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Flipping out! New York’s best pinball players will battle it out in Greenpoint

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They’re pinball wizards, there has to be a twist!

The 16 best pinballers in the state of New York will bring their supple wrists to Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball in Greenpoint on Feb. 7 to see who can play the meanest pinball at the New York State Pinball Championship.

For most people, the game is just a way to kill time in dive bars between downing picklebacks and shooting pool. But for the players in this contest, it is serious business, said an organizer.

“We look at pinball as a sport and that is how we are treating this tournament,” said Steven Epstein, director of the International Flipper Pinball Association, which is based in Brooklyn and Chicago. “Like any other sport, you have to have eye hand coordination, knowledge of the rules of the game, and you cannot win by luck.”

The championship will see contenders battle it out on machines such as “Indiana Jones,” “Monster Bash,” and “AC/DC Back in Black.” The organizers of the International Flipper Pinball Association say it is this kind of kitchy Americana that has seen pinball experience a resurgence of popularity in recent years.

“It is a physical thing,” said Francesco La Rocca, who is the association’s general coordinator and will also compete in the tournament. “It is not sitting in a chair and looking at a computer screen. You are up and moving and it is always related to something everyone knows — like Spider-Man. Everyone knows Spider-Man.”

Spectators are welcome to come and observe all the flipping fun for free, or bring some quarters to test their own skills — and do some laundry while they are at it (Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball lives up to its name).

The winner of the state championship will go to Las Vegas in March to battle for the national title. And Brooklyn has a lot on the line — last year’s state champ was Brooklynite Sean Grant, who went on to place 24th in the national competition.

New York State Pinball Championship at Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball [860 Manhattan Ave. between Greenpoint Avenue and Cayler Street in Greenpoint, (718) 475–2055, www.ifpapinball.com]. Feb. 7 at 1 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 12:55 pm, February 4, 2015
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