Nova Scotia pinball wizard heading to Dallas championship

Nova Scotia pinball wizard heading to Dallas championship

Nova Scotia's pinball champion is going international. 

Andrew Harper is expected to fly Wednesday to Dallas to compete in the International Flipper Pinball Association's U.S. National Pinball Championships.

"I'm hitting the big league, the big players who do it pretty much yearly," said Harper.

"It'll be a challenge but I'll do my best."

Flippin' good

Harper placed in and won a series of tournaments with the Halifax Pinball League, topping the Nova Scotia provincial finals on Feb. 11. 

He plays friendly games on a weekly basis, as well as approximately 18 tournaments a year leading to the provincial finals.

A number of the Halifax Pinball League members have private collections of machines in their rec rooms and garages, where these competitions take place.

"It was just another tournament, really, but it was my lucky day," he said. "Skill is about 70 per cent, but there's still that 30 per cent. You can lose it pretty quick. Even when you think you're doing pretty good, boom — it's all over."

But that day the ball was going his way.

"It wasn't going away, it wasn't draining, it was going where the best points were."

Dallas competition

The Halifax Pinball League will cover most of the cost of Harper's Dallas trip through tournament fees.

The winner of the Dallas championships is awarded a brand new pinball machine worth $8,000, with cash prizes for the runners-up.

Harper said there are three tricks to being a pinball wizard: concentration, hand-eye coordination and lots of practice.

"I went through tons of quarters in my life. My allowance went into these machines."