Wednesday, May 8, 2013

High Score: Legionnaire Saloon - Oakland, CA

When Jon and I started playing pinball, we knew nothing.  Our skills have slowly improved and up until now, the most I've been able to brag about was getting a replay on various pinball machines. A replay feels pretty good - there is a certain endorphin rush that comes from causing that *KNOCK* out in public.  It lets people know that you have some idea what you are doing with a pinball machine.

At some point in the last few months, I leveled up, and now I'm actually getting High Scores, which feels about ten times as great as getting a replay.  Sure, I have "marked" machines in the past, but mostly in White River Junction, VT where Jon and I were generally the best players in town.  It feels like more of an accomplishment marking a machine in a larger city.  Over my next five posts I'm going to outline some of my recent high scores.

On the first Friday of every month, my wife Claire and I walk down a street fair on Telegraph Avenue that happens here in Oakland.  A few months back we saw a new bar pop up, which initially didn't even have a name on it, but it had one pinball machine in the back, can you spot the glow through the window?  I did!

When we came back the following month the bar had been named The Legionnaire Saloon and it now had three machines: Championship Pub, X-Men and  Scared Stiff.  We ordered a beer and put a few credits in on Championship Pub, which was working the best of the three machines.

As Claire and I played, I slowly started figuring out the ruleset and where the lock shots were, where the jackpots were, etc.  And then, on like my second or third game, a weird wormhole in reality opened up and I just couldn't drain.  I was saving everything, and hitting what I needed to hit.  I went through fighter after fighter and was figuring out objectives on the fly, like the strobing targets.  I ended up making it through the Wizard mode, and getting the #2 score on the machine with 129 million.  NES (who, as far as I can tell, is currently Oakland's best pinball player) had a Grand Champ of a billion, so I still have a lot to learn, but this still felt pretty great!

In my next post I'll cross the bay to play a little pinball in San Francisco!


  1. NES = the one and only Neil Shatz. Great score!

  2. NO WAY! NES is Neil Shatz??? I had no idea he lived in the Bay Area. Or maybe he just visits everyone once and a while to secure all his high scores, before moving on to the next town :)

  3. It's funny, when I play doubles with my pin geek friends or the wifey, the opposite effect happens to me. Even on games that I feel pretty confident on, or know most of the rule sets, I end up draining most of the time without even touching the ball. So I guess most of my best games have been when nobody was watching.