Unable to travel and with time on their hands, many Australians have rediscovered their love of pinball. COVID travel restrictions and more time at home has seen record numbers of new pinballs sold across Australia and prices of used machines have skyrocketed.
South Australia is capitalising on this phenomenon by holding the largest pinball event in our history – the SA Pinball Open presented by AMD, Friday 14 to Sunday 16 May.
“We have 48 pinball machines from the 70s, 80s, 90s and modern eras, all faithfully restored by collectors in the community. They play like they just came off the production line,” says Tournament Director, Greg Siegele.
“Previously an event like this was exclusive to competitive players. Our goal is to introduce more people to pinball, so we have scaled up the venue and the number of machines. For the first time we are opening the events to anyone who wants to enter. We have 480 tickets available across 5 events – 3 days of pinball bliss!”
“People are realising that pinball is something that you can own in the home, that the whole family can enjoy,” says Siegele. “Now that they can’t travel they’re cashed up and they’re buying pinball machines. We have seen prices double in the last 12 months, and some highly collectable used pinballs from the 90s like Medieval Madness and Addams Family are selling for $20,000. Entry level machines can be had for $3,500. The great thing about entering this hobby is that you are purchasing an asset that appreciates in value.”
The AMD SA Pinball Open is a non-profit event run by the community. All the machines are loaned from private collections around South Australia and by major sponsor Amusement Worx. All proceeds from ticket sales go to venue hire, insurance and prize money for the players.
“The stature of this event and the prize money has attracted the top ranked players from around Australia,” says Siegele. “It is one of the top 3 events on the Australian pinball calendar. We are keeping our fingers crossed there won’t be any last minute border closures.”
“This time around, we have a strong emphasis on catering to the casual or new player. Every event has a B division for players who have not played in tournaments. Casual players can enter one or all of the events.”
“Friday night is a Flip Frenzy tournament exclusive to players new to tournaments. This is a fun format where our software allocates players opponents and machines in a non-stop pinball frenzy for 90 minutes straight. Player results are recorded in real time and shown on the big screen. People love to see their rise and fall on the ladder.”
The event is family friendly and kids are welcome. Unfortunately, due to covid social distancing restrictions no spectators are possible. Only competitors with a ticket may enter.
To purchase tickets search online for “SA Pinball Open”.
AMD, or Amusement Machine Distributors, is the exclusive distributor of Stern pinball machines in Australia and naming rights sponsor of the event. They import and sell brand new games made by Stern, such as Star Wars, Led Zeppelin, Avengers and Deadpool.
Amusement Worx specialises in sales and service of pinball machines and the most significant supporter of tournament pinball in SA, holding events every month at their venue 285 Torrens Road, West Croydon. They have supplied many of the machines in this event, tech support and transporting all the machines to and from private collectors’ homes.
Greg Siegele (pictured with his parrot Wilba who has joined in many tournaments) is available for interviews on 0417 716 338. Greg is tournament director and has represented Australia at the IFPA World Championships. He was formerly CEO and co-founder of Adelaide video game developer Ratbag.