PINBALL EXPO 2019 – WEDNESDAY

    • Pinball News

      PINBALL EXPO 2019 – WEDNESDAY

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      Hello and welcome to our coverage of this 35th annual Pinball Expo, being held at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling, northwest of Chicago.

      The Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling
      The Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling

      This 35th show is a major anniversary and is being celebrated in many ways. You can expect to see reference to this in various events held during the five days, which begin on Wednesday.

      The first order of the day for all attendees is to visit the registration desk to either pick up their pre-ordered pack or to fill in a form and pay there and then.

      The registration desk
      The registration desk

      The full package costs $210 if you buy it on arrival. That seems a lot, but includes all the seminars, access to the game rooms, the Stern Pinball factory tour, the Bumper Blast meal on Wednesday night, the show guide, and a ticket for the raffle to win a Jurassic Park pinball machine.

      Individual parts of the show can be purchased separately, but the full package is usually the best deal and it can be discounted further with advance purchase. The team at the registration desk handed out the registration packs and answered all kinds of questions.

      Your Pinball Expo registration team
      Your Pinball Expo registration team

      While guests were signing-in, lots of work was going on behind the scenes to make sure the show will be ready when the Bumper Blast, the Vendor Hall, the Games Hall and the Seminars Hall open.

      Games come through the Game Registration room before they are allowed to move on to the Games Halls or somewhere else in the show.

      This year there will be games in the Bumper Blast welcome banquet
      This year there will be games in the Bumper Blast welcome banquet
      The first Games Hall has lots of machines already set up
      The first Games Hall has lots of machines already set up
      More machines in Game Hall A
      More machines in Game Hall A
      More machines in Game Hall A
      More machines in Game Hall A
      All machines must come through here before going onto the Game Hall floor
      All machines must come through here before going onto the Game Hall floor
      Machines are checked-in, just like the guests
      Machines are checked-in, just like the guests
      Machines are prepared in the room before heading to the halls
      Machines are prepared in the room before heading to the halls

      Although the Vendor Hall doesn’t open to the public until Thursday evening, Rob Anthony had his Pinball Classics room set up on Tuesday to catch the early visitors.

      Rob Anthony is in there somewhere
      Rob Anthony is in there somewhere
      More goodies in Rob's room
      More goodies in Rob’s room

      Also in the same row, the Hauntcade is in a suitably spooky Halloween mood to make it’s first appearance at Pinball Expo. We’ll have more on this later in our coverage of the show,

      This way to be haunted
      This way to be haunted

      Most of the new game or product releases end up in the Vendor Hall, and while it was closed when we toured the hotel, it’s clear there will be an impressive selection of vendors when the doors open on Thursday evening.

      The floor plan for the Vendor Hall
      The floor plan for the Vendor Hall

      At 7pm on Wednesday, however, it was time for the first Pinball Expo event – the Bumper Blast dinner.

      The first visitors join the Bumper Blast dinner
      The first visitors join the Bumper Blast dinner

      Guests were provided with hot and cold food, soft drinks, music, and the chance to play some rare pinball machines.

      Guests helping themselves to the Bumper Blast food
      Guests helping themselves to the Bumper Blast food

      The food this year consisted of soup, salad, pasta, pulled pork and BBQ chicken.

      Some of the food available
      Some of the food available
      Some of the food available
      Some of the food available
      Some of the food available
      Some of the food available

      While guests enjoyed the food, Ron Coon, Jr. provided the music.

      Ron Coon Jr provided the music for the evening
      Ron Coon Jr provided the music for the evening

      At the back of the hall was a row of pinballs for guests to play. These were mostly Spanish titles which most players hadn’t seen before.

      Some of the games available to play
      Some of the games available to play
      Pole Position by Sonic
      Pole Position by Sonic
      Bushido by Inder
      Bushido by Inder
      Clown by Inder
      Clown by Inder
      Odin by Peyper
      Odin by Peyper
      Mach 2.0 by Spinball
      Mach 2.0 by Spinball
      Star Fire by Playmatic
      Star Fire by Playmatic
      Nemesis by Peyper
      Nemesis by Peyper
      UFO-X by Playmatic
      UFO-X by Playmatic
      Black Fever by Playmatic
      Black Fever by Playmatic
      Canasta '86 by Inder
      Canasta ’86 by Inder
      Wolf Man by Peyper
      Wolf Man by Peyper

      After the Bumper Blast we ventured into the Botanic Garden Ballroom which has turned into a new feature for Pinball Expo 2019.

      The Pinball Lounge in the Botanic Garden Ballroom
      The Pinball Lounge in the Botanic Garden Ballroom

      The Pin Lounge is a combination of the Flip Out tournaments and the Stern Pinball/Marco Specialties display of the latest Stern titles.

      The layout for the Pin Lounge
      The layout for the Pin Lounge

      The back of the hall hosts the main, classic and kids tournaments, along with live streaming and commentary.

      Machines for the modern Flip Out tournament
      Machines for the modern Flip Out tournament
      Machines for the Classic Tournament
      Machines for the Classic Tournament
      Setting up the streaming desk
      Setting up the streaming desk

      The front of the hall is Stern Pinball’s showcase of their latest titles, with a large number of Elvira’s House of Horrors and Jurassic Park machines.

      A row of Elvira's House of Horrors machines
      A row of Elvira’s House of Horrors machines
      Jurassic Park and other recent Stern Pinball titles are here in abundance
      Jurassic Park and other recent Stern Pinball titles are here in abundance
      Another row of new Stern machines
      Another row of new Stern machines

      This room is also where Cassandra Peterson will be appearing to promote her new Elvira game. Elvira & the Party Monsters and Scared Stiff are there alongside the latest release.

      Setting up equipment for the Pin Lounge
      Setting up equipment for the Pin Lounge

      On our way back to the lobby, we took a look at the main vendor hall to see how that was coming along.

      Inside the Vendor Hall on Wednesday evening
      Inside the Vendor Hall on Wednesday evening
      Machine to be set up in the Vendor Hall
      Machine to be set up in the Vendor Hall
      Tables and machines being set up
      Tables and machines being set up

      That concludes our coverage of Wednesday at Pinball Expo. We’ll be back soon with a look ahead to Thursday’s fun which begins with the Stern Pinball factory tour, with the buses departing from the hotel at 9am.

      Then, when everyone has returned, an extended seminar schedule begins, and we’ll be recording them all for you on our Pinball News YouTube Channel.

      Keep checking back over the course of the five day of Pinball Expo 2019 for all the latest news, plus links to our video coverage of this special 35th anniversary show.

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