Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Talk about anything that you would like.

Do you think North Star should restore extra-ball and replay settings?

Indifferent
10
20%
Yes, please!
41
80%
 
Total votes: 51
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby nostalgiaqc » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:43 pm

Chris Silver wrote:The one thing I do know, even if I was a millionnaire there is no feeling better than hearing that coil go off when you win a free game.


True ,that knocker allways brings us back to nostalgia !
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby OTTOgd » Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:06 pm

I had to choose 'Indifferent' because I never expect to win a free game. Still don't have expectations in a pay-per-game arcade. Heck, just the other day I won 4 extra credits on a couple pins (GotG; Aerosmith) at Rec Room @ Square One and gave them away.

... BUT I do appreciate Extra Balls! Generally speaking, they're earned as part of the single-credit gameplay! Focused achievement and emotionally rewarding, imho.

However, hearing the knocker is awesome. Loud recognition of my ability and/or luck! Don't have to give me a credit ... just make people turn their heads! ... or make me think people are impressed. :)

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby pinballmafia » Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:12 pm

If You Need Money To Pay For The Permits Dont Be Shy I Can Lend You Some Lol

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby uberhare » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:13 pm

As a teenager I recall how much fun it was to find a newish machine on location where the extra ball or free game thresholds were still set fairly low. :) It certainly is an element of pinball and would take away from the experience.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby cap » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:38 pm

HPR Pinball wrote:2 good players can play those modern Stern many hours with special and extra-ball enable.
Back in the mid 80's me and my friend played pinballs all day long for 25 cents each.


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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby cap » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:42 pm

uberhare wrote:As a teenager I recall how much fun it was to find a newish machine on location where the extra ball or free game thresholds were still set fairly low. :) It certainly is an element of pinball and would take away from the experience.

Reminds me how excited I was when I realized the free game threshold was insanely low for the Shrek machine at La Ronde this summer.
Then reality sets in, the threshold was so low possibly because that machine never worked all summer long.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby mbudman » Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:29 pm

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit pinball places all over the world, from my favorite in Hungary (http://www.flippermuzeum.hu/en/), Silverball museum is Asburiy-park ,NJ (https://www.silverballmuseum.com/asbury-park/, and even the Musee meanique at the fisherman's wharf in San Francsico (https://museemecanique.com/).

In addition, I have been to Allentown and the local pinball get together / events (Ottawa, Hawkesbury).

They ALL have one thing in common:

great pinball, extra-ball feature and the possibility to win a free game.

Northstar has amazing pins in spectacular condition, but it just is not pinball without...

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby HPR Pinball » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:45 pm

Pinball is all about gambling, casual players just shoot anywhere and get extra ball by luck :lol: :lol:
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby HPR Pinball » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:54 pm

cap wrote:
HPR Pinball wrote:2 good players can play those modern Stern many hours with special and extra-ball enable.
Back in the mid 80's me and my friend played pinballs all day long for 25 cents each.


Nothing would please me more than to learn from the experts. That was the main point why I joined the MPL.


I won 2 free games without any effort at Timout playing AFM because threshold was low because lot of casual players. Imagine 2 really good players with more motivation how much they can play with 1 credit, surely 2 hour easy.

I know MrHide usually quit playing because he is tired of winning free game :lol:

What kind of money a Barcade can make with modern Stern and good players.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby joblo » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:09 am

I've only been in this hobby for a couple of years now but I was very HAPPY to find North Star a couple of years ago, not only because it's pretty much the only real "barcade" in the GMA area, but they are a great bunch of guys who love pinball who run the place. They run launch tournaments, they hold IPFA events, they are the only place with over 10 pins on location and they're always switching them out. I go there because I love to try the new games, I enjoy playing in the tournaments now and again, I enjoy chatting with the guys about pinball and I could give a __FLYING FIG__ if I get extra balls or free plays on their games (especially if they're doing it because it's the government that's forcing them to do so). You know what I do when I wanna get a "Free Play"? I reach down into my pocket, grab 1 token/dollar and put it into their machine. And voila! New game AND I get to support an awesome local pinball spot! Yeah, it's not free, but neither is running a business that focuses on a niche hobby.

