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

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.