Roanoke, Tucson, Bend

Hey. HEY!

We added three new regions recently:

Roanoke, Virginia

Tucson, Arizona

Bend, Oregon

EDIT: And CHICO!!!

The Bend locations haven’t been added yet, but will be soon. They have a nice growing pinball scene there.

If you live in any of these areas and know of locations that aren’t listed, please submit those locations! Roanoke’s gotta have more than three locations, right? We want them ALL listed!

Updated Criteria for Creating New Pinball Maps

As much as we want to consider this site to represent anarchism in motion – with anonymous, equal users contributing bits of knowledge – there is a hierarchy of roles. Scott and Ryan are gatekeepers, allowing or denying the creation of new regions. And admins are sub-gatekeepers, allowing or denying the creation of new locations. This made us think: What if we (scott and ryan) are a weak link in this process. We don’t think we are… but still, it made us wonder for a minute there.

People regularly email us asking for a new region. Some of these requests don’t go anywhere. They usually don’t go anywhere because 1) the requests don’t say anything about wanting to administer the data for that region (and they don’t respond when we ask them about that), 2) the region only contains one or two locations, and/or 3) the request is made by an operator.

So, in an attempt to codify this, we’ll elaborate a bit on those three points. They are necessary points when creating a new map.

1) Each map must have a local person acting as an administrator. The administrator must care about the integrity of the map! They’re an overseer. It doesn’t take much work to be an admin. But a good admin is the difference between a languishing, sloppy map and a maintained, clean one. And regular users get a lot more out of a well-maintained map.

So if you request a map, but don’t want to be the admin, then you don’t get a map.

Fun fact: right now the site has 73 regions and over 90 admins.

We’re often looking for NEW admins. If you want to help maintain your local map, hit us up. It never hurts to have more.

2) When areas just have a couple locations with pinball, the maps usually don’t see much action. Ideally, a new region will have 10 (ten) or more locations. But of course, this isn’t always the case. However, we’re going to try and stick to this. The more locations an area has, the more active the map. It’s really cool that your area has one giant arcade with 40 machines. But do you need a map for that?

3) Admins can’t be operators. We’ve had a couple bad experiences lately with admins who are operators failing to remain neutral. In one case, we deleted the region because the guy only added his own places (and did a terrible job with the data entry) and ignored all other location submissions, and in the other case that admin resigned because he steadfastly refused to add his competitors locations (followed shortly by that region experiencing the most malicious edits that we’ve seen in nine years of doing this).

There is a major difference between operators and all the other people who use the maps: operators are in it to make money. It’s their business. And that’s great – part of the mission of this site is to promote pinball, and operators are at the foundation of this. They put machines on route. This map doesn’t exist without them. For everyone else (including us) it’s purely for pleasure. But since operators have a financial stake in contents of the site, they sometimes take it really seriously and personally. For example, to one operator, a “right flipper broken” machine comment might be responded to in the comments with, “oh, thanks, I’ve fixed the flipper.” And another operator might respond to that with, “A++ Machine, Brand New LED. Plays Perfectly, You Gotta Come Down Here And Check It Out!!!” Did this latter operator fix the issue? Not sure. What is more clear is that the comment resembles an advertisement.

It’s flattering to us that operators think this website impacts their business. We want to help them and encourage them to maintain their machines. But… bottom line, they can’t be admins.

New England Pinball Maps

The Boston Pinball Map was a big map. How big was it, you ask? It covered a good portion of New England.

But if you live in Connecticut, would you know to look under the Boston map in order to locate pinball machines in your area? Probably not. So, in order to make the regional maps in that area more intuitive for people, we split them up in state regions. So now instead of a Boston map we have:

Massachusetts Pinball Map
Connecticut Pinball Map
Rhode Island Pinball Map
New Hampshire Pinball Map

We didn’t create Vermont or Maine, because there are already two city-based maps in them:

Burlington, Vermont Pinball Map
Portland, Maine Pinball Map

We’re looking for administrators for Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire! If you live in those states, love pinball, and enjoy punctuating things correctly and helping keep data clean, then please contact us.

A Weekend In The Life of the Portland Pinball Map

Activity on the website picks up on the weekends. The weekends, after all, are when many people get a chance to hop around and play pinball. Friday and Saturday evenings, especially, seem to produce the most updates. Some of these updates are drunkenly typed machine comments (which can be pretty entertaining!), but many are quality map updates: machines added to spots, machines removed, comments about machines. We’re always thankful that people have their local pinball map in mind when they’re out and about. It’s cool that they (you) take a moment to make sure it’s up to date.

