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

Post by cap »

The Evener wrote: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?
The $343 fee is too high for the new rules according to what people say. That must be the old regulation.
Does anyone know the link to the new regulation?
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Vanderzam
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Post by Vanderzam »

https://www.racj.gouv.qc.ca/communicati ... ement.html

I only found it in french though.

Go to the "annexe 2" chart, the first row is "machines à boules" (pinball). It is clearly stated that the machine must be registered unless there is no possibility of winning a prize, additional playing time or free games.

As for the fee, since November 19th 2019 it is now $115 instead of $340 per machine. The annual licence is still $230
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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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Post by Sparky »

Interesting info.

But regardless of all this, will I still go to North Star? Absolutely.

To refuse to go over this situation would just suck for me. I would be depriving myself for nothing. I just hope they change the settings.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Post by Vanderzam »

I remember reading somewhere that since they opened, the Northstar has been in compliance with the law and that all their machines were legal and therefore registered.

Why would they decide to give up registration altogether when before November 2019 they were still paying $340 per machine every year? Isn't a savings of 65% per machine per year not enough for them?

With the new law, they've had the opportunity to completely eliminate registration fees, but to do so they've denatured the full experience of a pinball game.

Saving $3000 a year for a bar/bistro/restaurant may be necessary, depending on profitability. But you also don't want to alienate some of your customers.

This decision is theirs, and I won't judge it because this business sector is extremely difficult. They most likely did their mathematics, and for them it was the most profitable choice, business wise.
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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Fifty
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Post by Fifty »

The law is ridonkulous. It had to be created by someone that never won anything in their life.

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

Post by neo_geo »

I never realized this would an issue. I guess I can understand that free plays and extra balls are part of pinball. I get that. But personally, in today's age, I'd pay the extra $1 just to play another game, which also supports Northstar (which should be the main point here). Especially after all the hard work involved in getting the place up and having the guts to fight that outdated Quebec law (forgot the name). I won't go into the business side of things (upkeeping, slim margins, scalability, etc...) which will bore most since some of you have already brought up some very valid points. But if the team decided to not pay the permit for a year, there's probably a good reason for that. I don't believe they disabled free play and extra balls just to piss everyone off.

You can really view this from all angles. But according to the poll, this is a real issue. I would have never imagined. If you enjoy Northstar, love the atmosphere, it's worth an extra $1 to play a game you're having fun on while socializing with the community. Just my two cents.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Post by HPR Pinball »

Petite anecdote de 1983 in french, make the traduction if you wish.

A un certain moment presque toute les arcades du centre-ville de Montreal ce sont mis en accord pour convertir toutes leur games au jetons, la raison était d'augmenter leur revenu d'une certaine facon. Donc on recevait 3 jetons pour 1$

Pour en avoir été témoin je peut dire que ca a été une décision catastrophique car presque du jour au lendemain les arcades ont été déserté et les clients les plus assidus ce sont retrouvés dans les qques arcades qui n'avaient pas adhérer a ce changement. D'un coté ce qui étaient amusant pendant cette période c'est que les 2-3 arcades encore au 25 cents étaient tout d'un coup pleine a craquer, l'ambiance étaient électrisante, ce fut un rappel de 1980 quand toutes les arcades débordaient de clients.

Cette période n'auras duré que qques semaines environs, toutes les arcades du centre-ville sont revenus au 25 cents comme a la normale, et aussi les clients.

La situation était similaire quand une arcade décidait de mettre des setting plus difficile sur ses games, les gens le savaient et désertaient les games en question. Un Pac-Man a 2 vie ou une Robotron au 30,000 n'étaient pas populaire, pas convaincu que ca rapportaient plus d'argent a l'arcade en question. Même chose pour les pinballs avec l'extra-game setting a un score très élevé quand c'était régler manuellement.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Post by Chnillapoil »

HPR Pinball wrote:Petite anecdote de 1983 in french, make the traduction if you wish.

