Author Topic: Kong Off 2  (Read 2695 times)

Offline mECHsLAVE

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Kong Off 2
« on: November 22, 2012, 12:53:03 PM »
Ok, finally got a chance to write a little about the KO2 and why I missed SPF2.  

The simple reason is because Jon is a close friend of mine for over ten years, and I met him early on in my arcade adventures (1998) and we were inseperable collectors for many years, building our collections together.   Jon is now the main guy in charge of the games at the 1UP and 2UP in Denver, and he was basically the hero of the entire KO2 event.   This is the second Kong Off event, which is the brainchild of Richie Knucklez who held the first event at his arcade, which has since closed down.  The bulk of the responsibility to make the event run smooth from a machine perspective fell on Jon's shoulders, and he reached out to Andy and I for help, so we had to be there.  I'm very sorry to have missed SPF, but I did have a good reason, I promise!  Richie was a huge help for the promotion, MCing, etc of the event, and was invaluable in keeping everyone's energy up!  Jourdan, owner of the 1UP and 2UP, never stopped moving and giving everyone a pat on the back and telling us how much he couldn't have done it without us.  Thanks again Jourdan for all you did for US! 

For those of you who haven't been to the 1UP and 2UP, they are incredible.   Approx 25 top title pins setup, along with maybe 60+ classic arcades, with full bars.  All the latest Sterns, MM w color displays, a Joust pin, etc.   The locations are just incredible.  

When I arrived, they had about half of the DK's ready for the event with two days to go.   Andy (who many of you know as P-man) was doing most of the heavy lifting on the technical side (the man is a genius) and we all got them working, tweaked, and setup downstairs for the event with mere hours to spare!   Then we spent a lot of time tweaking monitor brightness, alignment, sound and control panel tweaks in the final hours.  The picture of me making the face is funny, because I don't remember making it (I think I was calling out to Jon to run upstairs) but it personifies the pressure we all felt leading up the start of the event.  Billy, incidentally, is a ridiculously nice and his 'act' as "Of course, it has to be, because I'm Billy Mitchell" is just that...an act.  It was no act when he wanted his button changed with five minutes to start, though (lol, hence my face).  

However, once the tweaks were done, the DK's all proved to be extremely reliable.  I think we adjusted one button and cleaned a couple of joysticks over the next two days of the actual competition!!   There was no shortage of small tasks, though, as players were trying to break records on Frenzy, Missile Command, Splatterhouse, NBA, Joust, etc etc, and everyone had little complaints!

There was a private party upstairs on Sat night, and who do I look up to see walking up the steps all by himself?  Gary Stern!  Apparently he flew right in from SPF, directly to the 1UP, and had quite a bit of fun at our private party with open bar (hah!).  Nothing loosened his lips on Avengers, however, even though we tried.   There were several other SPF connections, none so funny as me battling my butt off to beat one of the female bartenders in one of our many epic tipsy ACDC late night games only to pull up the SPF qualifications (I was following all of you guys from afar, even if you didn't know it) only to have her snatch the phone from my hand and see how her roommate was doing (Jen Peavler? I think).   It's a small world, and Jess was no mere bartender but a great pinball player who knew her shots and stacks (better than I did on ACDC!).   Another connection is the appearance of Mark, shown in the MM picture from the privater party upstairs, who many of us in FL have to thank for the really nice Ballys around... most all of Kelley's old collection was brokered by Jon through Mark, including those pristine examples of Medusa, Fathom, Strikes n Spares, etc.   Mark has sold most of his pins off, but he was a pleasure to play pins with and we had some epic battles (anyone who thinks: "Oh, you only hit the castle in MM!" should've seen some of the stacks and hurry-ups we got going!!  It was nice to play against someone who knew MM as well as I did, and is a great player besides).

Final results were no new World Records but a new reigning Kong Off Champion, from Canada, Jeff Willms!   Weibe had a late run kill screen on Day 2, but he wasn't on pace to take the lead, neither was Billy who also had a big comeback on Day 2.   Hank and Steve both had 2 kill screens, and at once point were just a couple hundred points apart after late kill screens on Day 1.  Really fun event and I was happy to be even a small part of it all, behind the scenes.   Coors Light, among others, sponsored the event and they had custom art made for the DK's in the event (I may have a surprise DK for APE if I get a chance!).    More later, as I'm sure I missed a bunch of memories and I'm being called to go eat..  Here are the final standings... and some photos to go with the story... more when I get a chance...

1 Jeff Willms  1,105,400  
2 Dean Saglio  1,079,400
3 Steve Wiebe  1,006,700  
4 Hank Chien  996,900
5 Kyle Goewert  996,200
6 Vincent Lemay  988,000  
7 Mark Kiehl  943,700  
8 Billy Mitchell  901,900  
9 Eric Tessler 900,500  
10 Jeff Wolfe 892,800  
11 Ben Falls  854,300  
12 Dave McCrary  847,100  
13 Mike Groesbeck 829,100  
14 Steve Wiltshire 749,900  
15 Jonathan McCourt 729,700  
16 Ross Benziger 690,100










-Jason

Saint Augustine, FL

Offline John I

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Re: Kong Off 2
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2012, 09:08:03 PM »
Awesome writeup and pictures.  Those custom cabinets are really cool.  Having two epic events in one weekend is simply a stroke of bad luck.  We all fully understand why you weren't at SPF.  We all sure missed you though.

Wanted to buy: 
Gottlieb Dodge City

Offline Greywolf

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Re: Kong Off 2
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2012, 11:02:24 PM »
Just so we're clear...SPF 2013 is Nov. 22-24...consider yourselves notified :)

Offline Baiter

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Re: Kong Off 2
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2012, 09:53:26 AM »
Nice writeup Jason.  What a huge undertaking, very nice of you to lend a hand.  Would be fun to attend one myself.

At SPF Gary Stern was actually talking very fondly about the 1up.  He said that his daughter lives there, he was going to see her after SPF, and is convinced that barcades are the means to resurrect public pinball.  John and Jourdan are doing a fantastic job.

Offline mECHsLAVE

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Re: Kong Off 2
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2012, 11:52:05 AM »
Gary is right, and I'm convinced of it as well!   They were stacked several people deep on Fri and Sat night at the pins, something I've never seen in an arcade since the 80's.  A group of four college age girls were putting a credit into CFTBL for every plunge!  They were still putting money in with 9 credits before I intervened!  It's quite a scene there, and just great for gaming all the way around.  Stern LE's and top A-list 90's titles on location, and well maintained by The Gooch.   Dan Gutchess is the guy who runs the pins at the 1UP, and Jon basically runs everything at the 2UP and all the vids at the 1UP.   

Jon is probably still sleeping 16 hours a day recouping from the weeks of work leading up the KO2... he was basically the hero of the event!   And yeah, I remember Gary mentioning the 1UP in the 2011 SPF speech as well.   Jourdan made him aware of their coin drops, and I seriously doubt any location in the country can boast the drops the 1UP/2UP has, except maybe one of those Seattle/Portland locations.   Monthly tourneys are great for pinball awareness as well, as some of the bartenders and locals never played pinball before the tourneys started.  There's something about tournaments, liquor and well-maintained pins...   There's a formula for success there, no doubt.  If I didn't already have a mildy successful business...
-Jason

Saint Augustine, FL

Offline Baiter

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Re: Kong Off 2
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2012, 05:02:07 PM »
Emphasis on well maintained.  The 1up and 2up are testaments to that,

Offline klassic

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Re: Kong Off 2
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 10:23:53 AM »
great write up. thank you for the pics and story. :)