Lyons pinball spring classic

We arrived at Colorado last night after travelling for over 25 hours. Claiming we'd be exhausted would be a gross understatement. To add to the insult, I got myself a flu the day before my summer holidays began, and I can tell you flying for 11 hours is no fun at all when you have to sneeze every 5 minutes. Still, the next day we headed towards Lyons from Longmont where we had set our camp for this weekend.

Lyons pinball classic is a cozy, 30+ pin arcade in Lyons, Colorado. They have pins from classics era to some of the latest ones, including AC/DC back in the black edition and Wizard of Oz. Other curiosities include Atari's Hercules and Williams' Joust.

The tournament itself was a 3 day event. First day was a qualification run, where over 100 players competed for the top 64 positions that would continue to the next day's double elimination bracket game. 

The first round's format was pingolf, in which you're playing towards a goal such as "lock a ball" or "score 100M points". Less balls you use, the better score you'll get. Every game has a par value, and failing to reach the goal gives you par+1 score for that machine.


I was playing with 4 other guys, 2 Americans and one Swiss. I had felt pretty good up to an hour before the tee off. Then my fever started to raise again even when I had downed a couple of Ibuprofen tablets. Whee, I traveled 9200 kilometers to play my first american tournament feeling like a corpse.

Hole #1: Banzai Run - Lock one ball - par 3

Banzai run is a very familiar game for me. I only had to skillshot once, then hit all the colored standups and then finish the upper playfield to enable the ball lock. Well, it was way easier on the drawing board than standing there about to plunge the ball. I failed the skillshot, so I had to collect the green racer from the roll overs. That fortunately went pretty well, but then I drained from an uncontrolled shot from the upkicker in the left slingshot.

Next I got one rather annoying house ball, while one of the other players got an incredible luck-shot, getting the red racer from the freestyle captive ball and then locking the ball on his second ball.

I put on game face for the last ball, and collected the remaining standups. I however failed to collect the red rider from the upper playfield and drained from a rather nasty bounce. Crap, 4 points for this one.

Hole #2: Wheel of Fortune - score 12M - par 4

This one should have been a pushover goal, but no. Collecting the MULTIBALL-standups was crazy hard with open wide outlanes and I spent 3 first balls trying to collect them, finally getting the multiball lit for my 4th ball. I nailed the multiball, but it was cut short by a rather frustrating double drain. After the bonus, I had 11.9M and had to settle for another bogie and 5 points.

Hole #3: Space time - score 40k - par 5

I had never played Space time before, but looking at the layout it seemed like an okay game to me, with a lighted “tunnel” deciding upper playfield hole’s value being the main toy. I was 4th player, so I had lots of time to see what the others did. I made several observations, including how to time your plunging to stop the tunnel’s value at the maximum. So there I plunged a perfectly timed shot, after which the ball managed carefully evade anything that would score points, hit one slingshot and went out. I got 10 points on my first ball. It was so bad I could only laugh.

Rest of the balls were a bit better, but I still failed to reach the 40k and once again bogied this hole. Awww man.

Hole #4: Congo - score 400M - par 3

Now that we were back to the modern games, I had build myself a game plan for Congo with couple of strategic tips from OMO. I kept pounding the left ramp until I had collected all the ZINJ-letters, and then started the diamond hunt multiball. Finally I got to put my game face on and grinded away the diamonds like crazy. When I finally drained my first ball, I was almost at the goal score. I easily reached it on my 2nd ball, making this the first successful hole, which I almost hole-in-one’d.

Hole #5: Fish Tales - score 50M - par 4

Ah, the Fish Tales. Scoring 50M on it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. With a bazooka. There was only one thing on my mind: get the video mode lit, then ace it. In the tournament mode with extra balls disabled the video mode maxes out at around 60M. I made the long cast shot required on my first ball, and then managed to drain from the center captive ball shot. I made the shot on my second ball, and then spent that and the remaining 2 balls trying to make the left orbit shot without luck. 

Wow, a round of FT with 4 balls, no video mode. Now that’s a FAIL … and another bogie. I was just starting to dawn on me, that playing with fever wasn't probably the best idea, but then again I didn't travel halfway across the world to give up!

Hole #6: Pharaoh - score 350k - par 3

Pharaoh was another new Williams System 7 game for me. I actually managed to tilt my first ball, and the two remaining ones weren't much better. Bogie.

Hole #7: Iron man - score 12M - par 4

I got my game on pretty well on the Iron man. I went for stacking Iron monger and War machine multiballs, which I did on my 3rd ball. It was a rather slow playing machine, but couple of rather unfortunate bounces prevented me from getting the Monger’s super jackpot which would have easily taken me past the goal score. I was still 3M short of the goal on my 4th ball. I tried to start the bogie for a quick 3M, but no, I drained from a bad shot to the right ramp.

Well, I got a bogie but not the bogie I wanted. Screw you, Iron man!

Hole #8: World Cup Soccer - score 300M - par 3

My only goal was to start the multiball, and I did that on my 2nd ball. I then easily met the target goal, making this the second machine I didn’t bogie. I was rather well playing WCS too.

Hole #9: Kismet - score 600 - par 5

Kismet was the 2” flipper seemingly totally random horror show, which ended just as bad as I expected. The large gap between the flippers sucked the balls in like it was magnetized, and soon bogied this one. 

After the game I was really pondering whenever I should have even played this tournament. I felt so beaten both physically and emotionally at that point and just wanted to disappear from the face of the earth. I really hope I can pull myself together for the next tournament. Getting rid of the damn flu would also be a nice bonus!

The results:

Lyons pinball spring classic 2014
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