Posted May 03, 2006 | Stern
Guinness World Records™ ... publishing pinball scores
May 3, 2006 - For the first time in its 52-year history, Guinness World Records™ will be publishing pinball scores.
As part of a partnership with the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard, the world authority on electronic gaming records, the Guinness World Records 2007™ Book will include a table of pinball high scores that show the highest score on each of ten different games, researched and verified by Walter Day of Twin Galaxies.
The contest for best scores was April 28-30, 2006. The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, opened in February 2006 to commemorate the history of pinball, was the official site of the event. The Pinball Hall of Fame, organized by Tim Arnold and other members of the Las Vegas Pinball Collector's Club, enjoys a non-profit charter and is the world's only museum created solely to document the history of Pinball.
To bring organization to the process of gathering scores in time for the May 1st publishing deadline of the Guinness World Records 2007 Book, Twin Galaxies resurrected its most famous contest: the Video Game & Pinball Masters Tournament, which hasn't been conducted since 1997. This year's edition of the contest -- as well as the 1997 Video Game & Pinball Masters Tournament -- are both descended from the Video Game Masters Tournament, which was the original contest Twin Galaxies created in the 1980s to gather scores for the 1984-1987 U.S. editions of the record book, which was then called the Guinness Book of World Records. The contest was conducted on more than 100 video game titles in dozens of locations throughout North America. At that time, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., publisher of the U.S. edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, designated Walter Day an Assistant Editor, and put him in charge of verifying all video game records for the annual volume.
The games selected for the 2006 event represented many eras of pinball history, from the electro-mechanical games of the 1960s to software-driven titles of the modern era. The contest games included Kings & Queens (Gottlieb, 1965), Lawman (Gottlieb, 1971), Wizard (Bally, 1975), Captain Fantastic (Bally, 1977), Taxi (Williams, 1988), The Addams Family (Midway, 1992), Creature from the Black Lagoon (Midway, 1992), Twilight Zone (Midway, 1993), Scared Stiff (Midway, 1996), and South Park (Sega, 1999). A small number of video games were also included.
Though Twin Galaxies already has thousands of pinball scores in its database collected from dozens of past contests, it was deemed necessary to gather "new" high scores resulting from gameplay on machines only in perfect condition, played under uniform settings. Day says: "We could not present the scores from past contests to Guinness World Records because the machines in those past contests could have been played on widely-varying settings, with outlane posts, tilts, bumpers and flippers set slightly differently from one machine to the next. Also wear and tear on the machines make them play differently -- an undesirable side-effect because any defect in a machine can influence the score."
The tendency for the aging process to effect the game play of pinball machines is also confirmed by Gary Stern, President of Stern Pinball, Inc. in Chicago, the world's only remaining pinball manufacturer (www.sternpinball.com). Mr. Stern, who is considered a global expert on pinball technology, says: "No two pinball machines are exactly alike. Because of the large number of moving parts involved, games can have minor differences even when they are fresh off the assembly line. And after they accumulate wear and tear from being played for a while, they become even more different from each other, making it difficult to compare scores from one machine to the next."
To get your own pinball game, contact your nearest Stern Distributor. You can also contact Jolly Backer at 708-786-7039 or by email. You also can contact Shelley Sax at 708-786-7030 or by email.
The Pinball Hall of Fame is located at 3330 E. Tropicana Ave. in Las Vegas, Nevada 89121 (at the North West corner of Tropicana and Pecos. About 10 blocks from the "strip" straight down Tropicana, about a $10 taxi ride.).
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