The Replay Foundation is a non-for-profit organization promoting the preservation, restoration, and enjoyment of pinball technology. Since 2012, the Replay Foundation has hosted a summer pinball extravaganza in the “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. The Replay FX festival in Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center is a major summer event attracting both aspiring pinball wizards and casual players from all over the world.
Over the course of four days, August 1-4, 2019, Pittsburgh was transformed into “Pinburgh” – the world epicenter of all things pinball and video gaming. Under the auspices of the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA), Pinburgh is the largest pinball tournament in the world.
This year, however, Replay FX teamed up with the Pittsburgh Knights, the city’s professional esports team, to incorporate esports into this amazing annual event. The result was record attendance, and a true, long-awaited, co-branding between the joys of pinball and the dynamism of esports.
The esports competition overseen by the Pittsburgh Knights included Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Rocket League, Halo 3, Dr. Mario, Tony Hawk, and even Ken Griffey, Jr. Home Run Derby. Platforms ran the gamut from Atari 2600, Xbox, NES, Wii, hundreds of PCs, and enough CRTs to satisfy the most demanding retro gamer.
With the welcome inclusion of esports, Replay FX took on many of the characteristics of traditional esports events. There was a cosplay competition and myriad vendors selling all manner of video fame accessories and collectibles. There was also an area dedicated to board games.
Interestingly enough, this weekend was also supposed to feature the annual Three Rivers Regatta where hundreds of thousands of people were expected to watch Formula One Powerboat racing. At the last minute, however, the Regatta was canceled. Any concern that the city would be empty because of this cancellation was quickly dispelled by the massive crowds heading to the Replay FX.