You probably thought I was going to launch into pinball talk, didn't you? I'll get there soon enough.

First, I wanted to say something about Pittsburgh: I don't think there's a meal in that city that comes with less than a half pound of meat in it.  Seriously, there is some great food up there; of the places we went, I'd have to list Primanti Brothers at the top of the list.

A couple of weeks ago, we took a trip to Pittsburgh for the yearly PAPA World Championship.  This year we decided to compete (in the Novice category; we weren't foolish enough to think we stood a chance in the higher categories) in addition to just playing among the 450 machines they had on site.  It was a fun and exhausting trip, not really a vacation, but it was good to get away from the daily grind for a weekend - especially when that weekend contained lots of pinball.  I guess that still makes it a vacation; it just wasn't a particularly relaxing one - but still, a lot of fun.

The following table lists the machines which were set aside for tournament-play for our division.  Out of the ten machines available, I only needed to play five for my entry.  Also included in the table are my tournament machines (in bold) along with my abysmal scores during the tournament, my rank, the number of entries using those machines, and finally, the percentage of players who scored better than me (it's kind of depressing, huh? - it can't all be sunshine and roses).

Table Score Rank Competing Percentage
Tron Legacy
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Dr. Dude 1,339,260 181 357 50.70%
Judge Dredd 58,063,880 164 310 52.90%
Ripley's Believe It or Not 5,572,550 126 285 44.21%
Revenge from Mars 27,629,220 155 308 50.32%
Scared Stiff 1,717,860 248 317 77.99%

If you've been playing along, then you're aware that Scared Stiff is a table we have at home, which makes it all the more sad and embarrassing to have such a low score and ranking on it.

. . .apparently, we were foolish enough to think we stood a chance in the novice category . . .

We did our tournament entries on Saturday morning when there wasn't much wait for the tables.  Qualifications had been going on since Thursday so there were a number of entries already made.  For a while I had nine points from my play of Ripley's; by the end of the day I had zero.

Now that we have an idea of what to expect, I think next year we'll do a bit better.  First, our expectations are adjusted; our interpretation of "novice" isn't necessarily what others think it means.  Second, we have a year to practice some techniques which should help us out; we've been at a point of trapping, backhands, and to a lesser extent passing, but we can improve these and start working on nudges (which we've stayed away from intentionally - but have come to realize that without these, there is likely no hope in actual competition) and other skills.

Below is collection of the machines we played while we were there; I grabbed a photo of them so I could easily come back to it.  Most were played multiple times; some were tournament games played for practice while others were for fun.