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.