Workshops • Speakers • Pinlebrities • Exhibits • Sunday Pinball School

Visit Pin-U to learn about the history, legacy, art, science and 'how-to' of pinball.
Located in an adjacent building and included with the price of admission!

Friday 2018

Soldering Done Correctly! • 2:30pm

Did you know leaking batteries can kill your pinball machine?

Rob Anthony of Pinball Classics will show two installs of his anyPin™ NVRAM Battery Eliminators.  One will be done with professional equipment, "the right way", and one will be done with just a soldering iron. This session will show the proper way to do NVRAM installs, and a "quick and dirty" way that will get the job done without destroying things.  Having done professional board work for 30 years, Rob can share his expertise to get you on your way to learning how to expertly solder!

Rob Anthony started working at a local arcade at age 13 and immediately took to the service aspect of pinball machines. After running an amusement route and taking technical training from Williams, Bally, NSM, Atari, and Rowe he developed extensive board repair experience and can now troubleshoot and repair most any issue. He travels all over the US repairing games and will be offering on-site board and game repair at the show. Long live the memory of Rob's boy, Taro (pictured above).


5 Cheap Tricks to Fine Tune Your Solid State Game • 3:15pm

Solid State Pinball: Beginner to Seasoned Tech

If you have a basic understanding of electricity, and are afraid to actually dig in and repair your machine, this workshop is for you. The five "tech tips and tricks" John will demonstrate for all to see will benefit first time pinball machine owners to seasoned veterans. Everyone will walk away with new knowledge of ways to fix and optimize their game.

John Mohr bought his first solid state Bally pinball in 1980 and now has a collection of about 100 games, mostly first generation solid state Bally machines. He considers himself more proficient in repairing, than actually playing pinball. Over the years John has come up with some unique ways of repairing pinball machines and he would like to share a few of them with you.


Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Pinball Affair • 4:30pm

Come see the live demo!

Kill Bill is a custom pinball machine running on the P-ROC Pinball Control System. The game is based on the legendary Quentin Tarantino movie. Kill Bill was developed on a Bally World Cup Soccer, but nearly a dozen playfield changes needed to be made. Visuals are running on two screens: a 27” HD-screen as well as a classic pinball dot-matrix screen. Learn how the film Kill Bill inspired game rules, display animations, music, software and artwork to turn this game into a roaring rampage of revenge! What does it take to convert a friendly game of soccer into a machine to kill for?

Starting in 2011, with almost no experience in pinball programming, Dennis Van de Pas set out to make a serious dent in pinball forever! Fast forward to 2018 and three machines have been totally re-programmed for a full custom experience extravaganza. From Demolition Man on Steroids (new software), The Matrix (re-theme) and his latest project Kill Bill (complete re-theme, playfield and hardware changes) it’s been quite a ride! What’s common in all of his projects? Know the rules, break the rules, make the rules!


How to Play Pinball Like the Pros • 6:00pm

Ready to Play Better?

Answer must be yes or you wouldn't still be reading! Whether you are a beginner or can usually win a free game, this class will teach you some skills you need to PLAY BETTER! Learn beginning, intermediate and advanced pinball play techniques through video, slide and live demonstration from 3 local pros. A presentation like no other!

Eric Wagensonner is a top 150 ranked Bay Area player with many IFPA wins under his belt. He is a physical player (nicknamed ‘Mr. T’ for his tilting abilities), an all-era generalist, and enjoys learning about and sharing rules knowledge. Eric loves to travel to pinball shows around the country. He recently started indoctrinating his 14 month old son into the world of pinball.

Louise Wagensonner is originally from Wales and started playing competitive pinball in San Francisco in 2010 when then-boyfriend (now husband) Eric took her on a ‘secret date’ - which turned out to be the Stern's Avatar launch party, she’s been hooked ever since!

Jon Olkowski has run over 50 tournaments since 2010, including the first three Pin Golf tournaments at Pin-a-Go-Go. He founded the Bay Area Pinball Map, enjoys pinball & arcade history and currently hosts a league at the Pacific Pinball Museum.


