PINBALL EXPO '97
By Russ Jensen
Last time I began my description of Pinball Expo ' 97 and described the first "Fireside Chat", the "Internet Get-Together" and the Expo seminars. This time I will finish describing the show, including the second Fireside Chat, the Game Auction, the Designers, Artists, and Authors Autograph Session, the annual Expo banquet (including the guest speaker), and finally the Exhibit Hall (including a list of all the pingames on display there).
THE SECOND "FIRESIDE CHAT"
The second "Fireside Chat" was a little different format than the first chat (and all of the chats at previous Expos). Instead of being held in show producer Rob Berk's room, it was held in the same room where the seminars had been held earlier in the day. One reason for this was that there was going to be a special "raffle" of pinball memorabilia included.
The main guest of honor for the chat was Joe Kaminkow, an executive of the Sega Pinball organization who was to talk about how things were going at their company. Joe had a team of his people to answer questions from the audience, including one of their latest Sega employees, ex-Premier pinball designer (and a personal friend of mine) Jon Norris. Joe's two children, a boy and a girl, were also there to help him with the raffle.
Joe told us that the raffle was being conducted to help the family of the brother of one of their employees who was a Chicago fireman and had recently been killed in the line of duty. The items raffled off were all obtained by Joe from the factory, and were pieces of artwork, etc. from past Sega and Data East games.
Before the session began people were allowed to purchase tickets at one-dollar each. Most people purchased one or two tickets, but there were also a few "big spenders", like Expo co-producer Mike Pacak, who bought a large number of tickets.
Joe then began his chat session with people from the audience asking questions of he and his panel regarding Sega Pinball and the games they have produced. But as I have said in the past, details of these "Fireside Chat" sessions are beyond the scope of these articles.
After the question and answer session ended it was time for the raffle. Joe's kids would take turns drawing tickets, announcing the number, and handing out the prizes to the winners. After awhile the kids noticed that Mr. Pacak was winning a large number of the prizes and began referring to him as "the man with all the tickets!". This was kind of funny, but after awhile Joe told the kids to stop saying that.
When they ran out of raffle items there was a last item put up for auction. This brought a good amount of money to end the charity raffle on a high note. That ended the Fireside Chat, and also ended the Friday Expo activities, except of course for the Exhibit Hall which was open all night - but more about the hall later.
THE GAME AUCTION
An Expo happening which has been occurring for the past several years is the Game Auction. A professional auction outfit (U.S. Amusement Auctions) which specializes in auctioning off amusement devices conducts the auction beginning at around 10 AM Saturday morning and continuing until all the games, etc. are sold - usually in mid-afternoon. The majority of the items offered for sale are pinball machines, but there is also a smattering of slot machines, video games, etc., plus other related items such as backglasses.
On the evening before the auction, and also in the morning before the sale starts, there is a chance for people to inspect the machines (or take pictures of some like I like to do), but the rows of games are pretty close together often making it difficult to get to some of the machines. This year while perusing and photographing the games, I encountered several somewhat different pinball machines - one that was especially strange because it's backglass did not seem to fit the theme of the game.
One interesting pingame was called STADIUM. It was a flipperless pingame from the early 1950's with a football theme. Another interesting thing about the game was the manufacturer's name shown on it. The name shown was "Como manufacturing" which I was told was sort of a subsidiary to Bally, making some coin machines for them during that period. The playfield had ten holes, each labeled with the name of a football "bowl" - a ball dropping into a hole going directly beneath the playfield. Each hole when a ball landed in it would light a pennant on the backglass with the name of that "bowl" on it. Lighting a pennant also scored 1-Million points, and replays were awarded based on how many pennants (and hence how many millions) were scored. The game at the auction was in excellent condition.
The other "oddball" game at the auction was quite a bit stranger. The backglass said BUG-A-BOO and had three columns of slot machine symbols (Cherries, Bells, etc.) on it - identical to the gambling type "flasher" games which were put out by several outfits in the 1950's.
The playfield appeared to have no connection to this backglass, apparently having scoring objectives of lighting a "number sequence" and scoring points. The manufacturer's name on the playfield was J.H. Keeney (who did make "flashers", by the way). The playfield artwork featured many young ladies and the term "Royal Belles" was shown on a placard held by one of the ladies. When I saw the machine I had no idea what it was, but an interesting thing happened later which gave me a clue.
After obtaining copies of Mike Pacak's new 3-volume set of pinball flyer books, I decided to look at the game list sorted by manufacturer to try and locate that Keeney game. I soon discovered that they had produced a pingame called ELEVEN BELLES in 1950. When I saw that I thought that that name seemed to match the playfield of the "mystery game" at the auction - except for the weird backglass.
