Pinball Expo 2022 is here and Pinball Magazine is present to report from the show. A small warning upfront: as this is a show with A LOT going on, it turns out to be hard to find the time to sit down, write a report about it, and edit the photos I’ve taken. But I’ll try and will finish the report probably when the show is over.
Pinball Expo is held at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois. Martin Ayub of Pinball News and I often travel together to these events and we both report from them separately. Martin covers the show in his way, and so do I. We arrived in Schaumburg on Monday, October 17th, two days before the start of the show. Monday evening we went to Enterium, a huge local arcade. Pinball designer/programmer Scott Danesi (Total Nuclear Annihilation, Rick and Morty) had announced on Facebook he would be at this barcade that evening to play redemption games at half price. As it turned out, Scott wasn’t the only pinball designer present as Mark Seiden (Jersey Jack Pinball) and Ryan McQuaid (American Pinball) were also present. All three have a history of starting with homebrew games. Martin and I played a couple of games on Toy Story 4, which was the first time I got to play the game. As I haven’t seen any of the Toy Story movies, I had an unbiased approach to the game and I can only say that it’s a great game. It plays like butter, very nice flow.
Tuesday morning we visited Jersey Jack Pinball, where we got a factory tour from game designer Eric Meunier. Images will follow soon. The JJP factory is a very clean, classy and efficient factory, and Eric had time to give a very detailed tour. Following the tour, Martin and I played a few more games of Toy Story 4 in the JJP reception hall, and then game designer Steve Ritchie walked by. We both know Steve well and were happy to see him again. As he was heading out for lunch with Mark Seiden, he invited us to join them. We went to a Chinese restaurant with a very good reputation. Many pinball industry professionals eat here regularly.
Following lunch, Martin and I eaded to American Pinball. We were supposed to meet David Fix, but as David is one of the main organizers of Pinball Expo he was busy setting up the show at the Renaissance hotel. Instead, we got a factory tour from Max, who had been working for the company in Sales for almost a year now. Comparing the production facility of American Pinball with Jersey Jack Pinball, I’d say the American Pinball lines are a factor four smaller than at JJP. So more things get done on a game at a station before it moves on to the next station. Still, a very efficient line. Photos will follow soon.
Tuesday evening we were invited to a league night at Mark Seiden’s house. Here I was able to play Mark’s Metroid game. This game design resulted in him getting hired at Jersey Jack where he is being mentored by Steve Ritchie.
Wednesday morning, Martin and I checked out of our hotel to move to the Renaissance Hotel. For both of us, this is our first time attending Pinball Expo at this location. Last year, Pinball Expo moved to this location, but we couldn’t attend due to Covid-19 restrictions. The hotel reminds me a bit of the Texas Pinball Festival hotel.
The showfloor for Pinball Expo is drastically different than the previous location, the Westin in Weeling, Illinois. Now, all vendors and free play games are setup in one large hall. I took photos during setup of the show, which I used in a special newsletter I sent out that afternoon. Below I will post photos from the show floor during the show, with all booths set up and up and running.
This report will be updated during and after Pinball Expo 2022.