Pinball Wizards Never Tilt

Being an athlete is overrated. The only things you really need to feel powerful are a pocketful of quarters and access to your favorite pinball machine. Twister, you had me at multiball. Black Knight 2000, you manage to taunt while serenading with your medieval metal background anthem: “You’ve got the power, You’ve got the fight, To get into battle, With the Black Knight” — cue up the background singers. Don’t even get me started on Elvira, that vixen is just, so, giving. These machines become more scarce each year; the upkeep costs drive them to collectors rather than traditional gaming locations: bars, coin-op laundries or pizza joints. Soon we forget that feeling that comes from completing a perfect ramp combination or achieving free game status. But for a few, perfect days (March 23 to 25) we are allowed complete immersion at the Texas Pinball Convention. It lures enthusiasts and collectors from all over the south to the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center (1800 Highway 26, Grapevine) where 15,000 square feet of arcade mayhem awaits. George Gomez, creator of some of the most popular machines in existence (Monster Bash, Revenge From Mars) will do a Q & A session and autograph signing on Saturday. For the impossibly good there will be tournament play, and for everyone else there’s a screening of Pinball 101, which gives tips on more than 50 games (Saturday). Also screening is Special When Lit, a must-see for any true fan of the flipper sport. Oh, and this year’s raffle machine (funds raised go to the Red Cross) is Transformers. Extra ball is lit. Tickets range from $10 to $40. Visit
Fri., March 23; Sat., March 24, 2012


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