Gamers go full tilt for Vancouver Flipout Pinball Expo

Event runs until Sunday night at Roundhouse Community Centre

Vancouver will be teeming with ballers this weekend.

The third annual Vancouver Flipout Pinball Expo is happening now through Sunday at the Roundhouse Community Centre, bringing with it hundreds of machines, a few thousand participants and about $10,000 in booty.

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The “VIPs” on tap include the likes of Jack Danger, Dirty Donny and Jersey Jack, who have all reached rock star status in the gaming world.

The organizer’s name is Tommy Floyd.

The pinhead community is indeed a quirky one, but past history has proven this weekend won’t be confined to geeks alone.

“We’ve tripled in size and we get people in from all walks of life,” Expo organizer Tommy Floyd told the Courier. “The first year, our numbers were between 500 and 750. Last year we were over 1,000 and I think this year we’ll easily be over 1,500 if not more.” 

The expo is formatted in a manner that encourages diversity across all ages and skillsets. The rug rats will battle it out in the Junior Jam, while the women will settle their differences in the “Coup-de-Grace” bracket.

The main tournament requires a $30 buy in and the victor takes home a cool $1,000, all for pushing a few buttons.

“Video games and the other forms of entertainment that people have at home, it’s very solitary,” Floyd said. “The minute these same people step up to a pinball machine, there are people around encouraging them, they talk between turns. It’s a very social event.”

There’s also tradeshow-like component to the weekend where attendees can marvel at the future of the pinball universe. Two machines in particular that are themed around Deadpool and Pirates of the Caribbean are all the rage this year, given their 27-inch LCD display screens, video game-like graphics and interactive flair.

“It always amazes me that the average person doesn’t know that companies still make pinball machines. The resurgence has happened already and it’s really playing out the way I hoped it would. More and more of the mainstream are moving back to pinball,” Floyd said.

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