You may have met the weekly leagues running on the Pinball FX3 Reddit before, but you might have wondered who is standing behind this great effort to make the community compete: meet David!
David please, tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m David,(known as David_VI on Reddit, Steam & Nintendo switch), I live in the UK and spend most of my time working driving trains, while thinking about pinball!
Was Pinball FX3 your first journey into Pinball, or do you go way back with it?
My pinball obsession is really only a year old. I remember pinball machines in arcades as a child but didn’t see them enough to really understand how to play them. Growing up I played many virtual pinball games on PC but didn’t really think about real pinball as you’d not see them in arcades any more in the UK, or at least rarely and in terrible condition.
I had Pinball FX2 on Steam a few years ago. But the big event in my rediscovery of pinball was last year when I bought a Nintendo Switch and somehow found myself with Pinball FX3. I found myself interested in the Bally/Williams tables and this led me to look into where I could play real pinball.
This resulted in me discovering a pinball club near London and in turn the UK pinball community and now I’m about to move into my first house with two real pinball machines, A Road Show and Black Rose.
Both tables available on Pinball FX3 and that’s no coincidence!
Things have escalated really fast.
What gave you the idea of starting these leagues, have you been thinking about starting them before, or just jumped at the idea?
I really got into the Bally Williams packs on PinballFX3 and as only just rediscovered pinball I had a lot to learn, being a Reddit user I found the PinballFX3 subreddit and learned a lot of tips on there. The community wasn’t as active as I’d have hoped so I had the idea to run tournaments in the hope it would bring discussion and life into the community.
I started doing this in November 2019 starting with Road Show and had a great reception. It was as simple as posting the game details than the results afterward. I have this blessing and curse where I get ideas and have to carry them out. I’m by no means an advanced user of Excel or Google sheets but get ideas and then have to learn how to make them work.
I had the idea of bringing all of the tournaments together into a league, giving it more purpose overall. I spent a few weeks fiddling and getting help (again on various subreddits) and the league spreadsheet was created. I enjoy creating and spreadsheets are super satisfying!
I’d be at work and get ideas, for example “I wonder if I can have a separate sheet that shows the scores ordered by table” and then I’d feel the need to make it happen. It just kept escalating and now in season four we have the ability to show players country and national flags. As well as the ability for players to register via a Google form which inputs the data automatically.
So really it was a gradual thing that has just snowballed with new ideas each time. I’ve definitely learned a lot about spreadsheets and formulae through it.
How much work do these take on your side, how do you keep yourself motivated?
The main bulk of work was creating the spreadsheet and cleaning it up between seasons.
Day to day it’s quite simple. I create a tournament in PinballFX3 and let it run. Once it’s over I take screenshots of the leaderboard and manually input everyone’s score into the sheet.
I then take that data and write up a Reddit post with the results and details for the next round.
The main work is my crazy ideas of improving the league and finding time to play myself!
On the other hand, I struggle with motivation a lot. The league is a huge commitment especially with working shifts and family life. It can be difficult to find time to be consistent with running each round.
But on the flip side, I enjoy doing it, there are great players and people in the community who have been really encouraging. I get a positive response from people and as many as 40 players! It’s a strange paradox finding it overwhelming yet obviously enjoying doing it.
Any favorite league from the previous ones?
At the moment we’ve just been going through all the Bally Williams packs in order of release, split across 4 seasons, with it catching up to date in this current season which covers Williams Vol5 and a couple handpicked tables to fill the remaining rounds. So it’s hard to think of a favorite especially as I’m rarely in the top 10 players.
One highlight I can think of is when zen_jeno played one of the tournaments on stream and gave a shout out, a little thing but it meant a lot.
Such a hard choice as each pack has a table I’d consider among my favorites and it changes so often.
If I had to pick a favorite in-game right now it would probably be Cirqus Voltaire because it feels really good on PinballFX3.
If I had to choose a pack as a favorite it would be the Universal Monsters pack, even though its just two pins they’re two of my favorites and I’d love to own either of them for real.
I do have a strange obsession with Red & Teds Road Show hence finding a real one as my first real pinball at home.
A few final words,
A shout out to those on Reddit who have been supportive or helped the community in many ways,
Especially Pinstratsdan, Mankeycubing, and Tandigab
Big thanks to you guys at Zen Studios, I blame you for reigniting my love for pinball which has escalated to the heights of owning my own pinball machines.
See you on the leaderboards!