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Old 04-17-2019, 06:17 PM
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Default FLIP EXPO 2019

04-17-2019 06:00 PM
Last year marked our return to the Flip Expo show in Le Tréport, France after a few years away. We had a great time then, so returning this year was, to coin a phrase, a “no-brainer”.

The town of Le Tréport in Normandy Of course there are several other reasons why we’d want to make a return trip – the relative proximity to the Pinball News office in London, the attractive local scenery, the opportunity to stock up on some French wine and cider, the local cuisine, and the friendly nature of both the show and the inhabitants of Le Tréport who clearly embrace the event and look forward to its return each year, as evinced by the many, many posters we saw around town. Even the local paper got in on the act.

Posters near the dock and the local newspaper’s front page So we arrived in the town around 3pm on Friday, checked-in to our hotel (where our rudimentary French language skills proved sufficient to get us a nice room) and made the ten-minute walk past the port to Salle Serge Reggiani – the main hall where the bulk of the pinballs were being set up.

The port in Le Tréport with the church of St. Jacques overlooking the harbour Serge Reggiani is a famed film and stage actor, singer, writer and artist who moved from Italy to the region around Le Tréport at the age of eight before moving to Paris where he went on to become internationally renowned. This hall is named in his honour.

Salle Serge Reggiani (Salle is room or hall in French) Last year the temperatures were in the mid-20s Celsius (upper 70s in Fahrenheit) which meant there were lots of people lounging around outside, enjoying the warmth and the bright sunshine. There was plenty of sunshine over the weekend this year, but the temperatures were way down into the mid-teens at most which spoiled the fun a little.

So, it was inside the hall was where the fun was happening and when we got there, work was underway to set up the machines and the tournament area.

Setting up in the main hall Getting the tournament machines ready Some games were already set up But there were plenty more to set up, and lots more on their way The Free Play Hall also has a large kitchen which was serving hot food, baguettes, hot and cold drinks and crepes all weekend.

Things were getting hot in the kitchen making a steady supply of crepes for the workers The Salle Serge Reggiani is only one of the two halls used by the Flip Expo show. In earlier years it only had use of the room above, but recently an adjacent sports hall has been added to cater for the expanded number of vendor stands.

The sports hall for the many vendors In the sports hall, the tables and dividing walls for the vendors had been laid-out so those who were setting up on Friday could make an early start.

Inside the vendor hall American Pinball Houdini and Oktoberfest games arriving With everyone busy getting ready for Saturday’s 10am start we took our leave and visited a restaurant we particularly enjoyed last year where we were able to sit outside and overlook the harbour. The temperature prevented any outdoor seating this year, nonetheless we eventually staggered back to our hotel full of delicious local delicacies, ready to be back at the venue for the opening of the show the next morning.

The queue at opening time on Saturday Last year entrance to the show was split between the two halls, with payment desks at both. For 2019 there was a solitary entry desk which allowed entry to both halls, which made a lot more sense.

The entry desk Entry to the show cost just €4 ($4.50/£3.45) per day – a genuine bargain. The reason the cost can be so affordable is that the town welcomes the show by giving them the use of the two halls as well as the electricity they use. In addition, the show can run the kitchen themselves and aren’t tied to any approved catering company. In return, lots of visitors come to visit, stay at the hotels and frequent the local shops, restaurants and bars.

If only every pinball show host town or city was so forward-thinking.

So, let’s take a look in the vendor hall first as that’s where the latest titles were available to play.

Carl Jacob had a long table right by the entrance He had some retro slot machines for sale too As well as some nice reproduction backglasses, including a mirrored Medieval Madness glass There were also the newest Stern games, including a The Munsters LE, a Pro, The Beatles and Guardians of the Galaxy Next door to Carl was Mirco Steffen who had a large display of playfields, cabinet decals and assorted off-cuts or mis-prints which could be used as decoration for your gameroom.

