October 8th, 2014
Hi friends. For a long time now, ever since I was a teenager actually, I have wanted to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. I saw lots of crazy stunts being performed on TV and some even in person. I also have always had a long standing love for pinball. Those of you that know me can attest to this. So earlier this year, I happened to come across an old article about a fellow who set an unofficial world record back in 1974. It was for the Longest Pinball Playing Marathon. A gentleman by the name of Ronald M. Mowry had played a Gottlieb Super Soccer for 72hrs. and 8 Minutes in Hallendale Beach, FL. I knew right then that this was what I was waiting to do for so long. I immediately contacted the people at Guinness World Records and got everything set up to break a record.
Now, as I mentioned before, it was an unofficial record. That is unfortunately due to the fact that Guinness did not recognize pinball as a competitive sport back in 1974. (Heck, pinball wasn’t even legal in a lot of places yet!) However, after a bit of research I found that the “official” record was set in 2007 by Alessandro Parisi at the Westland Shopping Centre in Whyalla, Australia. It lasted 28 hours.
Now most sane people would most likely go for the 28+ hour mark and get themselves into the record books. Not me! I want to break both the official and the unofficial records. My goal is to set the new record at 100 hours. Coincidently, the 30th anniversary Pinball Expo in Chicago, IL being held on Oct 15th – 19th is exactly 100 hours long. This is where I will be making my record breaking attempt.
Now, this is where all of you come in. I am also doing this in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish foundation of Chicago. I am using my record breaking attempt to help generate money for the kids that benefit from the wonderful work that they do. So I’m looking for people to sponsor me through donations. The Pinball Expo has been making donations to Make-A-Wish® Illinois through a charity auction that they hold each year during their banquet. Even though they normally raise several thousand dollars, I felt that I could help contribute more by also having donations gathered throughout the entire time that the Expo is open.
I set up this page for those of you who would like to help out but cannot make it to the show in Chicago. I know that many of my friends out there would be more than happy to make a donation to support my crazy endeavor. 100% of all the funds I collect here will go straight to Make-A-Wish® Illinois. I’m not looking to make a dime off of this. Like I said previously, I’ve been wanting to something special like this for quite a while now. Even the tiniest of donations make a difference as they all add up in the end. Please give what you can and wish me luck! I will post an update after the Expo and let you all know how things went.
Please check out the links below for more information.
- The “unofficial” record: http://www.pinballnews.com/news/record.html
- The “official” record: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-3000/longest-marathon-playing-pinball/
- The Pinball Expo: www.pinballexpo.com
- Make-A-Wish® Illinois http://illinois.wish.org/
Thank you all!
October 22nd, 2014
Here’s the update (finally!) from my Pinball Expo marathon attempt. This going to be a looong read so grab a snack or something first. You all know I can be long winded
This past weekend, from the 16th – 18th I played on a Stern Mustang pinball machine for 50+ hours straight. I didn’t sleep and only took a total of 14 minutes for 5 restroom breaks. These breaks weren’t even included in my 50 hour total. I stopped the countdown timer I had going while I was away. Here’s the skinny on what went down and how it became a 50 instead of a 100 hour ordeal.
Even though I had previously contacted Guinness about the attempt, this was not going to official. The people at Guinness pretty much made it impossible for me to achieve the record with their insanely strict guidelines for witnesses. I understand the fact of not having someone related to you or someone that was part of the show being a witness… but they wanted, and I quote “A wide range of people from all walks of life. Doctors, Lawyers… people off the street… whomever. The two people witnessing also cannot know each other. You can’t have two buddies that play pinball together doing it. They all have to complete and total strangers who are doing this for the excitement of participating in a Guinness World Record attempt.” They also went on to “clarify” that people attending the show or anybody involved with the Make-A-Wish charity would not be able to be a witness. So, that pretty much left random hotel guests that would have to subject themselves to “continuously watching me play for up to a maximum of 4 hours.” Yep, I have 4 hours to kill for no apparent reason in a hotel between 2 and 6 in the morning… lets do that instead of say… sleeping! This all went down Monday night as they finally got back to me. I was to start Wed. and play until Sun. The second thing that threw me for a loop was that I wasn’t able to get the game to play until Thursday. I could have picked it up Monday or Tuesday. However, the rain and a blown out tire on the expressway that Monday made things really tough transportation wise. So I had the Mustang pinball, that Stern graciously loaned me, delivered and set up Thursday around 1:00PM. After getting the rest of my gear set up, banner hung and donation box made, I began playing around 2:30PM. This obviously chopped the available time down from the 100 hours I originally was going to attempt. So I decided that I was going to play for 50 hours and still do it for charity. I didn’t want to let down the people over at the Make-A-Wish foundation. I promised them I’d play for them and I did. Plus I figured that if I ever did want to try and attempt a 100 hour record, I would have a pretty good idea of how I would feel after the first 50 hours
The first 12 hours or so went pretty good. I had some bottles of water and some protein bars on hand but decided that it would be fun to order a pizza and have it delivered. So I hopped online with my cellphone and in between shots into the pop bumpers, I ordered one. It was quite entertaining to try and instruct the delivery guy on how to find me in the hotel. But, he made it just fine and everything was good. I got it around 11:30PM and gradually munched on it until the morning.
I think my first bathroom break came at about 2:00AM. It was just a quick trip around the corner to the restroom and I was back on the game in a little over 2 minutes.
