Saturday, January 21, 2012

White River Junction Pinball Update

Oof!  Has it really been two months since my last pinball post?!  I guess I have been crazy busy lately, but luckily good ol' Jon Chad has been serving up some good content while I've been dealing with other stuff.  Fear not though, dear readers, during my absence I have still been playing A LOT of pinball on both coasts. And as ever, I have been snapping some crappy low-res cell phone photos, just for you!

Before I get too far afield, I thought it would be good to update you all on the pinball scene here in White River Junction, Vermont (where Jon and I currently live).  As readers of Drop Target #1 no doubt remember, WRJ was the featured locale for our first "Pinhalls" article.  A lot has changed around here since that zine was printed, so here is an update.

The biggest change is that Jon and I now own our own machines, Jurassic Park and Medieval Madness, respectively.  Here you can see my parents playing a little pinball on a recent visit to "The Junc."  These machines are only available to the students, staff and faculty of The Center for Cartoon Studies, where Jon and I work.  We are still splitting proceeds with the school, and should be announcing the next round of April Fog Memorial Scholarship recipients in a few months.

The other big news is that Forrest B's Pool School has completely shut down, so we no longer have access to our beloved Star Wars: Episode I pin2k machine.  Up at "Lanes and Games" the Last Action Hero machine has been taken away, but the Scared Stiff machine is still going strong.

For months and months the T2 machine in the back room of C&S pizza was all busted up.  All of the G.I. lamps were out, one of the flippers was stuck up, none of the flashers were working - it was a mess.  We had pretty much given up on it ever working again, when one day I randomly went to check on it, only to find that it had been completely fixed up!  Not only was everything working, but all of the high scores had been reset.  This lead to some of the most fun I have ever had on a pinball machine.

Jon and I have gotten pretty good at this point.  We're not world-class players or anything, but we can get a replay after a few warm-up games on most machines.  With the scores reset, it was remarkably easy to crack a replay and get up on the high score board.  And each time you get a high score, the machine gives you a free credit.  The first time I went in to play, I put in one dollar and played for an hour and half.  Finally, my arms were getting sore, and I had stuff to do, so I left the machine with SIX credits on it (!?!)  I told Jon about it, and the next day he had a similar experience.  A few weeks later we went in together and did the same thing again.  One dollar of quarters, an hour plus of gameplay.  It was good times!

We thought we pretty much had the pinball scene in our area figured out, when all of a sudden, our boss Michelle gave us a hot tip: she had spotted "like five pinball machines" at the Pizza Chef in Quechee which is only five miles down the road.  Ecstatic, we immediately checked out the community car and headed up there to check it out.  The trip was a little heartbreaking...  1) because the pizza was the worst I have tasted since I was in 6th grade and had to eat in the cafeteria at "Islander Middle School"  2) There were only THREE machines... and two of them were out of commission.

Here you can see the lineup.  On the left, F-14 Tomcat.  Busted rubber on the left flipper, but otherwise looked to be in good condition.  Shut off.  On the right, Taxi, with an extremely worn-down playfield.  Shut off.  Luckily, the center machine, Black Knight 2000 was working great (except for the magna-save which didn't work, and the flippers were a little weak).  We played for about an hour and had a lot of fun.  The music on that machine is AMAZING!  My favorite part is when the Black Knight says "GIVE ME YOUR MONEY."  Classic.

I guess a few weeks later Jon found a No Good Gofers a few miles away in the other direction.  I have yet to check this out, but it seems like every time we lose a machine, another one is found.  I guess the pinball gods giveth and the pinball gods taketh, eh?

I've got a few more posts lined up from recent trips, so I'll try to post a little more regularly.  Also, don't forget, we're both still guest blogging over on the STERN website!

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