PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pay the admission, and play your choice of pinball machines and other classic arcade games for free! But the stakes are much higher for serious competitors at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
It’s the Replay FX Arcade and Gaming Festival – Pinburgh for short. In the past, the tournament was held in Carnegie. But with the influx of new players, tournament organizer Mark Steinman was forced to admit, “We need a bigger building.”
If you thought video games made the ball and flipper obsolete, Steinman counters, “Pinball’s experiencing a boom right now. The industry’s doing great. And I know all the player numbers at the different tournaments are going through the roof. We had to move all of our games from Carnegie because we couldn’t handle the player base over there.”
With 700 players from more than a dozen different countries, pinball is far and away the biggest pinball tournament in the world. Reigning world champion Keith Elwin hopes to recapture his crown, and a share of the $110,000 prize money.
Lauren Emmel of St. Augustine, Florida answers the argument that the game is strictly for guys.
“I feel more comfortable competing with the guys, because they’re not worried about me. So I can come up on top.”
Joe Scaletta of Wexford says he loves the randomness of the game.
“We’re all just trying to control the chaos that’s under the glass there. And it’s a challenge. And it’s a thrill. And you get just good enough to think you know what you’re doing, And then the game has something to say about it.”