Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Classic Games (Games) The Almighty Buck Games

What Pinball Looks Like When the Stakes Are High 133

siobHan writes "The PAPA World Pinball Championships recently concluded in Scott, PA (near Pittsburgh), as covered on Slashdot already. The organizers recorded full 1080p/60 HD video of the playfield during the final games, and have uploaded the entirety of the crucial deciding game, with commentary (direct link to just the video). The winner of this game received $10,000 for his skillful play."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What Pinball Looks Like When the Stakes Are High

Comments Filter:
  • I could make that kind of money from playing pinball :)
  • Monitor (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dan East (318230) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @06:43PM (#33406130) Homepage Journal

    I knew I had my 20" monitor oriented vertically all this time for an eventual reason - to play this video optimally.

    • by Browzer (17971)

      At least in Firefox, "Zoom Out" is also an option.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by iamhassi (659463)
      "I knew I had my 20" monitor oriented vertically all this time for an eventual reason - to play this video optimally."

      I thought the same thing when I saw this video pop-up: why in the world would anyone make this vertical with widescreen monitors being so prevalent? Any vertical resolution less than 1000 would have a hard time viewing this whole video, and I've seen a lot of laptops offering less than 1000.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Um, because pinball games are vertical? Seriously if the orientation were different there would be a lot more complaint. Pinball isn't built for widescreen...

        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by demonlapin (527802)
          If it's a laptop, hold the damned thing sideways.
          • by bhtooefr (649901)

            Or just get a higher res one.

            The video, at the res that it was embedded on the page, fit perfectly on my screen. And my browser window, Opera reports, is 1508x972 - so any 1050 pixel or taller laptop display should be able to view it.

            (I was about to say, get a 2048x1536 screen in a 4 year old laptop, like I did, but then I realized my browser window isn't full screen, and you don't need anywhere near that.)

      • Re:Monitor (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Garble Snarky (715674) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @01:04AM (#33407350)
        A better question to ask is "why in the world would widescreen monitors be so prevalent when so much content is predominantly vertical?"
        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          The question is; why do people buy so much widescreens? The only good reason I can think of is if you watch widescreen movies on your PC a lot.
          My 23" 4:3 is nice, and it could even pivot if Windows could handle the pivotting without blue-screening after three or four flips.
          A square screen would probably be ideal for general productivity work but I haven't seen one yet.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            The question is; why do people buy so much widescreens?

            Because Fallout 3 looks so friggin' awesome in 1650x1080.

            Seriously, that's why I bought mine.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I can't speak for anyone else but it's because I got them cheap. Dell was pretty much giving them away with the purchase of a vostro for a while and I brokered a deal that left me with this monitor and the buyer with a 17" 4x3. I got my 20" gateway LCD with a $125 Athlon 64 X2 4000+ :D

          • by Raenex (947668)

            The question is; why do people buy so much widescreens?

            As another poster said, side-by-side windows. I never bought into dual monitors, but I love widescreen. I also use it to watch movies and play console games.

          • Uh, because you can fit two or three open windows at once on them. Like a reference, the work in progress, another references and maybe a general fuck off window, where you can watch a movie, TV or anything else. I run a TV card in my primary computer and often have half a monitor on the news, with a general surf window on the same monitor, while working on the other monitor.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by xded (1046894)

          Because your eyes field of view is wide rather than tall.

          Problem is that industry choose to change the AR from 4:3 to 16:9 keeping the diagonal size constant, while they should've kept constant the height (or, at least, the vertical resolution).

        • Because I often have multiple pieces of content playing at once. Widescreen (like a book) provides the best format for presenting multiple lists concurrently.

        • Because wide-screen monitors permit you to to view 2 vertical windows simultaneously?

          Because with vertical content, it's preferable to scroll vertically rather than horizontally?

    • by S-100 (1295224)
      Just download the mp4 from Youtube using a Firefox plug-in, play with VLC and use the VLC option to rotate the video.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ecuador (740021)

      That was similar to my reaction when I opened the page with my 26" portrait oriented monitor. I said "yeah! take that! landscape mode suckers!". I was waiting to say that for over a year...

      Too bad I found the video boring... but it still fills my entire screen so I can see its boring-ness in all its glory!

  • When high (Score:5, Funny)

    by delirium of disorder (701392) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @06:48PM (#33406160) Homepage Journal

    What Pinball Looks like When...High:


    o....when stakes are high...

