Texas Pinball Festival 2024 part 2: Friday morning practice, NTX Pinball matchplay

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Texas Pinball Festival 2024

So Friday morning rolls around. I wound up waking up earlier than expected, though I would lay back down for a while to conserve energy before finally making my way down to the hotel’s breakfast area. For a variety of reasons, I do not eat eggs. I also didn’t find the oatmeal (?) particularly appealing. So, it was a few biscuits, bacon, sausage, cereal, and some orange juice. (Which reminds me, I really need to get in the habit of drinking more orange juice, and for that matter, eating a proper breakfast, or at least something that closely resembles one, more often.)

And then it was on to the tournament room for practice. I was able to get in a decent amount of practice on most of the games. I tried not to stay longer than the 60 seconds we were supposed to play but may have done so on at least one game (oops). There were two games I did not get to practice (Foo Fighters and Star Wars), though I was familiar with both. Star Wars would actually be taken out of the tournament fairly early on, so that was no big loss.

Immediately after practice, I manage to find the NTX Pinball booth/area for the morning matchplay tournament. We originally expected check-in to start at 09:45. I would learn the organizers announced a revised time of 11:00 for a variety of reasons. So, I would go back up to the main tournament room and play the first four of my Wizards entries in the interim.

(As in previous years, an asterisk (*) denotes a score that was later superseded by a higher score. An octothorpe (#) denotes a score that was lower than the previous high score to that point that does not qualify for an asterisk (i.e. an entry that many players would just ask to be voided).)

Mar 15, 10:06am Viking 642,660
Mar 15, 10:21am Getaway 151,724,350
Mar 15, 10:35am Time Machine 1,129,670
Mar 15, 10:49am Super Spin 33,130 *

Of particular note, I felt really good about the Viking score. I had a long ball and ran up quite a few points. This despite the feature lamps doing weird things which made it effectively impossible to determine game state. This Viking score would eventually be good for 24th overall in the standings, not too shabby.

And then it was time to head back downstairs to the NTX Pinball booth for the first of the two tournaments I would participate in there. That would be the “Beat the Clock” matchplay tournament.

We would have a total of 26 participants and, despite the rather late start, wind up playing a total of 7 rounds before the clock hit 14:00 (2:00 pm). For many rounds I’m just going to summarize each round as I may not remember too many details and all I have are final score pictures and scores after each ball, if that.

Round 1 was World Cup Soccer, I would play fourth after Daniel Martin, Daniel DeBobes, and Victor Garcia. Playing the fourth player slot should, in theory, give me an advantage. There was one main detail of this game that I remember.  I finally locked the ball and had multiball ready to start… and then immediately drained after a missed shot to the TV scoop. I would sign off with 316M+. This would still be good for third behind 583M+ from Daniel M and 435M+ from Victor.

Next up would be The Walking Dead. I consider this one of my better games to play. Immediately after finishing, I felt like I put up a reasonably good score of 51.9M+ (playing second). Unfortunately Tom George would blow it wide open on ball 3 and sign off with 135.8M+ pushing me down to second but still ahead of Cody Jones (playing first) and Grant Birdwell (playing fourth).

We would move onto the third round. The game would be RollerCoaster Tycoon with Victor Garcia, Tom George, and Stuart McPherran. I never really got a lot going on this one, falling just short of 2M, where Tom, the eventual third place finisher, would put up 3.45M+ with the other scores just going up from there. So far, that’s a second, a third, and a fourth. It’s starting to not look too good for this one.

The fourth round would find me on Black Jack grouped with Marty DeBobes, Brian Fults, and Alex Kee. I would put up a decent 146,800 in a five-ball game. Unfortunately this score was easy for Marty and Brian to beat. Finally, Alex would squeak past my score with 150,330. So another fourth place, but not by much.

Round 5 would find me on Silverball Mania with Brian Fletcher and (again) Alex Kee. I didn’t really understand this game very well. However, my final score would wind up at what I thought was a decent 244,930. This, unfortunately, was still not good enough to beat either of the other two players in this group.

Round 6 would begin and apparently I managed to anger the random number generator gods. Silverball Mania would be the game again, but this time with Grant Birdwell (first in order) and Zach Christopoulos (third in order). I would squeak out a first-place finish with 266,320 just ahead of Grant’s 251,520. I was relieved to finally win a game though the time was approaching 14:00 (2:00 pm) rather quickly.

Round 7 would see me assigned to Dirty Harry playing second in order between Brian Hayden and Brian Fletcher. I would manage to post a 397.8M+ good enough for first, ahead of Brian H’s 350.8M+. This was despite not understanding the game or really having much of a strategy.

I would finish 18th with 9 (nine) standings points. Tom would win the tournament. By now I’m long used to seeing the tournament director finishing at or near the top. I don’t mind it nearly as much as I once did (though I guess it helps that I was once that TD that finished first).

I would take a break and then find lunch shortly after this tournament before preparing to play the other NTX Pinball tournament of the day.

Series Navigation<< Texas Pinball Festival 2024 part 1: The drive, arrival, check-in, etcTexas Pinball Festival 2024 part 3: Friday evening >>