September 28: Fathom is in at Einstein’s

The story continues with another evening of exciting silverball action at Einstein’s in Katy. This was shortly after Fathom Revisited was brought in to replace Meteor. Honestly, of the two, Meteor is the game I like a bit more, though Fathom can be a fun game to play as well. Indeed, this remake of Fathom was the one that got at least a plurality if not an outright majority of the quarters in my pocket that night.

The score of 1,359,050 on Fathom only barely missed the high score list. The 2.24M+ on Beatles is not my highest of all time (I did slightly better back in May when I was last here) but still what I consider to be a pretty good run. The 163K+ on Stars would likely be a solidly decent score in a tournament, depending of course on how other players did. The rest range from okay to “bleh”.

September 9, 12, 16, 18: Back to Godzilla at Del Mar Lanes

I’m going to go ahead and lump all four visits into one post, cutting out a lot of the records which were beaten once only for me to beat them myself again later on. The pictures from the 18th show most if not all of the surviving records which still had my initials up at the end of it all.

The highlight of this four-visit stretch would of course be the smashing 348.7M+ second only to the grand champion on this particular machine, and not by a whole lot at that (grand champion is/was at 375.6M+).

September 8 at Poison Girl: Whirlwinds aplenty

So I’m going to set the background for this as best I can without giving out any sensitive information. I was at a social gathering of friends a good 9 to 10 miles away from Poison Girl (going farther away from home). I unfortunately felt it in the best interests of my comfort and safety to leave earlier than I otherwise would have liked. (At the point where I left, I was done eating and was there only to socialize.)

I decided to go ahead and swing by and get in a few rounds of pinball. This was despite the distance and a significant detour off my route home. This pinball session of mine would start off innocently enough with a location personal best and high score of 169,260 on Dolly Parton. It would continue with a loop jackpot champion of 30M and a score of 289.8M+ on Iron Maiden. Then one quick, mediocre round of Old Olberholt (re-themed Mata Hari) scoring 156,510.

And, finally, I made my way down to Whirlwind.

I would run up 7.9M and get the ball stuck. Unfortunately, this would require a power cycle (and loss of game) to get up and playing again. What happened next could only be described as surreal. Eventually, the stuck ball would be freed after I played a sizeable chunk of this game with only two balls. (The game compensates for the missing ball; it is really not a player benefit to have only two balls instead of all three).

I had a monster of a game, maxing out the skyway tolls for starters. My performance would also feature three solid regular multiballs with a few quick multiballs thrown in. I would also get the mega door bonus at least once (might have been twice), and enough extra balls to make the maxed-out bonus well worth achieving. The score counter would rocket way past my previous grand champion and personal best of 48.15M+, to finally sign off with an absolutely mind-blowing 59,096,030. That’s nearly 11 million points higher, a huge margin on this game.

I anxiously await a chance to perform like this in a tournament. This represents just how capable I am as a player, and how far I have come. I remember when I considered it absolutely mind-blowing just to top 20M, let alone double or almost triple that. Now, it’s not out of the question for me to try to go for a score counter rollover (100M+).

Afterwards was a near-obligatory trip to the Galleria area Starbucks that’s open almost all night. I was up for a while, too…

A farewell to Track 21

Some of you are no doubt familiar with Track 21, which was primarily a go-kart facility which also had mini-golf, laser tag, and arcade games. By the end of their run on September 4 of this year, the arcade games had been taken out in favor of an additional party room. The mini-golf and laser tag remained, and these were the attractions I took part in on their last day of business this past September 4.

I would start off the afternoon with a round of mini-golf. Admittedly, this mini-golf course doesn’t have much to it, and was clearly something of an afterthought as it was only 9 holes. I had played it once or twice many years ago. It was pretty good for what there was. The first hole had the par stroke count missing, and scoring on the ninth and final hole is unclear, with no par listed. There were no physical score cards so I kept score using a note app on my phone. My scores were:

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Par 3 4 3 3 4 3 3 3 2 28
Game 1 4 3 3 3 5 4 2 3 2 29
Game 2 2 3 3 3 4 3 3 4 2 27

This wasn’t too bad all things considered, though admittedly par on these holes was rather generous in a lot of cases. (There is no governing body for mini-golf to uniformly decide par on a given hole, for better or worse. In full-scale USGA/R&A golf, it’s decided by distance from the pin to the tee box; in mini-golf there is much more in play to decide relative difficulty.)

After two rounds of mini-golf (equivalent to the usual 18-hole round at most mini-golf courses), there were finally people showing up for laser tag. I didn’t know what to expect, despite playing laser tag here once many years ago, and honestly, not having played laser tag at all, anywhere, in easily a decade.

I did relatively well, given I was thrown into a team game and there were two employees playing out of the eight players. I had the third most points out of four players on the team (eight players total), and third most points overall (no individual on the blue team scored more than the lowest scoring player on our team, the yellow team).

With go-kart racing sold out long before the laser tag game was over, there was little else to do, but I did have a great time on my last visit to Track 21. I wish all the former employees continued success on their respective career paths, and the former owners an enjoyable retirement (assuming what I have heard is correct).