A New Look for the New Year

Since the beginning of the year, I have been looking at pinball in a different way. Literally! I have been playing without wearing my glasses! So I have been seeing the pinball differently, and I actually have a different (somewhat strange) look while I am playing. And strangely it might be changing how I look at playing competitive pinball.

So it all start with my wife deciding she wanted to correct her vision naturally. This is a whole big topic that I won’t go into here, but part of the process was to quit using her corrective lenses (contacts and glasses). And when she stopped using her glasses, I thought I would join in and try it too.

Now my vision isn’t very bad (-1.25 diopters), so I often don’t wear my glasses around the house anyway. But it got me wondering if I could play pinball without my glasses.

So off to the Pacific Pinball Museum I went, and I played an evening of pinball without my glasses. I played well. I even GCd Getaway with 900+ million.

Since then I have continued to play without my glasses, and I haven’t missed them at all. I have no problem following the ball, making shots, or seeing the screen. I might have to lean in to see small text or details on inserts and playfields, but that only happens occasionally and might not even be different with my glasses.

Since I have to drive to wherever I am playing, I still wear my glasses to get to the location. When I take off my glasses, I need a place to put them, but I don’t tend to have a a bag or big pockets. Normally I would hang them on the front collar of my shirt, but they dangle in front of me and annoy me when I play pinball. So instead I hang them on the back collar of my shirt!

So here’s the picture. An Asian guy standing at a machine. Often kicking one leg or the other randomly to the side (especially when I am really in the flow). With a pair of glasses hanging down his back. Kinda strange!

So we have how I see the pinball differently and how I look different. But how does this change competitive pinball for me?

This weekend I played in the SF Beer Week Pinball Throwdown (thanks Shannon Sweetser for organzing). Twenty-nine players vying for $800 of prize money at the wonderful 47 Hills Brewing Co. So yes I played without my glasses. And I played great.

But the interesting thing was that without my glasses I couldn’t see my opponent’s scores from a distance. Since the play area was kind of cramped, when it wasn’t my turn to play I would stand a bit aways to give other players room to play. And this meant the scores on my game weren’t clear enough to see.

Of course when I was playing, I could look at the scores and see where I was compared to other people. But between my turns, since I couldn’t see their scores I just stopped trying to see how they were doing.

It meant that I wasn’t stressing about how they were doing and how my score was holding up. It freed me up to be more social between turns since I physically couldn’t fixate of the scores. And I seemed to stay more in the moment. It was either my turn or not. All I had to do was play my game, not worry about how everyone else was doing.

It is funny that how I see the game might change the way I SEE the game.

About David Lee

I play in the East Bay, mostly in Alameda, Oakland and Emeryville. Oakland Pinball Warriors is my main monthly tournament, and only occasionally make it to San Francisco for tournaments. My IFPA ranking bounces around 500, depending on how many tournaments I get to. I am DavidLee on Pindigo and LEE on scoreboards

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