May 13: Not a typical night at the bar

Saturday night was another trip over to Poison Girl for a well-earned pinball break after an afternoon/evening at work. I actually walked past some credits someone had left on Iron Maiden to coin up Whirlwind. Now I didn’t set a new grand champion score or, for that matter, even make the high score list, which I myself have inflated with some stratospheric numbers (see previous posts).

No, the surprise here may not seem like much to wizards who think nothing of rolling the score counter on a game like Whirlwind. But I do feel it’s a potential watershed moment in my progress as a pinball player. For the first time in a long while, I put up two monster scores on the same game, not just in the same outing, but back-to-back: 32.5M+ and 28.1M+. In one of these games I had 97 skyway tolls (and I’ve previously finished with 98 skyway tolls before as well, one short of the 99 needed to max them out), and in one of these I think was the first time I’ve hit multiple million ramps in quick multiball.

Since I have only been posting the very highest score for non-tournament outings, it’s impossible for most readers of this blog to realize this next point unless I come out and say it. My usual pattern of play almost never involves two games this good, this close together. Prior to the 32.5M+ game I had five games all under 10M, with only one of those over 8M and at least one not good enough for a replay.

The replay score, incidentally, was at 5.0M on arrival, and not too long ago was at 4.6M. I would venture a guess that a lot of that increase is my handiwork. (Any reasonably modern game–and Whirlwind is recent enough to quality as “reasonably modern” here–has a feature called “auto-percentaging” for replay scores and sometimes other features. This feature automatically adjusts the replay score based on how many have been awarded; if the percentage is higher than the set amount, the replay score goes up and, likewise, down if the percentage is lower.) It’s also notable that the number of extra balls I’ve been winning has caused the first skyway toll extra ball level to go up to 8, and I predict it will probably settle down at 10 or higher sometime in the next month or so. (I think the factory default is 6.)

I know this took a while; this event was such that it needed its own post. The next one needs its own post as well…