Sunday, December 2, 2012

Time to Crawl Out of the Cave (Is that Bigfoot?)

I laughed uncomfortably when I opened the blog to find out that our last post was just before we rang in the New Year known as 2012.  What the....? Obviously things have been a bit crazy at the Whizbang headquarters in 2012. But pinball in general seems to be on the uptick with many people entering the design/manufacturing end of the pool this year and more newbies showing up at many of the collector shows. And there are even more places to find and play pinball in the wild so maybe the renaissance truly is in full bloom.

When we first set out to build a few custom games and made the announcement at Pinball Expo 2009, we NEVER thought that it would be close to three years to get all four games completed. With that said, we have also been doing this part-time so the passage of time expanded while we were busy taking care of all of our other business. But enough of that - we are very close to wrapping this project and we'll see what happens next.

We think we have a pretty good idea of what we may do next but can't quite disclose that information just yet. Please be patient (if you've read this blog then you must be) and we will have some type of announcement "all in good time."

So much has happened since the last blog update that we're not sure where to begin.We attended several shows this year and traveled great distance to get a new audience in front of the melon project. We again got to meet so many great pinball people and make some new friends in the process. Starting with the Michigan Pinball Expo, then on to Mike Pacak's Ohio Pinball Show, then to the Midwest Gaming Classic near Milwaukee, and finally the big road trip to the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown.

Thousands of miles got us seeing new places and meeting great folks - and we continue to get an amazing response with every new show. We only wish we could get the game in front of every collector show that exists.

We were thrilled to win three ribbons in three categories from the voting audience at the Rocky Mountain show. Stern's ACDC only got one ribbon. So we got that going for us! (Hi Steve)

But instead of typing more now and showing a bunch of pics, we wanted to share with you a short video. This video was shot at one of the more infamous build weekends a few weeks before our big "2-games finished" debut at Pinball Expo 2011.

Jean-Paul "JP" deWin shot and edited the video, and we can't thank him enough for surprising us with just a few moments of one day all stitched together. Since we spent most of our time chronicling the project with still photography, it's great to have this video.

JP was in the Chicago area last October (from the Netherlands) to kick-start his work on the Wizard of OZ pinball project for Jersey Jack Pinball. JP is responsible for the LCD motion graphics on the "WOZ" project but before that he worked with us at Williams for a very brief internship just as the end of pinball for WMS was happening in 1999. 2011 was his new chance to finally get some work done in pinball. He took some time from his busy visit to head up to Whizbang HQ to be a part of the build weekend.

It was probably our biggest "crew" to-date helping to bring the Solid State game to the finish line for Expo - see the picture on our last blog post. The regulars were there, Ken Walker and Mark Weyna, along with a few more hands and brains. Greg Golminas tagged along with Ken, and Kerry Imming (our PinKit designer/engineer) came south from Minnesota along with Bryan Kelly, well known in the pinball community for his meticulous pinball restoration work. For two days all of these guys put forth a great effort in getting Kerry's electronics package up and running for the first time on WNBJM. It was quite a turning point for the project and we're glad to have a piece of it recorded.

Enjoy the video and realize when you watch it that the details you see people working on are just a small piece of the big picture - all from just one day! Every screw, every soldered wire, every dremel carve, all the sanding, clipping, hammer hits, every switch all adds up to a lot of time, effort, diligence, patience, skill, knowledge, and perseverance  We are lucky to have the help we received and will always treasure this time in our own little corner of pinball history.

Whizbang October 2011

Stay with us. We'll try to post more post-design moments regularly and much sooner than the end of next year!

Greg & Dennis

All art, sketches, or photos related directly to "Whizbang Pinball" or "Whoa Nellie (Brand) Big Juicy Melons" or "Whoa Nellie (Brand) Sweet Juicy Melons" are TM and Copyright 2009-2011 WhizBang Pinball LLC, Greg Freres, and Dennis Nordman.

Photos on this post courtesy G. Freres and Video by Jean-Paul DeWin