Saturday 2018

The Influence of Music on Pinball Development • 12:30pm

A Three Part Retrospective, Q & A to follow

Larry Zartarian, Pacific Pinball Museum:
PPM’s Role as Repository of All Things Pinball - Art, Science and History

Gordon Hasse, Pinball Historian:
How Pinball Makers Borrowed Popular Music as Themes for Their Games
David Thiel, Professional Sound Engineer:
The Evolution and Creation of Pinball Music using Alien and The Hobbit as examples (via video).

Larry Zartarian is a passionate collector, restorer and refurbisher of antique coin-operated amusement devices -- in particular, pinball machines manufactured by the D. Gottlieb and Co. from 1947-1972 -- considered by many to be the "Golden Age" of pinball. Since 2004 he has served on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Pinball Museum, and from 2007 forward has been President.

Gordon A. Hasse, Jr. got hooked on pinball as a young boy in Philadelphia. He and Steve Young published The Pinball Collectors’ Quarterly and Dick Bueschel’s Encyclopedia of Pinball 1 and 2. He has written more than 50 pinball articles, delivered a dozen speeches and donated 240 woodrails to the Pacific Pinball Museum. His presentations are always unique and interesting.

David Thiel is a pinball audio artist. Working with five different manufacturers over the past 30 years, David has composed music, created sound effects and wrangled speech for 28 pinball machines. Pirates of the Caribbean for Jersey Jack Pinball is David's most recent pinball audio package.


The Crest of Pinball's Golden Age • 2:00pm

1954 & the Games of D. Gottlieb

Pinball collector, author and historian Gordon Hasse presents a retrospective on the development of pinball with special emphasis on Gottlieb games. Discover how the pop-culture icons of TV, sports, Rock & Roll, comic books and bubble gum cards converged during the 1950s to create America’s Golden Age and the 'Golden Age of Pinball'.

Gordon "Gordo" Hasse has worked in advertising for nearly 50 years. Now residing in Orlando, Florida he’s also taught marketing at four of the 'Sunshine State's' Universities. His perspective on pinball theming is presented in a format that will 'edutain' and enlighten those new to the hobby, those who have been around awhile and ones who just discovered pinball art and history 10 minutes ago!


Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho A Pirate's Life For Me! • 5:00pm

And the "Future of Pinball," a 'fireside chat'

With a lifetime in pinball - from operator and repairman, through distribution and sales, to manufacturer and brand ambassador - Jack Guarnieri knows the rough and tumble of the coin-op business inside and out like nobody else. Jack teams up with Butch Peel to present his company's up-coming release, the lavish and feature-packed Pirates of the Caribbean pinball, before joining Pinball News Editor-in-Chief Martin Ayub in a fireside chat to give his insights into the pinball business, how it has changed over the years, where it stands now, and what kind of future pinball can look forward to. Q & A to follow.

Jack Guarnieri started out in the mid-'70s as a pinball operator and technician. As owner of, he was one of – if not the – biggest pinball distributor in the U.S. To meet the demand from his customers for high-quality pinball machines he started Jersey Jack Pinball in 2011. Since then the company has manufactured The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, Dialed In! (winner of six awards in 2018, including Game of the Year) and soon Pirates of the Caribbean. Come see a live demo of JJP’s newest game!

Butch Peel is an electrical engineer by trade, with a REAL passion for pinball. He has worked for JJP since 2012, writing game manuals, attending shows with Jersey Jack, making service videos, and more. He recently retired with 32 years of civil service, to devote his full time and attention to PINBALL!

Martin Ayub is the founder and Editor of Pinball News, as well as being an avid pinball player, collector and restorer in his native London. He runs tournaments and for many years was the #1 UK player. He recently helped set up the Flip-Out London pinball club and holds the position of UK Country Director for the IFPA. He travels the world reporting on pinball shows, tournaments, new games and great places to play, and creates TV graphics for the BBC as his "other" career.


