In a similar spirit to a misquotation commonly attributed to Mark Twain, any reports of my demise and/or retirement from competitive video gaming and pinball have been greatly exaggerated.
On this Friday and Saturday, we will have yet another Houston Arcade Expo. I plan to be in attendance toward the late afternoon/evening hours of Saturday, November 16. I will not be playing in the tournament, but I will be playing some of the many pinball games, and perhaps a few video games, out on the show floor. I’m still not sure what I’ll be wearing that day but I will be coming from a non-arcade-related event earlier that day that may require me to be dressed a bit more conservatively than usual. I may have time to change before I head over, I may not; if I am able to change, I plan to wear my Astros 2019 AL Champions T-shirt. (As an aside, I am still proud of what our Astros did this year; two pennants in three years is not something a lot of teams are able to pull off, much less a World Series victory after one of them.)
I have taken a rather long break, by my standards, from even touching a pinball machine of any sort. The last one I got to play was the KISS in Las Vegas at the Rio, very briefly on the way back from the comedy show. I had meant to get in a few rounds by now, somewhere, but at this point I may as well wait for Saturday.
I’m still not sure exactly when or where I will return to competitive pinball. On one hand I want that to be relatively soon and for as long as I am physically able to do the various things required to play (i.e. stand, operate the controls, see the playfield, ball, and score display, and coin/bill up the machine when required). This is not to imply that I am immediately at risk of not being able to do so, merely that there is a desire that nobody else makes the decision for me that I should no longer play competitively.
On the other, I don’t want to rush back into things and I want to be sure that my involvement in competitive pinball is a worthwhile use of my time and not an undue risk factor towards my reputation (specifically, being associated with people of questionable character and/or those who knowingly disregard the law). It is unfortunate that I have to say this, but it is the truth. I’m not going to pretend that I’m perfect, but it was a real eye opener to learn what some people are really made of over the last few years.
So yes, I am starting to miss parts of the competitive scene, but at the same time there are things I don’t miss at all that I’d rather leave behind. This Saturday, I’m going to pretend it’s 2014 again (or as close to that as I can) prior to a competitive pinball scene being established in Houston. I’m going to play as if the tournament isn’t there, and just play to have fun. Remember, the object of the game is to get the highest score, but the object of playing the game is to have fun. Don’t forget this; the results of doing so can be disastrous. Y’all have fun at Expo this weekend, okay?
Houston Arcade Expo
Houston Mariott Westchase
2900 Briarpark Drive