Space City Pinball League Season 6 Week 1: Seconds are meant for dinner

Note: Due to recent events, Shawn no longer recommends participation in Space City Pinball League events until further notice. Please see the Bayou City Pinball League website for alternatives.

I walked into Eighteen Twenty Lounge and was greeted by seven pinball machines lined up against the wall. The new season of Space City Pinball League was officially about to begin, and as I said in my previous post, it couldn’t come soon enough.

The games: Ghostbusters, Batman 66, Star Trek, The Walking Dead, Aerosmith, Attack From Mars, and Star Wars. The Attack From Mars machine we had tonight appeared to be an original Bally game, modified with a large color LCD scoring display. The others are the usual suspects, with the exception of Star Wars, which is a new release (I attended the Star Wars unboxing, which I need to go back and write a post about now that I think about it).

I was grouped with William Thornton, Chris Reyes, and Carlos Yepez. The two games we would not wind up playing were Batman 66 and Star Wars (which means we played the five other games besides those).

So we got to play Ghostbusters after a bit of a wait. I had a pretty unremarkable first couple of balls, by which time William had already jumped out to a sizable lead. He would sign off with 23.1M+, and I would have a 2.3M+ from Chris to beat if I wanted second place, which I did. I would sign off with a 6.0M+ good for second place, not an awful score but I’ve done much better on this game.

Ghostbusters was originally the only game assigned to us, with the others to be filled in as Match Play Events figured it out. Which, I might add, took an unusually long time, or at least it seemed that way. I saw games sit idle when we had more groups than games, which should never happen. At this point, after our first game, we were doing a lot of sitting around waiting to be assigned games by the software. Finally, we would be assigned Aerosmith and Star Trek (I think) with the final two games to be filled in later.

Aerosmith was the next game to open up. There was a glitch with this game; for some reason, Chris’s second ball was launched by the game software without him present for no apparent reason. Per the IFPA rules we play under, he got a consolation ball at the end of the game (that’s what the additional picture shows). He would finish with first place after adding the score of the consolation ball (4.6M+), and I would eek out a second place with 4.1M+, usually an embarrassingly low score, but the game was being vicious tonight and sending all autoplunged balls straight down the middle.

The other games were filled in at this point, and one of them was Attack From Mars. I had put up a decent game for the first two balls, but then Chris puts up an impressive ball 2 with a multiball where he hits just about everything but the kitchen sink. The multiball I was able to start in ball 3, well, left a bit to be desired. I would sign off with 614M+, good for second place next to Chris’s 1.310B+.

We would continue with a game on The Walking Dead. This wound up being a very close game except for William’s absolutely smashing performance of 54.2M+. I signed off with 11,692,280; Chris wrapped up with 11,222,210, but the real surprise was Carlos eeking out a second with 11,829,210. Exactly 607,000 points separating second and fourth place, and just under 137,000 separating my third place score from second place. The frustrating part is that I know I’m a better player than that score indicates; to add insult to injury, I whiffed on the lit extra ball at the end, which would have almost certainly given me enough to nail down second place.

Concluding the night’s play would be a game on Star Trek. I have not forgotten the lousy game of Star Trek from Season 5 Week 7 that I even said “was more like a Star Wreck”, or for that matter the really, really bad score I put up during the Season 5 playoffs. Amazingly, the 23.79M+ I was able to put up was good for a second behind William’s 51.5M+, even though it was actually lower than my score from Season 5 Week 7. To be fair, my opposition this time around wasn’t nearly as strong.

So that’s fourteen standings points to start off the season. To give you an idea just how large that 137,000 or so points difference between second and third on The Walking Dead looms now: had I been able to secure second, I would be tied for 13th place instead of 16th, and usually A division cuts off at 16th place. To say the least, I don’t want to rely on a tiebreaker to make A division.

Three months and a hurricane later: end of summer reflections on the past and the future

It’s been a while between seasons of the Space City Pinball League. There have been tournaments happening locally but for various reasons, I have not been able to make it to them, and if you’ve seen the Twitter, Facebook, and/or Mastodon feeds, I have been active elsewhere on the net.

I had been kicking around this post for a while. I’ve been trying to stay sharp playing on Pinball Arcade on my tablet. I have screenshotted just about every best score going back to when I first downloaded the app, but I haven’t decided whether or not to post them yet.

For those of you who are just now getting out of the cave and/or ending a month of being “off the grid”, we had unusually high rainfall from Hurricane Harvey hit the area. I emerged relatively unscathed as did the rest of my family, though there are many people who did not, including a close friend and at least one player in the region. Already I have seen at least one restaurant location close permanently due to what I would assume are the effects of the storm (the location flooded during both TS Allison and Hurricane Ike as well from what I heard, and the profits from the location may not have been worth the cost to resume business). So it’s not like I’m completely unaffected; in fact, it’s safe to say that life has changed for everyone in the area.

(For those interested, I wrote a post on Rant Roulette about the hurricane, its effects, and what we might do to lessen the impact of a future storm.)

The delay between league seasons and the events of the past three months and change have only served to strengthen my resolve to do better when Season 6 finally begins. I still have yet to qualify for A division playoffs out of the four seasons I have played. The quest for A division continues tonight, and I am looking forward to it. Perhaps more importantly, though, I am looking forward to the return of the Space City Pinball League for a sixth season as yet another sign we as a city are returning to normal life after this disaster.