CHICAGO (CBS) — Esports video game competitions have become hugely popular. Well, a pinball machine is just a bigger, more hands-on console and its players compete almost just like any other sport.
CBS 2’s Matt Zahn has more on how an old school game is lighting up for new fans.
Most people have played their fair share of pinball, but not many know how competitive it can be.
“No idea,” said Elgin native and relative pinball newcomer Andy Bagwell when asked if he initially knew how competitive pinball was. “No clue.”
It’s actually been around a long time.
“I’ve been playing competitively for about 30 years,” said Park Ridge Native Jason Werdrick. “My first Pinball event was Pinball Expo 1991 in Rosemont Illinois.”
Bagwell and Werdrick are two of the 16 finalists competing in Saturday’s International Flipper Pinball Association Illinois State Championship.
“There’s some incredibly good players that will be playing as well,” said Bagwell. “Some of the top 20 players in the world, three or four of them, are playing in that tournament this weekend.”
“We do definitely have the hardest competition out of all the states,” says Werdrick.
They both play in competitions all over, showing off their skills. I asked Bagwell if he had a high score.
“On Maiden (the Iron Maiden Machine), I think I’ve got about 1.7 billion as my highest on this one, but every game of pinball has a different scoring ratio, so that’s a huge score on some games and nothing on others.”
They both keep competing and playing because they love pinball.
“What I love about pinball is every time you play the game it’s never the same,” said Wardrick. “It doesn’t have a set pattern like a video game does and you always come back for more, wanting to top your last score and keep on improving your skills.”
There is real money in these tournaments as well. Werdrick recently took home $1,500 from a tournament in California.