This weekend was the Texas Pinball Festival! I also took some time off during the week, so it ended up being a big week for me in the untracked department.
Dig Dug 3
Donkey Kong Jr Remix 15 (Hack of DK Jr)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 15
Rally X 1
Atari Video Pinball (Sears model) 15
The video games were plentiful at this year's show, but I was pretty picky with my non-pinball time. I really enjoyed stumbling onto a Donkey Kong Jr cabinet that looked like it was built specifically to house DK Jr and the new DK Jr remix. This was a great treat and a real highlight of the whole show. I didn't even know it existed.
Thanks to the National Video Game Museum's display area, I also had fun playing Atari's stand alone video pinball home console. Those things aren't very hard to find, but I've passed several up over the years thinking that I didn't need it. It was a fun set of Pinball/Breakaway games that I'll be looking to add to my personal collection at some point in the future.
Ace High (Gottlieb 1957)
Attack from Mars
Chicago Cubs Triple Play
Cleopatra (Gottlieb 1977)
Fire Power II
Four Million BC (Bally)
Fun Land (Gottlieb)
Incredible Hulk (Gottlieb) *
Indiana Jones (Stern)
Jet Spin (Gottlieb)
Magic Castle (Zaccaria)
Pirates of the Carribbean
Rob Zombie's Spookshow
Rocky and Bullwinkle
Sea Ray (Bally)
Sittin' Pretty (Gottlieb 1958)
Star Pool (Williams 1974)
World Cup Soccer 94
It was another great pinball festival with tons of machines to play. This year's show seemed to have fewer of the old EM machines that I like to play so much, but I spread myself out among the many machines that were there. A lot of the old favorites made the trip including the very old machines and games that the community lovingly restores and shares.
*A highlight of this year's show was that Lou Ferrigno was in attendance and the local pinball club ran a contest to see who could restore the old 1979 Incredible Hulk machine to its finest glory. Those guys go nuts for this type of competition, and they really did a nice job on 3 different machines that were on display and ready to play. Another machine that was painstakingly restored to amazing shape was 1981's Centaur. I swear that thing must've looked better than the day it was made at the factory. There were multiple examples at the show which made the condition really stand out.
Joust (2p Virtual) **
Star Wars (Data East Virtual)
Virtual pinball was abundant at this year's show. In fact, the show has transformed a bit to the point where dealers make up a bigger and bigger portion of the show floor every year. The various virtual pinball machines they had on display were interesting (as always), but with so much of the real thing to be found, It was hard to spend much time with them. **The custom built Joust virtual pinball machine took a little extra effort, so my friend and I played a couple games on it. The real machine was also at the show, and it is always something hard to walk away from once you see it. I wish the game itself was more fun - lol.
I may have buried the lead with this. Thanks to an awesome tinkering genius, this and other similar projects exist. This thing was fascinating to me because you could really get a good look at how the old EM machines work. This wasn't a very fun game to play, but that wasn't the point. I really enjoyed looking at this and thinking about how some of these big old toys fit together. Very impressive.
Life Aquatic, The
I don't think Wes Anderson and Pinball can possibly have THAT many crossover fans, but one loyal fan to both brought his improved Life Aquatic machine back to pinfest again this year. There was improved artwork and a shiny bottle of Campari sitting on the top as a prop. The game was in better working condition and could be played for what fun it was. Let's just say that the guy who re-designed this picked a good game to hack apart. Whatever game it was before will likely never be missed by anyone.
Ultimorphic Pinball Evolved
Grand Slam Rally
Lexy Light Speed
The P3 or Pinball Evolved guys were back this year. I took the time to play all of their display models, and I was pretty impressed. Although, some of them sorta feel like the redemption game versions of pinball. The big advantage here of course is that the tables can be redesigned by the end user, so you can configure different games and then just run the appropriate software. It's a neat idea, but I don't think I'm their target market.
These guys also brought a prototype hack of a Pinball 2000 machine called Wizard Blocks. It is a fun game, but it really is a prototype. It seems like it is constantly having problems, and I didn't get to play a full game on it this year. Note that this is not P3; just something else these guys brought to the show.
Katamari Damacy PS2
Retro Game Crunch via Steam
Finally, I played a heavy amount of some untracked non-pinball games this week. We had some company in the house for several days and decided they might enjoy Katamari Damacy. We played the X360 version a bit, but then switched back to the PS2 original. I played through the story mode again and rebuilt all the stars in the cosmos. It is strange how much fun that game is.
I also dug into a game collection called Retro Game Crunch which I have on Steam. This is a group of 7 games that have retro style gameplay and graphics. Most of the games will give you a very strong NES vibe, but every once in a while, I kinda felt like I was playing an old PC CGA game or maybe something on the Apple II. However, the gameplay was borrowing heavily from NES games like Metroid, and Lolo. One of them also really reminded me of Gameboy Donkey Kong. I have had a lot of fun with this collection and will definitely play it more in the future.