Texas Pinball Festival 2024 part 3: Friday evening

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Texas Pinball Festival 2024

The Embassy hotel’s food service would not start until 16:00 (4:00 pm). I found myself quite hungry around 15:00 (3:00 pm). So, during a break in the rain, I ventured over to the 7-Eleven. This store is catty-corner from the hotel/conference center (see map below).

While far from my first choice for lunch for a variety of reasons, I scored two slice of pepperoni pizza, three buffalo chicken rollers, and a fountain drink for $6.50 after tax. From a financial standpoint, this was a pretty big win.

And then it would be time for the second NTX Pinball tournament: a three-strikes tournament with bounty chips. The way the bounty chips worked was as follows: each player gets a bounty chip to start the game; the player finishing first in a game gets the chip(s) from any players eliminated; chips worth $5 each at the end of the game but can be kept as souvenirs with the unclaimed money going to the charity.

This would go by rather quickly. I would last four rounds, meaning I was only able to avoid catching a strike once. Worse, I would play two of the three games where I received strikes on the livestream. (None of my games from the earlier tournament made the livestream, for better or worse.)

The scores from the final game did not take on my phone for some reason (or maybe I outright forgot to snap the picture) so I substituted a (much lower resolution) crop of a frame from the livestream.

With that, it would be time to head back upstairs and play some of my Wizards entries.

Mar 15, 6:31pm Kiss 271,500 *
Mar 15, 6:36pm Spin Out 54,200 
Mar 15, 6:44pm Terminator 2 10,085,870 *
Mar 15, 6:49pm Jacks Open 66,120 *
Mar 15, 7:05pm Avatar 3,039,710 *
Mar 15, 7:35pm Jaws 56,432,930
Mar 15, 9:48pm Metallica 3,215,950 *
Mar 15, 9:57pm Metallica 10,420,630
Mar 15, 10:09pm Whirlwind 1,594,040
Mar 15, 10:13pm Whirlwind 1,300,100 #
Mar 15, 10:14pm Whirlwind Entry Voided (590,010)
Mar 15, 10:27pm Viking 244,730 #

Most of these scores are not that great.

I’m going to comment on one of these here, as the high score I put on this game on location is one of the highlights of the last year on this blog. Yes, I’m talking about Whirlwind. (You might want to go back and read the post in question and/or an earlier post primarily about the same game.)

How does someone like me, who has put up 10M+ scores on a fairly consistent basis on location, manage to put up outright lemons like 1.5M+ or lower on the same game? Well, I’ll tell you. The setup on this Whirlwind was vicious. The upper ramp was easy to make, sure. But offsetting that generous part of the setup, we had a couple of nasty things. The first of these was devilish slingshots. Combine that with what’s best described as a right outlane from hell. It may as well have been made by the Kirby Company of vacuum cleaner fame/infamy. As in, it would just suck balls right off the playfield.

I’ll go as far as to say it rather boldly. The game may have had a Whirlwind playfield, translite, and cabinet, but it wasn’t really Whirlwind anymore. Maybe if I had been willing to burn more entries, I would eventually have put up better scores. Note the third game of this stretch was so bad I said “just void it”, which is the first time I’ve done so in three years of playing the Wizards tournament. Somehow, I didn’t blurt out some choice profanity in the heat of the moment. Hooray for small victories.

Originally, the tournament directors planned for Jaws to be exclusively for the kids tournament. For some reason, though (possibly games going down at an unprecedented rate), the directors decided to set it up for something appropriate to Wizards and put it in both kids and Wizards. (The kids got priority in the queue.) I will address this in another post, possibly not on this blog (and will edit with a link when this happens).

As it happens, I queued on Jaws right after Liam Bradley’s game played for the kids’ tournament. My score above was 56.4M+, not a terrible score but I had hoped to do better. (Liam’s score was in the neighborhood of 142.4M+.)

Now I didn’t know who Liam was at the time. Liam was actually in all three tournaments (Wizards, Classics, and Kids). He would have missed the A division cutoff by only two places. (A couple of higher seeded players didn’t show up for playoffs, allowing him to take a spot.) So I shouldn’t feel so bad for posting a score that wasn’t even half of his. I have no way of knowing these things in the heat of the moment. All I knew is I was playing behind a kid’s tournament entry, and I put up a much lower score. It’s really hard not to be demoralized by things like that.

Anyway, after the relative disaster that was my last play of this stretch (244K+ on Viking), I called it a night and decided I would attempt the remaining nine entries on Saturday.

Series Navigation<< Texas Pinball Festival 2024 part 2: Friday morning practice, NTX Pinball matchplayTexas Pinball Festival 2024 part 4: Saturday qualifying >>