Deep cuts of semi-useful pinball knowledge


What are some obscure or weird rules that you know that might be useful to know, but it appears that not many people know?

Here are a couple from Indy 500:

  1. In regular multiball, most people know that when you put a ball in the Turbo, the regular jackpot value increases by 10 million. However, an important detail to note is that not only does the scoop switch need to register for you to get this score increase, but the upper Turbo mech itself needs to register. This means that it’s possible to put a ball in the Turbo and shoot a jackpot too early, receiving only the regular jackpot value rather than jackpot+10 million. For example
    (Start at 1:09:30 if the video doesn’t automatically start there.)
    @cayle locks a ball in the Turbo and then gets a quick 30 million jackpot via the right ramp that would have been 40 million if he had waited ~1 more second. He then shoots the left ramp and gets the expected 42 million. (Each made jackpot raises the next jackpot value by 2 million.)

Also note that if you’re playing an Indy 500 where you can hear the machine’s sound cues, the game will issue a beep when the value has been added to the jackpot.

  1. In video mode, you don’t have to avoid the oil slicks. You don’t get more points to go through them, and they will slide your car if you are not providing left or right button input, but this knowledge might earn you some extra points toward the end of the mode.The rule sheet says “…if you just skim an obstacle you only skid a bit,” but that’s not exactly correct.

  2. If you’re playing with extra balls off, don’t select “Light Extra Ball” from the Change Setup award. It does what you’d expect for a game of this era: nothing.


  1. When you launch a ball, there’s a regular ball save light, but the blinking car in front of the left ramp also indicates that there’s an additional hidden ball save/grace period. If you center drain with this car blinking, you will get your ball back. Any side drain that turns off this blinking car will not be coming back, but it’s possible to drain out the side with the regular ball save light off and have the blinking car not turn off and have your ball saved.

Minds blown? Bored to tears? Either way, it’s your turn now. Are you harboring any deep cuts you wish to share with the world?


I learned something new to me on DESW last night (new ROMs). It is well known that if you activate your death star hurry up as the ball drains, you get 5M, but don’t consume your moons because the death star never opened. What I learned last night, that I didn’t know is you can do the same thing while draining on a freeze. It will at least display the 5M (I assume you get it), the freeze saves the ball, but the death star does not open or consume your moons.


Both pieces of info were new to me.



Here is the order of Change Setup awards in Indy 500 (AFAIK!):

There are 26 items in the list, The list will start at a random position, but the items otherwise appear in the same order. It loops back to the beginning when reaching the end. Light EB randomly replaces one award, you can loop through the entire list to get to it again (26 flips).

1 Million
15 Million
Spot Pit Lane
10 Laps
5 Million
5 Laps
15 Million
50 Points
Light Change Setup
15 Million
20 Million
70 Points
Light Lock
15 Million
10 Million
3 Million
20 Points
15 Million
Spot Pit Lane
10 Million
5 Laps
100 Points
1 Million
15 Million
50 Points
20 Million

My cues for the important ones:
Light Lock is 4 flips after Light Change Setup.
20 Million is 5 flips after 5 Laps.


Corvette: shortplunge and drain after a ball save and your skill shot is lit again


On AFM there is a short ball saver period after Strobe MB. It is often useful to drain on purpose during this to get the ball back up top for more lanes(bonus X) and more pops(towards super pops).

This ball saver can seem very unexpected because it can occur 5-10 minutes into a good ball.



Afaik, Jackpots themselves in I500 do not raise the jackpot value. Shots to the turbo raise the Jackpot value in, and out of multiball.

Video mode - the oil slicks don’t give you more points when hit. What you do get by hitting them is they then do not count as an AVOIDED DEBRIS, so, in essence, you can extend your video mode by hitting oil slicks and have a chance to pick up more point collects and thus a higher mode total.


I’ve head this before. Experiments with hitting as many oil slicks as possible have not resulted in longer video mode time and more points. I’m going to call this one doubtful.


Says the guy who thought jacks increase jacks…

jk, your probably right :smiley: heheh


The rule sheet says that about jacks increasing jacks, so I believed it for a minute there. I think you’re right about it being the saucer that’s doing it. Same with the top center saucer as far as I know.

I’m waiting for someone to chime in and say that the +10 million jackpot timing thing is just a display bug and doesn’t affect scoring. Pretty sure it’s not, but it wouldn’t be too shocking.



It’s a great day for racing, and a great day for displaying non-existent earned points.


Yeah, so the question becomes:

Is there any point in switching the lanes on I500 to light a set of 4? I do it out of habit from every other game where it actually matters, but is there any actual benefit on I500?


Souveniers are all awarded at 5 million rather than the displayed value. Better than nothing, but not by much, and definitely not worth dialing in the left ramp unless it’s somehow easier for making the lock shot stick compared with the left loop combo.


Don’t the souvenirs let you do one-shot kills on the light ups? Depending on which souvenirs you have and which light up wave you’re on


Another ramp means a guaranteed 5 million points.


Yes; not every wave can be completed this way, but most can. Souvenirs definitely have value this way!


Big Buck Hunter:

Common knowledge: Bonus Round (mode) lights after 20 or so pop hits, shoot right orbit to start a mode.

ProTip: Watch the mode start insert - it will tell you what mode is currently “lit” by how many times it flashes (1 thru 6 - count the “off” periods). The six modes are indicated by the art above the insert, bottom to top: one blink = frog toss, two = mug shooting, etc. Five of the six modes are fun but relatively low scoring, but the third mode (boars gone wild) is a four-ball multiball(!); this is the one you want to start. Pops will change the “lit” mode, but this is hard to control, instead shoot the ramp. Each ramp advances the count by one, wrapping from mode 6 back to mode 1. Trap up, identify the current mode, then loop the ramp enough times til Boars is lit, pass right to left then shoot right orbit to start it. You can then stack Elk and Bird with Boars for big scoring.


No one I play with seems to know about the AFM video mode “smart bomb.” You can hit the Launch button any time during video mode and all the saucers currently onscreen will be destroyed. I use it when a saucer is about to land but someone better than me at video mode (i.e., most people) can probably figure out a better time to use it…


Related AFM video mode tidbits:

  • In the first phase: about 95% of the time you can get through just by starting your turret full left, sweeping it to full right, and then back again, repeat until done. Make sure you take the turret all the way to each edge each time. Use the smart bomb if a ship sneaks through.

  • In the second phase: about 95% of the time you can defeat the Mothership just by aiming straight vertically, stand back, and watch.


To complete the AFM video mode trifecta, cow video mode.

Collect a cow on each ramp during regular play by hitting the launch button while the ball is on the ramp. Martians don’t always beam up cows, so try again if you miss the first time. When you get one, the cow will moo. If you rapid fire the launch button, the cow will moo a lot.

Not especially useful, but a mode everyone should see once.