Chris became an EM owner since the last episode with a Gottlieb Target Alpha, and it was as close to a barn find to be had without the actual barn!
Things start with the annual tradition of the best movies seen in 2023 and the worst.
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The first half, up until about 30, discusses Chris' usual coverage of the movies he watched in 2023. Here is a summary of the movies and a few lines on each.
The Intriguing Twist: "The Menu"
Chris dives into "The Menu," a movie he initially perceived as a satire on the rich but turned out to be a gripping horror experience. The discussion delves into the unexpected twists and the film’s unique storytelling approach.
Unsettling Tension: "Leave the World Behind"
"Leave the World Behind" captures Chris’s attention with its directorial finesse by Sam Esmail. The movie on Netflix draws praise for its visual storytelling and ability to create tension through camera framing.
Blockbuster Sequels: "John Wick Chapter 4" and "Guardians of the Galaxy 3"
Chris shares his thoughts on "John Wick Chapter 4" and "Guardians of the Galaxy 3." While the former is dubbed a "greatest hits" compilation, the latter receives accolades for sticking the landing in the trilogy.
Animated Marvel: "Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse"
The discussion shifts to the animated realm with "Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse." Chris commends its groundbreaking animation style, diverse character designs, and the promise of a continued Spider-Man franchise.
Unexpected Pleasure: "Sisu"
"Sisu" surprises Chris with its portrayal of a Finnish miner during World War II. The film blends action, history, and vengeance, offering a unique cinematic experience.
A Nostalgic Return: "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny"
Chris revisits the Indiana Jones franchise with "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny." Expressing relief at the film’s departure from the disappointing "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," Chris finds satisfaction in this nostalgic installment.
Mission Accomplished: "Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One"
The Mission Impossible franchise continues to impress with "Dead Reckoning Part One." Chris lauds the film’s opening sequence, likening it to a spectacular set piece from the Uncharted video game series.
A Sci-Fi Gem: "The Creator"
"The Creator" earns praise for its stunning visuals and thought-provoking narrative. Chris encourages viewers to explore this sci-fi film, highlighting its interesting take on geopolitical themes.
Monstrous Delight: "Godzilla Minus One"
Not a traditional Godzilla fan, Chris expresses his enjoyment of "Godzilla Minus One." The film’s CGI excellence and emphasis on human characters create a refreshing monster movie experience.
Movie Misfires: A Few to Avoid
Chris wraps up the discussion with a quick rundown of movies that missed the mark in 2023. From "Black Adam" to "Evil Dead Rise" and "Fast X," he shares insights on the disappointing aspects of these films.
Bonus Movie Recommendations
Jared shares his movie recommendations, including the animated gem "Suzume" and the unexpected rom-com "Anyone But You."
Both films are worth checking out, but they are very different concepts. Suzume’s realization of natural disasters is a very impressive visual element that genuinely makes you uncomfortable and nervous.
The Unexpected Journey of Acquiring a 1976 Target Alpha
In the world of pinball enthusiasts, unexpected opportunities can arise that lead to acquiring a new treasure. It was a 1976 Gottlieb Target Alpha, an electromechanical (EM) wonder.
Upon receiving the offer, Chris was skeptical, expecting a worn-out and neglected machine. However, when he laid eyes on the Target Alpha, his expectations were shattered. The pinball machine was in stellar condition, defying the typical wear and tear associated with EM machines.
The back glass was flawless, showcasing vibrant colors and immaculate preservation.
The coin door, usually prone to deterioration, appeared as if it had been recently refurbished, gleaming with a chrome-like shine.
The machine’s interior was clean, devoid of the usual dust and grime in aged pinball machines.
The intact Mylar on the playfield and the absence of yellowing on the drop targets all contributed to the sense of uncovering a hidden gem.
The machine’s internal components, including relays and transformers, exhibited cleanliness and functionality that defied its age.
Even the playfield, while showing signs of ball swirl in certain areas, retained its vibrant colors without succumbing to the UV and wear issues common in older pinball machines.
There appeared to be an issue with the score match system and occasional player assignment anomalies. But EMs are designed to be played constantly, so a few dozen games on the machine started to free up some of the gummed-up mechs.
Chris talked about the auditory experience provided by EM machines. The distinct sounds, reminiscent to him of adding machines from the early '80s, create a visceral and engaging atmosphere. Not only are the noises enjoyable, but they also become an essential part of diagnosing faults. Familiarizing oneself with these sounds becomes a musical soundtrack, providing cues about the machine’s operation.
Exploring VR in Pinball FX with the Unreal Engine VR Mod (UEVR)
Jared tried the PrayDog UEVR mod to turn Unreal Engine 4 or 5 games into a VR experience. In particular, I want to know how this worked with Pinball FX.
There is definite potential in this open-source implementation, but it isn’t easy to set up and get working. You need to invest time tweaking the settings to get the game running acceptably.
Official VR support should be coming to Pinball FX in 2024, so if you don’t like to tinker, you may just want to wait.
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