Native New Yorker Steve Zahler is a pinball wizard — beating players with years of experience to become the metropolitan area’s first-place flipper.
Now he’s facing the ultimate test as he prepares for the game’s world championships in Germany beginning Friday, where 64 hot shots will vie for the coin-operated crown.
“I’m not there to beat anyone down. This is between me and the machine,” said Zahler, 44, a father of two from Elberon, NJ, who owns a Web-development firm.
Contenders from 19 countries will score from dusk until dawn next weekend — all for a chance at the title, $1,000 cash and a brand-new, $9,000 pinball machine.
The tournament, run by the International Flipper Pinball Association, features more than 100 machines including the brand-new Metallica game and Lord of the Rings.
But Zahler says he won’t be there to win. He just wants to keep the silver sphere rolling.
“It’s amazing to see that whatever I’m doing is working,” said Zahler, whose longest single game was 90 minutes. “We’re all looking for that super long zen-like game of pinball,” he added. “Sometimes you can have two horrible balls go down the drain. That third ball can be magic.”
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