SAN FRANCISCO -- Alameda's Pacific Pinball Museum and Novato's Pinball Revival Co. are holding the sixth annual Pacific Pinball Exposition at the Marin County Civic Center Exhibition Hall in San Rafael from Sept. 21 to 23.
Known internationally as the world's largest pinball event, the exposition attracts thousands of visitors over the three-day weekend. It is the primary fundraiser for the museum, which bills itself as "the world's premier nonprofit pinball museum."
One headliner at the event will be the new Wizard of Oz flipper game, based on the famous 1939 MGM film, from Jersey Jack Pinball. Already previewed at the Electronic Arts Expo in Los Angeles last month, the Oz-themed flipper is slated for production release very soon. | SEE VIDEO
The exposition features seminars from industry leaders, historians, scientists, engineers and hobbyists including special guests George Gomez, Tim Arnold, Clay Harrell, and Jack "Jersey Jack" Guerniari, along with Stern Pinball Inc. chief executive Gary Stern.
Industry reps and parts vendors will be on hand to sell their products to collectors. Organizers said the expo's annual tournament attracts the highest-ranked players in the world, and has divisions for novices and children. The Pacific pinball expo also features pinball movies, tours of the exposition, awards, a raffle and more.
The event's chairman, Larry Zartarian, said, "Our mission statement is to inspire an interest in science, art and history through pinball and to preserve and promote this important part of American culture."
This year, the theme is "science and pinball." Pacific Pinball Museum pinballogists have created some exhibits for the exposition that display the inner workings of pinball science.
Exhibits include Jem Gruber's exploration of the predictability of pinball's "seeming randomness"; Melissa Harmon's experiment into momentum; and Mike Schiess and Wade Krause's "Visible Pins," three award-winning machines built in clear-plastic bodies that show off their inner workings.
The Visible Pins took more than a year from inception to creation, and allow students to see what's happening inside the games when people play them. Since its release, the Visible Pins concept has won Blue Ribbon awards at the 2009 Maker Faire and was featured at the Bedford Gallery's Illuminated Sculptures exhibition. The San Francisco Exploratorium, which recently purchased its own visible pinball exhibit from the Pacific Pinball Museum, is providing some science exhibits to this year's Pacific Pinball Exposition.
In related news, Stern Pinball staged a flipper tournament on its new X-Men coin-op game at Comic-Con in San Diego, CA, from July 11 to 14.