The Mirco Playfields stand Mirco also had plenty of regular pinball parts for sale Doc Pinball had lots of electronic components and connectors Fred & Sylie Collet had a long table with assorted collectables and parts This Collectionneur table had boards and flyers for many games Pinball flyers Christophe Lienard had all four of the current Jersey Jack Pinball machines on his stand along with assorted parts for modern games.

Part of Christophe’s stand Art blades for various games The four existing Jersey Jack titles were on the stand Plus, there was this gap on the end – what could that be for? Until about a week before the show it was a secret that the fifth Jersey Jack Pinball title would enjoy its European debut at the Flip Expo show. However, word soon spread and it wasn’t long before people were making the trip to Le Tréport just to catch this new game. More on that later though.

Xavier Chiaroni had a large stand filled with games and collectables from yesteryear Plus, the latest in audio reproduction technology VV Pinball had a long stand filled with LEDs and other pinball parts Assorted pinball playfields for sale CHMPinball were championing Gottlieb pinball parts and spares Gottlieb pinball parts This stand had all kinds of Americana Starting on the second row of vendors, the first stand was from Flip Projects who were offering on-the-spot board diagnostics and repairs.

Flip Projects had their fault-finding and repair equipment set up You could also buy the Pinball 2000 replacement controller system, Nucore There were also lots of pinball parts to buy Pascal Janin was at Flip Expo selling his replacement and add-on pinball controller boards LocaFlip had pinball glass, manuals and assorted boards for sale Tommy, Transformers, Iron Man and X’s & O’s – we could never play this last one as it never seemed to have any credits Some games were entertaining even if you couldn’t play them On the opposite side of the row, Art Cab had some interesting video pinball and other arcade-style games, as well as bare pinball cabinets.

Art Cab’s full-size and miniature video pinballs The Art Cab stand On the subject of video games, FabrikBorne had some interesting home games for sale Eric Bateman brought along many assorted home game system cartridges The stand at the end of the row had all kinds of different memorabilia and gaming parts You’re bound to find something fascinating in this collection One of the largest stands belonged to Zpeakabonks Pinball Paradis whose 18m stand featured many of the latest titles to play as well as a good selection of pinball parts.

The two American Pinball titles were here Total Nuclear Annihilation, Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle and The Munsters LE were also very popular There were lots of pinball parts to buy LOTS of parts! Over on the side wall, MB Jeux had new and reclaimed pinball parts as well as four lovely older machines No shortage of parts to explore here Kiss, Dolly Parton, Future Spa and Canada Dry The final stand on the side wall as from Patrick Regnier who had a big range of pin badges Different kinds of pins We’re on the home straight now, with the final row of vendor stands headed-up by Jean Philippe Passarieux.

Plenty of boards to rummage through Some interesting multi-game miniature cabinets, at good prices too There were more good prices at Olivier Isambourg’s stand FlipperLED had LEDs of course, but more besides They also had plenty of coloured pinball rubbers Returning to the opposite corner of the hall, at midday on Saturday the newest Jersey Jack Pinball title was revealed on Christophe Lienard’s stand. In typically understated fashion, there was no announcement, no fanfare or presentation, it was just brought out from the back room where it had been stored so the first games could be streamed on the internet.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory appears on the stand The playfield of the Limited Edition model at the show The Wonkavision camera toy (it’s just a toy, as the real camera is in the backbox) The upper-right part of the playfield The shots under the Wonkavision screen The upper-right flipper area The Wonkavision screen showing the game rules The Most Secret Machine subway entrance The everlasting gobstopper The secret ball lock which carries over between games (only on the Limited and Collector’s Editions) The Wonka Bar counter – as soon as one of the inserts on the right column is lit, it carries over to the next ball There was a large box of chocolate mint miniature Wonka Bars for people to enjoy. Jack threw some of them out into the crowd too.

