Pre-IFPA Pinball Tournament - 1UP Lodo

Couple days had passed from the previous tournament and I was feeling a lot better now. This time we didn’t have to drive anywhere, as our hotel was already near downtown Denver. As the weather was great, we opted to walk there. Today’s tournament was a “two strokes and out”-styled, in which players play against others in two player games, and you get knocked out for losing two times. This keeps going on, until there’s one player left.

Round 1 - 66 players in game

My worst fear was that I’d play two games and be out. My first opponent was AJ Replogle on the Family Guy. The machine played rather well, but the captive ball wasn’t registering all hits, so getting to Stevie pinball felt like a chore. Normally I try to hit the captive ball so the ball lands in the TV scoop, but now I had to especially target the captive ball to collect the “pinball” letters. AJ had rough luck on her first ball, and I completed my first mode and got to play Stevie pinball on my second ball. My 3rd ball was cut short, but I had made enough headway to win the game. So, no 2 games and out for me.

Round 2 - 66 players in game

On the second round I met IFPA top-100 ranked Cesare D'atri on Stern’s Indiana Jones. I still remember the very brief wow-factor when the Stern’s Indy came out. These the game is mostly frowned upon by skilled players mostly because of its extremely boring “hit here 6 times, then hit here some more to score points”-styled rule set. I had no strong game plan for the game, but skillshotting the “advance a scene” and starting the last crusade mode was a good start. My opponent apparently either had a very cunning plan that I couldn’t see, or he was just hitting things at random. On the second ball my opponent started to grind towards the “riders of the lost ark”, but got a nasty return from the magnet and drained.

Now let’s stop for a moment to think about this mode. You need to collect the phrase “riders of the lost ark”, letter by letter hitting the target that has a magnet next to it. Who on earth thought this’d be any fun? I find emptying my cats’ litter box more entertaining than this for God’s sake!

I concentrated on temple of the doom, but couldn’t get it started. We both failed the 3rd balls, but I had over 20M lead at that point and won my second game in a row. Wow, this was looking great!

Round 3 - 48 players in the game

Mats Runsten was my next opponent and the game was AC/DC premium. Going against Mats made me a bit lot nervous, but then again my newly found confidence in AC/DC. I started out with Highway to hell and got off to a good start. I progressed Jam multiball until it was one shot shy from being lit when I drained, at around 16M. Mats got a really rough start, to my relief as I expected him to grind at least 50M. I got to play Jam multiball on my second ball, and Mats’ bad luck continued. On my 3rd ball I really wanted to change to song, but shot up the right ramp and got to play another round of Highway to hell in the mini playfield. What I did not know, was that the cannon was not in my control afterwards, and it fired the ball directly into the left outlane. Thanks a lot! Mats however could not fill the gap between our scores and I won my 3rd round in a row. Phew!

Round 4 - 35 players in the game

On my 4th round I got to play Stern’s Star Trek with Peter Blakemore. I started with Save the Enterprise mode, but I was really concentrating on progressing both of the main multiballs. Peter did pretty good from the start, as I struggled through my first two balls. Perter's 3rd ball ended with a total score of 21M while I was at 7. I got the Vengence multiball running, and was just about to sigh of relief when I double-drained, ending the multiball short, and then draining the remaining ball. I had to watch the bonus count, but it was too short ball for a good bonus. I was left with 18M and my first strike. A close one and a good match.

Round 5 - 22 players in the game

Next up was Brian Shephard in Demolition man. I played a rather good first ball, getting all 4 freezes from the computer. The flippers were a bit odd on this one, and I had severe trouble getting the left orbit shot to make the multiball shot. I drained with the multiball lit. It wasn't a bad ball, but Brian again saw some of Demoman's darker side and drained. I spent my second ball trying to cash the multiball, but no. Brian again had another short ball. On my 3rd ball I finally made the shot, but I had Explode runninng, so the multiball didn't start. Even with a rather bad second ball, I was still in a strong lead.

On Brian's last ball something odd happened. The machine gave him a pity multiball on his last ball. Not me, Brian or Olli-Mikko had ever seen that to happen! His multiball was short, but nearly enough to get past me. He drained just couple of millions behind me, but had a noticeable bonus so the game went to him and strike two for me.

I got a shared 17th position. I was rather pleased with the results even if the last game did haunt me for some time. Maybe in few years I can take on at least some of these guys. I think I earned myself a G&T tonight.

The results:
Pre-IFPA Pinball Tournament - 1UP Lodo*
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