Months after the Expo I managed to get a copy of the advertising brochure for ELEVEN BELLES from my good friend (and fellow pinball historian) Rob Hawkins. Sure enough the playfield was the same as that on the "mystery game" at the Expo auction (except for some of the bumper caps), but the backglass was entirely different! The only thing I can figure is that the backglass for the game at the auction had once been broken and someone substituted the "flasher" glass, but who knows?
The following is a list of most of the older pingames auctioned off and the prices they sold for:
GAME MANUFACTURER YEAR PRICE CHICO EXHIBIT 1948 195 TROPICANA UNITED 1948 150 BUG-A-BOO/ELEVEN BELLES KEENEY 1950? 85 SUNSHINE PARK (1-BALL) Bally 1952 170 STADIUM Bally (COMO) 1952? 315 SLICK CHICK GOTTLIEB 1963 420 BANK-A-BALL GOTTLIEB 1965 260 BUCKAROO GOTTLIEB 1965 625,650 PARADISE GOTTLIEB 1965 450 APOLLO WILIAMS 1967 385 ROYAL GUARD GOTTLIEB 1968 320 FOUR SEASONS GOTTLIEB 1969 190 4-MILLION B.C Bally 1970 425 ODDS AND EVENS Bally 1971 220 KING KOOL GOTTLIEB 1972 225 KNOCKOUT Bally 1974 260 LITTLE CHEIF WILLIAMS 1975 225 SATIN DOLL WILLIAMS 1975 225 JUNGLE QUEEN GOTTLIEB 1977 435
THE "DESIGNERS, ARTISTS, AND AUTHORS AUTOGRAPH SESSION"
On Saturday afternoon the (for the last several years) annual "Designers, Artists, and Authors Autograph Session" was held. And again yours truly was privileged to participate, showing my book Pinball Troubleshooting Guide. Behind the autograph table sat pinball designers and artists, as well as several of us who have written books concerning pinball. Expo visitors could then walk in front of the tables and obtain autographs on various items (Pinball flyers, books, etc. - or on paper such as their Expo souvenir booklet) from the various "celebrities" seated behind the tables.
This year I sat next to Expo Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak who was displaying his new 3-volume set of books, "Pinball Flyer Reference Book", which I described in Part 1 of this article. I did sell one of my books during the session and got to talk with several nice people who came by to chat. The autograph session this year was well attended, with the game designers and artists being kept busy autographing many items for Expo visitors.
After the session came to an end, Expo producer Rob Berk asked all of us who participated to group together for a group photo taken by Expo "Official, Unofficial Photographer" Jim Schelberg. After that Rob presented all of us with a special gift like he has done in past years. This year the gift we received was especially nice - a copy of the video tape of the great pinball TV documentary "The Pleasure Machines - The History Of Pinball", produced by Expo seminar guest Mark Heim, whose seminar describing his project I reported on in Part 1 of my Expo coverage. A truly wonderful gift!
THE SATURDAY NIGHT BANQUET
Saturday evening, as usual, was the time set aside for the annual Expo banquet. And, as has been the custom for the past several years, the banquet festivities began with a special "charity auction", the proceeds going to benefit "The Make-A-Wish Foundation". The volunteer auctioneer for the event was the same one who conducted the game auction I previously described. Before the auction action began a representative of the Make-A-Wish Foundation told a little about their organization. When he told us of a boy whose wish was to meet the Pope and it was granted, that brought on a round of applause. The auction then began.
The first item sold was a playfield for the Capcom (a company which had recently gone out of business) game PINBALL MAGIC which sold for $40. Next up were some "reprints" of pinball backglasses and a poster which brought the same amount. A prototype of the playfield for Bally's LOST WORLD game then brought $50, with a playfield for Data East's 1994 pingame TOMMY then being bid up to $70.
The next item sold was a prototype of the 3-dimentional "translite" backglass for Sega's STAR WARS TRILOGY pinball which brought a whopping bid of $200! After that two other "translites" were each sold for the same amount - one for Bally's ATTACK FROM MARS, and the other for Williams' MEDEVIL MADNESS. Following that, uncut "plastics sheets" for the same two games brought $105 and $140 respectively. An assortment of pinball coils was then sold for $70.
Next to go on the block was a figurine donated by an Expo guest from Holland which went for $125. Then a two-registration package for the upcoming Pinball Fantasy '98 show in Las Vegas was sold at a price of $160. After an ATTACK FROM MARS jacket was sold for a whopping $215, the 3-volume set of Mike Pacak's new Pinball Flyer Reference Book was sold for $145.
