20 years ago, there were no such things as pinball clubs really. Everything basically centered around local shows and occasionally some local bars/home collections. Organization of these things was usually pretty haphazard and a lot of times didn’t last long.
Come around to today, pinball clubs are everywhere. Almost every major city has one in some shape or fashion, usually in the form of a monthly tournament. Kansas City for example has monthly tournaments at Pizza West and weekly tournaments at the 403 club. 10 years ago there were no tournaments in KC outside of an occasional one at a bar, so it’s a huge change.
Is it really a club?
Well, not really for the most part, it kind of depends on the city. Some towns have you sign up for a weekly/monthly tourney for a certain period of time and then have a finals. Most though are based upon people showing up at certain place and time for a tournament on a regular basis.
KC’s isn’t an official club, it’s just tournaments. However, the same people regularly attend said tourneys.
What’s the reward?
What do you get out of a pinball club? Usually trophies, bragging rights, and IFPA points. What are IFPA points? IFPA stands for International Flipper Pinball Association. It didn’t use to be a big deal, but over the last few years it has really picked up steam. At the time of this writing, there are now over 37,000 players in the ranking database. That’s a huge jump from the couple thousand there were a while back.
There are so many players now that if you want to rank decently you really have to play a lot. All these pinball clubs and tournaments are a huge boon to the rankings.
The other thing that’s help the resurgence is the increase in the number of games produced from various manufacturers. It has really increased the player base.