Robert Gagno will have a chance to show his pinball wizardry close to home.
Gagno is one of 64 players competing in an international tournament from June 8 to 10 in suburban Seattle.
According to an email from Robert's father, Maurizio, the tournament is by invitation only and includes players from 12 different countries.
Gagno, a Burnaby resident, is currently the topranked player in Canada and number 12 in the world, out of more than 10,000 ranked competitive players.
The Pacific Northwest tournament is a best-onbest "Pinball Olympics" that isn't held often in North America.
Gagno has autism, but he doesn't let that stop him from playing pinball.
He has seven pinball machines at home and has recorded a score of 8.3 billion points.
Diagnosed with autism when he was five, Gagno couldn't really be understood till he was about six years old.
"He had a language all his own," Maurizio told the Burnaby NOW in early 2011.
At five, Gagno was put in a special program to improve his communication skills and learn sign language.
His speech developed around eight, and as a teen, he received some additional therapy to speak more clearly.
"He can get by now just fine, and he talks a lot. He likes talking," Maurizio says.
Gagno got his first pinball machine on his 10th birthday.
At 18, Gagno entered a tournament in Toronto while Maurizio was on a business trip. It was Robert's first competition, and he placed 12th out of roughly 100 people.
Gagno has climbed the pinball ranks from about 3,733 in the world to being one of the youngest players in the top 20.