At that point two copies of Dick Bueschel's new book, Encyclopedia of Pinball - Volume 2, were put up for auction, both copies selling for $80. After selling a signed "stand-up set" for Williams' 1994 game ROAD SHOW for $35, four signed press photos of games, plus a Capcom PINBALL MAGIC flyer, brought $55. A radio/cassette player in the form of a jukebox reproduction then brought $100.
The next item auctioned was a blown-up photo of Bally artist Dave Christensen's Bally art collection the price of which I missed. Then a framed photo of Elvira with the Bally SCARED STIFF pinball which had her likeness on it brought a good price of $200. After an admission package to next year's Expo sold for $130, a "new-old-stock" playfield for Gottlieb's 1961 add-a-ball game FLIPPER FAIR brought $185
At that point a custom-made miniature pinball game advertising Coca-Cola and manufactured especially as a "collectable" sold for the highest price of the evening, a whopping $650!. This game, incidentally, had been advertised for sale in TV Guide magazine a few months earlier. Next to be offered for sale was a booth at Pinball Expo '98 which brought $185.
The final items sold were a signed copy of the playfield graphics for the latest Williams game, CIRQUS VOLTAIRE, which sold for $60, followed by the backglass for the same game bringing $200. The last item auctioned was a complete pingame, a 1972 Gottlieb KING KOOL, which brought $300. That ended the charity auction.
After the auction it was time to eat! The food, as in past years, was very good! When I was almost finished eating the gentleman from Russia, Andy Novikov, who I was helping with his project of programming computer simulations of "classic" pingames, came over to my table bearing gifts! He presented me with what he called an item of "Russian art" - a ceramic egg painted with a Russian scene on a pedestal, and a copy of the computer software they had previously done for Microsoft - a "puzzle collection". This was very nice, because as I said in Part 1 of my Expo coverage last time, I had not seen the Russians since I met them on my arrival at the show on Thursday evening.
It was then time for the annual banquet guest speaker. Pinball designer and champion player Lyman Sheets was called up to introduce the guest speaker. It was ex-Atari pinball designer, and more recently Williams designer, Steve Ritchie. That brought on a round of applause!
Steve began by remarking that he was going to tell us about "my life in the business". He then told how his life started (he was born) in San Francisco, and that he began playing pinball when he was six or seven years old - adding that at the time you could play a five ball game for ten cents! Steve then said he graduated High School in 1967, and in the yearbook it was prophesied that he would become "a mad scientist in a toy factory".
After graduating, he went on, he joined the Coast Guard to avoid going to Vietnam, but ended up going there anyway! Steve then said that after he got out of the Coast Guard he became an Electronics Technician and sort of wandered around. He then said he was also a musician and played guitar in a Rock and Roll band - also writing some songs. We were then told that Steve met his wife in July 1972 and got married.
Steve next told us that in 1973 he went to work at Atari Games - saying when he first started there he was impressed by all the good-looking girls that worked there, and the Rock and Roll music played in the plant. He said he started working on the assembly line at $4.25 an hour for two years. Steve then told of company founder Nolan Bushnell being "the father of the coin-operated video game" - adding that Nolan was really a "card", and also a "good guy".
We were then told by Steve that they had him working on "test fixtures" for video games, but that's not really what he wanted to do, so he asked to be transferred to the newly formed Pinball Division. He said the new division consisted of 75 people housed in one building, and that it was a "happy environment" to work in. He then added that some of his friends still work for the company after twenty years!
Steve then told us that he started in the "prototype lab" working with a man named Bob Jonesi who had come to the company from Chicago.
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: I once interviewed Mr. Jonesi - a very nice fellow - back in the early 1980's. Bob had worked in the pinball industry since at least the 1940's and had had some interesting stories to tell me). Steve said that Bob taught him how to lay out a pinball machine, including the wiring. He then remarked that Mr. Jonesi kept telling him "Atari will never make a pinball game".
Next Steve said that Bob Jonesi ordered a Bally CAPT. FANTASTIC and a Williams SPACE MISSION so they could use them to help understand pingames. He said they started playing these games, adding that they "really go addicted to them". Steve then commented that the upper right-hand flipper on CAPT. FANTASTIC really had an influence on him in his future designs.
After telling us that he eventually learned how to design pingames, Steve said he did his early designs on paper, adding that he often took them home with him. He then told of doing his first design. When he asked his supervisor if he could build it, Steve went on, he was told "no", being also told that he had to have a "degree in design" before he could do that. "So", Steve contented, "I showed my design to company President Nolan Bushnell, and he liked it and said 'OK'".
Steve then told us that he got help with the project from a fellow named Eugene Jarvis who had a Master's degree in Computer Science. After commenting that Atari pinball playfields were 27 by 45 inches in those days, Steve told how he designed his playfield to fit these dimensions. He then said that he "made it work" and 1500 of the game were produced.
