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 cap » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:47 pm

Do they still offer free games on promotion nights with a fixed cover charge?
A free game has no value for those nights but is still a rush to achieve.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby ballyhoo » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:15 pm

They are part of the game and taking them out is in my opinion a big mistake! Honestly, I dont know why we are even speaking about taking them out. Would anyone can think about taking out the cherry from a Cherry Blossom or those small cards from a king cake? Come on guys! Please let the game be the game and let us enjoy the satisfaction of having an extra ball or that knock that we all are waiting for. Just talking about that is surrealist. Those days.... :(
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby cap » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:32 pm

ballyhoo wrote:They are part of the game and taking them out is in my opinion a big mistake! Honestly, I dont know why we are even speaking about taking them out. Would anyone can think about taking out the cherry from a Cherry Blossom or those small cards from a king cake? Come on guys! Please let the game be the game and let us enjoy the satisfaction of having an extra ball or that knock that we all are waiting for. Just talking about that is surrealist. Those days.... :(

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

Postby Chnillapoil » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:29 am

HPR Pinball wrote:Bring back Robotron :lol: :lol:


LOL They would remove the extra player at 25000 :FP:
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby nostalgiaqc » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:41 am

ONCE AGAIN , the gouvernent is showing us that nothing is free, ils not like you were putting the extra ball in your pocket for crying out loud, lol
Or Winning wads of cash ,but only a free credit in the machine.
They dont want ppl to become gamblers if they dont get their cut..

That Said , a place of business like the north star is runned and operated by people who decided to go this way to save a few bucks.
Honestly i think 80% of the clientèle doesent even know or care about extra balls.
I agree that a pinball game should be with all the classic rules, but i also think that when you run a business you can run it the way you want .

And when you are a Client you can decide to go or not.
Btw they got robotron in last night Max
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby cait001 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:53 am

I'm indifferent. Newer games: I like extra balls turned off, and find the points option compensates fine.
Older games: definitely like the extra balls on, especially considering the scoring is generally fairly shallow and going for the extra balls are part of the main tasks.

Winning free games from Match feature? I don't care really. Matches are such a quaint anachronism, I'm surprised they have survived into the 21st century basically unchanged.
Winning free games on old machines, I wish they could all be converted into a points bonus. I love the Pascal boards that update Gottlieb system 1 to give 50k points instead of a Special.
The older you go, the more integral the concept of Specials was in the game design, so there are a few games that would certainly suffer, but few games like that get operated anywhere anyways.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby Sparky » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:21 am

This is a very interesting discussion!! And THANK YOU to all for keeping it clean.

I am fascinated by the different stances on the subject, and I do understand both positions. As a home collector, specials have become a bit of a "whatever" at home, and I believe that this is where some come from when they state that it is not a factor for them. But I also fully understand where the others stand. The thrill of reaching a free game threshold... the inevitable head-turning in an arcade when you hear the 3 knocks announcing a high score... the thrill of the reward of getting an extra ball... and for me?

What I consider to be the "royal flush" of pinball... something I have witnessed only ONCE in almost 40 years of playing...

... the 4 knocks of a quadruple match!!!

I remember getting that with buddies in 1987 at Pinocchio's on a High Speed. The place went completely nuts. We felt like we won the 6/49.

THAT... that is what needs to be available. The feeling that you just can't get at home, no matter how you try.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby hfpinball » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:05 am

Dont mind personally, will still go after winter , but wondering, the license to have pinball i think now gone? Iv read that somewhere. Does the free game. Xball setting is another license?

And jesus, stop complaining at games at 1$, even at that price im pretty sure its hard to get even on a 10k machine.

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

Postby cait001 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:07 am

Sparky wrote:What I consider to be the "royal flush" of pinball... something I have witnessed only ONCE in almost 40 years of playing...

... the 4 knocks of a quadruple match!!!

I remember getting that with buddies in 1987 at Pinocchio's on a High Speed. The place went completely nuts. We felt like we won the 6/49.

THAT... that is what needs to be available. The feeling that you just can't get at home, no matter how you try.


Take a step back and think about what's happening with a Match. Doesn't it just seem like an odd throwback to anyone else?
Why is it still there?
Think about if you lose in Street Fighter 4 arcade and a number spins around then awards you a free credit. That would seem out of place, but we're just used to it through the pinball tradition.
But it is just like a tiny lottery at the end, with no relation to the game whatsoever.

I grew up on pinball thanks to Match wins, taking credits from people that had walked away thinking their game was over. But I still think it's odd.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby cait001 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:12 am

hfpinball wrote:And jesus, stop complaining at games at 1$, even at that price im pretty sure its hard to get even on a 10k machine.