    "I mean if Pacman affected our generation as kids, we would all run around in darkened rooms eating pills and listening to repetitive music."

  • Ah, Space Cadet Pinball, how I miss you... Okay. Good. The nostalgia passed pretty quickly. I'm sorry you had to witness my moment of weakness there.
  • Ah Pinball (Score:2, Interesting)

    Memories of misspent youth and quarters.

    I could pop a quarter in an Eight-Ball Deluxe machine and play all day. I was able to hit most of the specials and rack up credits for free play. Sometimes I even left a few on the machine when I had to go.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      "Make the eight ball, corner pocket..."

    • by KiloByte (825081)

      For playing with real tilt on a computer:

      n900 + dosbox + acceleromymote.

      Start the joystick emulation. Run dosbox and the keymapper -- with all those games using port 60 instead of the BIOS you have to remap physical keys anyway; you need left shift, right shift, then whatever you need to start the game (F1-F4 in Pinball Dreams/Fantasies). Then, remap the joy up event to space. Play PD/PF/whatever else.

      Laptops don't have accelerometers and are too unwieldy, iPhone has no keyboard. It might be possible to

    • by ejasons (205408)

      For years, there was an Eight Ball Deluxe machine in the Minneapolis airport that didn't have a functioning tilt sensor. I looked forward to flying through that airport every time, until they finally removed it...

      However, for other machines that had sensitive tilt sensors, I couldn't consistently win games, as it much too often ran the ball right down the middle, without my ever even getting a chance at a save.

      Love that machine. I haven't played for a while, but do remember there being a functional simula

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:17PM (#33406280)

    I noticed something very strange: It's all men. Where are the women players? In the audience? At least, why didn't the audience bring their wives and girlfriends?

  • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:24PM (#33406300) Journal

    There is only one pinball manufacturer in the world right now, and they didn't get there by being the best engineers, artists or designers. They got there by being/having the scummiest lawyers. Now we're stuck with horrible designs, bad gameplay, and most of the best IP buried in an unmarked grave in wrigley field.

    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:34PM (#33406340)

      Tilt: The battle to save pinball is a great documentary to watch.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't understand the lawyer comment. Stern is a continuation of Sega. We have one manufacturer in the world because Williams left to make slot machines and pinball doesn't make much money. If Stern dropped out then we'd have 0 manufacturers and nobody would take their place. Stern has made some pigs, but they also made Simpson's Pinball Party, Family Guy, and LOTR which are all great games.

      • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:55PM (#33406624) Journal

        You've obviously never had to service any of them. Stern has a nasty tendency to release their designs before fully testing them. For an entertaining read check out the code revisions and dates for Pirates of the Caribbean.

        Back EMF is a recurring issue on several modern Stern designs; due to things like poor wire routing choices and underspec'ing diodes on larger coils.

        Want a nightmare? Check out the membrane switches under the motorcycle toy on Harley Davidson.

        I could literally rant for hours about Stern and never repeat myself. They are garbage whose horribleness is only eclipsed by the complete shite rolling off the lines of Gottlieb starting in the early 70's and culminating with Water World.

        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Oh my god, you just out-nerded even Slashdot.
        • by S-100 (1295224) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @10:19PM (#33406936)
          Gottlieb electromechanical (EM) machines were #1 from the beginning of the flipper period (Humpty Dumpty - 1948), but lagged in features and complexity around the early 70's. But the latter EMs of that decade were unmatched - with classics like El Dorado. But once the games transitioned to solid state(SS) in the latter part of the 70's, Gottlieb never found their way back, and faded slowly from the scene until Barb Wire - their last pinball machine. Until the EM/SS transition, Gottlieb games had a well-deserved reputation for quality of components and reliability. This was all lost in the SS transition with the horrible System 1 platform, designed by Rockwell of all places. And even though they did bring up quality by the 90's it was too late for Gottlieb by then and they faded into obscurity.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Majik Sheff (930627)

            You're dead on with that. The spider chips on those cursed System 1 boards made the damn game boards into toxic cheese graters as soon as they failed.

            Good riddance to them, the aftermarket replacements are much better products. Now if something could be done about the flawed ramp designs and their "smart switches".

            The one thing I do like about Gottliebs from the solid state era is their choice of connector for the interconnects. The rest of the industry's choice of the 0.168 and 0.1 tension pins will plag

          • Extra cool points for knowing the first pinball machine with flippers -- Humpty Dumpty
        • by multipartmixed (163409) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @08:12AM (#33408376) Homepage

          > Want a nightmare? Check out the membrane switches under the motorcycle toy on Harley Davidson.

