Feature Story Sunday, March 1, 2015
Full Tilt Boogie
Mission arcade club brings back the golden age of pinball
Nitro Amusements has some of the best pinball and arcade machines in Canada up and running at the Mission store. Below, Nitro owners Tommy Floyd and Dan Arnold set it up so kids under 18 and under play for free.
“retro miracle has bloomed and is now being harvested in the heart of the Mission City.” What was once a forgotten era, replaced by home gaming systems, pinball has made a comeback in households and man caves across the Fraser Valley.
Nitro Amusements was founded and is operated by Tommy Floyd and Dan Arnold. The company has played a key role in reigniting the pinball craze in BC. Floyd says Nitro is a big hit in the community and often get entire families out to play.
In 2012, Nitro founded Fraser Valley FlipOut, the largest annual competitive pinball event in Canada attracting top players and newbies from around the globe. The event is held in September and sanctioned by the IFPA. Based on their score, participants get points for attending.
In addition to tournaments and regular game nights, Nitro specializes in renting, selling, restoring and servicing all things pinball.
Pinball enthusiasts around Vancouver and the Fraser Valley couldn't find anyone qualified to service and repair their machines at a reasonable cost. Floyd and Arnold were inundated with calls. They responded by opening up a shop and showroom in Mission last summer. Then things really began to take off.
"We had already been selling machines throughout the region for a number of years, but mainly focused on supporting our sales customers," said Floyd.
Four years ago Nitro launched a Pinball Club in the Fraser Valley aptly entitled "Flipper Freaks", where players of all ages and skills are encouraged to participate.
People pay a flat rate for all the vintage pinball and arcade machines they can handle.
"We are also the only company this side of Toronto to host pinball "Launch Parties" for brand new titles like The Walking Dead, WrestleMania, Metallica, Mustang, and Star Trek to name a few," says Floyd.
Nitro usually holds 4 competitions a year. The last one was the Wrestlemania Launch Tournament February 22 with World Pinball Player Ranking points, an IFPA trophy, and cash to winners.
"We used to hold monthly events at my house until it got too big. It now takes place on the last Saturday of each month at Nitro from 6pm-11pm," says Floyd.
A tournament director runs the show. It cost players $5 to enter and the format is usually; single 3-ball play, and 1 try per person.
1st: IFPA Trophy, Stern Translite, $100 Nitro Bucks, T-shirt, 40% of Cash Pool.
2nd: Stern Translite, $100 Nitro Bucks, T-shirt, 30% of Cash Pool
3rd: WrestleMania Swag, $100 Nitro Bucks, T-shirt, 20% of Cash Pool
4th: WrestleMania Swag, $100 Nitro Bucks, 10% of Cash Pool
5th - 8th: Nitro/Stern Swag & Nitro Bucks
The top 4 winners of the Wrestlemania Launch Tournament were: 1st - Dave Mercier (Hope, BC), 2nd - Trevor McDonald (Maple Ridge, BC), 3rd - Dave Grant (Coquitlam, BC ) & 4th - Lester Tateyama (Surrey, BC).
Nitro Amusements Mission City headquarters is the "go-to" shop, showroom and tournament hub for pinball in Western Canada. They're located at 33237 - 1st Ave., Mission, BC.
Players pay a $10 drop-in fee. 18 & under are free. The machines are all on "free play".
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