The name of this game Steve then told us was AIRBORNE AVENGER, then telling of a review of it in the trade magazine Playmeter, written by none other than Williams current Licensing Director Roger Sharpe. At that point Steve described the characteristics of the game and gave credits to the other members of his design team.
Steve next told of his next project for Atari which he also did with Eugene Jarvis - SUPERMAN for which Atari had acquired the rights. He then said that during the design of this game he made five or six "whitewood" prototypes - and that the game was even tested using a whitewood. He then remarked that some features on that game he took from AIRBORNE AVENGER.
After commenting that he left Atari before SUPERMAN was produced, he told of the sound effects for the game created by Eugene Jarvis. Steve said there were some "good ideas" he wanted to use on it that the company wouldn't let him use. He then started telling how he got associated with Williams.
Steve told us that at that time Williams had just acquired a "new leader", a fellow named Gene Stroll. He said that Mr. Stroll came to California accompanied by the legendary pinball designer Steve Kordek who was renown for his design of Williams SPACE MISSION. Steve told us that that visit resulted in him leaving Atari and accepting a job from Williams. He then commented that the weather in Chicago was quite different from that in his native California.
"I left home", Steve then told us, "and instantly got into my new job" - commenting that the atmosphere at Williams was much different than at Atari, saying that at Williams there were many "old-timers" from whom he said he learned a lot. Steve then remarked that there were no "job manuals" in the coin-op business like there were in other industries, adding that there were a lot of things for him to learn.
Steve then reflected back on his trip to Chicago to join the new company, remarking that at the time he was both "inspired" and "scared". When he arrived in Chicago, Steve went on, it made him feel great!. He then commented that at the time he thought that he was "the only guy in the world who knew what solid-state could do for pinball".
His first design Steve then told us was FLASH, which had a lot of flashing lights and good sound. After commenting on some of the things he did in that game which were different from what Williams was doing at that time, he said that FLASH was his best selling game. Steve then gave the names of the others in the design team for that game.
His next game Steve then said was a "widebody", namely STELLAR WARS. He said that his first try at that design was not very good, so he had to "throw it away and start over". After telling us that around 5000 of the game were produced, Steve then commented that by that time "his head was starting to grow" because his games did so well.
Steve then told us that his next design was "a fulfillment of a dream" - a solid-state multi-ball game! He said by that time his old Atari buddy Eugene Jarvis had taken a job at Williams and was responsible for "lots of innovations" in their games. The game Steve said was FIREPOWER. He then told of innovations used in that game (in addition to it being the first solid-state multi-ball game) including higher power flippers, good speech (which used Steve's own voice), and the first "animated display". After commenting that it was a "fun game", Steve said there were over 18,000 made and then gave the names of it's design team.
Steve then told us that after FIREPOWER was developed Mr. Stroll hired a young software guy named Larry DeMar who he said was sort of a "wisenheimer" and "an outspoken critic of pins". He then remarked that Larry "seemed like a teenager" and knew how to cheat the games - adding that he was great at finding "chinks" in game software. Steve then called Larry "the most powerful programmer in pinball".
After telling us that after that Eugene Jarvis went off to work on video games, Steve said that he started working on a "very revolutionary game", a "multi-level" pingame - remarking that that idea had "been on the lips of many pinball people; people like Harry Williams, Steve Kordek, and Sam Stern." This game he said was BLACK KNIGHT, and he and Larry DeMar used many new ideas on the game - things such as "Magna Save" and a "multi-ball accumulator". After commenting that Larry created some great "rules" for the game (including a "bonus ball"), Steve said the game also used "timed drop targets". He then told us that 12,000 of the games were produced, and then named it's design team.
After that, Steve told us, pinball took a "nose dive". He then said that he wanted to do a video game but his bosses at the time wouldn't let him. So Steve said he did a "crazy thing" - he designed HYPERBALL, a game with 3 1/2 inch balls. The game, he went on, had a Plexiglas playfield and an "alphanumeric display" which enabled the initials of a high scorer to be displayed. Steve then said that about 5,000 were built, then quipping "we only sold four at $1.98 each".
Steve next told us that after that he talked Mr. Stroll into setting up a company in California to build video games where he worked on a game using the new Motorola 6800 microprocessor which he called DEVISTATOR. But, he continued, business "fell to the floor", and many game companies started going out of business. Steve then said that he went back to Chicago.
At that point Steve told us a long complex story about him getting a speeding ticket when he was in California for going 146 MPH in his sports car on the Interstate. When he got back to Williams, Steve then commented, that incident led him to design a new pingame which was called HIGH SPEED!