The box of miniature Wonka Bars Jack throws a handful of Wonka Bar chocolates into the crowd The crowd waiting to play the new game Jack with a bar and his new game The first game is played on the new machine We recorded some video of the playfield and of the first game being played with Franck Bona on the flippers.


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at Flip Expo 2019 The reveal of the game coincided with the reception drinks in the hall, attended by the Mayor of Le Tréport. Sadly, we were busy with the new game, but managed to enjoy a nice sip of Ricard nonetheless.

Reception drinks and snacks in the Vendor Hall As we move from the Vendor Hall to the Free Play Hall, we spotted a couple more pieces of classic Americana outside.

Two US Army Jeeps This food truck was serving drinks and snacks outside the Free Play Hall, while a supermarket was about 30-seconds’ walk away So, let’s go into the Free Play Hall, and as we entered the room the first games we came across were table footballs (foosballs or baby-foots).

Table football games by the entrance to the Free Play Hall Beyond these tables, PinSound had a large stand to showcase their replacement sound board and custom audio packages for a range of games. They had several demonstration machines set up so visitors could hear the PinSound system in action.

The PinSound stand Some of the PinSound demonstrator machines There were a few other vendors in the Free Play Hall too.

Boards, playfields and a box of US license plates Popcorn and Candy Floss (Cotton Candy) could be bought here The kitchen was busy throughout the show selling baguettes, crepes, croissants as well as hot and cold drinks For something a little more upmarket, you could buy champagne at this stand The rest of the hall was taken up by free-play machines and the tournaments which occupied the area around the stage at the back of the room.

Free play machines in the hall Free play machines in the hall Free play machines in the hall Free play machines in the hall Machines being played in the Free Play Hall Although there was a good selection, the Free Play Hall was by no means packed with machines. There were a few gaps and several of the machines there had no credits and so couldn’t be played.

There were a few gaps where more machines could have fitted Anyone who has taken machines to a show knows they are likely to be needed at some point A wide view of the Free Play Hall At the back of the hall was the tournament area where events were run by Nicolas Linqué.

The main tournament took place on Saturday. Players could choose to play any five of the available machines to try to get a highly-ranked score, plus they had a joker game which they could use (or not) to try to improve their ranking.

Play in the main tournament Play in the main tournament Score cards for the main tournament The play-offs took place on Saturday evening, with the eventual winner being Samuel Reolid who beat Franck Bona into second place on the final game which was played on Dialed-In!

Jack and Nicolas with the winner of the main tournament, Samuel Reolid
(picture by NicoFlip) On Sunday there were two more tournaments. In the morning there was a kids tournament where the winner was Alexandre Bouet.

Winner of the kids tournament, Alexandre Bouet
(picture by NicoFlip) Finally, there was a side tournament held on Sunday afternoon. The winner of this was Anthony Rorive.

The winner of Sunday’s side tournament, Anthony Rorive
(picture by NicoFlip) The tournament results conclude our coverage of this year’s Flip Expo show.

We continue to enjoy visiting Flip Expo and Le Tréport each year. Even with the cold weather, the town looked delightful and the show was as well-organised as ever.

Part of that organisation is to make sure it is as relaxing and enjoyable for everyone as possible. It has a great laid-back feel, with visitors coming and going as they please and a general lack of pressure to make sure you see everything. The low price of entry is a big help here, as it encourages family members to come along even if they are not especially into pinball (yet).

The only worrying thing is the possibility that this might be the last Flip Expo, since we heard that the main organiser, Franck Michaux, is looking to step down from running the show. That would be a real shame, as Flip Expo is probably as popular and as successful as it has ever been.

Hopefully it will continue for many years to come, and we hope you enjoyed our coverage of this year’s Flip Expo show. We leave you with our exclusive Eighteen Minute Tour of the show, looking at all the machines, vendors and other attractions for visitors to enjoy.


Pinball News Eighteen Minute Tour of Flip Expo 2019

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