Archive for September, 2008

Doctor Who tournament information

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Doctor Who Pinball Tournament Rules and Information

Friday, Sept. 19 – Sunday, Oct. 5th
Win a Data East Laser War pinball machine!


Play games of Doctor Who at Docking Bay 93/Phoenix Nest on and between the tournament dates. If you make the scoreboard, ‘sign’ the game with the initials you registered for the tournament under. At the end of the tournament, the player with the highest score will be awarded the Laser War pinball machine (see below for further details on prize).

No deathsaves, slapsaves, or excessive moving of the machine allowed. Absolutely no hitting or otherwise abusing the machine will be tolerated. No cheating of any kind. Failure to follow these rules can, at the sole discretion of the staff of Docking Bay 93 and/or Phoenix Nest result in you being issued a warning, asked to leave, removed from the tournament, or in extreme cases banning from the premises. While playing, please observe the rules posted in the entrance to the arcade, and practice good sportsmanship by not monopolising the machine if there are other players present and not interfering with other player’s games.

Or to put it another way, play nice and have fun!


The prize will be one Laser War pinball machine, in as-is condition, with manual and a care and maintenance pack (exact contents to be determined). In the condition the machine is currently in, it has an estimated value of $300-$600 (we will check current value and completed sales when the tournament ends to give the winner a value for tax purposes). No warranty expressedor implied comes with the prize. Transport of the prize is the responsibility of the winner. In the event the prize is won by a minor, it will be awarded to their parent or legal guardian. No substitute prize will be awarded (see Storage, etc. below for suggestions if you wish to compete, but for whatever reason don’t want the prize)

Management of Docking Bay 93 and/or Phoenix Nest reserve the right to amend these rules if needed. If amended, the amended rules will be available at the front counter, and posted in the arcade.

Doctor Who pinball machine hints and tips:

A promotional video for Doctor Who is on Youtube(or search for Doctor Who pinball), which explains gameplay in great detail. I also highly recommend reading the Pinball Archive rulesheet, which contains a detailed explanation of the game’s features as well as some very good strategy advice. If you have no internet access, I highly recommend having a friend print it out for you.

A basic scoring strategy I follow is to start with the first Doctor lit (change Doctors using the flipper buttons prior to launching the ball), and try to get into the video modes as fast as possible. Each video mode completed lights another Doctor, so completing a few video modes will greatly boost your score. For a quick score boost, always jump into the TARDIS at the end of the video mode wave.

Storage, etc.:

After the tournament, we can store the prize for a brief amount of time while you make arrangements. In the event you don’t want the prize, there are a few options. First, you could donate it to charity, either a charity thrift store or a youth group would probably be very grateful for the donation, and on top of doing a good deed, you’d get a reciept so you could deduct the donation on your taxes. Second, you could place the game on an auction site or place a classified ad and sell it. If you choose to do this, we will need to discuss storage and access issues at that time. And third, you could see if you have a friend who wants a pinball machine in his house. We do not recommend operating this machine for money without repairing the problem noted in the tournament announcement.

Doctor Who Tournament begins!

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Today is the first day of the two-week long pinball toutnament at Docking Bay 93, being played on the newly-restored Doctor Who pinball machine.  Scroll down a few posts for details, and we hope everyone has fun!

The lack of posts yesterday was because it took longer to get Doctor Who working properly than anticipated.  As of when it left for the shop (pictures of the leg bolt that delayed the pin being returned to the shop Thursday coming after I’ve had a good night’s sleep), the only thing wrong with it was a light in the lowest pop bumper is not installed.  I had the wrong replacement parts for the broken socket.  Not a bad tradeoff for a fully functional time expander, though.

Addams Family has left the arcade briefly, for VERY much needed work.  I won’t be giving any estimates for how long until it returns until I’ve had a chance to catalog what all needs fixed.  I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading, and again, hope you have fun with the tournament!

Quick update

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

No pictures, I left the camera out in the shop, but re-assembly has started on Doctor Who. All of the targets on the Time Expander test as working, but I won’t know for sure until I have it all reassembled and play a few games. The right lock is refusing to work atm, but with luck it’ll just be a loose wire.