Pinball Art: A Colorful Career • 7:00pm

PINLEBRITY! Free autograph session to follow

Greg Freres reflects on a 40 year career in the pinball business and discusses his beginnings in the industry, his influences in both art and pinball design, the evolution he’s seen in both the aesthetic and technical sides of producing art and behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the pinball design business. Greg will also be signing autographs (translites, back glasses, etc) at the end of his session.

Greg Freres has been part of the pinball and coin-op industry for 40 years beginning in 1978 at Bally Manufacturing. He’s currently working as the Art Director at Stern Pinball, Inc. since 2012, but his artwork and design influence can be seen on over 40 pinball games including (just to name a few) Fathom, Scared Stiff, Medieval Madness, Revenge From Mars, Dr. Dude, Whoa Nellie! and Wizard of OZ. “I never planned on making games for a living, but it sure beats a regular job!”


Sunday 2018

Sunday Pinball School • 10am & 2pm

Small groups of about 6 - hands-on! • 2 times to choose from.

This is your chance to get "tutored" some basic and intermediate pinball skills in a small group setting. Classes fill up fast, so sign-up at the front desk (where you pay to get into the show). Otherwise, just show up 10 minutes before class in the TOURNAMENT AREA and if room allows we'll squeeze you in.

Real Pinball Pros hand-picked from the community will show you how to PLAY BETTER! Some groups will be for beginners (no experience required) while others are for those who know their way around a flipper button. FREE classes with paid admission to the show, 13 and over please (unless your kid is on his/her way to being a Pinball Wizard). Read more about these small, fun, friendly classes here.


Spooky Goes West • 11:00am

PINLEBRITY! Free autograph session to follow

Since it's their first time on the west coast, they'll discuss the start of Spooky Pinball and how they went from America's Most Haunted to Total Nuclear Annihilation & Alice Cooper's Nightmare Castle in 5 short years. Might we see some new games at the show? Yes, we might! There will be an autograph session after the presentation.

Charlie Emery quit a job of 21 years in the print industry to start Spooky Pinball LLC (with Kayte Emery). He does everything from game design to artwork prep & printing, laser cutting, and daily operations of the shop. He also has been the co-host of the Spooky Pinball Podcast for the last 8 years (hosted by their son, Bug).


Using and Reading EM Schematics • 1:00pm

For Troubleshooting and Theory of Operation

Using real life examples, David will talk through how schematics are used to pinpoint interesting and hard to find problems in EM games. He will also use schematics to explain the logical operation of some EM machine components such as score motors and relay lock-in switches.
While this is not a beginner session, all are welcome to attend and everyone will take away some new knowledge. For those that have little or no experience, you will see the promise of this valuable skill. Others will take away some tips for using schematics for EM troubleshooting and have a more full understanding of how the games work. The following sites are helpful starting points for people who want to get some initial experience looking over schematics before this presentation: EM schematic reading guide and Mr. Pinball Tips

David Volansky's interest in pinball started at a young age on family vacations. He got his first pinball machine in 1980 and has it to this day (along with a few more). Several years ago, David got the bug for wanting to fix pinball machines and now is helping others with that same desire. David is a board member and volunteer at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda and helps keep machines going during many local pinball events year 'round. .


Dive Into Stern Pinball's New 'Spike' System • 2:30pm

Compare and Contrast

Learn about Stern’s new Spike System. This system is a radical departure from previous pinball computer systems. See how it compares to the older 'Sam' system and everything else that came before it. Both Spike I and the newer Spike II games will be discussed.

Christopher Kuntz has been operating, repairing, and selling pinball machines for over thirty years, not including his many years of study -- conducted one quarter at a time! His business, Pinball Pirate, is located in Benicia, California. Hats off and a hearty thanks for his many years of volunteering his time to fix games at our shows. He can sell you a game, or fix one you have- just check out his website!

Guests and schedule subject to change without notice.
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