Home » News » Never two without three editions of “It freaks out in Tournai” – L’Avenir

Never two without three editions of “It freaks out in Tournai” – L’Avenir

The annual pinball event in Tournai, Belgium, known as “It Freaks Out,” attracted thousands of participants this year. Families, amateurs, and enthusiasts gathered in the town center to challenge themselves on the 66 pinball game boards spread throughout the city. The event’s organizer, Cédric Monnoye, noted that the third edition of the event drew participants from even further away than previous years. While setting records is not the objective, approximately 100,000 games were played over the course of the weekend. The event aims to refocus on pinball and arcade games, with venues staying open until 1am to cater to the growing interest. Despite technical difficulties with the older machines, the event was deemed a success and plans are underway for future editions.

Saturday 11 a.m. Some line up in front of the old Tam-Tam on the main square, the headquarters of the event, to acquire their Game Pass. Others are already rattling the metal balls on the 66 game boards spread across the Tournai town centre.

“We allowed access to the machines an hour earlier on Saturday, because people already wanted to get their bracelet back. This allowed those who sometimes came from afar, from Flanders or France, to benefit. I had the impression that the people of Tournai were discovering the event in their city, that for this third edition, the participants traveled further”indicates Cédric Monnoye, organizer.

There are mainly families, men and women amateurs (women play more), as well as enthusiasts. The choice of the universe is wide to challenge yourself: rock legends, superheroes, cartoons, popular series or films,… “What’s interesting is this mix between heritage architecture and pinball machines. It’s also nice that the cafés follow us. They’re the only ones to call us to be sure that the machine arrives at its destination. comical”.

The particular machine this year was dedicated to the Scooby-Doo cartoon. ©LW

The record of participants is not the objective

The weather was favorable this weekend. “It wasn’t too hot like last year. On the other hand, the temperatures didn’t make it possible either to meet around the swimming pool, but rather around a machine”.

4,000 people on Saturday, a little more on Sunday, i.e. around 10,000 freaked out counts. A figure that is close to that of the previous edition. “The objective is not to set records. That would be counter-productive for us, since too many people mean long queues. On the other hand, according to our statistics: 1000-1500 games have been made per machine over two days. In total, we shoot more or less at 100,000 games”.

Families mainly played on the machines. ©LW

Refocus on pinball

Three years ago, when the event was offered exclusively in Tournai, the idea was to be able to set up the HQ on the main square. “We had imagined using the Halle-aux-Draps with competitions and musical entertainment. Unfortunately, as soon as the agreement was signed, the building had to close for work. We therefore turned to the Georges Brassens park to extend the evening with free foodtrucks and concerts. After the first two “It freaks out”, we realized that they were two totally different events with an audience unfamiliar with pinball machines. That was not the issue”.

About twenty volunteers ensured the security of the pinball machines. ©LW

To refocus the evening on machines and arcade games, two places – the old Tam-Tam and the Arcades – remained open until 1am. “It worked well for the preceding”confides Cédric Monnoye.

“We are still in the progress phase. It must not run out of steam to bring new things. The desire is to continue while also being dependent on the decisions of the city”.

When playing on machines dating from the 60s and 70s, it can happen that the circuit burns out! “Pinball machines are technically fragile. Some are part of a collection. Each year, they are only used for about ten games. So here, when, for example, the machine installed in the mayor’s office counts 500 games in one day, it can break down. We were not aware of this kind of difficulty during the first edition”, explains the organizer. Now three teams of specialists are rotating. A kind of mobile workshop normally allows everything to be repaired in a few minutes. ©LW

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