Usually at this time of year Pinball News would be reporting live from the Westin hotel in Wheeling, Illinois to bring you all the news and events from the world’s biggest and longest-running pinball show – Pinball Expo.
This year, holding a physical show in the current Coronavirus climate has not been possible. However, the Expo team, headed by founder Rob Berk, have been working hard from home to put together a packed schedule of virtual events which can be enjoyed by everyone for free.
Rather than be restricted by what can be shown within the confines of the hotel’s Seminars Hall, the Virtual Pinball Expo will take viewers on tours of pinball factories, design workshops and game dealers around the world, as well as revealing some inside knowledge and untold stories from game designers and collectors.
Some events will be pre-recorded, but others will be live and interactive, allowing viewers to ask questions and make comments during the presentations.
At the time of writing the exact schedule is still being finalised, just as it always is during the physical Pinball Expo show.
However, we can give you a preview of the planned events over the four days of Virtual Pinball Expo 2020.
It all begins on Wednesday 14th October at 7pm US Eastern Standard Time with an introduction by Brigitt Berk who usually is found at the front desk throughout the show greeting visitors, answering questions and accepting gifts of chocolate.
All timings shown below are US Eastern Standard Time, so adjust for your local time accordingly.
All the events – both live and pre-recorded – can be watched in real-time on the Pinball Expo Twitch channel at the times shown thanks to Jeff Ohler who is heading up the technical team.
Pre-recorded events will also be made available soon after the live stream through the Pinball Expo website. Live events will also be made available but will need to be edited and may take longer than the pre-recorded ones.
Thursday’s schedule begins at 5pm and includes a tour of Rob Berk’s home gameroom, a look around the new American Pinball factory where they are building Hot Wheels, and the virtual Belles & Chimes tournament.
Friday is even more packed, with Jersey Jack Pinball presenting their brand-new Guns N’ Roses pinball, Joe Kaminkow and George Gomez talking about the making of their The Beatles: Beatlemania Pinball game, an examination of pinball in the Netherlands and much more.
Virtual Pinball Expo ends with a bang, as Saturday’s schedule runs all day from 9am until 11pm. Haggis Pinball update us on their progress with their Celts game, John Borg makes a rare personal appearance to talk about some of the many, many games he’s designed for Data East, Sega and Stern Pinball, Steve Ritchie looks back to his start in the pinball business at Atari, while Gary Stern and Jack Danger have put together something special for their Stern Pinball Virtual Experience.
Those are just some initial highlight suggestions, but you can always be assured every presentation will be revealing and informative about a different aspect of pinball.
As we said, the schedule is likely to change so be sure to check the Virtual Pinball Expo 2020 website to make sure you don’t miss anything.