Steve next told about Larry DeMar wanting to use a "dot-matrix display" on the game and the General Manager of the company saying it was too expensive. He said that when Larry was told that he tipped a game over onto the floor - Steve adding that later the company agreed to the idea. He then told us that many features are put on a game as "insurance" for fear that the game might not be good enough. After telling of some of the "firsts" which appeared on HIGH SPEED, Steve said that he wrote some of the music used on it, then telling us that 18,000 were produced, and giving the names of the design team.
The next game he designed, Steve then told us, was F-14 TOMCAT, which he commented "blinded the player with flashlamps". After describing some of the game's features, and saying it was an "interesting game", he told of a "young intern" who just started with the company helping with it. Steve then said that 14,500 were produced, then naming the rest of it's design team.
Steve next told us that after F-14 TOMCAT was produced, pinball went into a "dip:" again. He then said at that time he wanted to do a "sequel" and decided to do BLACK KNIGHT 2000. That game, Steve went on, was innovative and had good music, sound and speech. After crediting it's design team, he said he was not sure how many were produced, guessing 10 or 12 thousand.
We were then told by Steve that after that Roger Sharpe secured a license for ROLLERGAMES. He said that he didn't remember much about the game, but that it was "an OK game". After saying that around 5,000 were produced, he gave the credits for it's design team.
At that point Steve told us how he admired Williams' Licensing Director Roger Sharpe, first remarking that growing up in New York Roger was only really familiar with Add-A-Ball games before he came into the industry. After then remarking that Steve Epstein's Broadway Arcade was the only place in New York where new games were tested, Steve commented that Roger "will find a good thing about any game".
Next we were told how Roger secured the license for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie TERMINATOR 2 - JUDGEMENT DAY. Steve said that working with the license owner for this property was "one of the best working environments he had ever worked in". Steve then told of working for a deadline to produce the game by July 4, 1991. He then gave the design team credits, followed by a few more details about the game.
After briefly mentioning HIGH SPEED 2 - THE GETAWAY (giving team credits and a few details about the game), Steve said his next game was "a very special game", and was designed by a "new team". This game, Steve then told us, was STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION, a license he commented "he wanted to get".
Steve then remarked that that game "had to be a success", then saying it took them 15 months to do. He then told us that the great pinball artist Greg Faris directed the artwork, then describing how the design was developed. After calling the game "a pinnacle piece for everyone on the team", and saying that 12,000 were sold, he gave the names of the others on the design team.
The last Williams game Steve did he said was NO FEAR, commenting that at that time "pins were hurting again". But, he then remarked, "Williams people always have the ability to pull everything together and get things done". After telling us that the project took seven months and that 4,500 were produced, Steve gave the credits for the game's design team. He then began a short "slide show".
Steve's show primarily consisted of pictures taken at the Atari Pinball plant. He began his presentation by remarking that Atari was "a beautiful place to work - no snow". The first slide was of the main entrance to the plant, followed by a picture of the company President. We next saw their volleyball court, followed by the reception desk. After pictures of some games, he showed a shot of the company cafeteria.
We were then shown a photo of a laboratory followed by their "motion capture studio". True to form, Steve then showed some motorcycles, saying that was "his thing". After a photo of a "tech lab", Steve showed another picture of the company President - quipping "he's sober during the day". We next saw a picture of Steve's office, followed by the hallway outside.
The next group of photos Steve showed were of various company executives, including a "marketing guy", a programmer who Steve said has been with the company for twenty years, a Vice President, and a game designer named Ed Roth. After showing another motorcycle, Steve showed shots of several designers, etc..
We next saw a picture of Steve's current design team, who worked on a driving game called CALIFORNIA SPEED. Steve then ended the slide show (and his presentation) by telling us he was currently working on a "2.5 million dollar project" which he said would take about 19 months to complete. He was then given a good round of applause!
After Steve had finished his talk, Rob Berk came up and thanked him, then presenting Steve with a plaque as a memento. Rob then introduced the people seated at the front table, including his co-producer Mike Pacak and his lady friend, and Rob's mother. He then told us that his wife Brigit was about to have a baby, that drawing a round of applause!
Rob next did what has become an "Expo tradition". He asked how many "first timers" there were at the show, asking them to stand up. That brought a round of applause. He then asked everyone who had attended all thirteen Expos to stand up. I, along with all of us "thirteen timers", then stood up, drawing another round of applause.
At that point Rob asked Williams Marketing Director Roger Sharpe to come up front, presenting him with a plaque for the company in appreciation for their hosting of this year's plant tour, as well as supplying their new CIRQUS VOLTAIRE games for the Expo tournament. Roger thanked Rob, then saying that he really enjoyed the show, and that brought on a round of applause.
Rob then asked pinball designer Greg Kmiek to come up. Greg said he was there to announce this year's inductees into the Expo originated Pinball Hall of Fame. After commenting that the idea for the "hall" originated at the Expo seven or eight years ago, Greg began reading the list of past Hall of Fame inductees.
