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.

Code updates

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.

A common sight at Pintastic NE 2018
There was more to Pintastic than Todd Tuckey and Jersey Jack there were the vendors like Ben from Pinbox 3000

c

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


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Todd Tuckey Pintastic NE 2018

Yesterday we highlighted Jersey Jack as one of the People who are driving the Pinball Hobby by his creation of brand new games designed more toward public purchase rather than arcades.

Today I’d like to Focus on Todd Tuckey whose forte is the repair and restoration of the older games that were designed for a different era when the primary goal was for an arcade/bowling alley etc to fill the coin box. Todd Talked about this during his seminar yesterday.

His seminar was all about restoring an old Six Million Dollar Man Game and the procedure to fix it. There is a whole section of the Pinball hobby for restoring pinball machines (the term used is “shopping a machine” which involves a knowledge of electronics, soldering etc. He took a few questions on that as well.

This highlights one of the real difference between those who have been in the hobby for some time and those newly entering via barcades and events like this. The old guard tends to have a fair popular who knows about circuit boards, capacitors, heat syncs etc but many of the new folks are just interested in a game that runs. I asked Todd about that in the Q & A.

Now in the old days there were a fair amount of young men who would learn about electronics in “shop” classes and decide to go in that direction, but with society convincing people that unless they put themselves in debt a few hundred thousand dollars for a degree (even if such a degree is LBGT dance studies) they are somehow inferior, you are seeing less people of either sex learning these kind of skills.

On the plus side because games at home are not continually on have perhaps 8-10 hours a day of play 300+ days a year (and are likely subject to less abuse as you are less likely to mistreat a machine you own) both a new Jersey Jack machine that you are paying 6-10K for an old game after a Tuckey restoration that might cost $2500 your game is likely to last you decades.

I did a very long interview with Todd in three parts as my cameras alternatively kept running out of battery or shut themselves off for no apparently reason it is in three parts

Part 2

and Part 3

Todd’s business TNT Amusements is here
Todd’s own Youtube channel has made him a legend in the industry, you can see is here and includes this classic moment from last year of me getting in trouble with DA wife until she realizes she’s being recorded

His videos are a plethora of knowledge about electronics and repairing machines, in other words actual practical skills worth knowing.

I submit and suggest that with the growth of the hobby it might be worthwhile to ditch the prehistoric microaggression studies degree that you’re working on and instead pick up this electronics knowledge which pays real money. Even better if haven’t built up more debt than the cost of the entire Jersey Jack Pinball line because your still in High school see if you can begin to pick up the knowledge there that can provide a career and a hobby for a lifetime.

Welcome Todd Tuckey fans: We have a lot of Pinball coverage here including coverage of every Pintastic since the first one, Pinball locations in NJ and Maryland and of course a ton of interviews of all types. Take a peek around I hope you enjoy it.

At Yesterday’s Pintastic NE Jersey Jack of Jersey Jack Pinball held a seminar about his business that produces some of the best pinball machines on the market. These games are constantly in demand both on the market and at the show:

During the seminar one of the attendees asked him an obvious question, why has he made it when others have failed? Here was his answer.

This is not a light thing to say because it must be remembered he started this business in the Obama years before the Trump boom AND because when it comes down to it a Pinball machine is not a necessity.

I think thanking God and a bunch of others is important as was his decision to market to individuals, but for my money the real secret is the fact that in terms of subject matter, video, artwork and display, all of his games are PG rated or lower. I asked him why he made that decision and his answer was telling

Note that he didn’t say: “I don’t think anyone should make an R rated game”, he just decided that as a Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and a Catholic Eucharistic Minister involved in his church, he decided that he wasn’t going to making anything that wasn’t family friendly.

In an era when kindergartens are having very inappropriate stuff pushed at them and Disney has apparently decided that being “woke” is more important that being family friendly that’s an incredibly radical decision.

My interview with Jack is here

And you can buy his games here

Hit the right sequence and you get the batsignal
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.

Take a bow guys.

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