2018 Show Announcement

The Northern Lights crew are delighted to announce that for the 2018 show we’re returning to where it all began – the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool!

The show will be held as part of Play Blackpool over the weekend of the 27th and 28th October 2018.

Many people have said how much they enjoyed the show when it was held in Blackpool so here, for one year only, is your chance to relive those days!

Although it will be a smaller show than last year’s in Manchester, we’re still expecting to have over 50 pinball machines available alongside 120 classic arcade cabinets and over 200 retro gaming systems. This will be the largest amount of retro gaming ever seen in the Norbreck venue and we hope many of you will continue to support us, both by coming along and by loaning games.

The slightly smaller scale of the show will allow the return of the UK Pinfest in August to take centre stage as the largest gathering of pinballs in the UK this year. It will also give the NLP crew the chance to take a bit of a breather after organising 10 consecutive shows!

More information, including news on our discounted ticket sales, to come in due course. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for further news!

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Games at the 2017 Show

We can now reveal the list of games we’re expecting for our 2017 show! Usual disclaimer of course – there is a chance that some of these games may change between now and the day of the show, but we’ll try and keep the list updated as any changes occur.

Once again it’s a phenomenal range of games from some classic early 1970 titles, through to the very latest titles from Stern and Jersey Jack Pinball. The range and depth of games here wouldn’t be possible without the support of our many friends in the pinball community around the UK, so a sincere thanks to everyone who has generously pledged a table.

Some of the games in our list will be selected for our new tournament! Time to start researching your strategies then perhaps?! Get some game tips from these great internet resources:,,

Follow our updates on Facebook for further exciting announcements as the show draws closer!

Aerobatics (EM)Zaccaria1977
Aladdin's CastleBally1975
Apollo 13Sega1995
Batman '66Stern2016
Batman Dark KnightStern2008
Batman ForeverSega1995
Black JackBally1977
Black Knight 2000Williams1989
Bone BustersGottlieb1989
Bram Stokers DraculaWilliams1993
Bram Stokers DraculaWilliams1993
Captain NemoQuetzal Pinball2015
Champion PubWilliams1998
Cirqus VoltaireWilliams1997
Demolition ManWilliams1994
Dialed InJJP2017
Dirty HarryWilliams1995
Doctor WhoWilliams1992
Eight BallBally1977
Eight Ball ChampBally1985
F14 TomcatWilliams1987
Fish TalesWilliams1992
Fish TalesWilliams1992
Fish TalesWilliams1992
Getaway High Speed 2Williams1992
Gilligan's IslandWilliams1991
Guns 'n' RosesSega1994
Indiana JonesWilliams1993
Indiana Jones (Custom)My Pinballs2017
Iron ManStern2010
Iron ManStern2010
Iron ManStern2010
Johnny MnemonicWilliams1995
Junk YardWilliams1996
Jurassic ParkSega1993
Lord of the RingsStern2003
Medieval MadnessWilliams1997
Medieval Madness (Remake)Chicago Gaming2015
Monster BashWilliams1998
Monster BashWilliams1998
Mousin AroundWilliams1989
Mr 'n' Mrs Pac ManBally1982
NBA FastbreakWilliams1997
NBA FastbreakWilliams1997
No Good GofersWilliams1997
No Good GofersWilliams1997
Pinball MagicCapcom1995
Police ForceWilliams1989
Queens Castle (EM)Zaccaria1978
Revenge From MarsWilliams1999
Road KingsWilliams1986
RobocopData East1989
Rocky and BulwinkleData East1993
Scared StiffWilliams1996
Secret ServiceData East1988
Shaq AttaqGottlieb1995
Star TrekStern2013
Star Trek The Next GenerationWilliams1993
Star WarsStern2017
Star Wars (Data East)Data East1992
Star Wars (Data East)Data East1992
Star Wars TrilogySega1997
Street Fighter 2Gottlieb1993
Surf n SafariGottlieb1991
Tag TeamGottlieb1985
Tales from the CryptData East1993
Terminator 2Williams1991
Terminator 2Williams1991
Terminator 2 (Chrome)Williams1991
The Addams FamilyWilliams1992
The Addams FamilyWilliams1992
The Addams FamilyWilliams1992
The Addams Family (Custom Electric Chair)Moose & Friends2016
The HobbitJJP2016
The Simpsons Pinball PartyStern2003
The Walking DeadStern2015
Theatre of MagicWilliams1995
Twilight ZoneWilliams1993
Twilight ZoneWilliams1993
TX SectorGottlieb1988
Wheel of FortuneStern2007
Wizard of OzJJP2013
World Poker TourStern2006
X FilesSega1997
X MenStern2012


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Pinball at Christies Hospital

We’re enormously proud to announce that we’ve helped bring a new pinball machine into the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Christies Hospital in Manchester!