In 1991, Greg said, the first inductees were David Gottlieb, Ray Moloney, Harry Williams, and Sam Stern. The following year, he went on, we had Harvey Heiss and Harry Mabs (the inventor of the flipper). For 1993 he said the people chosen were Steve Kordek and artist George Molentin. In 1994 Greg said it was Wayne Neyens, with 1995 adding Norm Clark and Wendall McAdams, and 1996 adding artist Dave Christensen.
It was then time to announce the 1997 inductees to the Hall of Fame. For this Rob asked Steve Kordek to come up on stage. When Steve asked the audience how they liked this year's tour of the new Williams pinball plant, that drew a round of applause. Steve then announced that the first inductee for 1997 was the "most deserving" Dick Bueschel. That brought on a standing ovation for Dick! Dick missed that, however, because due to his ill health he had already left the banquet.
At that point Steve took the name of the year's second inductee out of the envelope. It turned out to be none other than the banquet guest speaker Steve Ritchie. That brought on another round of applause. Next Japanese pinball fan Masaya Horiguchi came up to make the presentation to Steve. Masaya thanked Steve for all the games he had designed over the years, remarking that he really liked Steve's designs, then telling of when he first played Steve's game HIGH SPEED. When Rob then asked all the Japanese pinball players in the audience to stand that brought a round of applause. When they finally thanked Steve Ritchie for his designers, another round of applause was heard.
Next Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak presented the award for Best Exhibitor at the Expo. When Mike announced that this year's award went to Steve Young's Pinball Resource booth, it brought on a round of applause. The runner-up for the award was announced to be Jim Schelberg's Pingame Journal booth. Then came the awards for the Pinball Art Contest. The award for "best original backglass" went to Rod Kleinholter from Kentucky for his backglass celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the flipper (1947-1997). Rod was given a round of applause.
Next Rob Berk presented his annual award for the "Official/Unofficial Expo Photographer" to Pingame Journal publisher Jim Schelberg. After that Rob presented an award to Michael Brown for his GO-GIRL! presentation, and for bringing his interesting machine to the show for people to see and play. Michael and his unique game were then given a round of applause.
Rob next asked Richard Shapero from Kentucky to come up. Richard thanked the "instructors" for his "Learn to Play Pinball" session which occurred on Thursday afternoon, presenting them with gifts. A round of applause was then given to these people. Rob then thanked everybody who had participated in Friday's Expo seminars, including the guests of the two "Fireside Chats".
At that point Rob asked Herb Silvers to come up and tell about his next Pinball Fantasy show. Herb said it would be held at the Rivera Hotel in Las Vegas, beginning July 24, 1998. He then told us that Williams and Sega would be providing new games for the pinball tournament, and that three pinball machines would be given away as prizes. He also said there will be some small lectures at the show, and that approximately 300 pingames would be on display.
Next Brian Heim from Pennsylvania came up to tell about his pinball show held in the spring in Allentown. Brian said his show was "a family oriented event". He was then given a round of applause.
At that point Pingame Journal publisher Jim Schelberg came up on stage. After remarking that the Expo was certainly a "long running show", he said that this 13th year of the show was the Expo's "Bar Mitzvah year". After then commenting that Rob was Jewish, he said that Mike Pacak was "an honorary Jew". Jim then presented Rob and Mike with a "traditional Bar Mitzvah gift", a pen and pencil set. That brought on a standing ovation for Rob, Mike, and the show. Rob then thanked the people in the audience for their support of Pinball Expo.
The annual banquet raffle was conducted next, the prize being Stern's 1977 game PINBALL. The winner of the raffle was from Hawaii and said he could not take the machine, so Rob said it would be auctioned off. The auctioneer who had previously conducted the Charity Auction (as well as the game auction earlier in the day) conducted this auction. The game was then sold for a winning bid of $400.
Finally, Rob Berk announced the dates for Pinball Expo '98, October 22 through 25. That ended the banquet festivities.
THE EXHIBIT HALL
As I have said many times in past Expo articles, the Expo Exhibit Hall is really the "heart of the show". It is the place where a lot of activity takes place. It's where most of the game playing is done (and this is the reason some people come to the Expo). It is also the place where most of the buying/selling of games, parts, and literature goes on. And, it is where a great deal of the "chatting" among pinball fans occurs. And finally, it's the place where the competition playing is done for the qualifying rounds of the annual pinball tournament (another important thing to many Expo attendees.).
This year, as in the past several years, the Exhibit Hall actually consisted of two adjoining rooms. Both rooms were fairly well filled with booths full of games, parts, literature, etc. And, like the past year or two, the hall was open all night on Friday and Saturday nights - although it was closed during the time the banquet was held on Saturday evening.
