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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


June 27, 2019


Pre-SF City Champ Tournament 6/21

May 20, 2019


Where: Alamo Draft House, 2550 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

When: Friday 6/21 @ 7PM, Registration starts at 6PM

Entry: $5 + coin drop

WPPRs: Yes

Prizes: Cash prizes to top 4

Format: Flipper Frenzy

Continuous matches are played for a set duration of 2 hours. As soon as a player completes a match, they go back into the queue of players waiting for the next available machine. Top 4 play off on three machines with 4-2-1-0 scoring.

Pacific Pinball League Season Starts May 29!

May 14, 2019


Ready to unlock your NATURAL PINBALL POTENTIAL? :-)

Then click the League link up top for more info and come out!

If you have any questions, hit me up on the Contact link.

Bill Gates Blew Off College Interview

May 9, 2019


If Pinball had a ship

April 9, 2019

A different kind of pin-hauler

February 2, 2019


When it Drains it Emporiums

January 17, 2019

Hey Folks! Come on out to the new Emporium in fabulous downtown Oakland for some pinball fun and competition, and of course, beer. You get two tournaments for the price of one with Open and Novice divisions, and a side tournament! The main tournament is Pin Golf and the side tournament is to play one-handed (beer in the other hand?). The main event will qualify for World Pinball Player Ranking Points Open and Novice divisions for different skill levels means even if you’re a flipperless wonder you still have a chance at some prize loot.

When: February 9 2019. Signup and side tournament start @ 11AM. Pin Golf starts @ 1 PM. Pin Golf participants can enter as late as 2 PM and still be eligible to play. If you make the cut, Finals @ 5 PM (but dependent on attendance).

Where: Emporium Oakland, 1805 Telegraph Ave. If you’re taking BART get off at 19th street and walk 2 blocks.

Entry: $10 + quarters to play. All entry money paid back to winners.

Eligibility: Entry is open to everyone 21+ and all skill levels.

Format: Pin Golf

Prizes: Cash prizes and plaques for top 3 in Open and cash prize for 4th (40/30/20/10). Prizes and plaques for top 3 novice. Plaque for top woman player. Free pinball swag courtesy of STERN Pinball and the Pacific Pinball Museum.

Side Challenge: There will be a FREE side event (just pay quarters for the game) for beginners and up-and-comers only. Enter as many times as you like to improve your score. The top two overall players at the end of qualifying will then face off to decide the winner. Limit: WPPR 2000 rank.


How it Works:


This is the rules part. The most important rule is to have fun and don’t be a douchebag.

The main tournament is Pin Golf. In Pin Golf a score or goal is posted on each of 6 games. Your job is to beat the score with the fewest number of pinballs as you can. Just like strokes in golf. For example, “Score 10 Million in Addams Family” or “Score 1.5 Million on Iron Man”, or collect 2 dead ends on Twilight Zone. If you want advice on what you should aim for, just ask.

Don’t worry. The scores and goals are very attainable. Whether it takes you one ball or many more to get it? Well, that’s up to you. :-)

You only get one try per game (6 games), but afterward, you get to replay one game of your choice to try and improve your score.

The max (i.e. worst) score is 6 for each game, meaning, if you don’t get the goal by the end of your 5th ball, you get an automatic 6 and move on.

The top 8 – 12 players will play in the Open Finals depending on attendance. The next 8-12 novice players will play in the novice finals. This means first timers and novices have two chances to qualify. If you’re a closet pinball wizard who thinks he’s a novice but do great, you’ll play in the Finals against the big dogs. If you’re ehhh not so good but good enough, you might still qualify for the novice final.

How do you know if you’re a novice? If you’re not ranked in the IFPA (International Flipper Pinball Association), then you qualify as a novice. If you are ranked, but you’ve never held a rank above 2000, then you also qualify.

Side Tournament:

For the side tournament you play one-handed and try to rack up as many points as you can. You can use both flippers but only one hand. Use the other hand to hold your beer. Or gesture emphatically. Or sign language beatnik poetry. Up to you.

Try as many times as you like to improve your score. The top 2 will play off at the end of qualifying.

Got questions? Email me at That’s it! See you on Feb 9!

Pinball with a steering wheel? 1970 Sega Stunt Car

November 25, 2018

David Lee wins Season 5 of PPM League

November 16, 2018
Nineteen players came out for Finals and David Lee is our new champion!  This is David’s second season win!  Congrats to David! David wins a plaque, and Iron Maiden translite and a t shirt.
2nd: Jonny O Plaque and shirt
3rd: David Brady Plaque and shirt
4th and Women’s Champion: Stacey Miller Plaque and shirt

Time Attack Side Challenge: Alex defeats Alissa and wins a shirt and socks!

One-handed, one-ball Side Challenge: Potter defeats Alex and wins a shirt and socks!

Challenge for perfect attendance and previous side challenge winners: Potter wins a Ghostbuster’s translite.

Raffle for side challenge entries: David Brady wins a STERN translite, Kathy wins a T Shirt.

Season 6 starts in January and is open to players of all levels.

All you ever wanted to know about how the Tilt works

October 20, 2018

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