I wish more folks in the Montreal Pinball Community would come in here and praise North Star for being around, for being one of the spots that kept pinball going for the past 4 years in Montreal and for providing a place for tournaments for locals who wanna learn -- like moi. Everyone has a right to their opinion but it would be nice if you guys looked at the "big picture" of the situation (govn't involvement, their only true barcade around, etc...) and not nitpick something insignificant as the "lack of free plays". That's my 2 cents, of course. Personally, I prefer to tell my friends about North Star, bring new people there to grow the hobby and give bigger tips than usual when there because I WANT TO SUPPORT LOCAL PINBALL HALLS!

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal)

Postby steamfitter » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:36 am

mbudman wrote:Yeah, but they get the tax back...

Less than $3/ week per machine


$145 divided by 365 days equals $0.40 per machine , times 10 machines $4.00 a day . 4 coin drops a day .

Getting the knocker working at home is always nice but when you pay to play hearing the knocker is some kind of exiting rush.

But with the cost of living now , people do what they need to survive .Not cheap to run a business

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby TwilightZone » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:36 am

HPR Pinball wrote:2 good players can play those modern Stern many hours with special and extra-ball enable.

Back in the mid 80's me and my friend played pinballs all day long for 25 cents each.


You can adjust the settings so the points to earn an extra ball increase each time it is earned, I believe. At minimum you can adjust the max number of extra balls and the initial points to earn the extra ball.

I think extra balls are a must especially with the newer games. Always a rush to earn and makes the game fun when competing.

Free games are great to earn and point level can be set to increase when earned, so if you have alot of good players it will get increasingly difficult to earn.

North Star could play with the settings to keep extra balls and free games while still making a profit. Limit the number of extra balls, set specials to points not extra balls, and set free games to increase as earned.

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby Apostle » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:14 pm

As someone who plays at North Star every week, I'd rather have them succeed so I can continue to play machines in better condition than I've found anywhere week in and out. They constantly rotate games and are buying the new ones so they can grow the hobby we all love in the area. We all like a free game or an extra ball (unless everyone is really good in a 4 player game!), but I'd rather have the opportunity to keep playing different games with my friends and know there will be new games just a few weeks away. To be honest, within a few short weeks of regular play, I'd all but forgotten about the change.

As folks are pointing out, frustration should be focused on the permits, not the business impacted by them. So many bars and restaurants on St Laurent open and are forced to close within a year, none of us truly know how these fees impact the business. But to have the luxury of an awesome bar, with my hobby, in my neighbourhood, is just incredible. I hope everyone can overcome the frustration and continue to support local business and enable them to grow the hobby we all love. Pinball's continued success and growth is reliant on it's prevalence in society and culture, in our city, that's North Star.

I'm sure you're reading this, so thank you to all the team for your continued hard work to keep the games and bar in the best shape possible. If I see Adam rolling up to the bar in a Ferrari, I'll come back and revise my post. ;)

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby Sparky » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:40 pm

Apostle wrote:As someone who plays at North Star every week, I'd rather have them succeed so I can continue to play machines in better condition than I've found anywhere week in and out. They constantly rotate games and are buying the new ones so they can grow the hobby we all love in the area. We all like a free game or an extra ball (unless everyone is really good in a 4 player game!), but I'd rather have the opportunity to keep playing different games with my friends and know there will be new games just a few weeks away. To be honest, within a few short weeks of regular play, I'd all but forgotten about the change.

As folks are pointing out, frustration should be focused on the permits, not the business impacted by them. So many bars and restaurants on St Laurent open and are forced to close within a year, none of us truly know how these fees impact the business. But to have the luxury of an awesome bar, with my hobby, in my neighbourhood, is just incredible. I hope everyone can overcome the frustration and continue to support local business and enable them to grow the hobby we all love. Pinball's continued success and growth is reliant on it's prevalence in society and culture, in our city, that's North Star.

