In the Washington/Baltimore metro area, we’re fortunate to have many shows and tournaments within easy driving distance (~4 hours or less). (Of course, we’re biased and think that 33 weeks a year of FSPA league play is the crown jewel of our area! 🙂 ) Here are a few…
- PAPA (Pittsburgh, PA) (April) – the World Championship tournament. Test your skills against the best in the world with several divisions of competition. Or just play their collection of 500+ pinball machines, video games, and other arcade favorites until they kick you out, for a low daily admission fee. Pinball heaven.
- PinFest (Allentown, PA) (May) – show and tournament, with many machines and parts for sale, including the famous flea market. For extra fun, stop by the awesome Allentown Farmer’s Market next door, and get your ride on at Dorney Park just a couple miles away.
- Pinholics Anonymous (McLean, VA) (May, September, December) – great single-day tournament run three or four times per year by FSPA’er Kevin Stone, Pinholics attracts players from all over the mid-Atlantic and beyond.
- ReplayFX / Pinburgh (Pittsburgh, PA) (July) – run by the same team that brings you PAPA, Pinburgh is the World Match-Play Championship, the largest (~800 competitors) and richest ($100,000 prize pool) pinball competition in the galaxy. 20+ hours of guaranteed competition in 4 divisions, for all skill levels. Pinburgh is part of ReplayFX, a gaming festival featuring thousands of pinball machines, video games, console games, board games, live bands, cosplay competitions, and much more. If you can only travel to one event all year, make it this one.
- White Rose Gameroom Show (York, PA) (September/October) – mostly a show, probably not worth going just for the tournament. Lots of machines and parts to play, buy, or sell, including a good flea market area.
Willing to make a bigger trip to satisfy your pinball cravings? Here are some shows and tournaments we think are worth the trip.
- Pinball Expo (Chicago, IL) (October) – once the definitive national show each year; Pinball Expo no longer has the most games to play nor the biggest tournament, but it has unrivaled seminars and behind-the-scenes access to game manufacturers, past and present, in Chicago, the epicenter of pinball manufacturing. You’re likely to see games you won’t find anywhere else. The tournament is still solid, and the game hall is available for non-stop 24-hour-a-day play through most of the Expo.
- California Extreme (Santa Clara, CA) (July) – Hundreds of pinball machines and video games, including lots of rare games and fun mods, with a cool California vibe.