Local pinball ace Blaise Peery went straight to the top in the State Games of America pinball tournament earlier this month.
Peery, 15, won the gold in his division and then went on to beat out 20 to 30 adult competitors. He and another player tied for silver and squared off in a sudden death match Peery won on a Flash Gordon machine from the ‘70s.
He placed first in the state junior pinball competition in 2015. When he competed in the nationals in Grand Rapids, Michigan this year, he finished with a score so high he was invited back to compete in the pro league the following day.
“They came over and said ‘Well, as of right now he’s sitting at third for the pro tournament’ and invited us to come back the next day,” Devin said.
 The professional competition is scored with a pro cut, much like golf. The junior competition is scored differently, but organizers noticed Blaise’s score qualified him for the adult league.
Every competition uses different pinball machines from different eras, with plenty of variety. The pro tournament mainly used old school machines from the ‘50s ‘60s ‘70s and ‘80s which happen to be Blaise’s personal preference.
“I’d say it makes a difference,” he said. “In modern machines there’s a lot of ‘Shoot this to activate that!’ ‘Activate this mode!’ ‘Shoot all of these!’ You’ve got all these gadgets on the board that may be confusing. In some older machines, especially the ‘70s and earlier, you’ve got a really simple playing field. You can see it all easily.”
Blaise, who competes in local league in Oklahoma City, said practicing is just as essential for pinball as any other sport.
“When trying out different tournaments, it’s good to get a feel for what the scoring system is,” Blaise said. “This competition, you were allowed to play around on the machines before.”
Devin said Blaise has been playing since he was five years old.
“Since about the time he could see over the top of it, he’s had a desire to play,” Devin said. “During the summer we’re able to go maybe once a week, but during the school year, not so much.”
Since the State Games, Blaise has been invited to play in professional competitions in Chicago and Pittsburgh next year.