The Christies NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest hospitals in Europe that specialises in treatment for those suffering with cancer, helping around 40,000 patients a year. It was also the location of one of the very first Teenage Cancer Trust units, which delivers a nursing and support service for young people who are being treated in hospitals in the area.

We’d like to send a huge thanks to our friend Erd at The Pinball Mill, and everyone at Teenage Cancer Trust who has helped make this possible. We’re sure this new pinball machine will help bring some smiles to the young patients.


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Charity Cheque Presentation 2016

Those that came to our show in October may have bumped into Michelle, who was one of the volunteers at the Teenage Cancer Trust stall. Mark had the pleasure of catching up with her recently, and a chance to hand over our latest charity donation of £6,950.40 (which now takes the lifetime donations to comfortably over £20,000)


Mark Robinson hands cheque to Michelle White of TCT

An enormous thanks once again to everyone who has helped make this possible. These charity donations go a long way to helping children struck down at a most vulnerable time, and provides them with much needed support on their path to recovery.

Visit the Teenage Cancer Trust site for more information on the worthy services they provide
Teenage Cancer Trust

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Survey Feedback

Thanks to everyone that took a few minutes to complete our feedback survey from the recent show. We do read through each and every one, and your input helps shape decisions on our future events. (And it’s never too late to send your thoughts)

Happily, it was mostly all very positive feedback from what we also thought was a great show. Of course, much of what makes our show great wouldn’t be possible without significant help.

Great to see Pinball Heaven had an excellent stand. Thanks to Phil Palmer for bringing several brand new machines for everyone to play.

What was perhaps surprising is that the range of older games at the show gained slightly more positive votes than the new machines. I guess it goes to show that there are some real classics from the past that will always be popular. We do our best to source some of these classic titles, though have to acknowledge that it isn’t always possible to please everyone. There were a few people that let us know they would have loved to see Monster Bash or The Simpsons Pinball Party at the show. Sorry they were missing, perhaps next year?! Of course the newer machines had a massive amount of positive votes and comments too, with Wizard of Oz seeming to be the most popular modern machine named in the survey.

Jim Askey’s bit was excellent, Steve’s tombola never gets the recognition it deserves. The NLP pin-fixing crew were superb

We always enjoy the special areas at the show, and it seems you share that enjoyment too. The Addams Family Chair proved popular again, re-appearing this year with a few tweaks since we last saw it, and the shrieks of fun could be heard from quite a distance! A few respondents thought the selection of pinball parts was great, but would like to see that expanded on at future events. Jim Askey’s ‘MyPinballs’ section had a number of positive comments, as did Tim ‘Strobey’s Live Streaming rig which was broadcasting to Twitch.

The whole event was well put together. Only comments would be in future they need more refreshment facilities. Hopefully it will continue to grow each year.

Most of the negative feedback was unfortunately regarding aspects of the wider Play Expo show which we have little direct control over, but will pass along your comments. Many thought a wider range of refreshment stalls would be welcome, and the queuing system always picks up a few criticisms, but in general it seems to be something that is getting better year on year.

Another criticism that we’re well familiar with is people finding it frustrating to see so many pinball machines on four player games (often with only a single player present). This is something we’ve tried to address with signage in the past, but ultimately is down to the audience at our events, who are largely people with little experience in pinball. Frequently we find younger players walking up to a machine and pressing the start button. They see a ball pop in to the shooter lane and start playing. As soon as the ball drains they press start again, thinking that’s how they get another ball (but in reality of course it adds another player). On the flip side (aha) of that though, we have also seen groups of people taking it in turns to play single player games, unaware that multiplayer games can be set-up.