A un certain moment presque toute les arcades du centre-ville de Montreal ce sont mis en accord pour convertir toutes leur games au jetons, la raison était d'augmenter leur revenu d'une certaine facon. Donc on recevait 3 jetons pour 1$

Pour en avoir été témoin je peut dire que ca a été une décision catastrophique car presque du jour au lendemain les arcades ont été déserté et les clients les plus assidus ce sont retrouvés dans les qques arcades qui n'avaient pas adhérer a ce changement. D'un coté ce qui étaient amusant pendant cette période c'est que les 2-3 arcades encore au 25 cents étaient tout d'un coup pleine a craquer, l'ambiance étaient électrisante, ce fut un rappel de 1980 quand toutes les arcades débordaient de clients.

Cette période n'auras duré que qques semaines environs, toutes les arcades du centre-ville sont revenus au 25 cents comme a la normale, et aussi les clients.

La situation était similaire quand une arcade décidait de mettre des setting plus difficile sur ses games, les gens le savaient et désertaient les games en question. Un Pac-Man a 2 vie ou une Robotron au 30,000 n'étaient pas populaire, pas convaincu que ca rapportaient plus d'argent a l'arcade en question. Même chose pour les pinballs avec l'extra-game setting a un score très élevé quand c'était régler manuellement.
D'accord avec toi Max, les compagnies de pinballs avaient énormément de moyens pour étudier les comportements des joueurs. La preuve est dans l'ingénierie d'une bingo, c'est inimaginable aujourd'hui de penser à refaire une bibitte comme ça !
Quand ils ont ajouté la free game et l'extraball, ils savaient très bien qu'ils allaient rendre l'addiction du joueur à un autre niveau.....
Malheureusement certains se pensent au dessus de tout et prennent une décision sans regarder plus loin que leur bout du nez.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Post by HPR Pinball »

Je comprend la situation du North Star car si un type genre MrHide arrive avec 1$ et joue 2h avec les extra ball et free game ce n'est pas rentable quand d'habitude les casuals players auraient du y mettre 50$ pendant ce temps-là, a 8000$ la machine faut que ca se paye et c'est sans compter qu'il n'y a pas 10 locations ou faire la rotation des games.

Les nouvelles Stern sont bien calibré pour jouer selon les règles et leur grand scénario dans un contexte privé avec de bon joueurs mais pour une arcade ca ne marche pas. A mon avis Stern vise bien plus le marché privé avec ce genre de setting et règles que les arcades qui cherchent a les rendre rentable.

Une autre petite anectode, en 1983, notre petite gang de Pro d'Arcade fesaient encore la vie dure aux opérateurs du centre-ville, quand la belle Williams Blaster est arrivé, après a peine 2-3 semaines ont maintrisaient la game 100%, 25 cents pour plusieurs heures de jeux. L'opérateur a fait passé le bonus au 100,000 et niveau 5 a bonus au 200,000 et niveau 9 mais rien n'y a fait, après encore 2-3 semaines de pratique et c'était encore 25 cents pour des heures de jeux et de plaisir :-)
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The Evener
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Post by The Evener »

Vanderzam wrote:https://www.racj.gouv.qc.ca/communicati ... ement.html

I only found it in french though.

Go to the "annexe 2" chart, the first row is "machines à boules" (pinball). It is clearly stated that the machine must be registered unless there is no possibility of winning a prize, additional playing time or free games.

As for the fee, since November 19th 2019 it is now $115 instead of $340 per machine. The annual licence is still $230
Could you re-read this section? The requirement to obtain an amusement operator license must meet two conditions - this suggests to me that as long as all of the pins don't offer extended play, etc, that North Star no longer has to register for the amusement license, they would only need to focus on licensing of the bar.

Une licence d’exploitant d’appareils d’amusement demeure requise si les deux conditions suivantes sont remplies :

L’appareil est mis à la disposition du public dans le but d'en tirer un revenu.
L’appareil offre une possibilité de gain, soit la possibilité de gagner un prix (y compris grâce à un « système de rédemption »), du temps de jeu additionnel ou des parties gratuites.