That Friday morning for me was a little rough. I had not slept for 24 hours at the 9:00AM mark. And to my detriment, I unfortunately did not get to sleep until 5:00AM that previous night. Yeah… 4 hours sleep going into a marathon of 50+ hours of playing. Not the brightest thing to do, but there were extenuating circumstances behind that madness that I won’t go into. I was feeling a little bit foggy and the game was just really boring the daylights out of me at this point. I tried my best to keep it together and somehow I did. I’m pretty sure part of the issue was food and at about 11:00 I decided to order a sandwich from Jimmy Johns and have it delivered. That went much smoother than poor Vladimir from Domino’s trying to find me in a sea of people the previous night. I did pretty well with the sandwich despite having to play one handed. I’m sure the cleaning crew enjoyed the little bit of shredded lettuce that got dropped because of it.
Friday afternoon went good and I had a couple high scoring games. It seemed like I would go in cycles of good games then bad games. My highest that I was able to get was 243,640,210. I didn’t think that was too bad considering that I was about 30 hours into playing and was starting to look like one of the zombies from TWD.
Friday evening was the beginning of a crazy night. It started off by me meeting Rod and Carrie from Canada. They were a really nice couple and asked me what was the hardest part so far in my attempt. I jokingly said it was deciding on what to have for dinner. I was kinda limited in my choices. Rod said “What about something of the hotel menu?” I thought that was actually a pretty good idea so he offered to go grab me a menu. After he returned, Rod held up the menu for me as I played and looked at what I might get. I ended up deciding on the gnocchi with vodka marinara sauce as they would be relatively easy to eat while playing. Rod then said he’d go place my order for me with the restaurant. Then when I told him to wait a second while I grabbed him some money to pay, he told me that it was on him and his wife as part of their donation to me. I told them that it wasn’t necessary but they insisted. What really blew me away was that even after they bought me dinner, they still were kind enough to put a donation in the box for Make-A-Wish. After that dinner, I was stoked and didn’t have any problems at all that night….
That is until Gary showed up. The wonderful and colorful Gary Holdsteady showed up around 10:30 – 11:00 and had obviously partaken in his fair share of free craft beer that was being distributed that night. I had met Gary at Expo two years ago and he was a real trip to sit and talk with. The stories we shared back and forth were amazing. But, he was sober then. This time when Gary came up to me, he was nothing short of a walking frat party. There were pictures, and videos, and more pictures taken of Gary being as loud and obnoxious as he possibly could. But it was great! Gary kept me amused and entertained with his yelling at the top of his lungs in the hall up until about 2:00AM in the morning. There were a few people that came by and quietly asked if I was ok and if I needed something done about Gary. I just smiled and shook my head no. Everything was good and I knew that he was going to pass out in a chair somewhere soon. Thanks Gary for the much needed help with staying awake that second night. It really was worth the strange looks we were getting from others.
Saturday morning rolled around and so did the line for the Flip Out tournament and the autograph session. I was right smack in the middle of two competing groups of people. Those who wanted to get autographs from their favorite artists and designers and the crazy mad sea of people trying to qualify one last time for the finals. But somehow in this madness, people started to notice that my countdown timer was in the single digits. I myself knew it because I swear I looked at that damn thing every 3 minutes! Todd Tuckey from TNT had been following my progress every several hours and was doing a little video documentary on it. He came by once again and dropped another $5 in the box like he had done numerous times before.
Soon enough Saturday afternoon arrived and I was down to the last 10 minutes or so. Todd came back around with his camera and a small crowd started to form around me. It was kinda nice knowing that there were so many people that had actually taken an interest in what I was doing and decided to show up and cheer me on. The the unexpected happened when Walter Day showed up. He announced that I was going to receive my own trading card with a special reserved number of 2000 documenting my achievement. The place went nuts. I couldn’t actually believe it myself. I was excited but humbled at the same time.
With 60 seconds left, the crowd which had grown to a very large number of people started counting down. I’ve been in pressure situations before and have had people cheering me on… but nothing like this. The last 20 seconds, everyone was literally shouting. It was like the countdown to new years eve in Times Square. Even Gary with a hangover was whooping it up with everybody.
And then it happened… The clock hit 00:00:00 and flashed red. The place erupted with cheers and congratulations. You would have thought the Cubs had just won the World Series. Somehow though a little piece of history was made and we all got to share in it. But… this guy kept playing. I had to finish out my game as I wanted to have some stats to go with my play time. So after about 3 more minutes I was finally done. While I popped open the game to grab my game audits, Todd Tuckey grabbed my donation box and passed it around for people to donate.
I am proud to say that I had generated $1002.92 for the Make-A-Wish foundation from both online and cash donations at the Expo.
In closing, I would like to thank all of those who helped out and donated to this worthy cause. You are all champions in my book.
Some of the more noteworthy stats from my playing:
Grand Champion 243,640,210
First Place 165,833,510
Second Place 162,380,240
Third Place 157,905,000
Fourth Place 155,165,770
Balls Played: 2,324
Extra Balls: 522
Games Played: 602
Average Score: 33,749,730
Total Points*: 20,317,337,460 (*602 games times average score)
Left Drains: 572
Center Drains: 1307 (Damn drop targets!)
Right Drains: 445
Ball Saves: 734 (Pop bumpers to SDTM!)
Left Flips: 56,588
Right Flips: 61,709 (Lane change & mode select)
First image found at- http://store.orangephotography.com/p328863282/h1e0e7da7#h3e67e14