So we’re asking you, the knowledgeable pinheads of our community, to help us solve these problems by chatting to people at the events and explaining how this all works. We also put some effort in this year to try and enable ‘slow restart’ on the modern games, which means that holding down the start button will frequently reset games back to single player. It’s going to be a long battle, but we look forward to that day where we don’t see any games abandoned partway through a four player game!

Run a proper competition (like UK Pinball Party)

We only had a couple of small pinball competitions at this years show. The linked up NBA Fastbreak competition was missing for the first time in our show’s history, and its absence certainly raised a few comments! The competition side is always something that raises interesting feedback, and we’re happy to hear your thoughts.

Competition(s) are a nice extra on the side but certainly not the important part

A few commented there should be more/bigger competitions, and equally a few thought they would prefer not to see machines taken away by running those big competitions. The balance from expanding the competitions is something that we’re aware would be difficult to get right, but it remains to be something that we’ll consider in future events.

There were plenty of other great ideas that we’ll consider in the future too. More seating areas, and a better way to help people find the machines they love, or explain the history of particular games were amongst some of the ideas we’re now considering.

Thanks again to everyone who provided feedback. There are plenty of ways to get in touch, and if you have further thoughts we’d love to hear them. Contact us on Facebook, email or even in person at one of the shows. Because as one kind person explained – the best part of the show? …

The lovely staff

…and who are we to argue with that 🙂


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Thanks from us, to you

It’s a few weeks now since we wrapped up our last big event. There seems to be a tremendous amount of positive feedback from those that attended, and we’re also checking through the responses to our survey. (If you haven’t yet sent us your thoughts and suggestions, please consider completing our short survey)

There is of course a huge amount of work to bring an event like this together. Our most sincere thanks to…

ALL the many machine loaners, we literally could not do this without you. Your effort in preparing and generously donating machines is appreciated by thousands of people over the weekend, and we hope you share our enthusiasm that events like this introduce a new generation of people to the hobby.

Our sponsors who generously support the show with promotional prizes and items that help generate charity funding

Cliffy's Pinball Innovations



Pinball Heaven

Our tireless crew who dedicate their time, expertise, effort and more at their own expense to help us in various ways throughout the event. From machine repairs, setup/breakdown, transport and overseeing a dozen other things – your help is invaluable:
Andre ‘Onze’
Ian ‘Windoesnot’
Gary ‘Mooseman’
John ‘JMP’
Roger ‘RGV’
Simon Hook

An extra special thanks to Steve who once again raised a huge amount for our charity partner, the Teenage Cancer Trust, at his busy tombola stall. Our visitors may only see him for the weekend of the show, but the effort put in to organise for an event of this magnitude spans far beyond those two days. His team of helpers this year included: Jasmine, Nicola, Sandra, Gary, Jake, Lynn, Madison, Simon H & family and Thin

There will no doubt be others we have missed. Making a list like this always runs that risk – our sincere apologies, please get in touch

To all those that attended, joined in the fun or supported our charity fundraising efforts – a massive thank you, from all on the NLP team


Pictured left to right: Chloe, Dave, Paul, David, Mark, Simon L, Dan, Chris ‘Poibug’, Nigel.

Absent from photo: Darren and Simon W

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Flipper Skills (Part one)

One of the most important skills in pinball is being able to regain control of the ball. Once the ball is under control and cradled onto a flipper the player is then better able to aim their next shot. Here are some of the basic flipper skills a player can use to take back control.

Dead flip
Dead Flip
Probably one of the easiest skills to learn, as it involves doing nothing! Just let the ball bounce from one flipper rubber to the other. The ‘dead bounce’ removes a lot of speed from the ball and allows it to be brought safely under control, ready for the next shot.


Live catch
Live Catch
This technique works well when the ball is heading straight down the table, and involves raising the flipper with perfect timing. Ideally the ball should hit the flipper at the exact moment that the flipper reaches the top of it’s stroke. Again, it greatly reduces the speed of the ball, and when executed perfectly means the ball comes to a dead-stop on the flipper, often to the amazement of bystanders!


Drop catch
Drop Catch
Almost the opposite to a live catch is a drop catch. This time the player should have the flipper bat raised, and drop the flipper just as the ball hits it. This deadens the speed of the ball.