I'm sure you're reading this, so thank you to all the team for your continued hard work to keep the games and bar in the best shape possible. If I see Adam rolling up to the bar in a Ferrari, I'll come back and revise my post. ;)


Well... if 1450$ a year is the straw that breaks the camel's back, then this whole discussion is moot. Let us not confuse this as a "must-do-or-die" type of cost cutting. And if it is, then free game awards being eliminated may be the least of your worries. I firmly doubt that paying this fee will drive the place into bankruptcy. So, this is merely a decision based on not paying the fee, period.

Also, as far as I know, up until recently, the fees were 400$ per machine per year. This was cut down to 145$. So, if anything, even by paying the 145$ fee, the bar still saved around 2500$ per year with the regulation change. So your point on businesses choking on the fees for such a license is also now a bit less impactful as it was last year.

I am not a business man, nor would I pretend to be. I am not a lawyer nor an accountant either. But with what I see, this situation of not paying the fees seems merely based on not wanting to pay the fees.

OK. Dead horse at this point for me. And they made a decision. They live with it. Simple as that.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby pinheadpat » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:28 pm

••• I find that taking that part out of the game as a bit of an odd way to save or make a few bucks ••• If it is a significant $$$ difference in the long-run to make the bar more profitable, there might be other ways around that without sacrificing the game feature bonuses. I never would have though that this would get so much traction as a post, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense that the greater majority of pinball aficionados and heavy enthusiasts definitely appreciate and even thrive to get that free-game / extra ball / and mission complete carrot at the end of the rope. Like the Paul McCartney's song goes " Ou est le Soleil, dans ma tête ". It's what keeps the game even more interesting. The carrot! I personally just love playin' the game and don't even look at score ( barely ) when playing at home on my machines. But when playing on machines I don't normally play, and in a place dedicated the game, I do go out to experience the game the way it should be played ; which does mean with all the bells and whistles of bonus, extra balls, free games. It's how we grew up in the bowling alleys and arcades. I guess it all depends what the North Star wants to attract as customers and how fun it should be. If it's just meant to attract tourists that play once and leave the city, no worries, make the games bare-bones. But when you consider that players, collectors, freaks, enthusiasts and fans play there and spread the word (or not) and may have even greatly built the reputation of the bar ( or not ) there's another element to considered. Ultimately for that price per permit ( per machine ) that works-out to two dollars per week/per machine, it can’t be about price it’s got to be about something else like projected target audience or dynamic turnover or something else. I totally love, respect and worship what the North Star has accomplished and will still be very pleased to spread the gospel to as many souls as I can, regardless of the decision. From my player perspective, I do prefer all game features active, otherwise it’s like reading a book but skipping some super chapters. Or maybe like watching a Tarantino flic but skipping the shootout scenes. You’d still be getting the ruff idea of the movie but missing some super juicy bits. Thanks regardless for bringing a pinball bar to life in MTL and your contribution to keeping the game alive.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby Vanderzam » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:57 pm

Hi guys,

I'm not going to argue about Northstar’s decision. First because it's their choice, and I hope they took the time to evaluate the saving versus the impact on their customers (mostly regular and partly hardcore, as I understood from what I read in this thread). And secondly because I'm unfortunately not a pinball afficionado. Those who know me know it, my hobby is arcades.

But anyway, if you have any interest in the exact new legislation (since last November), I had the "chance" to speak -again- over the phone with an official from the RACJ (Régie des Alcools, des Courses et des Jeux) just last week (concerning my project opening this year, which will contain a pretty decent selection of fully operational vintage arcade cabinets.)

