Marco Pinball prepared for Midwest Gaming Classic 2021 by wrapping up our pallets and having them shipped to the Wisconsin Convention Center. As our team headed up to Wisconsin to set up for the show, we met our Stern and KingPin Games counterparts to team up to bring you a Godzilla sized booth, crowned with an oversized inflatable surrounded by a ring of Godzilla Pros and Premiums.
All of the games from Stern showcased the new Stern Insider Connected ™, including George Gomez’s personal Deadpool LE machine.
Destruction reigned supreme and Godzilla stood inflated with a city built of Stern boxes surrounding the large inflatable. The leaderboards ran for the entire event, keeping track of the ongoing high score achievements and showcasing the various benefits of Stern’s Insider Connected ™.
On stage we highlighted a variety of homebrews (including Motor City Taxi, Undertale and Ghost in the shell), a niche group within an already niche hobby. These brave people have decided to not just re-theme a pinball machine, which is an already daunting task, but they decided that they would like to construct an entire machine from the ground up. Utilizing a variety of skills, research, trial and error and no doubt blood, sweat and tears — on the MarcoTV Stage we were able to showcase these games and the people behind them.
As always, our famous Pinball Lounge sat in a corner for maximum comfort after a long day of walking not one, but two, exhibition halls, the game room hall, and a vendor hall right next door.
The show spanned two different floors with a notable appearance of The Garcade, a local arcade ran by Gar — a personable and charismatic owner with a huge passion for video arcades and pinball. Gar Nelson also stepped onto our MarcoTV stage for a short, vivacious interview that covered his passion, how the Garcade came to be and what his location has to offer.
The Garcade Room was located downstairs from the main exhibition halls and had an amazing local DJ, the vibe set was that of an intimate club. A wrestling ring was built outside of the vendor hall, the loud sounds of people being dropped onto the mat echoed down the hall where the art vendors had lined up to sell their work.
There was a continued flurry of activity throughout the entire weekend. KingPin Games, our local Wisconsin vendor) had a wide variety of pinball machines, ticket redemption, arcades and shooters on display while also selling a variety of Stern toppers. Offering more than just game sales, they also offer continued tech support, and in-home game repair. Make sure to reach out to [email protected] if you’re interested in their services.
Throughout the weekend, the booth was visited by a variety of names including, Gary Stern, George Gomez, John Borg, our own Marc Mandeltort and many more. When George arrived on the scene, his immediate stop was to check in on his own personal Deadpool machine that he had pulled generously from his home. During that time, a teenage Deadpool was busy playing a game and absolutely had to get a picture of him.
A great highlight of the weekend was having Mark from Mark’s Basement Arcade on the MarcoTV stage. Mark hosted a Stepper Unit rebuild tutorial with us that can be watched below if you missed it!
Mark’s youtube channel is filled with helpful tutorials, tips, and walk-throughs of a variety of pinball repairs.
If you’re a pinball tech and you are interested in being showcased on MarcoTV like our friend Mark, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
For this show, we wanted to highlight the local scene of Wisconsin — to really give back to all of the operators that have in some way helped continue the passion, the growth and the love of pinball. Our Spotlight Reel included a wonderful lineup with great locations like NerdHaven Arcade, The Drafty Cellar, District 82 and more.
As the show began to fill in on Saturday morning we invited Don Caldwell and Mark Bakula to our MarcoTV Stage for a wonderful overview of pinball history. Their conversation went through the introduction of the first pinball machine, the ban of the hobby and the subsequent hardships it faced, and finally Roger Sharpe’s demonstration of skills to legalize pinball once again. Enjoy the cozy banter and information provided by our two hosts if you missed it in the below video:
Midwest Gaming Classic will be coming back next year in April and we will be returning armed with a whole new spectacular set up. Make sure to join us next year in Wisconsin April 29th thru May 1st, 2022.