Defeat Celebrations

The talk of playfield glass punching got me thinking of the different types of “defeat celebrations” in pinball. I think it would be funny if we can list all of the ones we’ve seen or do. I’ll get it started:

The glass punch. Self explanatory, variations of this are the lockdown bar punch and glass slap.

The “Did you see that?!” When you drain a ball, point at some point on the game, turn to your opponent and inquire if they witnessed the grave injustice that the machine just dealt you.

The “Wait, wait, wait! Let me see the score scroll by one more time.” You just got thumped. But maybe, just maybe, if you see the score scroll by for the 8th time, you will win.

The 1000x stare. You’ve been destroyed, thoroughly. But you intently stare at the bonus count, just in case there is some magic 1000x multiplier that you don’t know about.

Yelling NOOO!!! Here’s a couple of variations:
The “Why did you do this to me?” at 0:53
The Chewbacca at 2:37


I do the single loud angry clap and turn to walk away from the table when I am upset.


The Coffin Clap! Always a fan of that one. I seem to recall Fred and Paul doing it a fair amount.

At Williams we didn’t really care so we had the Coindoor Kick. (Not recommended for locations or games you don’t own.) It was funny seeing it get caved in until you physically couldn’t open it. Oops.

The Wall Punch, also pretty self-explanatory. Never done that one, but there are legendary wall-hole stories from Wms.

The Complete Comedy of Errors. 3 or 4 of us were playing MB at Wms late at night, and one guy just kept getting particularly screwed over and over. The game eventually went straight back into the wall at a weird angle, causing the backbox to slam down onto the metal glass channel. (The glass was fine, BTW.) That was pretty funny enough, but then the game continued its trajectory into Champion Pub and hit the flipper button. So the sequence was:

  1. Major diss by game.
  2. Guy goes apeshit on it.
  3. Backbox slams down (leaving dents btw)
  4. CP: “Hey watch it! I know people!!”
  5. Couldn’t stop laughing for 10+ minutes. Probably because midnight or so and slaphappy.

I think it was the Florida show and Josh Henderson lost and it looked like he did the Homer Simpson flee the building.

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The Addams that we grew up with in my bedroom definitely has a caved in coin door for exactly this reason :smile:

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The one that always gets me is when the person leans over and look in the trough to make sure the ball is really down there. Yes it is, no its not coming back, sorry.


My favorite is just straight up denial. I recently had an opponent tell me, apparently totally seriously, that we both know he should have won the game we just finished, and in fact would have won if he hadn’t drained, so we really should go ahead and play a third game in our best of three match.


I have seen a great, ketchup and mustard being squirted on a machine defeat celebration. I do not condone this, but I laughed.

The turn around and mule kick the machine is terrible, but I have seen it.

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Mine is usually the fly-away, run from the machine fast, try not to crash into anybody, try not to swear too loudly.

I’ve seen the pick-up-and-drop a few times now, it always “impresses” me that someone can and would do that.


OMG! You just reminded me of that dude we used to play with back when you were still at BU. That guy was super aggro and I remember him doing the pick up and drop (power-bomb maybe).


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In a comp game last weekend, playing AC/DC, had a great first ball but now on my third, have 2 mutliballs stacked and ready on the right ramp, and the ball jumps my flipper during an attempted live catch.

I just slowly bent forward, lightly head butted the glass, turned and walked away.

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I like shaking my fist at the machine or doing the Kirk “Khaaaan!!!” scream if I drain on ST (while also doing the fist shake)

Also, I’ve been trying to capture more defeat celebrations (is that even the right word) when I shoot pinball events. I don’t know if people like seeing themselves frozen in that moment but they have a lot of emotion in them. A few examples of ones I liked from INDISC:


I would buy that coffee table book.


I like flipping the bird — or the double bird flip if I’ve been grievously wronged. Gotta watch out for impressionable kids, though.

Yep, you definitely go for the double bird with kids around, no question.

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Awesome picture, Gene! To put that moment in context: Semi finals of Classics at INDISC this year. I’m in a PAPA-style group of death with Keith Elwin, Zach Sharpe, and Jim Belsito. Game 1 on Beat The Clock. Everyone else is done. I am in last place when my time goes to zero, but I grind and grind with no time on the clock and manage to get my multiplier and bonus up to the point where if I make the collect bonus hole in the upper-left of the playfield. I will have come all the way back and win the friggin game! I got about 5 controlled shots at that damn collect hole, but I just couldn’t find it. Your picture captures perfectly the moment just after I drain and my frustration at my missed (over and over) opportunity for the glorious come-from-behind win against the very best players in the world. Cheers!


+1, these are SO great.

Can’t remember if that was Henry or Bob.

I nominate Phil Birnbaum for classiest management of a bad ball. It’s almost like a salute to the game that just “got him”. Note, I’m speaking of his current reactions, not his old mini headbutt on the glass.


The best one I saw - and its going to take 3 or 4 people to tell me which papa it was at and who the culprit was. I’m pretty sure it was qualifying. The guy loses the ball, and hits his head on the glass - glass shattered (so much for tempered glass). The audible OooooHHhh from the crowd was the best (worst) part. I’ve seen thumps, kicks, back kicks, shake the topper off, swearing and bird flipping – but breaking the glass with your head was quite awesome.

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