South Australian Pinball Tournament Scene is Growing

If you look at the top ranked SA players IFPA profiles, you will see that a majority of their points have been a result of going to interstate (or overseas) tournaments.  Whilst the eastern states boast regular monthly and in some cases weekly tournaments, Adelaide has been relatively quiet in comparison.  Yes, there have been plenty of social meets, which is certainly an important part of pinball culture, but these do not attract IFPA points.

The above picture was taken at the conclusion of the Saturday all-day/night tournament at Amusement Worx in June.  The winner Stephen Vari (centre), second place Robert Macauley (right) and third place Evan Lathouras (left).  Photo courtesy Simon Wisbey, Amusement Worx.

The above picture was taken at the conclusion of the Saturday all-day/night tournament at Amusement Worx in June.  The winner Stephen Vari (centre), second place Robert Macauley (right) and third place Evan Lathouras (left).  Photo courtesy Simon Wisbey, Amusement Worx.

In 2012 there were three IFPA tournaments in SA, 2013 only two tournaments, 2014 three tournaments and in 2015 nine tournaments.  A mainstay of this early development was Danny Daly at Gameroom Essentials, who can take credit for getting the tournament scene started in SA.  There was also Simon Wisbey & Stephen Vari at Amusement Worx running the odd IFPA tournament.  Finally, Greg Siegele has been running his “Balls of Steel” tournaments.

That brings us to 2016 and the establishment of a perfect pinball partnership!

In February this year Amusement Worx teamed up with a new Tournament Director, Paul Michell and the SA pinball tournament scene has exploded into life.  Subsequently, Simon and Stephen have been able to focus on managing the venue and providing a great variety of pinball machines, while Paul liaises with Daniel Robar at IFPA and runs the tournaments.

Since that first tournament in February which had 20 entrants, they have held a total of nine tournaments over six nights (including one Saturday all-day/night event).  Amusement Worx has provided 32 different machines for the tournaments, ranging from the 70’s right up to recent releases from Stern.  To keep things interesting Paul has used a different format for every tournament held, as he tests to see which ones work well, attract the most points and/or cater for player availability.  Paul has even tested the flexibility of the IFPA, by holding two tournaments on the one night on two occasions; such was the popularity of the second of these, with 41 players, the final of the second tournament concluded at 1:15am.  Apart from Paul, great credit goes to the Amusement Worx staff (& technician), who also had to be on hand throughout.

To grasp the impact of this on SA’s pinball scene, it is worth looking at some of the statistics:

Rated players (5 tourneys)

  • 25 as at the end of 2015
  • 52 as at the end of August 2016

Total number of players

  • 89 in 2014 & 2015 in all tournament s across all venues
  • 60 in 2016 at Amusement Worx tournaments

Total number of new players

  • 35 in 2016 played their first tournament at Amusement Worx

There have been plenty of people that have also helped Paul and Amusement Worx out this year, including; Darren Bonnett (transporting hire furniture), Robert Macauley (tournament adjudicating), Greg Siegele (scoring), Amity Wells (entering results) even some from interstate, such as Greg “G” Jones who provided advice on a tournament format.

Amusement Worx Super League

The most recent tournament was the Super League, which included four fortnightly Friday evening and two Thursday afternoon qualifying sessions on six machines (Devil King, Elektra, Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure, Last Action Hero, Pirates Of The Caribbean and Star Wars Episode 1) and culminated in the final held Tuesday 23 August.  The full results can be found via this link:  Amusement Worx Super League

Over 480 verified scores were entered into Match Play Events by dedicated scorers over the course of the Qualifying sessions which included a total of 30 players.  Subsequently 15 players advanced to Final, including Michael Costalos, who was participating in his first IFPA tournament having turned up to the last qualifying session.  The finals were a best of five games knockout format.  When the draw was announced, there were humorous cries of “rigged!” when Paul as the top ranked player, got allocated a bye in the Round of 16.

The great camaraderie, that was a feature of the qualifying sessions, extended into the finals, with a relaxed yet competitive atmosphere.  The finals were played on a total of 14 pinball machines, including a Game of Thrones Premium.  Paul ended up coming third, defeating Tim Freedman.  While the main event came down to a classic contest between the experience of Robert Macauley and the youth of Matthew Owen.  The following quote taken from a post of Rob’s on Aussie Arcade sums up the exciting finals games:

I can honestly say that game 2 of the final match against Matthew on Creature was close to if not the best game of head to head pinball I've had the pleasure to have played in the last few years of comps.

Matthew along with Tom Casey (finished 12th) and Tyler Follett (18th) are some of the very young and talented pinball players in Adelaide that should feature up the Australian rankings in years to come.

Congratulations to Rob in winning the final and subsequently he has moved back into third position in the IFPA rankings in Australia.

At the end of the night this group photo was taken.  It includes 13 of the finalists (Chris Craft was an apology & Vincent Rossis had left).  From left to right; Stephen Vari (Amusement Worx), Michael Costalos, Robert Macauley (winner), Paul Michell (Tournament Director), George Choimes, Amity Wells (scorer), Wayne White, Tim Freedman, Sean Olley, Matthew Owen (runner-up), Tom Casey, Andrew Heitmann, Lou Martire, Grant Stephens (obscured) and Gary Regan.  Photo courtesy Simon Wisbey, Amusement Worx.

At the end of the night this group photo was taken.  It includes 13 of the finalists (Chris Craft was an apology & Vincent Rossis had left).  From left to right; Stephen Vari (Amusement Worx), Michael Costalos, Robert Macauley (winner), Paul Michell (Tournament Director), George Choimes, Amity Wells (scorer), Wayne White, Tim Freedman, Sean Olley, Matthew Owen (runner-up), Tom Casey, Andrew Heitmann, Lou Martire, Grant Stephens (obscured) and Gary Regan.  Photo courtesy Simon Wisbey, Amusement Worx.

2016 SA Tournament Results to Date

DATE VENUE FORMAT WINNER RUNNER-UP
11-Feb Amusement Worx Qualifying & Final Paul Michell Robert Macauley
22-Mar Amusement Worx 2-Strike Slaughter Lou Martire Jamie Linke
2-Strike Cross Michael Kerylidis Vincent Rossis
3-May Amusement Worx 2-Strike Random Tyler Follett Tom Casey
2-Strike Adjacent Lou Martire Michael Kerylidis
22-May Balls of Steel Pingolf & Final Robert Macauley Lou Martire
12-Jul Amusement Worx 3-Strike Slaughter Tom Casey Grant Stephens
18-Jun Amusement Worx Qualifying & Final Steven Vari Robert Macauley
8 Jul-23 Aug Amusement Worx Qualifying & Final Robert Macauley Matthew Owen

 

What is coming up for SA pinball?

If you think the year couldn’t get any better, then look out, as next month sees the first tournament being held at a new venue, Grant Stephens’ Adelaide Pinball Hire.  When you add that to Amusement Worx and Balls of Steel, the number of tournaments could well double by the end of the year!

Next Tourney – Tuesday 20 September 2016, Group Match Play, at Amusement Worx

New Venue – Tuesday 27 September 2016, 4-Strike Slaughter, at Adelaide Pinball Hire

Balls of Steel 4 – October 2016, at Balls of Steel Pinball

Balls of Steel 5 – November 2016, at Balls of Steel Pinball (at a new venue)

Paul’s Break up Dinner – December 2016, venue to be confirmed

Adelaide Pinball Masters – will it be in 2016 or debut in 2017?  Watch this space!

Author: Andrew Heitmann