          That was on purpose. It pays homage to the years AMF owned Harley.

          Stern originally wanted to make them leak oil too, but their lawyers vetoed the idea since patrons might hurt themselves walking on greasy floors.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      That sounds like Bally - the crappiest and most boring pinball machines ever made. Even if nobody played them parts would keep burning out.
      • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @09:30PM (#33406754) Journal

        Granted Bally had some stinkers, but with a roster like this it's hard to back up your argument:

        The Addams Family
        Attack From Mars
        Cactus Canyon
        Champion Pub
        Cirqus Voltaire
        Theatre of Magic
        The Twilight Zone

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by NJRoadfan (1254248)
          Then there is Star Trek: The Next Generation. Machine was rushed and pretty buggy. Most of the machines you listed were from the WMS era so they were based on shared Williams platforms. Twilight Zone was excellent, sadly it never got the DCS sound system. It was supposed to be the first to have it but.... the game was rushed out the door.
    • by Dadoo (899435)

      Having lived about half a mile from there, I'd have to agree with you. That's a pretty run-down area, even for Pittsburgh.

      I even mentioned this story to my wife, who said she couldn't imagine giving someone directions to the site, from the nearest freeway.

  • Pinball really is a lost bit of nostalgia. I bet you a LOT of money could be made if classic machines such as Dr. Who, Attack from Mars, Revenge From Mars, Terminator, were adapted to the PC. I mean, Maxis' Full Tilt Pinball is the last decent pinball sim I can think of. And that was circa Windows 3.1
    • There already is one. []Visual Pinball also has a MAME style emulator for arcade game like Terminator and Addams Family.
    • Pinball really is a lost bit of nostalgia. I bet you a LOT of money could be made if classic machines such as Dr. Who, Attack from Mars, Revenge From Mars, Terminator, were adapted to the PC. I mean, Maxis' Full Tilt Pinball is the last decent pinball sim I can think of. And that was circa Windows 3.1

      I agree. Although, while I haven't followed this in a while and I don't use Windows at home anymore, I was thrilled 7 or 8 years ago with vpinmame and Visual Pinball for machines like The Twighlight Zone, the Adams Family, and, well, Whirlwind, since I played that a lot in college. Actual ROMs, photographs of the tables as backgrounds, and real physics you could even edit, and it was all free (except for the ROMs technically, I guess...). Not sure what the status of these projects is these days, but I am

    • by slyrat (1143997)

      Pinball really is a lost bit of nostalgia. I bet you a LOT of money could be made if classic machines such as Dr. Who, Attack from Mars, Revenge From Mars, Terminator, were adapted to the PC. I mean, Maxis' Full Tilt Pinball is the last decent pinball sim I can think of. And that was circa Windows 3.1

      There are the two pinball hall of fame games [] that have some of the great gottlieb and williams games. I'm hoping they do a bally one sometime too. At least midevil madness was one of the ones they have ported.

      • There are the two pinball hall of fame games [] that have some of the great gottlieb and williams games. I'm hoping they do a bally one sometime too. At least midevil madness was one of the ones they have ported.

        Oh wow, I had never heard of either of these. Thanks for the tip! Unfortunately it looks like they have some tables exclusive to PS3 and 360, which is rather annoying considering I am a Wii owner only. A Bally one would be good because that would cover Dr. Who, Attack from Mars, and Revenge from Mars all in one shot. Glorious day that would be.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:42PM (#33406376) Homepage

    There were two:

    The arcade at Dixie Landings in Walt Disney World. They had an entire wall that was nothing but pinball least 20-30 in a row. The second was at a place in Gaithersburg, MD that shut down about 12 years or so ago, called Sportland America. They too had an entire wall of just pinball machines, although they had closer to 40 or 50 of them.

    Such good times. I miss pinball machines :(

    • by koreaman (835838)

      If you're ever in Phoenix, stop by Castles and Coasters... they have 20 or so pinball machines in the arcade, if I remember correctly.

    • by audunr (906697)

      If you ever visit Oslo, Norway, check out the place Tilt (pictures []). They have 15 machines, selected from the owners' collection of 230.

