Around the Playfield with Head 2 Head Pinball

Around the Playfield with Head 2 Head Pinball

 

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Martin and Ryan C. created the Head2Head Pinball Podcast (website, Facebook).

 


Around the Playfield with Martin

 

The Start Button: How did you first get into pinball?

My older brothers were heavily into pinball and got me into it when I was about 6 years old. We also had a milk bar on the way to school so every afternoon I would stop on the way home and either play or watch for an hour each day. I then took up ice skating (speed skating) and every rink I went to had pinball machines and I’d find myself playing pinball more than skating. I was also lucky to go to a school that had pinballs in our recreational rooms so everywhere I went growing up I had access to great machines.


The Plunge: What was the first pinball machine you bought?

Rollergames. It was only about 5 years ago and was my favourite machine at the time. I loved the cheesy theme and music but most of all I remember it being a pretty tough machine and I wanted something that would be really challenging as my first. The magnet holding the ball to the upper right flipper to shoot up the ramp was a really cool feature. It wasn’t till I picked up the machine that the seller told me about the TV show it was based on which, having now watched all that’s available on youtube, just made it even better in my eyes. I did later retheme it for a client and they have it today – sadly a week after it was delivered we stopped working for them.


The Skill Shot: What is your best pinball achievement or favorite pinball moment?

The one moment that always stands out was many years ago playing Gilligan’s Island when it first came out at an arcade and had a phenomenal game. Everything just went right for me, I was completely destroying the machine. I managed to get the grand champion score by a significant amount and heard the knocker sound 3 times followed by a round of applause. I looked around and a group of about 10 people had gathered to watch my game which I had been completely oblivious to and one of them shook my hand and said what an amazing game I had. As I walked away leaving all the credits on the machine I felt pretty damn special.


Good Shots, Bad Bounces: What is your favorite and least favorite pinball machine?

My favorite is Stern Star Trek. Having been back in pinball for a couple of years, when I first played a Star Trek pro in a comp I was completely won over by the layout, gameplay and light show courtesy of full leds throughout the machine. After 2 games I announced I would be buying one and a couple of months my LE arrived and will never leave my collection.

 

My least favorite is Stern Rolling Stones. I know people have talked about “Mick on a stick” but it really can’t be emphasised enough how terrible it makes this game. The layout itself is pretty standard for the time and there may or may not be good rules and satisfying shots but Mick literally positions itself right where you need to shoot the ball and pretty much ruins any possible chance of enjoyment. At PAPA last year I was determined to play it enough to win me over and would have put in 30+ games and all it did was confirm to me that it is just a terrible machine.


The Wizard Mode: What is your dream theme you’d like to see made into a pinball machine?

Harry Potter. There is just so many events in the books/movies that the rules, layout, toys and art would be a no brainer. I’ve heard it’s very unlikely that the license can be used for a pinball but I can continue to hope – I’ve heard rumors that someone has been able to get hold of a licence that was previously impossible to get so maybe…

 

I would however like to see a theme used that is attractive to a younger audience. We often hear how we need to keep pinball alive through a new generation but don’t really have any themes that would attract them. From a personal point of view I’d love to see Adventure Time fill this space but most people I know either don’t know it, haven’t watched it or just think I’m a bit weird and tell me Back to the Future is a much better theme 🙂


The Tilt: What is the dumbest mistake you’ve made in pinball (mishap moving a machine, messing up trying to fix a machine, etc.)?

When I first got Rollergames I had a problem with the vuk and because I knew very little about repairing machines and being only back in the hobby for a few months didn’t know anyone to help and had to send it off. The repair cost me over $500USD and 6 months later the fault came back. This time I lifted up the playfield and saw that a wire had come loose which I put back in – 2 minutes all up.


The High Score: Describe the pinball hobby in one word.

Obsessive


Match – Next Game: Where do you see the pinball hobby in 5-10 years?

Hopefully by this time manufacturers have figured out how to produce machines that appeal to a broader demographic and the community continues to grow. At some stage a manufacturer will need to introduce a fully featured machine at a much lower price point to make it appealing to more home buyers. We have heard some promises but yet to see this in reality, I think it’s really important for the hobby to survive as the current major manufacturers have pushed pricing quite high which limits the number of homes that can afford their first new in box machine and the 2nd hand market can still be prohibitive especially if self-maintenance isn’t easy.

 

Connectivity for machines will also evolve. Live scoring, head 2 head play (ala NBA Fastbreak) and social connectivity is a certainty. I’d like to see connectivity extend to video where machines can be broadcast out of the box with playfield, score and player cams as standard so you can watch any machine live from around the world and interact with players real time.

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Around the Playfield with Ryan C.

 

The Start Button: How did you first get into pinball?

My dad was a small time operator in the 90s and I was in charge of testing out the machines that where always breaking down. He sold all of his machines in the late 90s and I didn’t really get to play again until 2014! 


The Plunge: What was the first pinball machine you bought?

Indiana Jones….the good one!


The Skill Shot: What is your best pinball achievement or favorite pinball moment?

Whenever I get into a wizard mode on a hard machine! Nothing to do with the score, just getting to the ‘end’


Good Shots, Bad Bounces: What is your favorite and least favorite pinball machine?

I never ever get angry playing Tron, like Demo man it is ALWAYS fun for me to play. On the other hand Ghostbusters was the most infuriating machine I have ever owned, and i have had over 50 in my house.


The Wizard Mode: What is your dream theme you’d like to see made into a pinball machine?

The dream theme was Ghostbusters. With someone as fussy as I am the sweet taste of victory (in getting your dream theme) taste like ashes in my mouth. Saying that….Give me a Ricky and Morty machine!


The Tilt: What is the dumbest mistake you’ve made in pinball (mishap moving a machine, messing up trying to fix a machine, etc.)?

I had already won a finals tournament game on Indiana Jones (once again the good one) as long as i let my ball drain and collect the bonus. The ball went  down the right outlane and I stupidly tried to narrow escape it! Tilting away my massive bonus from playing 4 modes that ball and coming last. 


The High Score: Describe the pinball hobby in one word.

Addictive


Match – Next Game: Where do you see the pinball hobby in 5-10 years?

Similar to where it is now but with less manufactures. I don’t see the hobby growing an insane amount and I don’t think it can sustain this many manufactures and the prices they are currently pushing.

 

However with all of the competitions, streamings, podcasts, websites etc I an see that everyone in the hobby will get more involved. Everyone is coming together.

 

I would LOVE to see machines go online so you can join ‘groups’ and having weekly battles on machines…Online Heads Up games.  JJP…you have the tech! Make it happen!!!

 

For past Around the Playfield guests, click here!

 

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