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Pinball shows are being held across the country. The Pinball Fantasy, which I visited several years ago, was held in Las Vegas.

The pinball show is unlike any other gameroom show. The Pinball Fantasy opened Friday afternoon and didn't close until Sunday afternoon. It was open 24 hours. Most all the pinballs were on free play, so attendees could play as much as they like any hour of the day. There were over 100 pinball to choose from, 1950s wood rails, 1960s wedge head, and the newer electronic pinballs from the 1980s.

Most of the show consists of rows and rows of pinballs. Attendees are encouraged to bring one of a kind customized pinballs. There are several booths around the sides with dealers who have parts, playing fields, and backglasses for sale.

Concurrent with the show, all attendess can enter the pinball tournaments. The Vintage Tournament (70's Tourney) consists of 5 Bally Cpt. Fantastic Mechanical Pinball games set for 3 ball play. The top 16 scores played head to head (16 vs 1, 15 vs 2 and so on) on another vintage game until they are down to 4 finalists. The 4 finalists played head to head till a winner emerged. The winner received a fully restored Bally Fireball Pinball Game.

The Electronic Tournament (Fantasy Tournament) consists of 5 new Sega Pinball Games. There was also a Women's Division in both the vintage and electronic tournaments.

In addition, there was a Best Tech Contest. This contest determined who is the best technician. There was a Electronic Division and a Mechanical Division. Players had a time limit to find 10 problems on a certain game. The three people with the most repairs in the allotted times went into the finals. The best tech won a prize and trophy.

Attendees were also encouraged to bring pinballs to the show. Prizes were awarded in the following categories:

Best Original Game (Electro-Mechanical and Electronic)

Best Restored Game (Electro-Mechanical and Electonic)

Best Customized Game (Based on a production pinball and another for non-production pinballs)

Still looking for more to do? There were also several charity raffles and a demonstration of how backglasses were made. Can't go to sleep? The pinball tournaments lasted well past midnight.

If you like pinball, you'll love the pinball show.

Copyright: 1996 Ken Durham.





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Ken Durham
Email: durham@GameRoomAntiques.com