Rolling pass
Flick Pass
Frequently when the ball is successfully hit around a ramp shot, it will be returned to one of the flipper inlanes at speed. Most of the time players feel this is a comfortable feed to make another shot from immediately, but on occasion it can be advantageous to stop the ball onto one of the flippers. One technique to achieve this is to hold the flipper up, then as the ball approaches the end of the flipper, very quickly tap the flipper button to release and re-flip. This small flipper movement will allow the ball to hop over the gap between the flippers, and can then be safely trapped with the other flipper.


Post pass
Post Pass
Ok, you’ve successfully got the ball under control and trapped onto a flipper. The only problem now is that you wish it was on the other flipper so that you can better aim at your desired shot! The post pass is a surprisingly easy skill to learn to achieve this. To execute it, just quickly tap the flipper you are cradling the ball on (exactly the same as described in the rolling pass). This causes the ball to bounce up off the slingshot post, then roll up and over the flipper onto the opposite flipper.


This video with pinball legend Neil Shatz goes through most of the techniques described here, and also includes a very advanced technique… Neil invented his own method of transferring the ball from one flipper to the other, and did it with such skill and control that it is forever now known as ‘Shatzing the inlane’. We’ll cover some other advanced techniques in part two

Our thanks to Dead Flip for their kind permission to re-use their animations. Check our their site for more!

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Games at the 2016 Show

We’re well on track for a great show again, and can now give a sneak peak at just some of the games we’re expecting for the show. Usual disclaimer of course – there is a chance that some of these games may change between now and the day of the show, but we’ll try and keep the list updated as any changes occur over the next few weeks.

So far the list contains 100 games, ranging from some classic early 1970 titles, through to the latest titles from Stern and Jersey Jack Pinball. The range and depth of games here wouldn’t be possible without the tremendous support of the pinball community around the UK, so a sincere thanks to everyone who has generously pledged a table.


Breaking down the list, we can see that a majority of games are from Bally/Williams, who were the dominant manufacturer during the 80’s and 90’s. When Williams closed down in 1999 Stern was the only remaining manufacturer, but the strength of their games meant that pinball survived through some difficult years for the industry. There should be a good representation of Stern games at the show too, including some of the very latest titles.

What’s great to see as well though are a good percentage of titles that are rarely seen, including some great games from Gottlieb, Zaccaria and Jersey Jack Pinball – one of the newer manufacturers to emerge in recent years, as pinball starts to make it’s comeback!

Follow our updates on Facebook for further exciting announcements as the show draws closer!

