With the Pinball Hall of Fame releasing for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on Sept. 22, I got a chance to talk to the current pinball champion Keith Elwin.
Elwin, who recently finished first at the So Cal Pinball Party and at the PAPA World Pinball Championships, took a bit of time out of his day to answer some questions I had about his years of pinball playing. Besides asking him how he got his start playing pinball, I found out who his favorite rivalry is against and how often he actually plays pinball anymore.
You can check out the full interview with Elwin below.
Adam Larck: When did you start playing pinball and what got you started?
Keith Elwin: I was about 8-9 years old. My brother would take me to the arcade when he was stuck babysitting me. From there I started riding my bike to the arcade in search of lost tokens so I could play pinball.
AL Building off of that, what then got you started playing competitively?
KE: My competitive side came about when the internet took off. I started reading about pinball tournaments and thinking "I can do that!" So I drove to my first one in Arizona in 1993 and the rest is history.
AL: Do you still play for fun, or is most of your playing competition only now?
KE: Yeah I pretty much only play in competitions these days. Not many machines to be found on location and the ones that I do find are set up so easy they are not a challenge. Ironically I enjoy playing the "Pinball Hall of Fame" collection more than going out to play the same 3 games on location here in Carlsbad. But hopefully one of the devices of Pinballs Death (video) can help it make a re-surgence.
AL: How long does a pinball game normally last for you and what's your average score?
KE: The way I have my machines set up at home with no outlane posts or extra balls my game times are pretty low say on average 10-15 min.
AL: How often do you compete and how much do you make off of prizes in a year?
KE: I attend about 5-6 tournaments a year. I make enough to be able to attend the next tournament usually :).
AL: Do you have any rivalries with other players?
KE: Oh yeah, my favorite rivalry is with an Oregon player named Mike Mahaffey. We both grew up playing the same type of machines so whenever we get a chance to square off on one, it's all out war!
AL: Where are some of the favorite places you've played at?
KE: Well back in the day I would go to the local bowling alley or pizza places. Later on when the giant "Redemption" type arcades started to show up I would play there. These days I play at home or friends houses.
AL: Out of all the tables you've played on, what are some of your favorites?
KE: Frontier, Family Guy, Fathom, Safecracker and Punchy the Clown are a few of my favorites right now.
AL: What do you do when you're not playing?
KE: Right now I am still working on my how to play pinball DVD "Pinball 101." It was just released yet I am still having to devote time to it which gets frustrating but people seem to be enjoying it which makes up for it.
AL: Do you have any tips for other pinball players?
KE: Sure, buy my DVD! :) www.pinballvideo.com. Anything people can do to support this dying hobby is great. Buying machines, supporting places like the Pinball Hall of Fame or Pacific Pinball Museum, picking up a copy of "Pinball Hall of Fame" the video game might be the first step to both becoming a better player and supporting the future of pinball!
The Pinball Hall of Fame game is already available for the PlayStation 2, Wii and PSP. It comes out on Sept. 22 for the 360 and PS3 with HD graphics, new tables and online leaderboards.