In any event, I have great sympathy for the North Star owners - imagine going from having to obtain an amusement operator license every year (on top of bar/restaurant license) and paying out $340 per machine, to the moment of being completely free of "the Man" and all the attendant headaches of registrations, licenses, stickers, and fees. I have to wonder if the draw of being completely free of that world of fees, registrations, and paperwork was the real reason they moved to removing free games and extra balls. It's a weird situation, right? Under the old rules, as far as I can tell, you simply had to register a pin at $340 no matter what, but with the new regulations, there's that "twist" where if you set up a pin to avoid "giving out prizes," you don't have to deal with the Regie des alcools, des courses et des jeux ever again.

I recall RAB saying that the machine registrations were non-transferrable between different tables, so if a pin goes down and you have to rotate it out, you can't transfer that registration to a new one, you have to pay for a brand-new registration. What a pain in the ass - must have been a logistical head-ache, and frankly must have impeded the freedom of North Star to rotate things in and out at their own discretion. Now whenever North Star wants, they can bring in something new without having to "think it through" and send more money to the Regie. Perhaps North Star will revisit the issue of how they set up their pins after some time has passed with customer feedback, but yeah, I understand the appeal of being free from all of that world of amusement regulation.

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

Post by Chris Silver »

BIRTHDAY CAKE!

I love cake. The one thing that separates a birthday cake from a normal cake anyone would tell you is the candles. You can fly out of the kitchen holding a big gorgeous cake and break out singing happy birthday, but you need the candles. Without candles there's no pizazz. If you take the candles away the cake becomes dull and uninteresting. Its quite uneventful.

I made a neutral yet honest statement earlier. Its not my business, but......

Honestly, hearing the knocker go off when you match is a rush that makes everyone feel like a winner. The triple crack of a high score is a high five and what implants the memories of the evening in your head.

I am far from decadent or jaded enough in the art of pinball not to appreciate the candles on top of the cake. Its a little thing? Actually its a BIG thing even if you're a millionaire. Its a unique and special kind of satisfaction. You'd definitely get a better chance for repeaters if some kid or newbie walks in off the streets and wins a match. The game is more fun. Its more satisfying. It leaves them sticking around for another game and one more beer. Take a look at the faces of a young couple when one of them wins so they toss in one more token to continue playing together. For the couple bucks in machine fees per week, it would seem to be a necessity. Every day that goes by without the pizazz leaves one more potential regular going "Meh. What's the point". No spark, no wow. No candles on the cake. With all the new modern technologies around every corner, pinball needs to keep every bell and whistle firing or it will slowly fade away.

Maybe I need to be a tournament player or entrepreneur to understand. In the end, spend a buck to make a buck. I drove well over an hour a few weeks back to be with friends. Nobody told me anything, but I did notice I didn't win a single game. A piece of the purpose was missing. Cast a vote and check out the poll. It speaks for itself. Either way I'll be back to the North Star, have my cake and eat it too.
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Mindstorm88
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Post by Mindstorm88 »

So , is it still an embargo on free games an extra balls at the North Star ???? haven't had time to go lately !!!!

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

Post by lobo2k »

EvanDickson wrote:The poll is a bit biased. :)

This outrage is misplaced. Businesses like bars operate on razor thin margins to begin with, this one in particular invests way more heavily in their clients' enjoyment than any other place would, by a large amount. I make a point of stopping in Montreal just for the Northstar, every time I travel to Quebec or Ontario because of the great games, the great staff, and the great vibe in the place.

Pins are not cheap, maintenance is regular and costs time and money. If they move 40 machines through that place over the course of a year, which seems like a conservative guess, then you're looking at an additional $6,000 in expense that just got levied on them in a tax grab by the prpvince. $6,000 per year may well make the difference between solvency and insolvency for a place like this. The outrage would be better placed against the province and city that is constantly putting the squeeze on small businesses like this for more money. Free balls and free games are nice, but the games are just as fun without them, and the only options may well be no free games or no games at all.

Is this for real though? There's a tax on free games?????? Wtf..... Well it is Quebec.

One of the places in Ottawa disabled free games in certain games but not others. Bizarre.
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