PINQUEST: It’s Your Awesome New Pinball Redemption and Trophy Hunting Companion!

Imagine if you will that there was a trophy hunting and redemption style app for pinball players. How cool would that be? Well, imagine no more, as Neil Shelton has tapped into our imaginations and created PINQUEST!

You should all be excited about this, as PINQUEST will get you out and about to play more location pinball for your chance to win prizes (based on quests you complete at specific venues on specific machines), earn trophies and points to (eventually) redeem for some PINQUEST swag!

If you thought Pokemon GO was huge, then we reckon PINQUEST has the potential to become a cult app for pinball players of all skill levels, from the casual novice, to the pinball wizards, everyone has a chance to win and redeem! No matter the skill level of player, be it a trophy hunter or a redemption junkie, PINQUEST is a motivator to get you to go out and play more pinball! Now that is a great proposition.

Once we found out about PINQUEST, we went trophy hunting to find the people behind this great invention and ended up getting a hold of Neil Shelton, the brains behind PINQUEST. We sat down with Neil and fired off some tricky questions about PINQUEST which should give us all a great insight into the app and its future.

AUSRETROGAMER [ARG]: Tell us the thinking behind the creation of PINQUEST (how you came up with it and why)? Also, has it evolved from the initial idea?
Neil Shelton [NS]:
The idea of PINQUEST was originally created to give operators/locations a way to host monthly challenges in a controlled and clean format. I am personally an operator and have noticed when players have an objective to shoot for to win the most basic of prizes (free beer), it adds excitement and quarter (coin) drops into the game. I would attempt to host contests using social media in the form of selfie contests but every time I would try, there would be some sort of issue. Some would complain that they HATE social media and refuse to participate, others would post their “selfie” in the complete incorrect location then be extremely upset when I didn’t see their score until I had awarded the prize to another.

Besides social contests, the only real way to host any trackable contest, is to reset the high scores. I personally feel like the high score board is a coveted thing that should be reset RARELY, if EVER. I also wanted a way to get the casual and novice players involved as well. Not everyone is capable of throwing up high scores so I realised there needed to be a way to give the casual player something to shoot for to keep them engaged and motivated.

The idea has evolved significantly from the original concept with the ability to earn trophies upon a “quest” completion. Trophies are kept in a digital trophy case within your user account and can currently be shared with the world using social media buttons. The addition of the trophies was a way to get people out searching for additional places to play with another element of competition in the form of trophy collection.

ARG: Who is involved in creating PINQUEST?
NS: PINQUEST comes from inside my brain and filters through a few sources, one being my business partner,Kyle Troy, the other our development team over at BK Media Group. Kyle is what I like to call the “casual” player. He likes to flip the ball around but really hasn’t gotten in to the rule-sets/score chasing, which is why he is the perfect business partner. Every idea I have, I run it by him to get the perspective of a casual player to make sure it is fun and engaging for the casual player.

ARG: How easy (or difficult) is it for the target users of PINQUEST (operators etc and end-users) to set up themselves up?
NS: It is super easy to get setup. Operators simply sign up for an account on our website. Once signed-up, they have access to create “quests” for their location. For a user, it’s easy as well! You simply visit the web app and sign up! We don’t need a ton of information to create a user account, and it’s free for the player.

ARG: Will you provide support to operators/establishments and end-users? If so, what kind of support?
NS: Absolutely. We will have a digital marketing kit locations can grab downloadable content from that they can use to promote PINQUEST at their location. We will also have a tutorial video vault that walks operators/locations and users through how to use the app on all levels. We will also be there for operators/locations/users via email support.

ARG: This is a multi-part question, so bare with us, here we go – what have been your main challenges in regards to:
– the technology? Can you tell us a bit about the technology (without giving away any commercial sensitive info / IP – if you can’t, that’s fine, only talk about technical challenges you have faced)
NS: There have been two big challenges from a technology perspective. Proving the player achieved the target score, and making sure the player achieved the score at the location participating in the “quest”. Because pinball machines/classic arcade games (yes this can be used for arcade games as well) are not online, it is impossible to pull any data from a game. The PINQUEST software will utilise the mobile devices’ camera, GPS functionality and back-end algorithms to determine if the score was achieved at the correct location. As an additional layer of security, a location will have the ability to visually confirm the completion of a “quest” before awarding a prize.

– Onboarding operators/establishments?
NS: Luckily the pinball community is very tight, so we haven’t had to do too much marketing to drive interest to the app. Thanks to This Week in Pinball, Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast, and the guys over at Straight Down the Middle. We have a ton of interest.

– End-users?
The biggest challenge right now is that we are a web app. To use the app the user must visit The first thing a user does when they hear the word app is head to the app store on their mobile device. As you can imagine they are super confused when they do not see a PINQUEST app! That being said, we ARE working on adding native app support to both iOS and Android OS and hope to have that very soon.

ARG: Do you have a tech/feature roadmap of future additions/improvements for PINQUEST?
NS: We have a bunch of additional enhancements planned for the future! We ultimately want to have an app that can be downloaded. We also want to monetize “trophies” that people can use to redeem for official PINQUEST merchandise. Stay tuned for additional enhancements!

ARG: We have heard people refer to PINQUEST as “Pokemon GO for pinballers without AR”, “Pinball Redemption that works” and “it’s like a trophy hunting companion” – are you ok with these descriptions? How accurate are they?
Yes, Yes and YES! I LOVE these comparisons. Pokemon GO was (still is) an absolute phenomenon. When the summer Pokemon Go launched I was absolutely shocked how many people were playing. Friends of mine that I NEVER would have imagined playing Pokemon were suddenly playing! I hope PINQUEST ultimately helps pinball gain new users/fans just like Pokemon Go did for Pokemon!

ARG: You recently held your launch day at Tilt Pinball in Louisville – how did it go?
It went great! We officially launched at the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown(Colorado’s pinball expo) in May, but Tilt was our first location launch. It was super cool to see people who were excited about PINQUEST from the showdown come to take on more quests!

ARG: What are your plans in rolling out PINQUEST to the rest of the world (especially here in Australia)?
Our system is built using Google Maps so we can be world wide very quickly. We are currently making sure there are no legal/gaming issues with our software in other countries. Once we feel comfortable with the legality we will make the software available outside the US. Which is a priority, so expect it sooner rather than later!

ARG: Give us your PINQUEST elevator pitch…
Oh man… I’m terrified of elevators so I never need to use an elevator pitch, but if I needed to…here we go – Pinball has made one hell of a comeback. From arcades to breweries and bars, more and more locations are popping up for those who love the pastime. History however hasn’t been kind to pinball, as we have seen it come and go many times. Keeping people’s interest can be a difficult thing to do, the game needs to evolve in some way and we feel like PINQUEST helps to do just that. By giving locations the ability to set achievable goals and offer both digital and physical prizes, PINQUEST hopes to help make pinball even more fun. Owners can use PINQUEST to help revitalise forgotten machines and bring in more and new clientele while players can enjoy renewed interest on what may have become a stale game. For everyone who loves pinball, or even just likes it, PINQUEST is a great new enhancement to the game.

We would like to thank Neil for his time and candid interview responses. There has been a lot of hard work that has gone into PINQUEST, so we wish Neil and his team every success.

[all photos used with permission from: PINQUEST via Facebook]