Most of the dealers who had booths in the Exhibit Hall were "Expo regulars", but there is always a few "newcomers" at each show as well. As you entered the hall, directly to your right was Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak's usual booth were he offers for sale a ton of pinball advertising flyers, as well as many pinball and coin-op books. And along the right-hand wall near the back of the main room was Steve Young's Pinball Resource booth with his usual fine selection of pinball parts and literature, including the just released Encyclopedia of Pinball - Volume 2 by Dick Bueschel for which Steve was the publisher. Other "regulars" in the hall included Steve Engle's Mayfair Amusement booth, Jim Tolbert's For Amusement Only booth, and Herb Silver's Fabulous Fantasies booth - the latter two being in the second room.
As far as pinball machines in the hall were concerned, the following is a run-down of the number of games for each decade which were shown. There were only four games from the 1930's (possibly an all-time low), and 12 from the 1940's. Very surprisingly there were only 10 games from the 1950's (certainly an all-time low for that important decade), and 24 from the 1960's. From the decade of the 1970's there were 33 electro-mechanical and 15 solid-state pins. There were 29 games from the 1980's, and 34 from the current decade.
The following is a chronological listing of most of the pingames to be found in the Exhibit Hall:
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF THE PINGAMES IN THE EXHIBIT HALL GAME MANUFACTURER YEAR PRICE JIGGERS Genco 1932 PUT 'N TAKE Western Products 1934 400 FLYING HIGH Western Products 1936 CLIPPER Stoner 1939 METRO Genco 1940 650 TRIUMPH Bally 1940 SEA HAWK Gottlieb 1941 200 GOLD BALL Chicago Coin 1947 599 NUDGY Bally 1947 300 CARIBBEAN United 1948 125 EL PASO (AS IS) Williams 1948 200 PARADISE United 1948 300 RONDEEVOO United 1948 100 GOLDEN GLOVES Chicago Coin 1949 300 STAR SERIES (PITCH & BAT) Williams 1949 925 TUSCON Williams 1949 KNOCKOUT Gottlieb 1950 1800 QUARTET Gottlieb 1952 650 SLUG FEST Williams 1952 1095 MARBLE QUEEN Gottlieb 1953 DISPLAY CONTINENTAL CAFE Gottlieb 1957 300 STEEPLE CHASE Williams 1957 750 WORLD CHAMP Gottlieb 1957 SOLD CLUB HOUSE Williams 1958 750 HIGH DIVER Gottlieb 1959 1250 LIGHTNING BALL Gottlieb 1959 1800 JUNGLE Williams 1960 895 WORLD BEAUTIES Gottlieb 1960 SOLD BIG CASINO Gottlieb 1961 600 CORRAL Gottlieb 1961 600 SKILL BALL Williams 1961 400 MARDI GRAS Williams 1962 450 SWEETHEARTS Gottlieb 1963 525 WING DING Williams 1964 795 WORLD FAIR Gottlieb 1964 425 BIG STRIKE Williams 1965 FUN CRUISE Bally 1965 DISPLAY HI DOLLY Gottlieb 1965 475 ICE REVIEW Gottlieb 1965 325 SKI CLUB Williams 1965 CASANOVA Williams 1966 595 CROSS TOWN Gottlieb 1966 450 HURDY GURDY Gottlieb 1966 400, 700 APOLLO Williams 1967 450 ROCKMAKERS Bally 1967 JOKER Bally 1968 400 LADY LUCK Williams 1968 425 KING OF DIAMONDS Gottlieb 1969 SPIN-A-CARD Gottlieb 1969 1795 4-MILLION B.C Bally 1970 450 BALI HI Bally 1970 DISPLAY STOCK CAR Gottlieb 1970 DISPLAY SUSPENSE Williams 1970 500 BRISTOL HILLS Gottlieb 1971 425 DIMENTION Gottlieb 1971 FIREBALL Bally 1971 NFS KLONDIKE Williams 1971 400 KING KOOL Gottlieb 1972 495 OUTER SPACE Gottlieb 1972 300 TIME ZONE Bally 1972 400 WILD LIFE Gottlieb 1972 550 HEE HAW Chicago Coin 1973 595 HOT SHOT Gottlieb 1973 450 JUNGLE KING Gottlieb 1973 SPANISH EYES Williams 1973 DUOTRON Gottlieb 1974 395 MAGNOTRON Gottlieb 1974 350 TWIN WIN Bally 1974 500 ATLANTIS Gottlieb 1975 NFS BLUE MAX