I am a chief writer for Weekend Notes, a copywriter, published poet and Editor of poetry magazine ‘Fruit Salad’ (on hold). I also write children's fiction and inspirational pieces.
Are you sure you play a mean pinball?
The Spotted Cow's pinball machines.
The Three Strikes Tournament is held every third Sunday at The Spotted Cow pub and was put together a year ago by Toowoomba City Pinball Club director Chelle McIntyre.
Three pinball machines are available: Creature from the Black Lagoon, Royal Rumble and Bally Addams Family. Each machine plays a different way, eg you aim the ball at different parts of the game to increase your score. The machines each have a unique story running during games, which some players enjoy. Skill is best improved by chronically playing the same machine; learning to play strategically. Not everyone finds the same machines easy.
The last tournament drew eight contestants. On 22 May, six players flipped, tilted and bumped at the pinball machines during the fun social event, the prize of which was a $50 voucher to spend at the house. Players come from Brisbane, Toowoomba and surrounds. There is a feeling of anticipation leading up to the tournament. The Spotted Cow mostly sees solo players. Sydney has the most teams of players in Australia.
Pinball board full of bumpers, flippers, lights and balls.
It's a good idea to warm up prior to the tournament which registers contestants at 2pm. Registration is free and games are $1. It's believed you should play your 'best ball' during the tournament rather than during warm up time if possible.The competition starts around 2:15pm and may run up to ten rounds depending on the number of players.
It's a far cry from pinball machines from centuries ago and even from the 1970s, with music, vocals, plenty of lights, features and multiple balls. Scores can go into the billions, but more commonly, the millions.
The Spotted Cow, Cnr Ruthven & Campbell Sts, Toowoomba.
Players kick, sway and bump in a kind of pinball dance. A computer app keeps track of the scores. Each match loss adds up and once you've accumulated three you're out of the tournament.
Chelle McIntyre and the other players are friendly and encouraging. They're a relaxed and fun club from different walks of life including Human Services and the business sector with a wide age range and gender mix.
When you register to play you receive a number in the International Flipper Pinball Association who have endorsed the Three Strikes Tournament. Top scoring players change quickly with the current Queensland champ being Peter Watt of the team of brothers Megawatt. Winners earn points which can lift them onto the international scene.
Alcohol slows your reaction time so best avoided, however the martinis at The Spotted Cow are delicious. Food and service in the dining area are top notch and you can watch a variety of sports screens before the tournament.
Jimmy took second place in the tournament.
Today's Three Strikes Tournament winner was Chelle McIntyre with 'Jimmy' coming second. Yours truly came last, but had a great time playing and meeting the gang. Lumosity and other computer game players might enjoy a change with a pinball machine.
Keep an eye on Toowoomba City Pinball Club on Facebook for details of the next tournament 19 June. The Spotted Cow is located at cnr Ruthven & Campbell Sts.