We thought we’d use this last weekend’s updates to the Portland Oregon Pinball Map to try and produce a narrative. The data are based on machines being added to places (as seen on the RSS feed), machines removed (these notifications are emailed to us), locations suggested (again, email), and comments left (email). Put together, this can provide a decent story about site usage (the only – fairly major – thing left out is analytics… which we didn’t bother to look at).

We’ll start it off by showing an example email. This is the first comment of the weekend, left on Friday at 8:08pm.

Stugots Drop-gate is bustered.
The Sopranos
Paymaster Lounge
portland
(entered from xx.xx.xxx.xxx via PinballMap/21 (iPhone; iOS 8.4.1; Scale/2.00))

This message tells us that someone left a comment on The Sopranos at Paymaster Lounge, stating that “Stugots Drop-gate is bustered.” And they were using the iOS app.

Fortunately for this person, Paymaster has three other machines to play.

An hour later, someone else, also using the iOS app (but with a different version of iOS) was playing at Speakeasy Gil’s. They left a machine comment on the Attack from Mars, saying, “No ball related at start of play.” No ball related? Not exactly sure what that means… It’s an autocorrect mistake. No ball launched at start of play?

A few minutes later, at 9:28pm, someone was having fun at Red Flag! Actually, they had a frustrating time. And they had some helpful advice for others.

On AC/DC (LE): “Upper right side rubber broken. Ball stuck. Don’t play.”

One minute later, on Lord of the Rings: “Balrog is fucked. Do not play.”

Luckily, Medieval Madness seemed to work well for them, though it was tough to put up a score: “Plays very well. Difficult replay score(s).”

At that same moment, someone else was playing at B Side Tavern. They noted that “Left flipper soft and super sticky” on The Sopranos. Bummer. No one loves a soft and super sticky flipper.

And then everyone went to bed.

The next day, Saturday, someone submitted a new location for the Portland Map. Except they spelled it, “Portladn” and the machine as “Fash Tales.” Luckily, our trusty Portland Pinball Map admin swooped in and corrected these spelling errors, and added the location!

That’s actually the only map edit/activity on Saturday. So, this example weekend is a slow one!

But it’s not over yet. On Sunday, Twilight Zone was added to Pinball Outreach Project – POP HQ. Interesting story: when that location was first submitted to us, it was submitted as “POP HQ – Pinball Outreach Project.” And when the words are in that order, people have trouble finding it on the map. We received numerous location submissions and messages, even though it was already on the map! So I switched the order of the words, and now everything’s cool.

Also, Twilight Zone was added to that location at 6:37am. Never too early to play some pinball!

Moving on. At 2:37pm, someone got bummed about the left flipper dying on the Attack from Mars at Slingshot Lounge. Let’s hope it gets fixed soon!

Sunday at 4pm’s a good time to hit up a strip club. And that’s exactly what this Android user did, at Hawthorne Strip. Bad news, though: they removed The Simpsons Pinball Party and WHO Dunnit! When machines are removed, often times another one is added in its place. In this case, two more machines were added later Sunday night: Eight Ball Deluxe and Harlem Globetrotters. I would guess that the operator, Rose City Pinball, added/removed these machines.

Remember 2:37pm when that flipper at Slingshot Lounge broke? At 5:18pm, someone using the same device type reported that the flipper was fixed! It either fixed itself, or the operator, Quarterworld, is super on top of it. Probably the latter.

Sunday ends on a sad note. Two machines were removed from Bunk Bar Water. And they didn’t replace them. What gives, Bunk? Bunk actually has two other locations on the map, so perhaps they’re not altogether giving up on pinball. Let’s hope that Bunk Bar Water gets them back.

Welp, that’s all we have for you! It definitely doesn’t give a full picture of what’s happening on a weekend in Portland, Oregon. But these anonymous updates help us form some sort of narrative. Jeb Bush is right that “things happen.” In this case, the things are new discoveries (machines added), setbacks (machines removed), glitches, and – we can presume – a whole lot of fun. But people are more apt to share their problems than their triumphs. We just want you to know: we hear your frustrations about those broken machines, and we hope they are soon resolved. And thanks to cool ops who use the map, chances are they will be.

