Thursday, January 26, 2012

Arcade Games at Star City – Air Hockey, Pool & Ping Pong

Following the first minigolf event of the BMGA Tour season at the Star City Open in Birmingham on Sunday 22nd January, a group of players headed to the amusement arcade attached to the Bowling Alley in the Star City Complex for an Air Hockey Tourney.

Among the competitors in action at the Las Vegas of the West Midlands were reigning Worlds Air Hockey Champion Peter ‘The Puckmaster’ Jones, James ‘Ruthers’ Rutherford, Seth ‘Wandsworth’ Thomas, 'Squire' Richard Gottfried & Oliver ‘The Machine’ Florence.

The first game to be played was on the closest table to the door and after a draw of sorts was organised by Emily ‘Lemony’ Gottfried play commenced with a match-up between perennial Air Hockey loser, ‘Squire’ Richard Gottfried, and the Welsh Worlds Air Hockey champ and side-tournament specialist Peter ‘The Dragon’ Jones.

Peter Jones (far side) faces-off against Richard Gottfried in the longest match ever!

Unbeknownst to the players the match would create something of a record result, as the machine was a bit broken! The final result saw 31 goals scored as the match seemed to be never ending. Normally the first player who scores 7 goals is the winner and the machine keeps the puck from being returned. However in the battle between Gottfried & Jones, Richard managed to get the upset win, with a slim victory of 16-15.

With the match going on for so long Richard retired from the rest of the contest due to exhaustion and went to have a nice sit down. This meant that Peter ‘The Crazy Aced Assassin’ Jones was back in the contest and would face Seth ‘Tooting’ Thomas in the ‘first’ round.

Before that contest could take place a new table needed to be found for the match between Ruthers and The Machine. Play then commenced after Ollie had put a deposit down for half an hour’s play on the Ping Pong table. In the Air Hockey match Ollie took control and defeated Ruthers 7-5 meaning The Machine would head to the final to face either Thomas or Jones. The defeated Ruthers consoled himself by heading to the Table Tennis table to take on and beat all-comers (except Seth, who was just too good). One notable result was the ‘Squire’ (ranked 50th alongside Brad ‘The Fist’ Shepherd in the 2010 World Series of Pong) coming out of retirement for one more match. He was swiftly beaten 11-6 by Ruthers.

Ping Ponger Ruthers awaiting new challengers

In the highly anticipated match-up between Worlds Champ Peter ‘Toy Truck’ Jones and the sporting polymath that is Seth ‘Clockwork Orange’ Thomas the result was an unexpected win to Thomas, who managed to take down the champ and win 7-3 to line up a contest against The Machine in the Grand Final.

The Machine warms-up for the Air Hockey final with a bit of Table Tennis

Having seen the photos of the Air Hockey matches online, and on being told he had wrongly assumed that Peter 'Indoor League' Jones had been dishing out lessons, Finnish player Pasi ‘Bruiser’ Aho commented “He's just giving you that false feeling of confidence and will strike back when it matters.”

With the first Air Hockey table used in the competition set to ‘Long Play’ the players couldn’t imagine that the event would befall some other controversy, but that is exactly what happened in the big final match-up. With Seth Thomas easing to a 6-2 lead against Oliver Florence what happened next could of been taken straight from a round of ‘What happened next?’ on TV game show A Question of Sport. As Ollie hit a goal to bring his score up to 3 goals, the puck got stuck in the goal mouth and couldn’t be retrieved, nor did it register on the scoreboard!

Seth Thomas and Oliver Florence face-off in the Air Hockey Final

Luckily Emily ‘I’ll get #TheMan’ Gottfried was on hand and went and got the man to come and have a look at the machine (the table, not Ollie). With much wrenching and fiddling the technician was unable to get the puck out, so instead turned off the table and gave the players their pound back.

Pucking Hell! The Air Hockey Puck gets stuck in the goal

This caused a dilemma as the result of the match was still undecided. To decide the ultimate winner of the Star City Air Hockey Contest, Seth and Ollie decided to play one game of Ping Pong as a decider!

The result of the Air Hockey Tournament is decided on a Ping Pong Table

In the end there seemed to be only one possible result as Seth took an early and commanding lead, as he had done on the Air Hockey, and finished the match by smashing in a result of 11-2 and leaving The Machine with the runner-up spot.

Following the final of the Air Pong competition Seth declared that “the fun isn’t over if I’ve still got money left” and proceeded to challenge players to games of Pool. First up was Richard who, apart from the break and potting one ball, spent the game speaking with Peter 'PJ#2' Jones on the sidelines.

Richard Gottfried enjoys a nice sit down on his way to a Pool defeat at the hands of Seth Thomas

With the Hurricane Simulator ‘Out of Order’ a doubles Pool match was proposed, with the line-up of England (Ollie & Seth) to take on the ‘Wales’ team of Peter and Richard. England won.

And that wrapped up the fun and games at The Buttons of Star City. For a change no Laser Tag was played. The next big arcade event will no doubt be a £2 Tat Challenge at the amusement arcades of Worthing, West Sussex in April.

- 2011 Worlds Crazy Air Hockey Championships in Hastings
- Crazy Minigolfers Play Air Hockey Tournament in Hastings
- The Undisputed International Worlds Crazy Air Squash Championships


Richard Gottfried said...

Anthony of the excellent Splash Point Mini Golf course in Worthing (host of the 2012 BMGA British Masters minigolf tournament) has been scouting out venues for Air Hockey and has found a couple of tables at the AMF Hollywood Bowl in Worthing.

Roll on April...

Seth 'Marginally better than average at a few sports' Thomas said...

Excellent blog one of your best yet! Two factual inaccuracies however, you potted 4 of your balls against me, it was in the doubles only 1 ball was potted by Wales. And I beat Ollie 11-1 in the ping pong. Not that it matters ;)
Also the only minigolfer who is actually a true sporting polymath is Chris Harding. Nethertheless I anticipate some close fought side tournament battles between me and Peter Jones in the future!

Seth Thomas said...

Might have to come to the Masters if only for Air Hockey and Bowling!

Richard Gottfried said...

Thanks for the comment Wandsworth.

Factual inaccuracies noted, although the 'actual' result of 11-1 will be appreciated by #TheMachine even less than the reported 11-2!

It felt like I only potted one ball against you! 4 ain't that bad in hindsight then lol.

Chris Harding is indeed a sporting polymath that CB Fry would of been proud of. He's not that good a football goalie by the sound of it though!

I wonder whether Peter Jones is looking forward to the side tournament battles against you in the future...?

Emily "too ill to play" Lemony said...

These were some great side tournaments... and ignoring the poor maintenance condition of the equipment, provided some great side-tournament moments :)