Pin­ball suc­cess leads to big­ger ideas

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Stawell Carols - BY COLIN MACGIL­LIVRAY

Plans to host an an­nual pin­ball tour­na­ment at Nhill are in the works af­ter about 20 of Aus­tralia’s best pin­ball play­ers were ‘blown away’ by three days of com­pe­ti­tion at the town’s Aus­tralian Pin­ball Mu­seum.

Pin­ball play­ers from Ade­laide, Mel­bourne, Syd­ney and Can­berra joined Nhill district lo­cals at the first of­fi­cial Stern Army com­pe­ti­tion out­side North Amer­ica.

Stern Pin­ball is the largest pin­ball man­u­fac­turer in the world and, through its Stern Army brand am­bas­sadors, spon­sors and ad­min­is­ters tour­na­ments in as­so­ci­a­tion with the In­ter­na­tional Flip­per Pin­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

The mu­seum hosted four tour­na­ments and sev­eral other ‘mini com­pe­ti­tions’ from De­cem­ber 6 to 8, with Stern Pin­ball do­nat­ing prizes for com­peti­tors.

The mu­seum also of­fered up some of its own au­to­graphed mem­o­ra­bilia, bring­ing the to­tal of prizes on of­fer dur­ing the week­end to about $1000.

Mu­seum op­er­a­tor Lyn­don Carter said the tour­na­ment had been a hit with lo­cals and in­ter­state play­ers alike.

“The com­pe­ti­tion was well re­ceived and I think ev­ery­one around Aus­tralia was watch­ing to see how it would go and if it was some­thing that could take off in other states,” he said.

“A few of them had never been be­fore – it had been on their wish list for a long time.

“The gen­eral com­ment we re­ceived was ‘heaps bet­ter than what we would have imag­ined’.

“One guy who runs small pin­ball tour­na­ments at a pub in Mel­bourne came to see how it was all run, and he loved how it was done – he said it was re­ally well ex­e­cuted.

“Be­ing a mu­seum, there were a lot of ma­chines that a lot of peo­ple had never seen be­fore.

“Some of the tour­na­ment play­ers have played heaps around Aus­tralia, so it was good to have them say, ‘I’ve never seen that be­fore, I’m so ex­cited to start play­ing it’.”

The com­pe­ti­tion was in­tense across the week­end, with new high scores set on sev­eral of the mu­seum’s ma­chines.

“On some of the re­ally old ma­chines – the pin­balls that have di­als that tick over for the num­bers – there were a few peo­ple that ac­tu­ally clocked them over. They reached the max­i­mum score and it ticked over back to zero,” Mr Carter said.

“A cou­ple of peo­ple hadn’t even seen that be­fore on the ma­chines.

“You have to have an of­fi­cial watch­ing to make sure it ticked over and they’re not ly­ing.”

Mr Carter said one com­peti­tor nearly achieved an in­ter­na­tion­ally note­wor­thy score.

“There was a brand new Iron Maiden ma­chine from Stern and we were so close to get­ting in the top 10 high scores in the world,” he said.

“It’s a com­pe­ti­tion Stern has done be­cause the ma­chine has just been re­leased. There was a crowd around watch­ing, but sadly they just missed out on it.

“It’s still a ridicu­lously high score, but to get Aus­tralia and Nhill on the map in the world rank­ings was very close.

“It was prob­a­bly within five per­cent of the score he needed.”

Mr Carter said the mu­seum was hop­ing to turn the tour­na­ment week­end into an an­nual event, but also had plans for smaller monthly tour­na­ments for Nhill lo­cals.

“Stern has re­quested we do some more events and they’ll pro­vide some prizes,” he said.

“The idea that was dis­cussed with them was that we’ll do a once-amonth small thing aimed to­wards lo­cals.

“Not a huge thing like this was that at­tracted big tour­na­ment play­ers from around Aus­tralia, more to get new peo­ple into pin­ball.

“I know the Ade­laide Pin­ball Club guys and they’re so ea­ger they want to do a big tour­na­ment every month.

“But I told them you’ve got to cut it down a bit, oth­er­wise it doesn’t seem as spe­cial.

“Peo­ple won’t take it as se­ri­ously if it’s so fre­quent.”

Mr Carter said he was ‘95 per­cent cer­tain’ the monthly com­pe­ti­tions would be on the last Satur­day of each month next year.

The Aus­tralian Pin­ball Mu­seum is lo­cated at 22 Dim­boola Road, Nhill.

Peo­ple want­ing more in­for­ma­tion about the mu­seum or monthly tour­na­ments can con­tact the mu­seum by call­ing 5391 1666 or vis­it­ing web­site www.pin­ball­mu­seum.com.au.

PIN­BALL WIZ­ARDS: The top three place-get­ters from the main Stern Army tour­na­ment at Nhill’s pin­ball com­pe­ti­tion are, from left, An­dre Thom­son, sec­ond place, Tom Casey, first place, and Matthew Owen, third place. The three are pic­tured with prizes they won dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion.

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