Many more new regions

It’s been a little while since we posted about new regions. Without these posts, people may not realize that a new pinball map has cropped up near them.

The last post was introducing the Phoenix region, back in June 2014. So without further ado, here are the pinball maps we’ve added since then. Remember that each of these were created because at least one person expressed a strong interest in maintaining a pinball map for their area. They’re doing what they can to spread the word to other locals, so the maps will stay up to date. But that can be hard! Sometimes it takes a little bit of time before a map really takes off and gets popular.

  • Houston
    14 Locations, 73 Machines
  • Detroit
    18 Locations, 103 Machines
  • Charlotte, NC
    5 Locations, 2 Machines (there are more machines, of course, but they just aren’t listed yet)

Criteria for adding a new pinball map

We regularly get questions about adding new regions to the site. And we regularly add them! We thought we’d shed some extra light on what goes into adding one.

First off, pinballmap.com is comprised of a bunch of separate pinball maps. If you want your area added, you aren’t “adding your city to our map”; rather, you’re “adding your map to our site.” You know? For example, the Los Angeles Pinball Map is a map that is managed and updated by people in the Los Angeles area. That map has nothing to do with the Rochester Pinball Map.

So, if you’re asking us to add Springfield to the site, you’re asking us to add your map. In a big way, it’s up to you whether it’s a good fit for the site. If you’re motivated, then you’re good to go!

Here are some things to consider when querying us:

  • What’s your current data look like?
    • Are you (and your friends/league) keeping track of the locations, machines, and events in your area?
  • Are you currently using a simple Google Map or other website that doesn’t have great search capabilities (or apps)?
  • Is there a league in the area, and/or a growing interest in pinball?

The maps don’t magically update themselves. If you have zero data, and don’t know about a league, and aren’t going to scout around for locations to add to your map, then your area might not be the best fit (at this stage). That is, unless you’re really motivated and are active in spreading the word! It’s not true that simply adding a region to the site is sufficient to drum up interest and keep it updated. If people don’t know about it, or aren’t interested in helping update it, then it won’t be updated!

Sometimes people ask us to add an area. Then we respond with those bulletpoints above in order to gauge the level of interest. And then… no response. Well, that lack of follow-through illustrates that you probably aren’t very motivated.

Lastly, some areas already have “competing” maps/lists that are regularly updated by people in that area. We don’t really want to compete. If there’s already a go-to map, we don’t want to pull people off of it unless the people running that other list want to collaborate with us.

So there you go. This website is simply a tool to help pinball players (and especially people who are new to pinball and are looking for places to play), and it’s free advertisement for businesses that are cool enough to have pinball machines. We want ALL of the regions on the site to be used. We put a lot of faith in the people who contact us. Once your region is added, it’s your map, and it’s up to you and your friends to keep it updated!

New region: Phoenix

Welcome our 42nd Pinball Map region! Phoenix

The Phoenix pinball map is off to a great start: 11 locations with 29 pinball machines!

If you live in the area, please help keep the map up to date!

SIDENOTE: We just want to throw it out there that if you live in any of the regions that are currently covered by http://pinballmap.com, and you love updating your map, feel free to contact us if you want to be an admin. We have admins for every region, but it’s often helpful to have more than one. Admins just curate the data, cleaning up mistakes, and promoting the site so we get more users on board! It doesn’t take much work.

New regions: Baltimore, Tampa Bay, South Florida

Hey you all, in the last couple weeks we’ve added three new pinball map regions to the site:

Baltimore

Tampa Bay

South Florida

Interestingly, two of these areas were on the map at one point, but were removed due to inactivity. But folks in those areas (baltimore and miami) campaigned to get them added back. So we obliged. Normally, we do not want to remove regions from the site. In both of those cases, they each had only one location listed and no one was submitting any new ones. So, people simply weren’t using the maps! A map’s success is usually tied to how many people know about it. And one of the roles of the regional administrators is to help promote it. So, we’re happy to have the regions back on the site, and we hope that they’re useful to people!

If you live in any of these areas, and know of locations that aren’t on the maps yet, please submit them!

And the South Florida region will cover Miami, West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and all that.

New region: Syracuse

syracuse map image

New York state is growing! We just added a Syracuse pinball map to the site. It’s currently listing 20 locations, and 27 pinball machines.