Austin PowersSternWhitestar2001
Baby Pac-ManWilliamsAS-2518-1331982
Banzai RunWilliamsSystem 111988
BarracoraWilliamsSystem 71981
Batman (The Dark Knight)SternSAM2008
Batman ForeverSegaSega V31995
Big GunsWilliamsSystem 111987
Big HouseGottlieb80B1989
Black Knight 2000WilliamsSystem 111989
Blackwater 100Bally68031988
Bone BustersGottlieb80B1989
Bram Stoker's DraculaWilliamsWPC1993
Bride of PinbotWilliamsWPC1991
Bride of PinbotWilliamsWPC1991
Cactus JacksGottliebSystem 31991
Cirqus VoltaireWilliamsWPC1997
Creature from the Black LagoonWilliamsWPC1992
Demolition ManWilliamsWPC1994
Demolition ManWilliamsWPC1994
Diamond LadyGottlieb80B1988
Dirty HarryWilliamsWPC1995
Eight Ball DeluxeBallyAS-2518-351980
Family GuySternSAM2007
Family GuySternSAM2007
Fireball (Electro Mechanical)BallyEM1971
Fish TalesWilliamsWPC1992
Full ThrottleHeighway PinballHeighway2015
Game of Thrones (Pro)SternSpike2015
Ghostbusters (Premium)SternSpike2016
Ghostbusters (Pro)SternSpike2016
GorgarWilliamsSystem 61980
Grand LizardWilliamsSystem 111986
Guns N RosesData EastV31994
Heat WaveWilliamsEM1964
Hollywood HeatGottlieb80B1986
Indiana Jones (Custom software) Stern/MyPinballsPROC2016
Indiana Jones (Williams)WilliamsWPC1993
Indianapolis 500WilliamsWPC1995
Iron Man (Vault Edition)SternSAM2014
Johnny MnemonicWilliamsWPC1995
Judge DreddWilliamsWPC1993
KISS (Premium)SternSpike2015
Lord of the RingsSternWhitestar2003
Lord of the RingsSternWhitestar2003
Medieval Madness (Remake)PlanetaryPlanetary2015
Metallica (Premium)SternSAM2013
Mousin AroundWilliamsSystem 111989
Mr & Mrs Pac ManBallyAS-2518-351982
NBA FastbreakWilliamsWPC1997
No Good GofersWilliamsWPC1997
PinbotWilliamsSystem 111986
Pirates of the CaribbeanSternSAM2006
Police ForceWilliamsSystem 111989
Revenge from MarsWilliamsPinball 20001999
Revenge From MarsWiliamsPinball 20001999
Ripleys Believe it or NotSternWhitestar2004
Road KingsWilliamsSystem 111986
Road ShowWilliamsWPC1994
RobocopData EastSega V21989
RobotZaccariaGeneration 21985
RollergamesWilliamsSystem 111990
Roto PoolGottliebEM1958
Scared StiffWilliamsWPC1996
SorcererWilliamsSystem 91985
South ParkSternWhitestar1999
Space InvadersBallyAS-2518-351980
Space StationWilliamsSystem 111987
Space StationWilliamsSystem 111987
Spiderman (Stern)SternSAM2007
Spring BreakGottlieb80B1987
Star TrekSternSAM2013
Star Trek The Next GenerationWilliamsWPC1993
Star Trek The Next GenerationWilliamsWPC1993
Star Wars (Data East)Data EastSega V31992
Star Wars (Data East)Data EastSega V31992
Swords of FuryWilliamsSystem 111988
Tag TeamGottlieb80B1985
Terminator 2: Judgement DayWilliamsWPC1991
Terminator 3SternWhitestar2003
The Addams FamilyWilliamsWPC1992
The Addams Family Challenge (NLP Special)WilliamsWPC2015
The Getaway (High Speed 2)WilliamsWPC1992
The HobbitJJPJJP2016
The Simpsons Pinball PartySternWhitestar2003
The Twilight ZoneWilliamsWPC1993
The Walking DeadSternSAM2014
The X FilesSegaWhitestar1997
Theatre of MagicWilliamsWPC1995
TX SectorGottlieb80B1988
WhirlwindWilliamsSystem 111990
Wizard of OzJJPJJP2013
Wizard of Oz (75th Anniversary)JJPJJP2014
World Poker TourSternSAM2006



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An Unexpected Journey… to Sunderland

Last weekend we had the pleasure of meeting Geoff Lipinski, the grand prize winner in the charity raffle that was drawn at our last show. Geoff was over the moon with his prize, a brand new The Hobbit pinball machine from Jersey Jack Pinball, and couldn’t wait to get stuck into it.


We may be biased, but we think it’s an incredible machine. From the beautiful glossy side artwork, to the amazing light show and depth of gameplay.


Our thanks to Jersey Jack Pinball and Pinball Heaven for their help in making sure our prize winner is one of the first in the country to get their hands on this exciting new machine. Our sincere thanks also to all those who participated in the raffle, the proceeds of which were donated to our charity partner – Teenage Cancer Trust

Teenage Cancer Trust will once again be present at our next show – October 8th and 9th at Event City Manchester. Stop by and say hello

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Charity totals for 2015

We finally got the chance to catch up with some of the Teenage Cancer Trust team recently, where we officially handed over the fundraising from our last show. The cheque of £4,549.51 (which Michelle, Julie, Alex and Lois gratefully received) now brings our lifetime fundraising total to £14,461.88.

Our fundraising comes from a wide variety of sources associated with the show, such as entry and raffle ticket sales, the charity tombola and a large number of other events that occur at or between the shows. It goes without saying that all of this wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of a huge number of volunteers who tirelessly donate their time, effort and more to bring everything together year after year. Our most sincere thanks from the NLP crew, Teenage Cancer Trust (and of course the patients) go out to each and everyone that helps in any way for this cause.

We’re already well under way with planning for our next big show at Event City later this year, so stay tuned to our Facebook page for more details as they are finalised!

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