Once again my favourite time of the year is here... Pinfest! I have a blast at Pinfest every year so I'm always excited for September when it rolls around. Pinfest is an annual pinball festival that takes place in Newcastle on the Central Coast and is hosted by the Newcastle Pinball Association. It is always a fantastic event with many machines on free play for the general public to play. This year, Pinfest was at a new, larger venue, so I was doubly excited to check it out and play pinball all weekend.
Following on from last year's Pinfest, which our Getaway (Williams, 1992) accompanied us to, we had decided to bring a different machine this year. We decided on Fish Tales (Williams, 1992), as it had been working well since the restoration and I was keen to see if it would withstand the punishment of Pinfest. Unfortunately we set off late on Friday afternoon, as I had to finish work before we could start the drive. But once I got home, we broke Fish Tales down, got it into the car, and headed up to Newcastle.
Setup on Friday went well and after leveling the machine and recording all of the audit figures, it was ready to go! There were actually two Fish Tales machines at this year's Pinfest. Sitting side by side, they both looked really good. The machine on the left is mine, whereas the one on the right belonged to Jeff (of Railways fame). His machine looked and played fantastically, too. They were both great examples of a great game, so it was good that the public would be able to experience it.
And to my complete and utter surprise... Fish Tales played without a single issue all weekend! Based on my experience with Getaway last year, I was fully expecting Fish Tales to play well at first but then break down. But no! The only thing I had to attend to was a faulty insert lamp, which turned out to be a loose socket. Even the lock and reel behaved properly. It just goes to show - games with relatively simple mechanisms really don't have much to go wrong on them! Jeff's machine encountered some reset issues on Saturday which were soon fixed after some troubleshooting, but that's why it was helpful having two of the same machine - people could just play the other one instead!
Having Fish Tales working well meant that there was plenty of time for Fiona and I to walk around and play some games. We even sat in on a seminar by Gary Stern, played some Deadpool (Stern, 2018), and talked to heaps of other pinheads about pinball.
As is customary, I also recorded all of the main gameplay audits on Fish Tales before Pinfest, after Saturday, and after Sunday.
Almost 30,000 flips on the flippers, and over 1,000 balls were played over the course of the weekend. That's a lot of flipping. I was surprised that so few jackpots were earned, but that must just be a testament to how hard of a game Fish Tales is. It was interesting to note that a lot of stats such as number of games played and number of flips were quite comparable to the audits on Getaway from last year. I guess this would correlate to a similar number of Pinfest visitors this year compared to last year.
A number of people commented on how well Fish Tales played. I'm just glad it held up to all the abuse! A couple of people said that Fish Tales was a favourite game of theirs and that they were stoked it was available for them to play this year. I'm glad that, even 26 years after it was first released, this Fish Tales is still making people smile! And that's really what pinball is all about.
So, not a very eventful report this year, but I suppose that's a good thing. Better a short event report with a few pics than a long one with lots of game issues! Fiona and I will definitely be back next year, but with a different machine again. Something tells me I will have to do some weights training so I can lift one of our widebody games into the boot!
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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