain primarily a Trump crowd and I suspect CPAC will act accordingly in terms of how it carries itself.
Ted Cruz has replaced the Paul Family as the other big presence at CPAC:
When I first came to CPAC it and the straw polls in it were dominated by the Ron Paul (later Rand Paul) folks who generally came en mass to vote for their hero. With Donald Trump in office, Ron Paul now retired and any Paul for President Campaigns on hold for at least a decade there is no sign that the Paul organization is trying to get young people there. However I seemed to constantly run into Ted Cruz folks. This is not a surprise as Senator Cruz remains one of the most popular speakers at the event but also because while President Trump full fury was directed at Senator Cruz during the campaign he has with a few notable exceptions governed to the priorities of the Ted Cruz Crowd. In fact one might even say President Trump has made the Ted Cruz base his base and while I’m sure the Senator and his supporters (full disclosure like myself) would be delighted to see a president Ted Cruz, as long as he is moving our priorities forward they will stick with him.
The single biggest star for Trump are the Tax Cuts:
While I got a lot of assorted answers on what the folks liked best about Donald Trump the overwhelmingly most popular things about him was the tax bill and the economy. The strong Trump economy which is in evidence is and remains his single biggest selling point among the CPAC activists with one exception from a particular sub group…
Evangelicals and Pro-Lifers are with him all the way:
…and that the Pro-Life voters of which I am one of. Pro-life voters are uniformly ecstatic about Donald Trump and the attention his administration has given to our cause. The religious people I talked to are willing to forget Trump’s past as they would any convert who has “seen the light” so to speak. As for the failure to defund planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare those I questioned on the subject lay the blame squarely at the feet of the GOP in general and Collins, McCain and Murkowski in particular in fact this keeps with a particular pattern…
The GOP not Trump is taking the hit for any failures:
It’s very clear that when it comes to the blame game the CPAC crowd gives Trump very little of it for the various legislative failures. The GOP get the lions share of this and I suspect this might be a real driver during the midterms in decreasing turnout for the party in an election that they need to win there is one exception to this.
The #1 complaint about Donald Trump are the Tweets (particularly in conservative media):
This is a subject where I depart from the majority of both CPAC attendees and particularly my fellows in conservative media. While I and several Trump partisans think the President’s Tweets are an invaluable tool to bypass the media to get his message out (making them react instead of him reacting to them) most of those I talked to dreaded his tweets. It was considered not only a distraction from his agenda but I got a real sense that supporters in conservative media dreaded him saying something untoward that they might be obligated to defend or discount.
The Democrats should have made a DACA Deal while they could:
I asked people about a DACA deal for the wall. While there was a significant amount of folks who disagreed the clear majority of attendees were more than willing to swap DACA for a wall. Once the president speech was given saying DACA was dead, folks concluded that they could get a wall without DACA and that opinion seemed to harden. The wall remains a sine non qua for the Trump folks and if they get it I suspect it would cover a multitude of sins and it seems to me the President would like to do something for the DACA crowd but it’s clearly the opinion of the crew that they don’t need to give an inch.
The CPAC crowd is more optimistic about the midterms that the party as a whole:
A lot has happened in the intervening two months but at the time of CPAC with the tax cuts starting to kick in the crowd there were feeling pretty good about the midterms. While the President warned about complacency it seems that warning wasn’t enough to get the optimism out of them but if the GOP wants to overcome the energized Democrats they will need more than a vague confidence of victory.
The CPAC crowd wants Trump to continue being Trump:
The final question I asked all there was this: How can President Trump help the GOP win in the midterms, the answer was almost unanimous: Keep doing what you’re doing. Trump votes like the Trump policies and as long as the economy keeps booming and jobs and wages continue to rise there will be voters who will think twice before turning to the party promising to raise their taxes.
The real question is this: Are the Trump voters energized enough to overcome both energized Democrats anxious to vote and Democrat machines that now know where they need to steal said votes? The answer alas wasn’t at CPAC, it’s in the individual districts and I think the it’s going to come down to the warning that the President gave about complacency. Fortunately for the GOP the Democrats are making it very hard to pretend that there are no consequences for defeat.
The second question is this, If the Trump votes aren’t energized enough to hold the house, who will get the blame? The media and the establishment will certainly blame Trump but who would the CPAC activist blame? The answer to that question will determine what CPAC 2019 looks like.
DaTechGuy at CPAC 2018 The story (blogged) so far: