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PPM League Season 15!

February 7, 2022

Welcome to the Pacific Pinball League! Wednesday nights at 7 PM!

  • $10 discount entry, all games on Free Play
  • Formats and rules, here.
  • Wednesday nights. Show up any time before 7 PM to join.
  • Flexible: Attend just 4 of 11 nights to qualify for Finals
  • Facebook Group here.
  • NEW! Pinball tutorials
  • NEW! Expert and Novice Divisions
  • Beginners and first-timers always welcome!

The Pacific Pinball League is a fun and competitive league for everyone.  All skill levels are welcome, including first-timers. We explain all the rules so don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before. Just come ready to have a good time.

Special pricing: League membership is free with admission to the Pacific Pinball Museum.  The Pacific Pinball Museum has special league pricing of $10 for all League members on league nights. PPM Annual Pass Holders are always free.

Quick Facts

Where: The Pacific Pinball Museum, 1510 Webster Street, Alameda.

Public Transportation: From Oakland, take the 51A bus to Webster and Santa Clara. From SF, take BART to 12th Street and then take the 51A bus.

When: Wednesdays. Play starts at 7 PM and usually finishes by 9:30 PM.

How to Join: Just show up on any league night before 7pm and let the front desk person know you’re there for league. We’ll take care of the rest.

The Pacific Pinball League Returns 7/7/21!

June 18, 2021

The Pacific Pinball League is a fun, social and competitive league for everyone. All skill levels are welcome, including first-timers. We play Wednesdays starting at 7PM. To join, just show up any league night. Grab your mask and come join us!

For more info, including rules, schedules and standings, check out the League page.

If you have questions, use the Contact link in the menu. You can also join our Facebook group.

Monterey Flipper Pinball Short Subject

May 14, 2020

Unintentional Attack from Mars Jacket

February 25, 2020


Draw your own pinball

February 10, 2020


Check out this article at Gizmodo. Two artists built a system where players can “draw” their own pinball game and then play it! Video after the link.

Even the operators admit it’s gambling

January 30, 2020

From Billboard Magazine, April 21, 1954


Pacific Pinball League Open Tournament

November 5, 2019

wide open slam bang

Where: The Pacific Pinball Museum, 1510 Webster Street, Alameda

When: Dec 4, 2019, from 6:00 – 10:00 PM

Format: Best Game Qualifying, followed by Top 4 Final

Entry: $11, all games on free play

Player Cap: 36

World Pinball Player Ranking Points will be awarded, TGP Value: 12

Hey folks! On Wednesday Dec. 4 the usual Pacific Pinball League night will host a short and sweet tournament instead. Qualifying is a “best game” format on a bank of 12 games, max 2 tries per game, 10 tries overall, and your top 4 games will count toward your ranking. Ranking will be on a 30 point scale (30 points for 1st on a game, 29 for 2nd…).

The top 4 players at the end of qualifying will play in a 4-game final using 3-2-1-0 scoring.

The bank will consist of 4 modern games, 4 solid state and 4 electro-mechanical. Finals will be played on a short-flipper EM, long-flipper EM, solid state and modern game.

Players are responsible for adding themselves to game queues and completing their games on time. Any unplayed entries at the end of qualifying are voided.

Score entry must be witnessed by a Pacific Pinball League member or tournament official.

See you there!

Onion continues pinball snub

October 14, 2019



Hell has Frozen Over

October 9, 2019

Pacific Pinball League Season 8!

September 24, 2019

The Pacific Pinball League starts Season 8 on Wednesday September 25!

We are a fun and competitive group of pinball players from total beginners to pinball wizards, but everyone is there to make new friends and have fun.

We meet each Wednesday and play begins at 7PM. Busy schedule? No problem. If you attend 3 regular league nights you qualify to play in the Finals.

Even better, entry on league night is just $10, and gets you a league card, which gets you in to PPM on any other night (except special events) for $10 as well. All the games are on free play, too.

Got a friend who’s on the fence? Bring them along and we’ll give them the discount rate so they can hang out and see if it’s right for them.

How do you join? Show up any league night and we’ll take care of the rest.

Click here for more info!

Time Attack! Pinball Tournament

August 21, 2019


Hey folks! To kick off Season 8 of the Pacific Pinball League we’re hosting a tournament using a new format called Time Attack! 12 rounds of high speed pinball action. Two fun side challenges, and A and B Finals.

Where: The Pacific Pinball Museum, 1510 Webster Street, Alameda, CA

When: Sunday Sept. 22, 4PM – 9PM. Registration, Games posted, and side challenges start around 2PM.

Entry: $20 and all games on Free Play. Entry includes Museum and Tournament entry.

Format: Time Attack Qualifying. Top 8 play in “A” Finals. The next 16 novice and intermediate players play in the B Division Finals.

Prizes: $9 of each entry goes to the prize pool. 40%-30-20-10 for top 4. B Division: T shirts and $20 Gift Certificates.

How it works:

Compete head-to-head in 12 time-limited rounds of 2 minutes each on games of all eras (from the late-1960s to Modern games) using Swiss Pairs with balanced game selection and play-order choice. Extra balls and game restarts are allowed. Whatever is on the scoreboard after 2 minutes is the determining score.

12 rounds may sound like a lot to some of you but they go by very fast!

Final rounds for “A” Division are 4-Player groups on four games per round with 3-2-1-0 scoring and not time limited. The top 2 from each group advances to the next round.

Final rounds for “B” Division are 5 more rounds of Time Attack! followed by tie-breakers.

Who can enter: Open to all skill levels. The top 8 overall qualifiers will play in the “A” Finals. The next 16 players with an IFPA rank lower than 1000, or no rank at all, are eligible to play in the “B” Finals.

Rules and Frequently Asked Questions (this is a different format, so please read this)

1. How is a typical round played?

Each round, the game, players and player order is determined by the tournament software. All player 1s will get ready to plunge on their assigned machines. Except where noted*, players may start the game but may not plunge until the match begins. The tournament judge will count down the group “5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – GO!” At the end of 2 minutes all players must go “Hands Off!” and let the current ball drain. Bonus (if any) is collected and that’s the player’s score. Scores are recorded (typically via the player’s cell phone camera), then players switch positions and the above is repeated. The player with the higher score wins.

(*Some games will auto-launch a short time after the Start button is pressed, such as Doctor Who. The player will wait for the ‘Go’ command to press the Start button and begin play on those games)

Results are self-reported by the players (again, usually via their phones, but on my laptop is fine, too) and players in each match are responsible for verifying accuracy and reporting errors. Any errors not reported or resolved once the next round begins are permanent.

2. Games can be restarted? How does that work?

Yes! At any time you can restart your game, thus ending (voiding) your game in progress, and start a new game. By doing so, the original game is voided. Any progress or points from the voided game don’t matter.

Why would you want to do that? The most common scenario is you’re playing a tough  game with no ball saver and you get two quick drains with lots of time still left. Restarting may be the better option versus hoping you can do well enough on your last remaining ball. Another common scenario is when playing on a game where a single tilt ends the whole game, such as El Dorado.

Note: Some games have odd restart quirks. For example, most electro-mechanical games will not restart (flippers will stay dead) until the ball in the shooter lane is plunged and back in the trough. It’s the player’s responsibility to know these quirks. Exceptions will not be made because “I didn’t know that’s how it works.”

3. What happens if I get a stuck or lost ball?

Stuck Balls

If a player gets a stuck ball in a location where the ball search will definitely not free the ball by direct action (such as an air ball that lodges the ball behind a playfield feature), the player raises his/her hand, play stops and a compensation round is provided.

If a player gets a stuck ball that can be freed via a nudge or the playfield search:

1) Player has the choice of freeing it/allowing it to be freed and playing through (and accepting the risk of a tilt and loss of time), or

2) player can stop play, hold one flipper up (to prevent the ball search from activating which may free the ball via direct action or vibration) and raise their hand to signal as such. Once the hand is raised the current game in play is voided, and the player must cease any attempts to free the ball so that the tournament director can verify it. Once verified, a compensation round is provided.

Every attempt will be made to verify a stuck ball but if vibration, accidental player action (leaning on the machine, bumping it) or bad luck causes the ball to free itself before it was verified, no compensation is provided and the score is valid. If time remains on the clock, the player may continue if balls remain. (This is an extremely rare edge case and you have 11 other rounds to counteract any bad luck such as this.)

If the player raises their hand (voiding their game) and is observed to simultaneously continue to attempt to free the ball, and/or continues to play on in some fashion, the player is disqualified and loses the round.

No compensation is provided for stuck balls which take “a long time” to free, either due to multiple failed nudges or waiting for the ball search.

A player may attempt to free a ball, but realizing it can not be done, raise their hand to void the game.

Players may discontinue play and be provided a compensation round  for stuck balls which occur during a multiball, but they are not required to do so, i.e. if a ball is stuck in a 2 ball multiball, the player may continue play with a single ball. Since the round is 2 minutes long, the advantage of a stuck ball in this scenario is minimal.

If a player chooses to continue play with a stuck ball but does not attempt to free it (i.e. “ride out the round”), the “current score in play” is recorded, not the post-bonus collect score. Example: Player A scores 150k on 8 Ball Deluxe. Player B scores 130k and the ball becomes stuck. Player B realizes that he has 50k in bonus, and simply draining will allow them to pass Player A. If Player B does not free the ball nor signal the decision to void, the final score for Player B is 130k and Player B would lose the match. Put another way, you cannot ride out the clock and then have a tournament official free your ball so that you can collect your bonus and win the match.

4. What happens in the case of Lost Balls or Double Feeds?

If a game loses track of the ball in play or erroneously provides a compensation ball, double-feeds a ball, or similar, the game is voided and a compensation round is provided.

5. How will the games be set up?

Overall, consider games to have a “location” setup, condition and medium tilt that will allow significant nudging. While efforts will be made to get games in the best shape possible, if Pinburgh-level refinement is your expectation, this is not the tournament for you.

Tournament mode will be enabled to balance random awards such as Mystery awards where possible. However, if, for example, the castle gate on Medieval Madness fails to occasionally register hits and the condition is the same for all players, then it will not be grounds for a Malfunction.

6. Major Malfunctions

What constitutes a major malfunction will ultimately be up to the tournament director, but includes, as examples: a rubber breaking, complete failure of a kickout mechanism, flipper failure or failure of a switch that affects game progress materially (Example: Twilight Zone either ramp preventing multiball, especially when the particular switch was working for the opponent).

If a major malfunction occurs, the match will be moved to another game.

7. Breaks

This is hot and thirsty pinball action. Qualifying will take around 2 hours. There will be a short break after the 4th round and another after the 7th. Use these breaks to hit the restroom (there are 3 at the PPM), play side challenges or step away from the crowd. Players are responsible for being ready to play as soon as new rounds are announced. If for any reason you need an extended break or have an unusual circumstance, notify me, and reasonable accommodations will be made. Otherwise, you automatically forfeit your match. Players who fail to show for their match will get a warning. Two times and you will be removed from the tournament.

7. Side Challenges

Two fun side challenges such as “One-hand, One Ball” that you can play during any downtime or breaks. Mini-Finals for these side challenges will include the top 4 on each game and be played between qualifying and Finals. The winner gets a T shirt.

8. Are there any etiquette rules I should be aware of?

This format has clutch wins and bad beats, but after 12 rounds, the cream rises. Have FUN, play hard and be excellent to each other!

Pacific Pinball League Standings

July 2, 2019


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