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If There’s A Heaven For Pinball Players It’s At Pinburgh 2014 [VIDEO]

Matt Guay, me, Austin Chenelle and Joe Lemire representing New England at Pinburgh 2014

You haven’t been hearing me on The Q Morning Show this week because I’ve been in Pittsburgh since Thursday competing in the largest match play pinball tournament in the world! I’m at Pinburgh! (Clever name no?) 

400 pinball players from all over the world play for two days straight to try to make it to the finals of this event held at the Professional & Amateur Pinball Association facility. From the outside it looks just like a nondescript warehouse tucked into an industrial area. There’s hardly a sign on it to indicate what’s there. On the inside however you will find what seems like every pinball machine ever created. This video I shot shows just a portion of the facility.

The tournament has been a blast so far. My performance hasn’t been as good as I’d like as I finished day one with a record of 28-32.

The field gets broken up into four divisions for day two. The top 100 are in the A division, 101-200 in the B and so on. My finishing would have qualified me for the C division, however since I came in fourth in C last year at Pinburgh I am restricted to either the A or B division. This prevents people who are better players from “sandbagging” in a division below their skill level to win.

What that does mean is I am second to last in the B division with a long uphill battle ahead of me if I’m going to win. We start in two hours, so we’ll see how it goes.

There have been some very memorable moments so far for me. One was playing in a pinball golf foursome with former world champion Lyman Sheets. He also works for Stern Pinball writing the code that makes all the modern pinball machines work, so he is the guy who writes the rules to the games we play. Playing pinball with Lyman is the equivalent of taking batting practice with David Ortiz to a baseball fan.

Lyman Sheets playing “Freak Out”

The other big highlight is that I was invited by Bowen Kerins, the current World Pinball Champion to join him and Jon Replogle in the broadcast booth to help call the action during the PAPA Circuit Final on Thursday. Jon is a solid A division player as well and it was a thrill to be there during the broadcast with them. I was nervous as hell, but I settled in and had a great time.

You won’t find the broadcast on TV, but it does stream live on the internet at PAPA.tv. Your next chance to watch live will be on Sunday for the Pinburgh Finals. I’ll have more about PAPA.tv and what it takes to broadcast pinball live later in the week.

For now though, it’s time to head to PAPA! Wish me luck!

 

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