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austin_dern

July 2017

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Jun. 15th, 2017

So what was left at Pinball At The Zoo after our respective tournaments? A surprising lack of time, all told. Maybe we should have gotten there earlier Friday. Maybe we should have gone on Thursday also. Maybe not; we'd probably have taken the extra time to put up more scores, yes, but we'd probably not have been sure of our standings so it would've just been more time spent qualifying.

Still, there were the pinball machines (and some video games) that people had brought to show off. Many of them were still there, too, but as early as 3 pm people were packing up their games. You can understand that, since it takes time to disassemble a game and cushion it for transport and many of these game owners had been there for three days and wanted to go home. But it does leave the end of the convention feeling pretty vacant, with big swaths of empty floor or games being turned off.

I missed the chance to play a second game of Dialed In, sad to say. I was able to get on Alien, a licensed game from boutique pinball manufacture Heighway Pinball. Heighway managed the feat of making a licensed game that actually got completed and didn't have any major catastrophic problems with intellectual property rights. Unfortunately they've had cashflow problems, and while the company is still alive, its founder's been forced out of active management. Nobody's too sure that the game will have the adequate stock of replacement parts, either, so while the game might ship to all its customers, it's likely not going to be set up on location for ordinary people to play. The game seems quite fun, although that might be colored by my having a quite good game the one time I played it. You can pick the modes to be cued to either Alien or Aliens, both movies that I haven't actually got around to seeing, apart from the fact that I've heard of pop culture so can't figure I'm missing too much.

So, the convention evaporated around us. We stayed on, trying to watch the resolution of the Main Tournament, A Division, although that kept going on and on. [profile] bunny_hugger had brought work in the car, exams that she'd needed to grade, and kept pondering whether she could run out and get some more to get ahead of her schedule or whether she'd be stopped trying to get back in the convention hall. Probably she could've gotten away with it.

Eventually we wore out our ability to wait, and drove to MJS's famous pole barn, there to enjoy the major afterparty and hang out and talk over the pinball event with the people we always see at these. I think it was our first time back there since the state championships (of course it's not like we're close enough, physically or emotionally, to just drop in), and it was lovely to see the place again. [profile] bunny_hugger tried to work off her contest disappointment with FunHouse, and I learned that the Vector she'd been beaten on was indeed the same table which had been there two months prior. I got to deploy my joke about taking permanent possession of second-place B-Division to more people who hadn't yet expressed their mild amusement at how nearly clever it was, and it gave the weekend its natural, satisfying close.

Trivia: The 1900 United States Census used 311 Hollerith tabulating machines, 20 automatic sorters, and 1,021 punches, for which he was paid $428,239, including cards. Source: Before The Computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand and the Industry They Created, 1865 - 1956, James W Cortada.

Currently Reading: Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers, Simon Winchester.

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