20 Questions with Pinball Expo’s Loveable Mascot, Flippy

20 Questions with Pinball Expo’s Loveable Mascot, Flippy
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20 Questions with Pinball Expo’s Loveable Mascot, Flippy
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20 Questions with Pinball Expo’s Loveable Mascot, Flippy
Published on
September 19, 2023
Updated on
September 19, 2023
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Note: this is a sponsored post! But it's a high effort sponsored post, so it's OK!

Welcome to a whirlwind conversation unlike any other: an exclusive, rapid-fire interview with Flippy, the dynamic mascot of the annual Pinball Expo in Schaumburg, Illinois. This zesty young pinball aficionado isn't just a bundle of energy; he's a burgeoning cornerstone of the pinball community. Fresh off his debut last year, Flippy is back to share his insatiable love for pinball, his big plans for this year's Expo, and a few laughs along the way. With the charisma of a natural-born leader and a playlist that's a few decades older than he is, Flippy gives us an exhilarating peek into his pinball-filled world. Buckle up and get ready to flip out!

Kineticist: 2022 was your first ever Pinball Expo. What makes you want to come back this year?

Flippy: I had THE BEST time last year. I met so many new friends and I promised them I would come back. I also promised my sister Flippette and my brother Chip that I would bring them with me. They actually got mad at how much I was talking about it and I told them “well fine then you’re gonna have to come see it for yourselves!” They didn’t push back at all which makes me think that’s what they wanted the whole time. They’re kind of tricky like that. What was I saying? Oh, right, I’m just so excited to keep the momentum going this year. I cannot wait to see what’s in store at the Expo. 

Kineticist: What are you looking forward to at this year’s Expo? 

Flippy: Oh my gosh where to start? The Stern Factory Tour is gonna be so sick! How cool would it be if we all got locked in there for like days and all we could do is play pinball? That would be a dream. The Bumper Blast Welcome Party is gonna be such a fun way to meet up with all the pinball friends I made last year, especially the international ones! It was so cool to meet new people from Italy and Spain and all over. And the Pinball Expo World Cup tournament is gonna be next level! It’s seriously so suspenseful to watch. I really wanna compete one day!  

Kineticist: What do you like most about the game of pinball?

Flippy: I really love that anything can happen in pinball, which makes sense because that’s sort of how I came into existence. You’ve never heard this story? Well, how much time do you got? I wasn’t always like this. I used to be a straight-up inanimate object! I was a flipper in a machine that was a real dud. No, I will not tell you which one because what matters more is who played that machine. One day this pinball wizard comes in - no, not THAT pinball wizard - and he pops a quarter in. He realizes that the game is made of pretty busted parts except for a few parts, including the flipper. Me, if that wasn’t clear. He sensed that I was capable of so much more than what I was built into. So he bought the machine, took it home, perfected a spell, and once it was ready, he said the magic words (I’m not repeating them here or else there might be a LOT of pinball machine parts coming to life out there!) and BOOM, I was born! Suddenly I had arms, legs, a face, and a voice! He gave me the best human characteristics and ever since then I’ve been spreading pinball joy and helping to bring people together to celebrate. I’m still pretty close with the wizard. One day he surprised me and gave me a mom, a dad, and a little sister, Flippette, and a little brother, Chip. I immediately felt close to them and it turns out they were all from my same machine! Does that kind of answer what I like most about pinball? 

Kineticist: What is the first thing you thought about this morning?

Flippy: I guess you could say I eat, breathe, and sleep pinball, so I woke up thinking about pinball. I actually had a dream about being just an ordinary pinball flipper again. It was weird because in a way I had no cares and worries back when I didn’t have thoughts, but now that I can think, all I think about is pinball. What else is there in life?! And then in the middle of all of that my mom barged in to tell me we have to go shopping for a new rubber ring for me today. Mine broke the other day and she said “no child of mine is walking around wearing a broken rubber ring!” I hate going shopping. 

Kineticist: What is the last book that you read? 

Flippy: Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball! It is probably the coolest graphic novel out there. I love the pictures and the drawings so much. Jon Chad is super talented. I can’t wait to read Roger Sharpe’s Pinball book, too. My dad talks about that book all the time but says I’ll appreciate and understand it more when I’m older.

Kineticist: What’s your favorite pinball machine? 

Flippy: Whoaaaa talk about a tough question! Sheesh. Let’s see, growing up I spent a lot of time with the wizard learning everything there was to know about pinball. He had some great machines, but my favorite one was Post Time. Maybe it’s because it was his favorite, too, but it’s really the game I grew up on. Once I got out into the world on my own, I discovered Medieval Madness and that game is also really up there for me. I like games more like that, though I still love playing Post Time when I visit the wizard. 

Kineticist: Who is your favorite pinball designer?

Flippy: Another hard question! There are so many amazing designers out there, but if I HAVE to choose, I would say George Gomez. His new James Bond game is so cool, not to mention Monster Bash and The Beatles. They’re so much fun and I could play them for hours. To be clear, I HAVE played them for hours and then get yelled at when I miss dinner. 

Kineticist: If you could choose any 3 pinball people to play a 4 player game with, who would you choose? 

