Every year, I attend a pinball tournament held in Pittsburgh called Pinburgh that attracts pinball players from all over the world. This year, Pinburgh had grown so large that they moved it to a convention center and turned it into a pinball and video game festival with over 700 classic and modern games. If you love video games, you'd love the Replay FX Arcade and Gaming Festival

Walking into this convention center was like someone bringing my childhood back to me. I saw and played video arcade games I hadn't seen in years. I played Atari, Nintendo, ColecoVision. I met the people who made these classic games. I played pinball with some of the greatest players in the world. I had an amazing time!

In the lobby, Replay FX had a living room set that looked like it was right from 1979, including a vintage couch, matching end tables, coffee table with magazines and TV Guides from the 80's and a vintage console TV with the original Nintendo hooked up to it playing Super Mario Bros. 3. I had to wait until the festival was over to be able to sit in the living room because it was so popular!

Jeff Parsons


How did I do in the pinball competition? Final rankings aren't out yet, but I ended up somewhere near the bottom of the B Division, putting me right about in the middle of the 649 players competing. It's a slight improvement over last year so it's progress.

The highlight for me was sitting down with about 30 people on the convention floor to listen to pinball icon Roger Sharpe speak. In 1976, Roger was instrumental in making pinball legal in New York City when he proved to city councillors that pinball was a game of skill. Because pinballs would give out free games, it was considered gambling in many places in the US. Roger told councilors that he could pull back on the plunger just the right amount to make the ball go into a certain lane. He did, and that convinced lawmakers that pinball was indeed a game of skill at it was made legal.

Roger and his sons Josh and Zach had a seminar scheduled for 9PM on Saturday evening, but it got cancelled when Zach had made it to the finals of Pinburgh. Roger wanted to see his son play, and I'm glad he did because Zach won.

Around 11PM Roger and his sons came back to the lecture hall, but the Tetris grand masters were speaking there. So instead, we sat down outside the lecture hall and the Sharpes spoke with us and answered questions as Zach's giant trophy served as a centerpiece.

Jeff Parsons

There will be a Replay FX Arcade and Gaming Festival next summer in Pittsburgh, so if you have any interest in video game, pinballs, table top games and even cos play, plan a trip next summer.  I've got the link below to ReplayFX's website that has details on the event and to ReplayFX's Facebook page that has a ton of photos from the weekend.

Here's a gallery of some photos that I took.