As promised, links!

First, a slightly slow, but very informative promotional video for the game. I recommend watching this to anyone who hasn’t played Doctor Who much and wants to compete in the tournament.

And second, a page I found a few days ago that contained a lot of information about the game that I hadn’t known, from Bally/Williams pinball programmer Pfutz. I actually like the origional cabinet better, but that’s me speaking as a Doctor Who fan. As an operator, the cabinet they used would be much more eye catching in most arcades.

More news tomorrow, if not sooner!

Doctor Who, in progress

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Work continues on the Doctor Who pinball machine. Most of the work is just basic cleaning, replacing of bulbs, and whatnot. The faulty circuit board has been replaced and no problems have been found.

And then there are the repairs.  I started rebuilding the pop bumpers, which have over the years become badly chipped, as you can see below:

New bumper skirts are being installed, and a new light in the lower bumper (which was already removed when I took this picture).

And the other repair, and a major one, is that I am rebuilding the Time Expander, installing a new set of optos in the switch bank, which will make the Dalek Bump targets work properly for the first time since before we bought the game.  Here is the Time Expander removed from the playfield:

And here is the gaping hole it leaves behind:

After the playfield is torn apart, cleaned, and put together, I will also check the wiring under the playfield for loose or broken connections, replace lightbulbs, and clean the under-playfield ramps.  If you’ve ever wondered how the pinball works, this may give you some idea:

In other news, as you have no doubt noticed, we we removed Doctor Who for repairs, we replaced it with Tales of the Arabian Knights.  The game will be filling in for the other pins as we rotate them out for repairs and maintenance.  Currently, the skill shot is broken (we replaced the broken ramp with a good one, and we think a wire broke in the process), but that should be fixed within the next few days.

With any luck, I should be back Tuesday night/Wednesday morning with pictures of a newly repaired Time Expander and a clean and bright game, ready for the upcoming tournament!  I’ll also post links to the Doctor Who programmer’s blog, where he talks about designing the game, and to the Bally promotional video for Doctor Who on YouTube.  It’s a little slow, but has a lot of great gameplay information.

Pinball Tournament

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Friday, Sept. 19 – Sunday, Oct. 5th
Win a Data East Laser War pinball machine!

How do you win? Register your initials with Dan, then play the Doctor Who pinball machine any time during the tournament period. The high score on the game at close of business October 5th wins! The only entry fee is the 25 cents per game, and you may play as many times as you like!

An information sheet will be provided on the starting date of the tournament with some basic gameplay information for the Doctor Who pinball machine, tournament rules, links to internet sites related to the game, rules that will be in effect in the event of mechanical failure of the Doctor Who pinball machine, and suggestions for what to do if you want to compete, but don’t have the space to own a pinball machine.

About the Laser War machine: A fun, laser-tag inspired game from Data East. The specific machine is working (see note below), in average condition for a game of its age, due to damage to the spaceship toy and some wear, fading, and discolouration on the playfield and artwork. Game will be cleaned and checked for burned out lights prior to being awarded. The game currently has an electronic problem, causing it to occasionally reset during gameplay, which means it is not suitable to operate for money, but for most people will not affect their enjoyment at home. Included with the game will be the operator’s manual and an information sheet with a list of internet resources for parts and repair, should you wish to repair the game or have it professionally repaired, as well as basic maintenance information.

In other news, unless anything else is found wrong with it (when I’m done, something on that pin will work that hasn’t worked since before we owned it, which I will post about tomorrow night!), Doctor Who will be returning to the arcade Wednesday, at which time Addams Family will rotate out for some MUCH needed work. Then either Simpsons or Lord of the Rings, depending on which needs tlc more.

I will be catching this blog up over the week (things have been a little hectic, with the amount of things around the house I need to do before fall weather sets in), and probably posting updates daily while I finish up Doctor Who and work on Addams Family. Anyone curious about what the inside of a pinball machine looks like, tune in tomorrow!

(please note, links to the Internet Pinball Machine Database might not work intermittently for a few days, as their physical site was in the path of Hurricane Ike.