I haven’t been ignoring pinball and video games for the last month. I just haven’t been posting anything here about them. Eventually, I will write posts about my recent playthroughs of Doom (1, 2, and both episodes of Final Doom) and Quake (including the expansion packs).
Anyway, after having nothing to write about for the last month or so regarding pinball, the Space City Pinball League kicked off its fourth season last night, and I was there for it. Yes, this is the third different league night in four seasons (with the first two seasons being on Tuesday night, and last season being on Wednesday night). That’s not the only change: league president Phil Grimaldi laid out quite a few rule changes:
- The return of 5-3-2-1 / 5-3-1 scoring from the first two seasons (i.e. a switch back from last season’s 3-2-1-0 / 3-1½-0 scoring).
- League dues of $20 are now due after three weeks of participation for everyone (not just those playing in the finals) but can be paid earlier.
- A new system for dealing with conduct infractions, similiar to the “yellow card”/”red card” system used in soccer. A yellow card is a warning, but two yellow cards add up to one red card. A red card is a disqualification and forfeit of that night’s scores, two red cards in a disqualification for the season, and a third red card results in indefinite suspension from the league. Hopefully we will never actually have to use this.
Other changes would be to the machine lineup: for the first time in recent memory, The Hobbit was nowhere to be found. What we did have: Kiss Pro, The Avengers, Star Trek, Game of Thrones LE, Ghostbusters Premium (as opposed to the Pro from season 3), Transformers, and Medieval Madness (remake). I would wind up being grouped with Matt Quantz and Melvin Jiles in a three-player group.
First game of the night: Ghostbusters. I didn’t really get much going on this game, though it remained very close with my 15.0M+ not being too far from either Matt’s winning 17.0M+ or Melvin’s runner-up 16.2M+. Knowing I am capable of much better wasn’t much comfort… One game, one standings point.
Second game of the night: Medieval Madness. Again, another game I’d rather forget, because I just wasn’t able to get it together. I managed to make a few shots and score one ball lock, but that was pretty much it. A score of 1.6M+ is pretty much a sure-fire recipe for last place just about anytime, and that’s what I got. Two games, two standings points.
Third game of the night: Transformers. I really thought I was going to break out this game. I locked three balls for Decepticon Multiball, but wasn’t able to get the fourth one in to get it started. I wound up with a disapponting 2.9M+, again not that far from the other two scores. Three games, three standings points, and I’m starting to lose hope.
Fourth game: Star Trek. Not a game I like, and not a game I would pick of the seven in the lineup if I were to pick a game I knew I could do well at. I was facing Melvin’s 28.4M+ with my own score well under 11M going into ball 3. I was able to get Klingon Multiball started and nail quite a few jackpot shots. Between that and the Save the Enterprise mode I carried into multiball, I was able to put up an impressive comeback. I wasn’t completely sure I had it until the game ended and I looked up and saw a score in the 39M range before bonus. Final score 40.8M+. Four games, eight standings points, and it’s starting to look better.
We wrapped up on Game of Thrones. This time, it was a rock-solid performance on ball 2 with a lucrative Blackwater Multiball catapulting me out into the lead. I’d wrap up just barely south of 70M, easily enough to take another first place, and a total of thirteen standings points on the night. Across the entire group it was a relatively balanced field with only Erich Stinson getting 21 standings points and all but four players getting at least 12.
I’m glad to be getting a season off to a good start for once. I hope the momentum continues through the next couple of weeks at least.