Tournament at Eightytwo, 2021 April 6

Finally, we near the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and it appears we are going to start returning to normal. In that vein, one of the new venues to have popped up during this period, Eightytwo at 1201 Saint Emanuel Street, hosted a pinball tournament on the evening of Tuesday, April 6.

The lineup for the tournament included the following machines: Attack from Mars, Disney TRON: Legacy, Eight Ball Deluxe (LE), Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, Medieval Madness (Remake), Metallica (Pro), Star Wars (Premium), Taxi, The Walking Dead (Pro), Theatre of Magic, Wheel of Fortune, Whirlwind, World Cup Soccer, and World Poker Tour. Most of the competitors are people I didn’t recognize from previous tournaments/events, though notably Chris Low, Gina Low, Phil Grimaldi, and John Speights were there. The format was a two-strikes, heads-up tournament (loser gets a strike).

The first round would see me paired against Donovan Wade on Metallica. Donovan got out to an early lead, and I just never really got in a position to catch up. This was a very quick strike as I would put up a meager 3.44M+ to Donovan’s 10.7M+.

Round two would give me perhaps the luckiest break of the entire tournament. My opponent was a no-show, so I got to relax and play a single player game of World Poker Tour. I put up what I believe to be a respectable 9.83M+, which probably would have been good enough to win had my opponent actually shown up.

Next would be Taxi against Clint Warren. This wound up being an embarrassingly low scoring game, but I still wound up with the higher score: 594k+ to 310k+. (I’ll be coming back to this in a later post as I would do something absolutely amazing on this machine when just hanging out and playing one-player games.)

We’d move on to round four on The Walking Dead against Peter Ortiz. Now this is not one of my favorite titles, nor one I consider myself particularly good at playing. However, I did wind up posting a decent 13.3M+ good enough to win against Peter’s 6.8M+. Four rounds in, and I’m still hanging on with one strike. I’m starting to feel pretty confident.

Round five would bring up Whirlwind against Chris Low. (Finally, a familiar face.) In a game much too close for comfort, I put up a mere 2.69M+, which barely held up against the 2.42M+ Chris was able to manage. I can almost hear “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees in my head over whatever was playing in the bar at the time.

The close games would continue with round six, Medieval Madness against Khristian Singleton. It seemed like almost none of my shots would make, and it was starting to look like it would be a much shorter tournament for me at first as I signed off with 2.27M+ prior to Khristian’s last ball. Fortunately for me, Khristian was only able to amass 1.74M+, and so I was still in it.

On the other game in round six, Donovan Wade defeats Phil Grimaldi on Attack from Mars (I unfortunately didn’t make a note of the score). I was remarking to the other players watching that I’d rather play against Donovan, given Phil’s demonstrated skill level. This, after all, the guy that started running tournaments and leagues here only to win most of them himself in the early going. Thankfully, before I could get #sickofphilwinning trending on Twitter and Facebook, that changed…

Anyway, back to the current tournament. For some reason I thought round seven was the last one. I didn’t realize at the time Donovan had no strikes. I played World Cup Soccer as though this was it, and the score showed it: 643.2M+ to 520.4M+.

For the first time ever, I’m one game away from winning a strikeout tournament, something I’ve never been able to do. The last game would be Eight Ball Deluxe. Donovan starts out with a pretty good first ball. He would sign off with 826.7k+. I would have a much worse fortune: 67,500. All three balls would drain within about 30 seconds.

This is about as disappointing a finish as I could have. Second place beats the heck out of last place, but I’m really not in this to collect second place trophies.

(Pictures to be uploaded later.)

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