The Australian 2015 Timezone Supanova Pinball Championship: Victorian State Final

championship banner

Amid the cosplay, celebrities, wrestling matches and artwork at Melbourne’s Supanova Pop Culture Expo was (our highlight!) the Australian Pinball League’s Victorian State Final of the 2015 Australian Timezone Supanova Pinball Championship.

trophies and medals

The competition on Saturday involved qualifying rounds and a final for the day’s top scorers (in all ages and under 18 categories) to win an iPad Mini! (read more and see the under 18 and all ages winners).

However, Sunday was when the serious action began. Highest scorers on all competition machines (in participating Timezone amusement centres in the lead up to Supanova or during Saturday’s qualifying rounds) battled it out to become the Victorian State Champ and win an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the National Grand Final at Supanova Brisbane – November 29, 2015.

But just when you thought it couldn’t get any better – as well as the awesome title of ‘Australian Timezone Supanova Pinball Champion’, the overall winner will be awarded a WWE Pro Pinball Table valued at over AU$8,000! And best of all, it’s not too late to enter – check for upcoming state finals on the Australian Pinball League’s website.

wrestlemania proImage source: Stern Pinball

Although the 16 Victorian finalists (including two impressive under 18s) were nervous, there was a lot of excitement and the mood was fun and friendly (typical of Australian Pinball League events). Finalists played on each of the four competition tables (two WWE Pro tables and two WWE Legends of Wrestlemania Limited Edition tables) and winners were determined by overall ranking.

It’s the serious end of the competition!
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The action is focused and frenetic!
supanova_pinny_3_hard_action

And the winner is………
supanova_pinny_4_the_winner

The action was frenetic and the scoring was close throughout the final, but there could only be one winner: Johnny Crabtree from the Western Wizards with 52 points! Followed by Joe Gregus with 47 points and Luke Marburg with 45 points (full results).

Congratulations to the Victorian State winners [L to R]:
Luke Marburg (3rd), Johnny Crabtree (1st) & Joe Gregus (2nd)
supanova_pinny_6_The_WINNERS

Once the adrenaline rush had waned, we spoke to the winner and a number of other finalists.


Johnny Crabtree (1st place, 52 points)

supanova_pinny_7_JohnnyCrabtree

ARG: Congratulations on your win! How do you feel?
JC: Thank you! I am rapt!

ARG: Were you nervous playing in the final?
JC: My nerves were a bit frayed when I drained the first two balls on three of my four games, but once I calmed myself down, I managed to rack up some high scores on the last ball of each game! ARG: Oh wow, that is even more impressive!

ARG: Let’s go back a bit now. Which table did you qualify on and what was your qualifying score?
JC: I qualified with a score of 180 million on Metallica at Timezone in Geelong. ARG: Holy smokes, that is a huge score!

ARG: Have you participated in any other pinball tournaments?
JC: I have participated in tournaments run by Melbourne leagues, like the Western Wizards and the Peackock Inn Pinball Allstars. I have also played in Slam Tilts tournaments and came third in the Pinball HQ @ Coogee Diggers comp.

ARG: That is an impressive playing CV. When did you first start playing pinball and what table was it on?
JC: I was in my teens, maybe 15 years old when I first played Bally’s Lost World.

ARG: Do you own any pinball tables?
JC: I sure do. I have Shark, Gilligan’s Island and AC/DC.

ARG: We’ll leave you to enjoy this moment and thank you very much for talking to us.
JC: Thank you!


Wal Dickie (8th place, 38 points)

Wal

ARG: Thank you for talking to us Wal. Let’s get the ball rolling, pardon the pun – which table did you qualify on?
WD:  No worries at all, it is great to speak to you. I qualified on Star Trek Pro at Timezone Forest Hill.

ARG: Now that is a coincidence! I went there last night and the machine was out of service? What score did you get on it?
WD: (laughs), yeh I broke it! I got 77 million on it.

ARG: Now I know who to blame. Have you participated in any other pinball competitions?
WD: Yes. I was the 2013 Vic State champion. I also play in the local leagues (Peackock Inn Pinball Allstars).

ARG: You seem to know how to bump the tables and hit those flippers with surgical precision – when did you first start playing pinball and what was the table you played on?
WD: I started playing pinball when I was 10 years old in 1974.  I still remember the table, it was Gottlieb’s Sky Jump.

ARG: Do you have an all-time favourite pinball table?
WD: (thinks for a long time) that is a tough question to answer. If I had to pick one, it would be The Addams Family.

ARG: Do you have any tables at home?
WD: (smiles) Of course. I have The Lord Of The Rings, The Addams Family, Johnny Mnemonic and World Cup Soccer.


Shane Rubans (6th place, 44 points)

shane

ARG: Hey Shane, congrats on making the finals! Can you tell us what table you qualified on?
SR: Hey Alex, thank you and it’s great to meet you in person. I qualified on Wrestlemania.

ARG: What was the qualifying score?
SR: I got 27 million.

ARG: Have you participated in any other tournaments?
SR: Yeah! I got the buzz when I played and competed at PAX Aus in 2013. I also competed at last year’s Supanova.

ARG: When did you first start playing?
SR: I first played pinball in 1986. But over the years there were less places to play, so I lost interest. My love of pinball got reignited at 2013 PAX Aus, I entered the competition and did quite well. The pinball buzz was back! I also enjoy playing Pinball Arcade on consoles. It’s great for practicing your skills.