Do you know of any spots in that area with pinball that aren’t listed yet? Maybe the Rockefeller family’s favorite brewpub at Skaneateles Lake has a few? If so, send the locations to our Syracuse admin, David, and he’ll add them to the map!

In total, this makes FOUR regional pinball maps for New York:

Syracuse

New York City

Rochester

Hudson Valley

If you live in any of these areas and love pinball, please help update the maps so they stay super useful for pinball lovers.

New Region: Las Vegas

We’ve had a lot of requests for a Las Vegas regional pinball map. But no one was into being the administrator, so we never added it (it seemed like all the people requesting it were visitors). But! Our Utah admin, Jeff, visits Vegas often and has taken the helm. Thanks, Jeff!

So, have at it! Las Vegas

Right now the region is listing only 5 locations, but 185 machines. The Pinball Hall of Fame is in Vegas, containing one of the most impressive collections of pinball machines in the world. Many pinball fans who visit Vegas stop by the hall of fame. But we know there has to be more machines scattered throughout the city. Many casinos have arcades, and some of those HAVE to have pins. So, if you live in Vegas, or are visiting, do some scouting and then send new locations here. THANKS! Your contributions will help other pinball aficionados find the pins they crave.

(Lastly, if anyone wants to create a twitter/facebook/whatever feed of Las Vegas pinball map updates, here’s the IFTTT recipe.)

Two new regions: Utah and Hudson Valley

We added two new regions to the site!

Utah (the entire state!)

Hudson Valley, New York

The bulk of the action in Utah is around Salt Lake City. But there are machines throughout the state. The administrator travels a lot – so he’s going to do his best to keep things up to date. If you live in the state, please update the map! Right now it’s tracking 14 locations and 59 machines.

Hudson Valley is the area north of New York City (and if you live there, I’m sure you already know this). It’s a pretty spread out area, with a lot of little towns. Right now it’s tracking 6 locations and 37 machines. But I’m sure there are more locations to track! Go find them!!

New region - Charleston

We added a new region to the site: Charleston, South Carolina! Psyched to have them on board. They have a good pinball scene, and I’m sure it’s only gonna get stronger!

Find news and map updates on Twitter @CharlestonPins


Scene Report: Eugene's Blairalley

This post is part of an ongoing series that highlights some cool things about the regions covered on the site. It was written by our Eugene regional administrator, Dylan.

blairalley-a

Blairally Vintage Arcade is tucked away in an alley off of Blair Boulevard in the historic and hysteric Whiteaker neighborhood in Eugene, Oregon. Located in the heart of Eugene’s new brewery district, Blairally has a ton of great beers on tap or in the eternally-classy tall boy can. Being neighbors with Ninkasi Brewing means you can count on some of Ninkasi’s tastiest brews being available all the time. Not a beer fan? Never fear, there is also a full bar and often a bartender-created cocktail special. The food selection is not large but includes some fun comfort dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches, Fritos and chili, a really delicious creamy mac-n-cheese (add pulled pork to it and wallow in fat happiness), quesadillas (again, add the pulled pork!), or a fine peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

blairalley-b

Funky, crazy and unique, this barcade sports a fantastic variety of pins from 1970s Gottlieb machines, like Centigrade 37 and Scuba, to Stern’s 2009 NBA. Check the location for a full list.

blairalley-c

In addition, there are a ton of classic video games and some cool truly vintage coin op games of skill like Kickapoo, United’s Bowling Alley, and Skee-Ball.

blairalley-d

Hang out here at all (and gods know I do far too much) you can tell that the owners and staff have a love for the arcade culture of yore. From the décor, game selection, and attentive maintenance of the machines – you can feel the nostalgia. That being said, there is more than just booze and games: they have a DJ inside on Friday and Saturday night and occasionally live music on their outdoor stage. Blairally Vintage Arcade also sponsors one of the local WFTDA roller derby teams, The Andromedolls, regularly hosting team and league fundraisers.

blairalley-e

Each Wednesday night the Pinball Knights local pinball tournament is held, a casual double elimination tourney played by a bunch of friendly pinball fanatics. In addition, on the first Friday of every month Blairally hosts the 1st Friday Pinball Tournament, sponsored by CD Game Exchange. However, Every single Friday is heaven on earth with Free Play Friday in full effect: every game, pinball or video, is set to free play.

