Flippin’ out: Greenpoint laundromat to host state pinball championship

Bumper battle: Francesco La Rocca looks on as Mike Pantino shoots for the high score inside Sunshine Laundromat, which will host this year’s statewide pinball championship on Jan. 19.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

They sure play a mean pinball!

An international cadre of elite pinball wizards hailing from such exotic locales as Texas and Canada will gather in Greenpoint for the Empire State’s premier flipper showdown on Jan. 19 — the New York State Pinball Championship.

“This is the best players in New York, and other states playing against each other for a chance to become New York State Champion,” said Windsor Terrace resident and championship director Francesco La Rocca.

The epic battle of the bumpers — now in its sixth year — will play out at the legendary pinball haunt Sunshine Laundromat, where contenders will step through a hidden door into a beer bar featuring 30 multi-ball-spewing fun boxes. There the players will vie for high scores on machines that celebrate bands including AC/DC and the Beatles, and shows “Ghostbusters,” “Game of Thrones,” “Walking Dead,” and “Star Wars,” among others.

Most of the event’s 24 contenders hail from New York City, but the night’s ladder will also include several upstate wizards and some out-of-state competitors, including storied Texan champ Steven Bowden, who is ranked the 13th best player in the world by the International Flipper Pinball Association. The out-of-state interloper will be the man to beat at the New York showdown, according to the championship’s director.

“He’s one of the best players in the world,” said La Rocca. “He’s one of the best players ever!”

The two dozen entrants were chosen from more than 670 registered pinball players who performed well in some 150 tournaments throughout New York State, and will battle each other in best-of-seven matches, each round of which will play out on a different machine.

The key to success, according to La Rocca, is not merely skill at the game, but knowledge of each machine — knowing the tricks of how to coax multi-balls, point-multipliers, and end-of-ball bonuses out of the table.

The winner will take home the largest share of a $2,500 prize pool, along with the chance to compete at the US National Pinball Championship in Las Vegas on March 28.

Check out the elite pinball action at the New York State Pinball Championship at Sunshine Laundromat [860 Manhattan Ave. between Milton and Noble streets in Greenpoint, (718) 475–2055, www.sunshinelaundromat.com]. Jan. 19 at noon. Free.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Flip it: This year’s state pinball championship will play out on 30 machines inside Greenpoint’s Sunshine Laundromat.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

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