ARG: Glad to hear you got the pinball buzz again. Do you have an all-time favourite machine?
SR: Sure do – it’s the Williams High Speed table.

ARG: Oh yes, a WEC System 11 table! Kudos. Do you own any tables?
SR: I actually have a High Speed table and also a Stern Ripley’s Believe It Or Not table.

ARG: That’s awesome! Thanks for chatting to us and we’ll hopefully catch up at a future Peacock Inn meet!
SR: Sure thing and thank you.


Skott Kellett (10th place, 31 points)

supanova_pinny_12_Skott_Kellett

ARG: Hi Skott, thank you for taking time out to chat to us. We know you are busy participating in the tournament and also helping out in the pinball area.
SK: It is great to chat to you guys. I can finally put a face to the names! It is busy, which is great. I volunteered to help out in the area – I assist Norbert in setting up and also packing up the gear.

ARG: That is great to hear! It sounds like hard work, but very rewarding?
SK: Absolutely! It is very rewarding to see people playing pinball.

ARG: Let’s get to that tough questions now – what table did you qualify on and what was your score?
SK: I qualified on The Walking Dead with a score of 62 million.

ARG: Apart from participating in this competition, have you played in other tournaments?
SK: Yeah, I participated at the PAX Aus in 2013 competition after not playing much pinball over the last decade. Ever since then, I have made every (Timezone Supanova Pinball Championship) State final! On another topic, I came 5th in the Blockbuster Video Street Fighter II tournament held at the Glasshouse (Olympic Park precinct)! ARG: Oh wow, that is fantastic – a blast from the past! You already had the competitive pedigree!

ARG: When did you first play pinball and what was the table you played on?
SK: Growing up with older brothers, I got to go to some places that perhaps I should not have been allowed in (laughs). I recall playing Pin•Bot around 1986 at the Jamaican Smoking Cafe.

ARG: Do you own any tables?
SK: I recently got the green light from my wife to get a table. I am thinking of getting one I can restore so I can learn how to repair it myself.

ARG: That sounds like a great plan! We wish you all the luck and hope you find your table very soon!
SK: Thank you.

ARG: Before we let you get back to your volunteering, do you have any dream tables?
SK: The Addams Family and Fish Tales!


Jordan (7th place, 40 points, top ranked junior, plus winner of Saturday’s under 18s Pinball vs. Supanova final)

The ongoing success of pinball is dependent on the next generation taking to the flippers and propagating the fun. As well as showing us that young people are getting into pinball, fifteen year old Jordan racked up high scores that would give a seasoned veteran a run for their money.

supanova_pinny_8_Jordan

ARG: Congratulations and well done on becoming a junior pinball champion. So Jordan, tell us, when did you first start playing pinball and what was your first table?
Jordan: I was 10 years old when I started playing pinball at a holiday park in Anglesea. The first machine I played on was Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

ARG: Oh wow, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a great machine, it is great to hear that you cut your teeth on an older table. Do you have an all-time favourite pinball machine?
Jordan: The Addams Family! I played it while on holiday in Torquay and was instantly hooked.

ARG: Where do you go to play pinball?
Jordan: I mainly play at Timezone in Geelong. I also look out for pinball tables when I go to the movies.

ARG: What would help make pinball more popular with the younger generation?
Jordan: Pinball is becoming cooler, more family-friendly places with tables would help raise its popularity. An endorsement from a celebrity would help too, especially someone young people can identify with.

ARG: We got side-tracked for a second there. What machine did you qualify on and what was the high score?
Jordan: I got 12 million on Legends Of Wrestlemania, and I actually got 110 million on Star Trek Pro after the final, once the pressure was off!

ARG: Oh wow, 110 million! That is a super impressive score. As long as you had fun – that’s what it’s all about. Thank you for chatting to us and congratulations!
Jordan: I definitely had fun and thank you.


 More young people enjoying some pinball action!
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These guys said more bars with pinball tables (in the style of Forgotten Worlds) would raise the popularity of pinball with younger people.  
supanova_pinny_13_NextGen_Action

The driving force behind the championship is APL director, Norbert Snicer. Norbert has a long history in the amusement industry and a wealth of pinball knowledge. His obvious passion and enthusiasm is very infectious and we were thoroughly impressed by the fun and professional tone of the event. He was a very friendly and interesting person and we hope to bring you an article about Norbert and some of his other ventures in the near future.

The man we all need to thank, Mr. Norbert Snicer!
supanova_pinny_9_Norbert

It would be remiss of us not to mention Amusement Machine Distributors (AMD) – the official Australian distributor of Stern Pinball tables, and the championship’s major sponsor. AMD kindly supplied the pinball machines that were enjoyed by all at Supanova. And the good will continues with all proceeds from the pinball machines going to Mission Australia – a charity which helps people in need regain their independence and move away from homelessness.

If you want to find a pinball club near you, head to the Australian Pinball League (APL) site and check for clubs in your state. For those lucky enough to be in or near Sydney, check out the awesome Pinball HQ at Coogee Diggers!

Pinball wizards group shot!
SupaNova_Pinball_2015_groupImage source: Australian Pinball League

Both myself and Ms. ausretrogamer had a fantastic time at Supanova, with the main attraction being pinball (of course). The people we met and spoke to were all having fun and were genuinely keen to chat about pinball and everything else pop culture. We will definitely be back for the next competition in Melbourne! But, as always, all good things must come to an end. Instead of saying goodbye, we’ll say, see you at the next pinball competition!

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