Chicago Coin 1975 595 JACK IN THE BOX Gottlieb 1975 175 OLD CHICAGO Bally 1975 500 QUICK DRAW Gottlieb 1975 495 SATIN DOLL Williams 1975 300, 495 SOCCER Gottlieb 1975 600 TOP SCORE Gottlieb 1975 595 JUKE BOX Chicago Coin 1976 695 NIGHT RIDER (SS) Bally 1976 350 PLAYBOY Bally 1976 1499 SOUND STAGE Chicago Coin 1976 SUPERSONIC Bally 1976 550 SURE SHOT Gottlieb 1976 495 TOLEDO Williams 1976 400 JET SPIN Gottlieb 1977 595 LIBERTY BELL Williams 1977 PINBALL Stern 1977 RAFFLE CLOSE ENCOUNTERS Gottlieb 1978 250 KISS Bally 1978 350 SILVERBALL MANIA Bally 1978 695 STARS Stern 1978 750 BUCK ROGERS Gottlieb 1979 250 FLASH Williams 1979 595 FUTURE SPA Bally 1979 650 ROLLING STONES Bally 1979 950 STAR TRIP Game Plan 1979 STELLAR WARS Williams 1979 495 TRIDENT Stern 1979 150 BLACK KNIGHT Williams 1980 BLACKOUT Williams 1980 595 FLASH GORDON Bally 1980 CAVEMAN Gottlieb 1981 CENTAUR Bally 1981 NFS HYPERBALL Williams 1981 695 MEDUSA Bally 1981 649 VECTOR Bally 1981 499 BABY PAC-MAN Bally 1982 795 ELECTRA Bally 1982 650 HAUNTED HOUSE Gottlieb 1982 1100 FOUR BY FOUR Atari 1983 DISPLAY SPY HUNTER Bally 1984 375 GAMATRON Pinstar 1985 695 PINK PANTHER Gottlieb 1985 595 HOLLYWOOD HEAT Gottlieb 1986 699 PINBOT Williams 1986 775, 950 ROAD KINGS Williams 1986 795 BIG GUNS Williams 1987 950 DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS Bally 1987 799 F-14 TOMCAT Williams 1987 FIRE! Williams 1987 BANZIA RUN Williams 1988 CYCLONE Williams 1988 1195 SPACE STATION Williams 1988 995 TAXI Williams 1988 995 TIME MACHINE Data East 1988 BLACK KNIGHT 2000 Williams 1989 JOKERZ! Williams 1989 DINER Williams 1990 FUN HOUSE Williams 1990 1800 NIGHT MOVES Int'l Concepts 1990 HOOK Data East 1991 875 HURRICANE Williams 1991 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Data East 1991 750 THE MACHINE - BRIDE OF PINBOT Williams 1991 SOLD CUE BALL WIZARD Gottlieb 1992 1599 GETAWAY Williams 1992 1095 LETHAL WEAPON 3 Williams 1992 950 ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE Data East 1992 1395 STAR WARS Data East 1992 1495 INDIANA JONES Williams 1993 1695 JUDGE DREED Williams 1993 1195 TWILIGHT ZONE Bally 1993 1695 DEMOLITION MAN Williams 1994 1395 DIRTY HARRY Williams 1994 1450 FLINTSTONES Williams 1994 FREDDY (THE NIGHTMARE) Gottlieb 1994 1499 TOMMY Data East 1994 BAYWATCH Sega 1995 BIG HURT Gottlieb 1995 1599 STARGATE Gottlieb 1995 1500 STRIKES & SPARES (BOWLER) Gottlieb 1995 895 KING PIN Capcom 1996 NO FEAR (PROTOTYPE) Williams 1996 DISPLAY BIG BANG BAR Capcom 1997 CIRQUS VOLTAIRE Williams 1997 GO GIRL! CUSTOM MADE 1997 DISPLAY MEDEVIL MADNESS Williams 1997 DISPLAY NBA FASTBREAK Bally 1997 DISPLAY NO GOOD GOPHERS Williams 1997 DISPLAY STARSHIP TROUPERS (WHITEWOOD) Sega 1997 DISPLAY X-FILES Sega 1997 NFS
As I said earlier, in addition to all the pingames available for playing and for sale in the Exhibit Hall, it was also the site for the qualifying rounds of the annual "Flip-Out" pinball tournament. For that Williams had graciously provided a whole row of their latest game, CIRQUS VOLTAIRE. The area where those games were located was always busy with entrants vying to qualify for the final tournament playoffs to be held on Sunday. The prize for the tournament was a pinball machine as well as a large trophy
Well, there you have it, a complete rundown (in two parts) of the happenings at the 13th edition of Pinball Expo. Next year the Expo will be held October 22 through 25, 1998. If all goes well with my finances, I hope to attend for the fourteenth year!
Use back to return to prior web page