If you don’t feel like reading farther than the first sentence of this post, know this: Portland Pinbrawl 2010 was EPIC and it lasted until 1:30 a.m. and Jeff “Deathsave” Gagnon added a second Johnny Mnemonic to his half-working pinball machine line-up back in Ye Olde Seattle and I learned how to spell the word “mnemonic.” But if you were looking for something deeper than one run-on sentence, read on, wise baller, read on:
At last year’s inaugural Pinbrawl, 120 people showed up, about half of them the registering on-site the day of. This year, the tourney was capped at 128 participants, and 127!!! of them pre-registered. Brett Erickson was the lucky 128th soul, preventing J.D. Yeager from being the only participant with a bye. Sorry, J.D.!
The bracket was a force to be reckoned with. For one thing, it was huge, sizewise. And for another, dayum, were the players good. Keith Elwin, #2 pinballer in the world, graced us with his presence, knocking many ballers to the curb and, I’m sure, drinking all the IPAs in the Northwest while he was at it. He started off the tournament facing down Danny Backglass on The Simpsons Pinball Party. And if you want anyone battling the #1 player in the US, it’s DannyB wearing his CFF vest and whaling on a Ground Kontrol machine. He loves that shit! Keith won the first match, but not by much, and DB managed to force him to game three. But eventually even the most hardened pinball gangsters can fall to Keith Elwin’s flipper skills.
Other notable early matches: Replay and Deathsave met on the Shadow right off the bat; ROM beat Dropshot in round 2, knocking last year’s second place winner to the losers bracket way earlier than expected; VRPA was pitted against itself in the form of Eden Stamm vs. Robert Gagno, a pretty low-scoring couple of games on Roadshow where Robert came out on top (in a twist of fate, the two of them would meet again later on in the evening, in the losers bracket); and Cayle George, last year’s Pinbrawl winner, also the champion of multiple consecutive Shorty’s tournaments, lost against William Brown in the second round, sending him to the losers bracket as well.
It was barely afternoon, but you could tell this Pinbrawl was getting intense. Also around this time I discovered the delicious faux-meatball sub at Backspace (I went 0-2, trading in my pinballing for meatballing and PBR) so some stuff happened that I wasn’t aware of. DannyB was hacking his way through the losers bracket, hoping to stay in it long enough to get his revenge against Keith. He knocked Bounceback out before moving on to Dropshot. According to a confidential source, “I buttfucked dropshot at simpsons. Just made him look like a fruit salad. And, he cried a little. 2-0.” My computer pretty much doesn’t recognize any of the words in that first sentence, but I’d never edit or censor DannyB. And he just kept going. Edmund Nash, Elijah Nelson, Mark Mahoney, Dave Dimoff, Jason Kickback America…not bad players, but they all fell in the face of DannyB’s pinball wrath.
Over in the winners bracket, Keith defeated Robert Gagno (probably the youngest competitor at the ‘Brawl…if any young 21ers want to take issue with that statement, bring it on, I don’t factcheck, I bodycheck) on Bride of Pinbot and moved on to Star Trek, where Mr. Russ Wallis, aka Skillshot, surfacing out of semi-pinball-retirement (aka fatherhood), was waiting to take him on. And take him on he did; Russ knocked Keith to the losers bracket, where he had to play Cayle. It went to 3 games on Scared Stiff for these two huge competitors. On the third game, Cayle was miles ahead of Keith when a game malfunction left them playing their third game on Spiderman. Cayle walked away victorious, knocking Keith out of the tournament entirely. Russ had to play Deathsave in the winners bracket and was unable to sustain his high (Skillshot’s tournament advice: get three hours of sleep the night before, apparently it works wonders), getting knocked out by Mahaffey in the losers bracket; Mahaffey also knocked out Robert Gagno, who beat Eden for the second time in one tournament before losing to Mike.
Cayle and Opto were on Funhouse and this was about the time I had a free second to watch and also was feeling my beers (you can trace my drinking habits based on how legible the paper bracket is; check it out at Dropshot’s house. The bracket is a fucking work of art if I do say so myself), but it was a ridiculous match! It went three games, and the whole time I was freaking out and clutching Slamtilt’s arm (oh, Slam was still in it at this point, too, but I neglected to watch any of his matches so they’re not really documented here) but OptoNoah came out on top, winning games 2 and 3 pretty handily. He also managed to beat Mahaffey, and the final three matches were played out on the stage.
Decided beforehand, the winners final was on Viking, the losers final was on Flash, and the final final was on the prize machine, Johnny MNEMONIC (sorry, really excited about being able to spell this word now). The winners final was Deathsave vs. Steve; Steve’s a tilty motherfucker and I was interested to see how these older machines would treat him. Jeffsave made some intense saves; in one ball, he had two times where he got the ball back onto the playfield from the bumper in the left outlane (not technically a bangback, who knew?), and he ended up knocking Steve into the losers bracket to play Noah. They played on Noah’s home Flash machine, but hey, them’s the breaks. During Game 2, Steve tilted his own ball and Noah’s next ball, automatically forfeiting the game. It would have been tough to come back from that, and he didn’t, so it was an all-CFF final. John “Tilt” Wray was in fine and belligerent form, heckling from the audience, and the final was pretty ridiculous. Noah had to win two best-2-of-3 matches against Jeff. He won the first one 2-0, yikes, so everyone was pretty on edge to see how it would all turn out. The second game went 3 games before Jeff finally pulled out of his (whiskey-induced?) slump and defeated Noah to win himself a duplicate of a game he already owns.
So the machine didn’t go to a native Portlander, but from what I hear it’s still in town. CFF had 8 of the final 16, a vast improvement over last year’s 4. Everyone had a lot of fun. I assume GK sold a lot of Pabst. And I did just as well as I did last year, when I didn’t show up. Except at least this time I got drunk, so you can blame Pabst for any errors in this blog post, as well as the fact that Noah won a PBR mini-fridge he doesn’t need. This tournament was, to put it simply, a blast. Next up is the Slabtown Showdown on July 30-August 1st, and it’s gonna be sweet. So see you then, or at the Slabtown tourney in November, or at Shorty’s, or at next year’s 3rd Annual Pinbrawl. And always remember, CFF TIL DEATH.
Deathsave Beat Opto to claim this years pinhead at Portland PinBrawl!
Where did Johnny go anyways?
Current date: 4/25/10