Awesome Pinbugh Stories


I got called in as a second opinion to make a ruling on the Save-It! feature on Blackwater 100.

Some crazy bastard lit AND collected the “virtual” ball save, a Pinburgh 1st that I know of! They proceeded to enjoy their extra-ball-but-not-really.


Late in the day Friday, when my fate was already sealed (not making finals) I was feeling pretty bummed out following back to back rounds of 2 wins then 3 wins, I go into ball 3 on Cactus Jack’s with lowest score. I’m banging around, hitting some shots, missing more, don’t remember what I was shooting for, but I brick and it sends a rocket SDTM, lo and behold, lazarus! Play on, flipping around, don’t remember what I was shooting for, but I brick and it sends a rocket SDTM, lo and behold, lazarus! Get enough flips after that to pull into the lead and take a 3 on the game. Two lazarus on one ball has never happened to me before.

Last round of the day, I ended with a 10, which was a nice way to walk out, my best round of the tournament, which included my best game to date on Paragon (and one of the few games of the tournament I actually felt I played well.)


I had awesome groups every round. That was the best part for me- across 10 rounds of match play I was never in a group with anyone who was anything less than 100% awesome to play pinball with. In particular on our last round one of our players took a baaaaaaad beat (malfunction on Nip It when they were just running away with the game - we had to start a new game, which then had another, different malfunction, which resulted in moving to Bonanza which is a total turd of a pinball machine she took a zero on) - and handled the whole thing so cooly. Total champ, that one.

I also played the best pinball I’ve ever played at Pinburgh on Theater of Magic- Levitating Woman into multi ball into Theater hurry ups, exactly like I planned to do before I flipped. One of the rare times a strategy actually survived contact with the enemy in that tournament.


Not so much a story, but this was a great Pinburgh moment.


This was in many ways my best Pinburgh ever. I ended day 1 with the same total as last year, 31, although that was C this year instead of B. Then I went on to have my best day 2 ever of 36, and that was with a 4 after the dinner break. Made C finals and playing on day 3 for the first time. Walked out with $200. I’m not going to deny a couple sob stories (tilting max double bonus on Hot Tip was a low point) but I can’t deny this was my best oveall year yet in almost every measurable way.


And this moment in the finals…

You can kind of tell from the video, but the crowd went absolutely nuts when he dropped that ball from the upper flipper to the lower flipper.


This may have been my favorite moment of any pinball finals I’ve watched in the 25 years I’ve been competing. Just gorgeous.


Congrats! This is one of the best elements of all of Pinburgh in providing TWO HUNDRED players the opportunity to play in finals on Day 3. And related to another thread, this is why E Division is a fantastic thing: 40 more people got to experience Pinburgh finals. One of them was my 12-year-old son. And this was my Awesome Pinburgh Story for this year.


Free beer in round 10, particularly cause I already knew I wasn’t making top 40 at that point regardless (and the round itself wasn’t going too well anyway outside of that).


#1 Awesome Pinburgh Story: Pinburgh. Machines were playing great. The extra space between the machines and the rows helped a lot. Better sound system, better broadcast production values. Thanks so much to the entire Pinburgh and ReplayFX crew for a fantastic weekend.

#2 Awesome Pinburgh Story: Coming into the tournament, I had a focus on not allowing myself to mentally death-spiral after a bad game or two, because that’s something that I definitely do, unfortunately. This got put to the test when I got a 0 in round three, partly thanks to some great play by my opponents, but certainly largely due to my own crappiness. There were definitely flames coming out of my head through the dinner break. But I was able to shake it off and play solidly in the remaining rounds to make the B playoffs.

Where was that round 10 free beer? :smiley:


Actually the craziest moment I saw in the audience was Raymond trying to get the ball under control and avoid scrambling the Pinbot visor.

When you watch it the second time, notice how Greg’s commentary just completely trails off in amazement.


I can’t possibly boil it down to one awesome Pinburgh story. I’ve been playing pinball seriously for about two years, and soon after I got into it, competing in Pinburgh became a life goal.

I have two kids and finding time is always a struggle, so this was my first large competitive tournament, for all intents and purposes. So, what was awesome about Pinburgh?

  • Getting there! Flights were cancelled, and even getting to play seemed bleak at one point. Just being there on Thursday, after an overnight drive, was amazing.
  • Having a good round on day one. I had 4 pretty crummy rounds! But I had one 9-3 round on Thursday, and that gave me confidence that I could play on games and machines I’d never heard of before.
  • Coming back on Friday, rested, as a participant in E division, and playing my best pinball ever. I put up a perfect round that day, and qualified 10th in E.
  • Introducing myself to @bkerins and letting him know how I wouldn’t have even been there if not for his efforts to spread the love of pinball to anyone and everyone. Thanks, Bowen, for your gracious response!
  • Playing even better pinball on Saturday, going 22-2 in my first two finals rounds, and making it to the semi-finals. Scratching and clawing my way back to a three way tie break after taking a 0 and a 1 on my first two games in the semis.
  • Getting recruited into a game of High Roller Casino as part of the TTI podcaster bloodbath; it was a thrill to play a match with all these folks I listen to regularly!

