This week at the Space City Pinball League began with at least a couple of surprises. One, the photo booth is no longer at the bar, making room for an eighth game (we usually have seven, and it’s not that rare for a game to become unusable for league play during or before league play). Two, there was a very rare absence for Phil Grimaldi who just last week took over the first place overall ranking from yours truly. By no means would that guarantee I would finish the night back atop the standings, as the other players ranked immediately below me are quite capable of putting up 19 or higher or even 25.
Perhaps the biggest surprise would be that I’d be grouped with Matt Quantz for the first time since last season’s B division playoffs. Joining us would be Dylan Kennedy and Drew Schmid. The eight games in the lineup this week: AC/DC, Attack from Mars, Ghostbusters, Guardians of the Galaxy, Houdini, Medieval Madness, Spiderman, and Star Wars.
We would begin the night’s play on Ghostbusters. I would be playing third in front of Matt and behind Dylan and Drew. It seems like everyone else had a decent game on this one except for me. I’ve spoken about how much I hate this game with the new code, though the video mode really didn’t factor into this one as much as it usually does. A score of 6.6M+ against any decent players just won’t get it done. I’m off to a pretty lousy start with a fourth place good for one standings point. (My apologies for the poor quality of the scoreboard picture on this one, I was having difficulty getting my phone’s camera to focus properly for some reason.)
Next up would be Spiderman, where I would be going first. I would do a bit better on this one, holding onto the lead up until Matt’s third ball. Matt was playing fourth and had 4.38M+ at the start of ball 3 after I had signed off with a 25.5M+. On Spiderman, 25.5M+ is not all that high of a score, so I’m not all that surprised that in the end, Matt was able to mount a comeback. He would sign off with 68.5M+ good for first place, with my 25.5M+ a rather distant second. Still, it’s a huge improvement over my stinker of a performance on Ghostbusters. That’s four standings points after two games.
Moving on, we would play on Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a pretty average game until I finally hit my groove during my second ball. I would wind up playing both Groot Multiball and Orb Multiball twice to get to 64.4M+ after ball 2 and 91.3M+ for the whole game. Even though that’s a pretty good score on this game, I was not about to count out Matt until he drained way too soon. Matt would sign off with 20.59M+, good for second place ahead of Dylan’s 20.27M+. Eight standings points after three rounds and there’s still some chance I can pull off a relatively decent week if I win out.
The next game would be Star Wars, and I would have the supposed advantage of playing fourth. My first ball was just crummy, with only 5.3M+. On this game, that’s almost nothing; by comparison, by the time action got back around to me, Matt had put up 533.1M+ and Dylan had put up 280.5M+. My second ball would go much better, putting me at least back within striking distance with 243.0M+. Matt and Dylan would have relative duds for a third ball, so I would only have to beat Dylan’s 310.7M+ for second and Matt’s 580.5M+ for first. Though I will admit the way my luck had been going, it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise for Matt to have put up over a billion. Anyway, I was only able to muster a 296.0M+ for a relatively close third place. That brings me up to eleven standings points on the night with one game remaining.
The final game would be Medieval Madness, and again I would be going fourth (the way the Matchplay software works, one game has the same player order twice over the course of a night in a four-player group, as the order is simply rotated for each game in turn, though we rarely play the games in the order Matchplay lists them). Matt had the lead from the beginning, putting up 6.1M+ on his first ball. Amazingly, my first ball was a whopping dud with a princely total of 421,320–less than both Dylan’s and Drew’s first-ball scores of 540,190 and 677,630. I would do somewhat better on my second ball, getting to 1.51M+ but I would face scores of 7.35M+, 1.50M+, and 3.53M+ from Matt, Dylan, and Drew respectively by the time I started ball 3. Right away, I was able to hit the castle shot to score a destroyed castle for 2M, and combined with a few other miscellaneous shots I would muster up enough points to sign off with 4.19M+, enough for second place and bringing me up to fourteen standings points on the night. Not exactly the most ambitious performance if I want to keep my first place in the overall standings.
The only thing perhaps more surprising than the rather smelly 14 I put up, would be Jeff Mleynek, who I was tied with for second at the start of the night, only managing 12 when a 15 would have put him in first place. Erich Stinson put up a 17, which is a relatively good performance and enough to move him into third in the overall standings. So, amazingly, I’m back at the top for the moment, and with plenty of time to psych myself up for week 5 as both this past Monday (4/23) and next (4/30) have Astros home games scheduled, meaning we don’t play again until May 7.