This is, by far, my favorite place to play pinball and I highly recommend you swing by if you are in the Eugene/Springfield area (BTW, there are other great places here. Another to check out is Level Up Arcade.

Open daily from 4pm to 2am. Kids welcome until 9pm.

Blairally Vintage Arcade (Barcade)
245 Blair Blvd., Eugene, Oregon 97402
(541) 683-1721
http://www.facebook.com/blairallyarcade

Scene Report: Riverside's Lake Alice Trading Company

This post is part of an ongoing series that highlights some cool things about the regions covered on the site. It was written by our Los Angeles regional admin, Edgar.

Downtown Riverside is much like any Downtown area: museums, antique stores, curious statues and land marks. But, on the south side of University Avenue, between Market and Orange streets, sits a little pinball oasis: Lake Alice Trading Company Saloon & Eatery.

The machines are operated by a highly ranked IFPA player and the site is used weekly in an IFPA sanctioned league. Typically, the machines are working and level. They are rotated regularly, usually coinciding with the start of a new league season, and you always get a range of games from different eras of pinball’s past and present.

As of the time of this writing, their lineup is:

  • Cheetah
  • Cue Ball Wizard
  • Medieval Madness
  • Scared Stiff
  • Skateball
  • Sopranos
  • Spider-Man
  • Surf ’N Safari

The location is a bar/restaurant that welcomes kids until 7PM. Parking along the street just outside on the weekends and after 5PM on weekdays is free, and about dollar an hour all other times. Occasionally there are also vids, a Foosball table, and other amusements to feed your quarters into. The pins are past the TV wall, towards the back to the right. Order food and drink from a table nearby so you can re-fuel and go right back to flippin’.

Solid working games, lots of variety, and easy access to food – what more do you need? Check them out at 3616 University Ave in Riverside, just West of the 91. Check out the Inland Empire Pinball Association at their website: http://www.iepinball.com.

Scene Report: Vancouver's Pub 340

This post is part of an ongoing series that highlights some cool things about the regions covered on the site. It was written by our British Columbia regional admin, Dave.

By David Ballance

Deep in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia, you will find a rustic little spot to drink a cheap beer, watch live bands and play some pinball at the Pub 340. As its name implies, this Pub is located at 340 Cambie Street. And if you enjoy pinball, it’s worth a visit. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but you will immediately notice the pinball themed artwork drawn on the front window. When you walk inside you will be delighted to discover that this venue has 10 pinball machines and a few other arcade machines in a separate area inside the front door. The pinball machines change from time to time, but at the moment include titles such as: World Poker Tour, Funhouse, Addams Family, Demolition Man, Whitewater, Spider Man, Playboy, Metallica, Revenge from Mars and Fish Tales.

bc pinball

Other games include a modern take on “Zekes Peak” called” Ice Cold Beer”. In this game you have to navigate a small metal ball up a playfield on a metal bar past numerous openings with the objective of putting the ball in a lit location. It doesn’t sound like much, but be forewarned: this game is a lot of fun and very addicting. If you manage to get to the last spot and finish this game, you will be awarded a free cold beer from the bar. Arguably, there is nothing better in life than playing some games on a hot day and having the opportunity to enjoy some free beer at the same time.

bc pinball

Pinball Operator ‘Pinballkyle’ has had games at this location for over a year now. In that time, the location has already been used as a site for some local tournaments and for the 2012 Border Brawl. The Border Bawl is a yearly pinball showdown between the USA’s Seattle Pinball League (SPL) and the local Vancouver Regional Pinball Association. For those that care, the VRPA did us Canadians proud by finally managing to take home the trophy this year.

Kyle has also introduced monthly tournaments starting on September 3rd. These are Non-IFPA events, geared towards having fun and enjoying this great game.

bc pinball

On top of all the fun you can have playing pinball, the beer is reasonably priced here and there are local bands that play periodically. If Karaoke is your thing, you can enjoy singing to everyone between games on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 9 pm to 1 am. Make sure you’re over 19, though, as it is a licensed Premise. If you enjoy playing the Silverball make sure you include Pub340 as a place to visit on your next trip to Vancouver, BC.

bc pinball

More information on events and the Pubs menu can be found at http://www.pub340.ca. For continual updates of the pinball room, please check out the ‘Pub 340 pinball arcade’ on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.

Check out the location on the British Columbia Pinball Map at http://pinballmap.com/bc.