Yesterday, Campbelltown Council hosted Nerd Con for the first time, a small pop culture expo featuring cosplay, games, workshops, and plenty of stalls. I thought this would be a good opportunity to spread the pinball gospel, so Fiona and I decided to bring three machines to the event for the public to play: The Getaway (Williams, 1992), Fish Tales (Williams, 1992) and Tee'd Off (Gottlieb, 1993).
Setup for the event started at 7:00 am and it took us a couple of hours to finish getting ready. There is only space for one machine in the ute tray at a time, so I had to make three separate trips. Luckily, the event was only ten minutes away from home, so this wasn't that big a deal. Setup was relatively painless and we had a good location under cover at the Campbelltown Council Civic Centre. There were several other stalls set up in the area but we the only stall with interactive games for people to play.
Over the course of the day, it was great to see a mix of kids and adults playing the games, with guys and girls in pretty even amounts. It was fantastic to see some really young kids playing pinball for the first time, and some older people saying that they recognised the games from their youth. Some of the older gents had not played these games in 20-30 years, but still remembered the rules! I had two games on free play (Getaway and Tee'd Off), and one on coin-op (Fish Tales). To add a bit of fun into the mix, I ran a competition whereby the highest score on Fish Tales for the day would win $20. One of the most interesting things was sitting back and just watching people interact with a pinball machine for the first time. Some of the things I noticed were:
All in all, takings for the day from the comp machine were $40. $20 of that went to the comp winner. The rest went to pay the stall fee ($30), insurance ($40) and food on the day for Fiona and myself ($30). So, definitely not worth it financially. But I think this kind of pinball outreach is important as it exposes new people to pinball which is necessary if the hobby is to survive. I have the greatest respect for the organisers of huge events like Pinfest and Flipout and the 2014 Pinball Expo, but I think we can all do similar things on an individual scale. I'd encourage everyone to seek out local events that may be interested in having pinball machines and offer your own machines for people to play. Don't do it for the fame or the money, but do it for pinball!
Here you will find logs of our pinball machine restorations, repairs, discussion about general pinball topics, and recounts of our random pinball adventures.
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