The Texas Pinball Festival's attempt to take the Guinness world record for the most people playing pinball at the same time was not easy to pull off . Sure, it's just a group of 200-plus guys and gals standing around new and vintage pinball machines playing as though they were standing in the mini-arcade at the local movie theater from their youth. Guinness World Records, however, is meticulous about confirming even the most mundane details of the most ridiculous achievements. The process involves a lot of paperwork, accountants and (gulp) lawyers. 'Nuff said.
Texas' pinball-heads managed to overcome such extreme OCD-ness in order to win back the glory and pride of America's mighty coin-op arcades by putting the Lone Star State's pinball machines in the record books.
The folks at Guinness World Records officially confirmed that last April's attempt in Frisco to set a new record for "Most People Playing Pinball Simultaneously" at the Texas Pinball Festival is no longer an attempt. It's an actual world record. The statisticians at Guinness confirmed that the 272 people who participated at the Festival on March 28th (including yours truly) are now part of an official world record.
Paul McKinney, the festival's organizer who also spent a harrowing amount of time trying to organize the documents and counts needed to set the record, says he breathed a heavy sigh of relief when he got the official call from the Guinness people.
"It was very gratifying because I saw six or seven things that could have disqualified it," he says. "I'm glad they approved it after all the effort that went into it."
Of course, the problem with world records is that once you set them, someone probably has an eye on breaking them. But McKinney surprised us by saying that if someone did set a new record, he would be fine with it.
"If another group of folks get together with more pinball machines than that and go for some new record, then it's good for pinball," McKinney says. "It will be a lot of work and I'll probably get a call if they try to do but if the record got broken, we can beat our own record. We've got a couple of little tricks we can do but all the way around, it's all good for pinball."
In fact, they may have different plans in mind for next year's festival.
"We like to come up with something different," he says. "It could some kind of something that keeps the interest [in pinball] going that's a little different like maybe human pinball or go-karts made out of pinball machines."
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