    • by houghi (78078)

      I liked pinball machines as well, but I do not so much miss them. They started to get boring once you would get several million points. I did not see the relation of getting 3 million on one thing and 300 on the other.
      500 points or even 5000 points was something I could understand, but 1.000.000?

    • There's actually a pinball museum in Las Vegas. It's worth a trip if you're ever in Sin City. []
    • In Seattle and over 21, try Shorty's for pinball fun. Last time I went there it was cash only.
    • by sshhhhhh (1624831)

      OCNJ on the boardwalk go to Jillies... they have a bunch of good machines there. 15-20. Open 24 hours too.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

    If it's pinball and it's not Medieval Madness, it almost certainly sucks.


  • by British (51765) <> on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:39PM (#33406552) Homepage Journal

    If you are in the twin cities area, go to the MN State fair. There's a room with nothing but pins. This is a welcome change from the increasing numbers of shooting gallery & ticket redemption machines invading the fair.

  • What it looks like (Score:3, Informative)

    by bug_hunter (32923) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:47PM (#33406586)

    What it looks like is unfortunately amazingly boring. Most of the game is the player holding the flipper up so the ball stops, releasing, then making a good shot.
    The shots take skill, and there's always the trick of using the right amount of tilt etc, but I find it near unwatchable.

    • by v1 (525388)

      I was surprised at the bumping the first ball got without tilting. And that player held the ball a lot more than the 2nd player/ball. Got boring after that for me tho so that was my limit.

      I got a cheap home pinball machine one year for christmas. I thought the name was "flying circus" but looking around I don't see it. The scoreboard was analog - it was a giant wheel numbered 1-100 around its circumference, and showed the score by showing a small patch of the dial at the top. Every time you hit a ramp

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by billcopc (196330)

      That's why I like the 4th guy. He's a bit more random in his playing style, but he actually nailed several ramps back-to-back, unlike the other perfectionists. His score didn't go quite as high, but he spent a lot less time idling and played it like a normal person rather than a committee-designed robot.

      Those guys who just sit there all day, planning their shot like a goddamned golfer, are indeed ultra-boring. There was a crap pin, I think it was Stargate, that had a truly game-breaking oversight in that

    • by klui (457783)
      24 minutes 46 seconds--24 minutes 49 seconds was pretty good. Some of the saves down the middle were also quite nice.
  • Pinball is great, even for the young generation.

    In the basement we have 24, Theater of Magic, and Spiderman :)

  • by retech (1228598) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @10:12PM (#33406900)









    Gymnastic Ribbon (WTF is that)

    Water Ballet

    • Cricket
      Crown Green Bowling
      Snooker (Or Pool or Billiards - all painful)
      Oval Car Racing (not just NASCAR, but IndyCar also guilty)
      Marathon Running
      Baseball (sorry, US folks, but it's interminable if watched live)

  • by hamburger lady (218108) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @10:32PM (#33406982)

    looks pretty much the same as when the stakes are low.

  • I've always wanted a pinball table, but I never got one for fear of bad parts and expensive repairs. I'm fine with a $2,000 investment on a good table, but have no idea what to look for and what to avoid. Anyone one have suggestions?
  • Insert Coin (Score:3, Funny)

    by spacemky (236551) * <> on Saturday August 28, 2010 @10:45PM (#33407018) Homepage Journal

    "The winner of the $10,000 prize purse at the World Pinball Championships has requested his entire winnings in quarters."

  • Most of my college years were spent in front of the Creature From The Black Lagoon table (The table in the article + Licensing Deal). I could drop a 20 pence coin in there, play 5 or 6 games and walk away leaving multiple credits behind.

    I don't know that I'd handle the consistency of play required to get into this sort of competition, but my averages were way above what these guys ended on, with a personal best of 911M and change.

    • I didn't get any of the MetaGame from the article, so the best I can figure is that suppose you were indeed a deadly hotshot at Lagoon, the champion might know 5 machimes, and stick the results on Knight Rider or something.

      Ramdom Guess here, but certain people can be am expert at any one machine, so if the Champ plays the MetaGame right, his 3rd best machine might leave you ruined.

      • Yeah, no argument there.
        Lagoon was the only one I really aced, though I could hold my own on Twilight Zone (even with its accursed ceramic ball) and the 90's Star Wars table (The one with the mini-game video games on the LED's up top).

        But yeah, like I said, no consistency of play. Put me in front of any table other than those 3 and I was laughable at best.

If you are smart enough to know that you're not smart enough to be an Engineer, then you're in Business.