Link To Map

If your looking for somewhere in particular why not try this Map? The markers indicate a Pinball location and where available there is a link back to the relevant page on this blog letting you know a little about the venue.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Royal Hotel

The Royal is located at 370 Abercrombie st Darlington.  It has two pinball machines,a Theatre of Magic and The Addams Family machine.  Both are $1 a credit or $2 for 3 and are 3 ball.

The machines can be found upstairs, off the dining room, in a games room where there is also a pool table.  Downstairs is a TAB and Bistro with the standard pub grub, but onto the machines.

Theatre of Magic is a great machine. In fact both Theatre and Addams Family feature in the top 10 machines on  Theatre's most prominent feature is the trunk that is used to lock balls to build to a multi-ball.  Unfortunately the machine at the Royal is missing the decals so it looks like a simple aluminium box.  It all works fine though and ultimately I'd rather have a working machine than a pretty machine with faults.

Hitting the trunk sets up ball lock.  Lock the ball three times and it's multi-ball.  the various ramps correspond to different "magic tricks" like sawing a lady in half or pulling rabbits our of a hat..  The aim is complete them all.

I really enjoyed this machine.  I like the theme and it integrates well into the pinball machine with the novelty value of the trunk, trapdoor and use of magnets.  I can see myself returning and spending quite a bit of time on this one.
Meanwhile the Addams Family machine is a classic.  It's a relatively common machine, one of the most successful machines ever made.  Great range of ramps and toys, Thing coming out and picking up the locked ball is a favourite.  It can be a little unforgiving with a particularly harsh ball save being especially frustrating.  Its possible to launch the ball and not even get a flipper to it and still not have the ball save work for you.  once it gets going though this can be a great machine.

There are a couple of danger zones with the electric chair being a close shot and when "the power" is triggered you have a magnet randomising the ball to contend with as well.  Overall though this is a classic and if you haven't already played it, well, you should.
So, two great machines at this location, what more do you want?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Hampshire Hotel

Sadly it seems there is no longer a pinball machine at this pub.

The Hampy is located at 91 Parramatta rd Camperdown.  It has recently had a few minor renovations and along with a new coat of paint there is now an NBA pinball at this location.  It's 5 ball and $2 a credit.

Although there is only one pinball machine there are quite a few other games on offer including two of the punching bag, strength testing machines, a "Deal Or No Deal" machine, a crane machine (with mini footballs as prizes) and a Golf machine as well. 

They have a good sized courtyard that's great for a few beers in summer and a cheap and cheerful bistro with the standard $10 pub fare.  There's also a pool table and they have trivia and meat raffles on various days of the week. Overall it seems to have retained the air of a genuine inner city pub and hopefully the new renovations don't diminish that.  The addition of a pinball machine keeps me optimistic.

I hadn't played this machine before.  It's from Stern, 2009, and is the first I've seen in Sydney.  I'm not an NBA fan but the novelty factor on this machine is fairly high with a number of shots seeing the ball thrown onto a magnetised backboard to drop through a pinball sized basket. There is also a spinning disc in the centre of the playfield that can act as both a help and a hindrance.  I'm generally not a fan of the spinning dics or magnetised playfields as they add that random element that makes it easy for me to blame the machine rather than myself when I have a bad game.  However, I did find this one fit nicely into the game, both preventing shots from rolling straight back down the centre and also acting as a kind of "defence" when you needed to shoot for the hoop that fit into the NBA theme.

My biggest concern with the machine however was that the right flipper botton was broken.  I know this machine had only been in the pub for a week at most when I played it and to see it already has a broken flipper button already has me worried.  Hopefully this was something that occured after the machine was installed in the pub and will be fixed soon, but if this was installed with the broken button (a very cheap part that should be a relatively easy fix) this doesn't bode well for any future issues the machine may encounter.

I'm sure I will head back over the coming months so I will report if this gets fixed or not, and whether the completed pub renovations see any more machines installed.

Overall though the Hampy is a pub well worth a visit, whether it be on a sunny weekend to have a few beers in the courtyard, or to duck in for a few games of pinball and a $10 steak.  The bus stops right out the front and next door is one of the best places to buy a chicken burger in Sydney while across the road is a great little Korean restaurant if you're not up for pub grub.  All in all the addition of pinball to this pub has only increased my fondness for it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Canterbury Bowling Club

The Canterbury Bowling Club is located on Close street Canterbury.  There are three pinball machines located here, Elvira and the Party Monsters, Congo and Dr Who.   They are all $1 a go and 3 balls.


These are all older, fairly hard to find machines, the only one I'd played before was Doctor Who. 


In the few times I played it seems like the multiball was very get-able, lock two balls which raises a section at the centre back of the playfield revealing a set of targets that once hit (till the playfield lights are all lit) raises the platform again to reveal three holes that correspond to Daleks - hit one of them to start a three ball multiball and some "Exterminate!" sound effects

This was about as far as I got with this machine though. I didn't really suss out any high scoring techniques but i think the use of the third flipper  (up and to the left) might be the key.  At any rate, this is a fun machine well worth a go, and with a relatively gettable multiball may of been the easier of three.

Congo is a much better pinball machine than it was a movie.  In fact it has been quite a while since I saw Congo and I had forgotten (or tried to) how bad the movie was until I heard the sample on the machine saying "The Gorilla knows where the diamonds are!".  And is my memory playing up or were there Gorillas with laser beams attached to them?  Either way, you don't need to have watched the movie to enjoy the pinball, in fact I recommend not watching the movie.  Although, reading that back, a movie about Gorillas with laser beams smuggling diamonds sounds awesome... Maybe I need to re-think my stance.

Congo seems to be an intereesting balance of easy shots and hard.  The right ramp volcano is an example of the hard.  It's not just that it's the steepest ramp on the table but the fact that the shot is through the field of bumpers means if you dont make the shot the ball with careen off the bumpers and all control is lost.  Worse case scenario the ball will rocket out of the bumpers and straight between the flippers.  The three shots on the left are relatively easy, it just took me a while to get used to the third flipper.  At any rate the left side of the playfield is definitely safer.
Also the table seems to have an inset playfield but despite lighting the Gray targets via the Gray lane and it locking the ball (which is apparently how to activate it) I didn't see it in action. Maybe next time.
The third machine is Elvira and the Party Monsters. The oldest machine of the three it is the predecessor to Scared Stiff and shares a few things in common with that machine - including the appearance of the Dead Heads, the Boogeyman Boogie and Elviras encouraging innuendo.
And although it's not crazy hard it is probably the most unforgiving of the three with no ball save and a couple of ramps that can mean trouble if you dont make them.  Overall I'd say I had my best go and my worst go on this machine.  It's well worth playing especially as I believe it's quite rare to find this machine in such good condition.
My only negative points regardig these machines would be that there is some glare off the glass (as can be seen in the photos) as a flourescent light sits above them.  Congo and Doctor Who are hit the worst but even so this isn't a deal breaker.  I've seen worse glare in other venues.  Be sure to take plenty of gold coins though as being 3 ball and fairly punishing you will more than likely need a few credits to get into the swing of things.
I'll definitely be heading back to the Canterbury Bowlo for a few more games of pinball and a few cheap beers - the drinks holder on the legs of the machine are genius.  I should also mention that these are machines and they are running a Pinball Comp with the grand prize being a Dracula pinball machine.  Check their website for details.