Walk-thru: 2016 Houston Arcade Expo

haagI am just getting back from the 2016 Houston Arcade Expo (known as HAAG). This is one of my favorite events of this type. It’s not as big as the Texas Pinball Festival or others, but that’s what’s cool about it. It’s intimate. Everybody knows everybody. This is the 15th year they’ve done this as far as I know, and it’s a fun, quirky festival in the Houston suburbs.

I was also on a panel discussion this year, which was a lot of fun. I usually prefer to be behind the scenes and not in front, but at the same time, it was good to call attention to my PinChurch and Mystic Krewe projects and very rewarding that people are becoming more and more aware of these things.

So enjoy this walk-thru… I don’t think I show the tournament area, but most of the main area….

Behind the Scenes: Designing the Dominos Pinball Machine

I attended a seminar in Houston featuring some of the design team behind the Dominos Spectacular Pizza Adventure pinball machine. Yea, yea, I know. But I was there and I recorded the seminar, so if you’re interested here’s some info on the process which led to that machine…

I got a chance to play the game and I was not very impressed with it. But then again, I don’t honestly think this is a game for pinball enthusiasts. It’s a marketing thing for Dominos. Along those lines, it’s very cool. I absolutely love pinball machines being promoted and used for promotion. So that’s a good thing.

But as a pinball enthusiast, I thought the game was somewhat lackluster. The DMD animation was not on par with other games, the sound effects were invasive and chaotic. There were a lot of tight shots on the game – I think the designers added too many shots so those shots are more narrow – and that’s where I think the design fails. If you’re targeting this game to non-pinball-enthusiasts, it should be easier; it should be flashier, but this game is hard to play. In any case, they had most of the games sold before they even started production — such is the pre-order model. So there you have it.

However, if you’ve ever wondered what goes into licensing and approval to make a pinball machine, this panel discussion goes over the process and the design changes and challenges. Pretty interesting…

Retrofitting Warm White and Cool White LEDs in Pinball Games

As I work on restoring another game (Bally EM “Air Aces”), I demo my approach towards making the game more reliable and stable by replacing many of the old bulbs with newer LEDs. I also show the difference between the warm and cool white LEDs and how they work.