Even though I didn’t make E finals, I came away from the event more energized than ever about pinball. Pinburgh was an incredible experience, and I want to thank all the folks at the Replay Foundation who put this event on.

Pinball goals for the next year are to do what it takes to become an NEPL hosting site, in order to give back to my local community, to earn my way into playoffs in some of the local tournaments we have in New England, and to qualify in a higher division for Pinburgh next year! (…and ha, I guess that means somehow getting tickets again before they sell out!)

Can’t wait for Pinburgh 2019!


After surviving round 1 of finals, I was disappointed to learn that I would have to face Tommy Skinner (@Tsskinne) in round 2. Tommy is my OG pin pal, we got into the hobby together about 6 years ago. This was both our first times playing in A-Finals, and we would unfortunately be playing to eliminate each other. With Colin and Mahesh also in our group, it felt unlikely that we would both survive. Apparently all those hours we spent playing head to head at the arcade paid off, because we ended up topping the group and advancing to the round of 16. It was just an awesome moment when we realized we had both advanced on.


It was amazing! Glad we got to share that moment together. Hopefully it’s not the last time.


I was watching via the app as the results got submitted. Was so cool to see you guys advance. Only thing better would’ve been being able to see it on stream.


This year, I think the most awesome, or at least shocking, thing was I was never in a group that needed a ruling or even a tech except the very last game of qualifying when Andy Rosa got a stuck ball in Iron Man.

Other than that, getting a Satellite Champ on Goldeneye for the first time in decades (that thing never works well enough, usually dropping the ball randomly during multiball), starting (though tanking) Eye of Ra, and almost 160K on Hokus Pokus were my highlights. There weren’t many this year ;(


Two of my gameplay highlights came in the same round

Aerosmith - Going into ball 3 with under a million, scores to beat are 22M, 17M and 5M. Scoop is lit for Same Old Song CIU. Soft plunge to live catch, hit scoop, then pick off enough standups to walk off with 30+. Worst to first in about 15 seconds.

Heavy Metal Meltdown - Went into ball 3 with about 2M. 45 minutes later ended with 29M. That left ramp needs some fat post rubbers!

Pinburgh 2018 sob stories

I got to play with KME and Gagno in Round 8!

Link to Sob Story


The whole weekend was awesome!

I always knew the team that runs Pinburgh is fantastic - always tried to thank the TD’s, Techs and Staff I encountered when I played in the tournament in the past but until I joined their ranks I had no idea just how amazing the team is. I love being a TD at home but I’m generally all alone. It was a phenomenal experience because of the teamwork and support from the veteran TDs and all the techs.

My experience with players was outstanding also. DQ’s are never fun but all the players I DQ’d were respectful. Sometimes pinball screws you and while I saw a few people fighting their desire to blow up over getting screwed by pinball after a ruling, everyone I encountered seemed to win that battle. Whew!

I was also overwhelmed by the number of thank you’s I received and I hope the others on the team were receiving just as many heart-felt words of appreciation from players!


I had a fantastic weekend, and not just because I made it into A division (though not finals) after setting a goal of either C finals or perhaps slipping into the bottom of B. My opponents were overwhelmingly friendly, everyone I interacted with on an official basis was helpful and courteous and it was flat out fun.

One of my awesome stories actually comes from what started negatively. By Friday night, I was tanking after playing decently in the morning. I was pretty bummed though it was realistic. Anyway, I’d been excited to play the Blackbelt, Harlem, Dialed In bank in the 9th rounf, as I had fallen weirdly in love with blackbelt’s upper right flipper at the show in Tacoma in June. Of course, I largely tanked that round and was really getting in my head. One of my opponents said something that kinda ticked me off and I told him so afterwards. But after the round was done I was able to see that it wasn’t too negative, was not at all about me, but the reason I was bothered was that I was bothered with my own play. I told him so and that i was sorry for getting so mad and he apologized too for his comment. It was a really gratifying, cool-headed resolution to what could have left a really sour taste in my mouth. That he - Chris Tanaka - understood where I was coming from and didn’t take my own (silly) beef personally was classy and really diffused things. That kind of sportsmanship was present throughout the show in everyone of my groips. and tha particular instance was a good example to me to learn it myself. Though I was well out of finals, the good feeling of it helped me relax and just enjoy the last round, and of course I finishes strong there.

A side note: the related nice thing was that in just about every group every player was enthusiastic for the other players who played well and sympathetic to those having bad rounds. People who lost or were upset never seemed upset with their opponents, and they often just seemed wowed by a monster game or inspired to put up an even stronger one. That was a lot of fun!