by Audrey Hacker
Our most recent Pinball show took place at Marco’s own hometown of Columbia, South Carolina at Soda City Comic Con 2022! The show took place from August 20-21st, and included meetings with actors from horror & science fiction films, cosplay contests, various vendors, but most importantly.. a Pinball Arcade!
The team set up over 60 pinball machines at the show and set all the machines to free play for the weekend, making Arcade Alley look fabulous! Bang Back Pinball Lounge brought Stern Pinball’s Stranger Things, and the set was transformed into the Upside-Down.
Stern Pinball and Marco teamed up to bring Godzilla, Rush, and Jurassic Park to the event. Our giant ballroom was packed all weekend, with machines being played with little pause in-between players.
Carolina Pinball brought Cactus Canyon and other arcade games to the show. This show also featured one of the newest games to the Pinball World… Jersey Jack’s Toy Story! The Mandalorian LE was also available to play, with only 750 out in the wild it’s always nice to catch a game.
To add to the excitement of Soda City Comic Con being our hometown show, there were also 3 PInball Tournaments! Two of the Tournaments were held on Saturday, which were the Open Progressive Strikes Pinball Tournament and the Kid’s Pinball Tournament. Part of the games from the tournament were donated by Phil’s Pinball, who refurbish old games and have games available to rent so you can have your own tournament! Other games were provided by Granby Grill, where you can get a great burger and catch some pinball in their arcade lounge. Bang Back, Transmission Arcade, The Fellowship of the Silverball, The Little Flippers of Columbia, Carolina Gamelab and Kennebunk Pinball also provided many of their pinball machines.
The Open Progressive Strikes Tournament on Saturday started off with pairing contestants into a group of 3 or 4 of similar skill levels. They were then given a pinball machine at random to play and the top player in each group moved ahead, until the final champion was awarded! 1st place winner Jason Werdrick was given a custom Soda City Comic Con trophy, and has all the bragging rights until next year.
The Kid’s Pinball Tournament was sponsored by our very own Little Flippers! Little Flippers is a youth inspired network of players who enjoy and share the excitement of pinball. With the help of Transmissions Arcade, Bang Back, and Carolina Game Lab, the tournament went off without a hitch! Miles Bradley took the first place prize of the 1 Up Arcade Machine, donated by Marco’s own Jess Hutfless!
The final tournament which took place on Sunday was the Belles and Chimes Women’s Progressive Strikes Tournament. Belles and Chimes was founded in California, and the Belles and Chimes Columbia Division hosted this contest. This tournament had similar stakes as the Open Progressiuve Strikes Tournament, where women who joined were paired into groups of 3 or 4 players of similar skill levels. They were also assigned to a random machine, and the winners out of those groups progressed! Brittney Matto claimed the #1 Spot and received an exclusive Soda City Comic Con trophy.
The Pinball playing did not wind down, until the lights were turned on and the power turned off. We had quite a few cosplayers visit our booth and showed off not only their costumes but also skills on the machines.
Another successful Pinball show has now drawn to a close. We could not have made it possible with the help of Stern Pinball, Bang Back, Transmission Arcade, Carolina Game Lab, Granby Grill, Phil’s Pinball, and Carolina Pinball, Kennebunk Pinball, Fellowship of the Silverball, and the greater carolina’s pinball community! Everyone made this a great hometown experience and we cannot wait to do this all again next year!