A Weekend In The Life of the Portland Pinball Map

October 13, 2015 [regions]

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
(entered from xx.xx.xxx.xxx via PinballMap/21 (iPhone; iOS 8.4.1;

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.

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A Weekend In The Life of the Portland Pinball Map - October 13, 2015 - Pinball Map