The state’s current pinball wizard ran a tournament in Bremerton Jan. 13 at Tik Tok’s Workshop.
Yes, you read that right — pinball, with the sounds of flippers clicking and bells ringing and the sight of lights flashing.
In the age of personal computer-based video games, console-based video games, massively multiplayer online role-playing games and virtual reality, who plays pinball anymore and why?
Despite all the competition from video games, it’s not dead. It’s become quite the social event.
Current state champion Jessica Barron brought her sister, Jennifer, into the fold that day. She, in turn, invited friend Hillary Carman. Although Carman grew up with pinball in the house, it was only her second tournament play. She brought two other friends, and that’s the way pinball meshes into social gatherings.
One of the players, Kate Giuggio, said she began playing because it was fun, and something she could do indoors and out of the weather. She began league play about four years ago (she was ranked at 35th in the state at one point), and now spends around 50 hours a month playing pinball.
Tik Tok’s owner, Richard “Oz” Godwin, explained that the Kitsap Women’s Pinball Tournament was just one of many events that the bar hosts on a regular basis, that count in the standings with the International Pinball Flipper Association.
Godwin grew up repairing mechanical things in the family workshop, used those skills in the Navy and again in a follow-on job as a Navy contractor.
His foray into Pinball happened somewhat by chance when he found himself with four pinball machines after a divorce. The need to maintain the machines, his connections to other machine owners, and his observation that there was a scarcity of pinball maintenance services in the area, gave his business aspirations a niche and room to grow.
In 2019 Godwin opened Tik Tok’s, and it has been a center for recreational and tournament play ever since. Together with Another Castle Arcade Edition Bremerton, they form the hub of pinball society in the West Sound.