Yup, and a quarter in 1979 is worth $0.82 today.
When Black Hole came out in 1981 it was 50 cents a credit, or the equivalent of 1.32 today.
And back then operators had no problem getting quarters, but now it can take 1-3 years to cover the capital costs of a new routed pinball machines.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby mattnb » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:20 am

(edit: the top part of my post got cut off)
These types of threads always disappoint me, to be honest. Operating pinball is a difficult business and profits (if they exist) are razor-thin. Don't believe me? Ask yourself why a major city like Montreal only has a few dozen machines on location. If operating machines was a gold mine, they'd be everywhere like they were in the 70s. Beyond the cost of purchase and maintenance and the licenses, you must also consider the amount of time invested. Maintaining and cleaning games takes time as we all know. In addition to that, these licenses have to be filled out for each game. I've seen them. This isn't a simple web-form and paypal transaction. There's a significant time investment involved in maintaining licenses for games in Quebec. For a small business owner, they must decide what's best for their business in order to grow and maintain profitability, and the simple fact is that 99% of North Star customers don't base their purchase behaviour on extra balls and specials. Don't believe me? Go on a Friday or Saturday and watch the players. They aren't hardcore enthusiasts. They're just people out to have a good time.

Now, I agree that the pure pinball experience includes extra balls and specials. In my opinion, North Star has been put into a tough spot by the government. Want to do something about it? Write your member of the National Assembly. Create a petition that demands that extra balls and specials not be unfairly taxed. Write emails, make phone calls. Demanding that people flock to the Facebook page of a small business to complain is cowardice. Why in the world would you spend your time attacking the little guy instead of demanding that they get fair treatment from the government? Remember that these license fees are NOT refundable. I can assure you that North Star does not get a single cent back for these licenses. North Star is not the one you need to blame here. This extra ball tax is the result of government bureaucrats who don't understand the first thing about pinball and think that earning an extra ball or a free game is equivalent to gambling. We know that it isn't and that pinball is primarily a skill game. I would urge every MAACA member who lives in Quebec to take action on this today rather than complain on a message board or on a Facebook page.

I would also urge everyone in Montreal to go to the bar and support them. I don't mean just going on $5 Sundays, I mean buy some tokens. Buy drinks. Buy a pickled egg or two. These folks work extremely hard and ain't nobody getting rich on this. If you honestly think that they don't deserve your patronage because they don't want to pay the extra ball tax, then I implore you to stay at home. I also saw someone complain about games costing $1, but I would remind you that inflation means that $0.25 in 1978 is about $0.90 today, so cram it with that old chestnut. Games are more expensive than they've ever been, but they're also deeper and more complex from a rules standpoint. North Star also operates bloody antique coin-operated games in a condition you rarely see elsewhere.

-Matt
Last edited by mattnb on Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal)

Postby Fifty » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:21 am

Chnillapoil wrote:
Sparky wrote:So... you want them to pay... to give you free games?


Stop, I'm about to cry........

145$ par année LOL

Wait... $145 per year? Is that per machine or does it include all the pins.

Does the city of Montreal even have bylaw officers that go around and check this stuff? THAT seems like a bigger waste of tax money.

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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal)

Postby cap » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:50 am

Fifty wrote:Wait... $145 per year? Is that per machine or does it include all the pins.
Does the city of Montreal even have bylaw officers that go around and check this stuff? THAT seems like a bigger waste of tax money.


Montreal had a by-law that prohibited pinball on most of its territory until a couple years ago.

The license is sold by Quebec, the city has nothing to do with it. Quebec abandoned the license very recently, but it appears the caveat is you can't give free games anymore unless you pay the old fee.
The penalty for not paying the license was very steep a long time ago. They would ceize the machine immediately. I don't know what the penalty is nowadays.
Interestingly, last summer Alouette was selling a lot of machines they bought from the government. These machines were ceized 20 years ago and sat in a warehouse all this time.
Last edited by cap on Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal)

Postby Fifty » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:08 pm

cap wrote:Montreal had a by-law that prohibited pinball on most of its territory until a couple years ago.

The license is sold by Quebec, the city has nothing to do with it. Quebec abandoned the license very recently, but it appears the caveat is you can't give free games anymore unless you pay the old fee.
The penalty for not paying the license was very steep a long time ago. They would ceize the machine immediately. I don't know what the penalty is nowadays.
Interestingly, last summer Alouette was selling a lot of machines they bought from the government. These machines were ceized 20 years ago and sat in an warehouse all this time.

This is getting more depressing with each post. 20 years ago they were seized? I'm sure the tax payer was on the hook for the storage fees all those years. Just think of the money being wasted everywhere because of stupid things like this. Why couldn't I have owned that storage warehouse? Ugh...

How would Quebec even know the games are giving out free games? What is the penalty nowadays? I doubt they would seize the machines.

Even then, an extra ball is part of gameplay. I've never referred to it as a FREE ball. It's just something you earn in game, just like you would earn 100 points. Laws are ridiculous. If a ball drains at North Star without hitting anything are the Ball Saves turned off? You lost a ball. It is giving you a FREE plunge.