First of all, leaving them on "free play" but asking a cover charge at the entrance won't change a thing. You cannot avoid Quebec's legislation with this gimmick. The only way to bypass the law is if your machines are on free play, and no cover or fee is demanded. Theoretically, a customer must be able to enter your establishment, walk directly to your machines, and start a game without having to spend a dime on anything.

So if you make money with your machines, either directly or through some kind of fee, you have to comply with the law.

And the law states that as soon as the gaming machine (arcade, pinball or redemption) allows for a "chance to win" (additional playing time or free games), it must be registered. The cost is $115 per machine per year. A $234 annual license fee is also required. Only one licence per establishment. All of this for the noble purpose of "preventing gambling addiction.”

As you can see, the definition of what the game can offer is particularly muddy. For them, a machine that simply gives gaming pleasure doesn't need registration. But as soon as there's a chance of winning, even if it's only a free game, it's the devil incarnate. So you can put 473 quarters into an unregistered Final Fight cab, trying to make it to the final stage, but if you win an extra ball playing a single game on an Indiana Jones pinball, it has to be registered. Dah? Playing a game necessarily means winning (or losing). That's the essence of what gaming is all about, isn't it? Whether it's money, points, high score, extra balls, finishing all stages, beating your best buddy, simple pride, or even a Lightning McQueen plush for your kid, the deepest motivation will always be related to the idea of obtaining something. It's human nature.

So thank you good government, you got it all figured out. Don’t let a nostalgic 43 year old guy visit my place and win an extra life on a vintage Pacman machine ‘cause it could turn him into a dropout, spending his paychecks in lotteries and casinos…
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby cap » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:14 pm

Thanks Vanderzam, that was most enlightening.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby eightball » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:28 am

I voted yes please, but the poll is a bit like asking if you’d like the cherry on top of your sundae, or not. Cmon, for sure I’ll take the cherry. Tell you what though, it’s the ice cream that makes the sundae and they serve a delicious and generous helping on The Main and unless the weather turns foul ima get me some on Saturday!
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby The Evener » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:11 pm

Just so I'm crystal clear on this, receiving an extra life in an arcade game like Pac-Man upon reaching 10,000 points would trigger this Quebec law and the associated fees outlined above? Or if you found the diamond in Mr. Do! and got a free credit?

I remember Todd Tuckey walking the viewer through some EM pins in his videos and that some were manufactured for jurisdictions where you couldn't hand out free games. So while I might see how a "free game" through random number match might be seen as a kind of "gambling," I'm surprised that in-game achievements are being classified in the same way since it's based on skill thresholds and not random rewards triggered by a passive action on the part of the player.

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby cap » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:15 pm

The Evener wrote:Just so I'm crystal clear on this, receiving an extra life in an arcade game like Pac-Man upon reaching 10,000 points would trigger this Quebec law and the associated fees outlined above? Or if you found the diamond in Mr. Do! and got a free credit?

I remember Todd Tuckey walking the viewer through some EM pins in his videos and that some were manufactured for jurisdictions where you couldn't hand out free games. So while I might see how a "free game" through random number match might be seen as a kind of "gambling," I'm surprised that in-game achievements are being classified in the same way since it's based on skill thresholds and not random rewards triggered by a passive action on the part of the player.


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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby pharoah007 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:23 pm

Just plain cheap.

That's my 0.02$
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby The Evener » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:38 pm

Ok, Pinball is a class B category which looks like $340 per year per machine plus $243 annual licence for the establishment. Is that right?

http://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/fr/ShowDo ... ,%20r.%202

http://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/fr/ShowDo ... ,%20r.%201

Can anyone link to the regulations and fees that are triggered when Pinball gives out free games / extra balls? I'm curious about the wording myself. Do we need an exception to the definition of Pinball 2.3a) that mirrors the exceptions for computer video device under 2.3c defined in the last hyperlink?

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby cait001 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:00 pm

cap wrote:
The Evener wrote:We need Roger Sharpe to make a trip to Quebec City.