Flippy: Holy cow where do I start? Okay, think, Flippy. Don’t waste an invite here. I would definitely start with former World Champion Rick Stetta. I’d love to get any tips and pointers from him, especially since I want to compete one day. Then I would say JJP game designer Eric Meunier. He’s another one of my favorite game designers. And then lastly I feel like I should invite one of my siblings to play, but if I’m being honest they’re not that good… but they might be mad if I don't invite them… oh well, I can live with that. I would fill out the game with Stern designer Jack Danger. I became a huge fan when I would watch his pinball streams on Twitch before he joined Stern. Okay, so when are we all playing? 

Kineticist: What’s your favorite movie?

Flippy: Young Frankenstein is soooo funny and I quote it all the time. I love turning a pinball machine on and yelling “IT’S ALIVE!!!” I also love Animal House, but don’t tell my parents I’ve seen that or they might get mad. You’re not going to print that, right? I don’t want to get in trouble. 

Kineticist: Best piece of advice you’ve received? 

Flippy: The wizard always told me, “flip less.” He would usually say that if I was asking too many questions and annoying him, but then it turns out it’s his real motto when playing pinball, too. He would show me that he meant you don’t have to hit the flippers at the same time, and that you shouldn’t flip until your buddy flips. Let the left flipper save the ball before you hit with the right flipper. It’s a great piece of advice. 

Kineticist: What part of your pinball playing are you trying to improve? 

Flippy: I would say I’m always trying to improve OTHERS’ pinball playing. I’m always on the lookout for higher quality coils in machines so that flippers don’t chatter and players lose control of the ball. I have a special place in my heart for flippers for obvious reasons, and I want them to be performing to the best of their abilities. If I hear someone complain about a flipper, the first place I look is the coil. The better and more consistent the coil, the more smooth the flipper motion is. No flipper stutters when I’m around!

Kineticist: Favorite flipper skill?

Flippy: The drop catch! I mean, just say that out loud. Drop catch. It sounds so cool. Drop catch. Did you say it out loud? And did you not feel so cool saying it? When I do a drop catch I feel so satisfied… and cool, if that wasn’t clear. It’s just so cool to cradle the ball for a hot second. It’s like a hug, you know?

Kineticist: Song you can listen to on repeat? 

Flippy: Pinball Wizard! Not to be confused with the pinball wizard who brought me to life. I’m talking about Pinball Wizard by The Who. It’s great to listen to at any point during playing pinball: warming up, dominating the game, cooling down. It’s also great to listen to at any point during the day, until your brother and sister scream, “stop listening to that song there are so many other songs to choose from why can’t you mix it up we’re going crazy.” 

Kineticist: Do you have any siblings?

Flippy: Yep! I’ve mentioned them a few times. Chip’s my baby brother and Flippette is a year younger than me. They’re super pumped to come to the Pinball Expo with me this year. I just hope they don’t embarrass me in front of my friends. I have a reputation to uphold!

Kineticist: What’s your favorite holiday?

Flippy: It’s not an “official” holiday (yet), but any pinball fan will tell you August 1st is Roger Sharpe’s birthday aka National Pinball Day. I spend the day with the pinball wizard and all my pinball friends. They usually do a 24 hour gameathon, but my parents will only let me go for a couple hours. I’m working hard on getting more recognition for this holiday. That’s right, I’m also an activist! 

Kineticist: Imagine a world where flippers play pinball using humans as paddles. What would that be like?

Flippy: That would be wild! And so funny to imagine. I really think if people had to spend a day as a flipper they would see just how much work they do! I don’t think people undervalue us, but I think they’d definitely give us more respect if they walked a mile in our shoes, er, spent an hour in our position. 

Kineticist: If you could turn your energy into electricity, how many pinball machines do you think you could power up?

Flippy: Oh, I for sure could power ALL the games at the Expo with the amount of energy I have. Is there a way we could test this? Like hook me up to some wires and see if that would work? No, it’s just a hypothetical? Okay, well the idea of that got me even more excited, so I’m not sure what I would spend this extra energy on… Maybe I’d send some energy to my home so my dad stops getting mad if I leave my games on. I’ll tell him I’ve got that energy covered. 

Kineticist: What's the funniest thing your younger sister has ever said or done while you were playing pinball?

Flippy: I missed a really simple shot and got mad at the flipper and Flippette said, “well then you get in there and do it.” We laughed for what felt like an hour. She’s pretty funny when she’s not driving me crazy.

Kineticist: If you were the King of the World for a day, what’s the funniest law you would create?

Flippy: Oooh that’s a lot of power! Wow, there are so many things I could do. I know, I would make everyone play pinball one-handed. It’s very possible to do, it’s just a lot more work. I’d love to see people lose their minds as they adjust. I’m sweating just imagining it. 

Kineticist: Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

Flippy: I wouldn’t fight either of them! I argue enough with Filppette at home. Just yelling and chasing each other around the living room. Otherwise, I’m a pretty easy going guy and I’m too busy playing pinball to pick fights with either of those! Speaking of pinball, this has been fun, but I gotta get back to getting ready for the Expo. Hope to see you there! 

About Pinball Expo

Pinball Expo is the longest running pinball show, held annually outside Chicago, IL since 1985. The event returns in 2023, taking place this October 18th-21st at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel. Tickets are available for purchase now at https://pinballexpo.com/