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

Postby Chris Silver » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:24 pm

I fix airplanes. That’s my business. I stick to what I know best. I’m sure there are very good reasons why things are set up the way they are there. I would never try to tell someone how to run their‘s. I don’t understand that stuff.

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.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal)

Postby cap » Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:10 pm

Fifty wrote:This is getting more depressing with each post.


This is all part of the plan to keep Loto-Quebec's monopoly because if you win anything they call it a lottery or gambling. Yeah right, then my salary is also lottery and gambling.

Fifty wrote:Even then, an extra ball is part of gameplay. I've never referred to it as a FREE ball. It's just something you earn in game, just like you would earn 100 points. Laws are ridiculous. If a ball drains at North Star without hitting anything are the Ball Saves turned off? You lost a ball. It is giving you a FREE plunge.


Shhhh!, don't give them ideas.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby Fifty » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:38 pm

Ridiculous. I wonder if Hasbro (formerly Parker Brothers) pays a fee every time someone lands on this space in Quebec. :roll:

monopoly.jpg


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

Agreed, unless it's the new Stern squelch sound.

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

Postby cap » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:50 pm

Did anyone here read the new regulation to find the part that talks about free games? I wonder what it says exactly.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby semicolin » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:38 pm

cap wrote:Did anyone here read the new regulation to find the part that talks about free games? I wonder what it says exactly.


Here it is. http://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/ShowDo ... ,%20r.%201

Pinball machines are classified explicitly under 2.3(a) as a "Class B" device, whether or not they award free games. It appears at first glance that someone has read the legislation and thinks that pinball machines fall into a different category if they award free games per items (c) through (e). This reading would be incorrect. Pinball machines, whether or not they award free games, are always classified the same way, and carry an annual duty of $343(indexed annually) per active license at an establishment. Twenty machines on premises equals twenty licenses, but those do not increase if the operator takes one out and put another in.

What is being described above in this thread does not match my understanding of the legislation as published on the Government of Quebec's website, which does seem very clear.

So this means one (or more) of four things:
  1. I don't know what I'm talking about because I'm stupid and I'm not a lawyer
  2. someone got poor legal advice, or did not seek legal advice at all and misunderstood the legislation
  3. someone is trying to sneak around licensing fees and pay only a single license by trying to pretend their individual (a)pinball machines are actually (b)a group of entertainment machines that award no prizes, which is illegal
  4. someone wants to decrease play time per token to increase revenue and blaming the government is easier than saying so directly

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

Postby cait001 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:41 pm

Chris Silver wrote:I fix airplanes. That’s my business. I stick to what I know best. I’m sure there are very good reasons why things are set up the way they are there. I would never try to tell someone how to run their‘s. I don’t understand that stuff.


Going to print this out and paste it to the top of every screen I can find. Hallelujah
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby hfpinball » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:50 pm

semicolin wrote:
cap wrote:Did anyone here read the new regulation to find the part that talks about free games? I wonder what it says exactly.


Here it is. http://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/ShowDo ... ,%20r.%201

Pinball machines are classified explicitly under 2.3(a) as a "Class B" device, whether or not they award free games. It appears at first glance that someone has read the legislation and thinks that pinball machines fall into a different category if they award free games per items (c) through (e). This reading would be incorrect. Pinball machines, whether or not they award free games, are always classified the same way, and carry an annual duty of $343(indexed annually) per active license at an establishment. Twenty machines on premises equals twenty licenses, but those do not increase if the operator takes one out and put another in.

What is being described above in this thread does not match my understanding of the legislation as published on the Government of Quebec's website, which does seem very clear.

So this means one (or more) of four things:
  1. I don't know what I'm talking about because I'm stupid and I'm not a lawyer
  2. someone got poor legal advice, or did not seek legal advice at all and misunderstood the legislation
  3. someone is trying to sneak around licensing fees and pay only a single license by trying to pretend their individual (a)pinball machines are actually (b)a group of entertainment machines that award no prizes, which is illegal
  4. someone wants to decrease play time per token to increase revenue and blaming the government is easier than saying so directly


I read somewhere that this 343$ per machine was no longer an issue, unless i misread. Is it still the case every machine need to have this 343$ license? And where this 145$ for free play come from exactly?

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

Postby cap » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:51 pm

That fee is way too high under the new rules.

e) You might be reading the old regulation.
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby semicolin » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:01 pm

cap wrote:That fee is way too high under the new rules.

e) You might be reading the old regulation.


Yes! Got anything newer?

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

Postby cap » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:33 pm

semicolin wrote:
cap wrote:That fee is way too high under the new rules.

e) You might be reading the old regulation.


Yes! Got anything newer?


I don't have the new rules, that's why I asked.
For reference, this is the thread that broke the news in August.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=25618
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Re: Northstar Pinball bar (Montreal), no free games

Postby HPR Pinball » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:39 pm

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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