Roger Sharpe is just the story everyone knows. There were AT LEAST 2 similar court cases in Canada where pinball was shown to be a game of skill, both predating Sharpe.

Hell, there was even a guy in 1947 who used his skills to demonstrate that pinball was a game of skill (he was way less successful than the 1970s guys) and that's back there were no flippers!
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby Fifty » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:11 pm

The Evener wrote:Just so I'm crystal clear on this, receiving an extra life in an arcade game like Pac-Man upon reaching 10,000 points would trigger this Quebec law and the associated fees outlined above? Or if you found the diamond in Mr. Do! and got a free credit?

I remember Todd Tuckey walking the viewer through some EM pins in his videos and that some were manufactured for jurisdictions where you couldn't hand out free games. So while I might see how a "free game" through random number match might be seen as a kind of "gambling," I'm surprised that in-game achievements are being classified in the same way since it's based on skill thresholds and not random rewards triggered by a passive action on the part of the player.

Well said.

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby Vanderzam » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:13 pm

The Evener wrote:Just so I'm crystal clear on this, receiving an extra life in an arcade game like Pac-Man upon reaching 10,000 points would trigger this Quebec law and the associated fees outlined above? Or if you found the diamond in Mr. Do! and got a free credit?

I remember Todd Tuckey walking the viewer through some EM pins in his videos and that some were manufactured for jurisdictions where you couldn't hand out free games. So while I might see how a "free game" through random number match might be seen as a kind of "gambling," I'm surprised that in-game achievements are being classified in the same way since it's based on skill thresholds and not random rewards triggered by a passive action on the part of the player.


That is why I say that the regulations are confusing. The interpretation of the law, when applied to arcade games, does not make sense. For them, the problem resides in the possibility of a reward, any kind of payoff.

If you pay to play a game knowing that it eventually ends, no matter what you do (like mechanical horses for kids in shopping malls that run for two minutes and then stop) then that's okay. However, if the game offers the possibility to win extra time or a free game, then for them the law must apply.

On the phone, I confronted him with various game situations, and of course, since he was not at all familiar with arcades and pinballs, he was rather lost. He was trying to interpret the legislation on a case-by-case basis, but it was nonsense.

Here’s a fine example:

Him - "If you play a side-scrolling game, pay for three lives, and the game ends after three lives, it's ok."
Me - "But what if this game, after 25,000 points, earns you one more life?"
Him - "Then the law should apply."
Me - "But it's the same game. You win an extra life, not a new game."
Hem - "You still win something. It's a reward."
Me - "What if, in a spaceship game for example, you can get a different weapon, like a triple laser cannon instead of a rocket launcher, or change the type of ship, like choosing a big powerful one or a smaller and weaker one, but faster?"
Him - "Well that's in the game, it's got nothing to do with getting a reward."
Me - "Yes, but improving your ship, making it more efficient, will invariably get you further in the game, so there's an additional reward, because you're going to be playing longer, right?"
Him - "Uh... Yes and no, it all depends on your skills. You could die quickly anyway."
Me - "Dude, even if you win an extra life, you can die faster than some other player who's moving further in the game just because he's better..."

How's this all gonna end? I imagine that our good government will leave it up to the inspectors to decide how the law must be interpreted in terms of what is or is not a reward in a video game (or a pinball). But what are they going to do, walk down the aisles, and analyze each games one by one to decide which ones are okay and which ones need to be licensed?

Up until now, I thought RACJ inspectors had better things to do than investigate retro gaming machines. After all, Arcade MTL have been operating since two years now, with no permit and no licenses whatsoever. I wonder what happened exactly at Northstar ?
Quel est l’intrus parmi ces grands obstacles connus du collectionneur d’arcade : A) Le fric B) Le temps C) L’espace D) L’habileté E) La conjointe?
La réponse : E
L’explication : De A à D, il faut précéder l’énoncé par « l’absence de », alors qu’il s’agit pour le E de « la présence de »



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