Out With the MoCCA, In With the Stumptown!

Thu 4/15/2010

James Sturm mentioned yesterday that I seemed a little low-energy at MoCCA this year. I guess maybe that's true...

Don't get me wrong, I still had an awesome time! I picked up a whole slew of amazing new minicomics and books (some of which are pictured above) and I got to talk to a lot of Phase 7 fans and I even sold some comics, but I guess I feel like I didn't do a great job "socializing" this year.

There are always pre-MoCCA parties, panels during the show, post-MoCCA parties, readings, signings, and too many friends in one place to hang out with them all.

This year, I especially regret not getting to hang out with my pal JP Coovert who was in town from Minneapolis. JP's comics started out great, has now reached "stellar" status and will only continue to get better. Everyone should check out his comics, he is definitely one to watch!

I also feel the fool for missing out on Paul Karasik's interview of James Sturm during the show. Peggy Burns's write up made it seem pretty amazing. Alas, I was stuck behind the table.

There was also a big party at Austin's old place on Saturday, which I said I would swing by, but never did. Sorry to anyone who felt stood up. I guess I wanted to do some non-comics related stuff outside of the show...

Like, you know... PLAYING PINBALL.

The week before MoCCA, Jon had found this site which lists all of the working pinball machines in the New York City area. I knew I would be staying with Gabe in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, so I checked the list and found a Monster Bash machine in a bar right around the corner from his place.

Max, Gabe and I went over there on Friday night and I gotta say, it was the tightest pinball machine I have ever played. The machine was made in 1998 but it felt like it was BRAND NEW. The flippers and bumpers were EXTREMELY responsive, the ball moved fast, all of the mechanical devices were working great, all of the lights worked, and the tilt sensor was almost non-existent. It was about as good as pinball gets. *****

The only downside was that in New York, pinball costs seventy-five cents for one play and TWO BUCKS for three plays. I complained that this was TWICE as expensive as pinball in White River Junction (fifty cents for one play and a dollar for three plays), to which Gabe replied "Well Longstreth, the same will hold true for your food and drink and everything else on this trip!"

Just as we were starting to get our feel for the machine (Max earned a replay on one game) I had one of those surreal New York experiences. This guy I've never met walks up to me and says, "Are you Alec Longstreth?" Turns out it was Drew from Millions of Hundred Dollar Ideas. About a year ago, Drew left a Flickr comment on my very first pinball photo, offering to give me a pinball tour of either Brooklyn, or Portland.

We talked pinball while his friend (whose name I forget) completely shattered our scores without even trying. Drew gave us a few leads on other bars in the area that had pinball machines and we headed off to bed early, so we'd be well-rested for the show.

Then AFTER the show, on Sunday night, after we had eaten dinner we went to one of the bars in Williamsburg which Drew had suggested. It had the following pins:

Four out of the five were Stern machines, which sadly don't hold up in terms of complexity and gameplay, when compared to Williams machines from the 1990s. Stern machines just feel cheap when I play them, and it's sad to think they are the only pinball manufacturer left in the entire world. If they go under, I somehow doubt we will still be able to play their machines 20 years later, as we can with the Williams machines.

And then, of course, while we were trying out these various pins, Drew walked in! He bought us a few rounds of pinball and gave us a good walk through of No Good Gofers, which he really knew front to back. On the walk back to the subway, I told Drew that I was heading to the Stumptown Comics Fest next week and he revealed that he used to live in Portland and belongs to the infamous Crazy Flipper Fingers Pinball Gang. Drew said with one phone call he could have me thrown in the back of a truck by members of the CFF Gang and then I'd be driven all over Portland to play pinball all night.

As awesome as that sounds, my upcoming weekend in Portland is already overflowing with cool stuff to do and awesome people to hang out with... I'm SURE I'll play some pinball, but for now, I'm just excited to table again with Greg and Max and I CAN'T WAIT to hang out with Claire, who will be flying up from Oakland for the show.

I've been going crazy since I got back from New York, trying to catch up on everything and unpacking and stuff, and it's already only a WEEK until I leave again! Busy busy. So anyway, thanks to everyone who swung by my table at MoCCA and hopefully I'll see some of you NEXT weekend (April 24th and 25th) in Portland!

2 comments on this entry

Well, in the bar near where I live, the Family Guy pinball is 5 plays for $2. To top it off, the food and beer is also really cheap there (like beer and a meal for ~$10-12)! Downside: it's in Red Hook, which is a bit of a trek from W'burg.

Where I used to live in college had two pinball machines, Judge Dredd and Dr. Who, both of which I had a lot of fun playing. I have such a soft spot in my heart for both of those machines. Those were the days...

And Drew is totally the guy you want to talk to if you want to know about Pinball. That guy is nuts!

Thanks for the tip L! 5 plays for $2 sounds pretty good to me! Might be worth the trip up to Red Hook. ;) Good seeing you at MoCCA!

Alec Apr20

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