G FUEL presents NYC Pinball Championships 2018


This was a very well run tournament. I was a little nervous when the first games I played were one that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Gorgar and a Top Score that tilted when I gazed at it a bit too sternly. Everything else played great though. Top Score was fine once you reduced your points of contact with the machine to two index fingers.

Huge thanks to the organizers, scorekeepers, machine owners, broadcasters and other volunteers. You put on a top class event.


So the live commentating over the microphone during the finals… The players could hear that, right?

Sounds very distracting. I don’t know how I feel about that.

I only watched the finals round, which was very, very good. Two awesome ball 3 comebacks from John then Bowen.


It was on the tournament rules from the get go. Part of trying to bring more interest for the audience, pretty common on “most” esports to be able to play with commentary. The earphones strat is still available for those who need it :slight_smile:


I always go against the grain here and say that nothing should distract you. You should be worried about your game and the ball in front of you. For me, I don’t care if kids play next to me or if the games are touching each other due to space or if there is a super loud DJ playing music. I focus on my game. Distractions are excuses in my opinion.


Cayle’s future (@ 52 seconds) :slight_smile:


Fair enough! And especially fair if it was in the tournament description.


I’ll be sending out surveys to all event competitors for feedback once I’m back in Chicago. Thanks everyone who has given me feedback so far, which is very constructive and positive.



From what I saw/heard via the stream: Levi and others who were on the “room” mic only announced in-game action as it happened or what just took place – no “room” mic commentary on something the player could or should do, such as “they’re only 2 shots away from qualifying a mode to stack in with this multiball.” The intentional audible commentary seemed high-energy, with some humor thrown in, but respected the sport by not offering anything that could be construed as a tip or coaching to the player on the machine. Well done!


To add to this.

The commentating that was being done live had several elements associated with it. The announcers were doing the normal stuff of calling out the shots, announcing had much jackpots were hit for, etc. they also hyped up the crowd and hyped up the players WHILE they were playing. For instance on one of the finals games of Sorcerer Jon was playing and was way behind Bowen on his last ball. He had no ear plugs in that I could see not did he have headphones on. While he was hitting the left ramp multiple times the crowd and the announcers got more animated and lively and louder. Yelling Boom at times and telling the crowd to give a big round of applause of hitting the ramp or making a killer save. Several times during this particular game Jon trapped up and acknowledged the crowd cheering him on. I would say most if not all of the players enjoyed it. Some like Bowen, wore headphones so not sure how much he heard from the crowd or the live announcer.

On a side note, I just started TD’ing about 7 months ago, and this is exactly what I neeed to see and hear. I’m all about flair and wow and for all of my future events we are going to do live announcing along with hyping up the players. It can only be good for the sport. This isn’t golf.


Gentleman Jon is quite the showman as well - having had the honor to play with him a ton, you can even sense this in his normal play.

I will have to talk to people and watch the footage, but it seems like they hit the sweet spot with the spectacle of pinball - those who wish to focus can be supplied or bring their own aids to help focus, and those who are more gladiatorial can bask in the energy of the crowd.


Hey gang!

I’ve gotten some private feedback from several people already on this subject, and I really appreciate it.

My personal take is this: At this level of play, especially say, the final 8 of a world class pinball tournament like this, these players are going to be uncoachable, at least in regards to relatively rudimentary comments like “lock is lit!” or “He’s going for that jackpot!” These are world class players, and I can assure if I’ve noticed a lock or certain shot is lit, a player like Steve Bowden or Bowen Kerrins is going to notice it too, or at least would within a matter of seconds. The commentary is aimed at hyping up the crowd and the players, and at providing information to the people in the room who really don’t have a clue as to what is going on. It was vitally important to me I give these people some idea of how to follow the action, as well as repetition so this stuff would start to sink in. I have friends, co-workers, and family who were there, and I’m going to talk with them as well and see how effective this was.

I’d love to review some of the audio work, and I did have a film crew there so I may get the opportunity to check some of it out. If I was violating any IFPA rules that’s one thing; if it’s a judgement call that’s something else altogether.

On a last note on this - I was standing (and so was my PA) on the exact opposite end of the room from the PAPA booth which was doing “normal” extensive, rules-oriented, detailed commentary on the match for the home audience. There were numerous times when I was tired of hearing myself talk, or there was a lull in the action, or a baited hush fell upon the crowd.

During these moments, I often heard - clear as a bell - rules based commentary coming from members of the booth, and I was much further away from the PAPA booth than the players were. Clearly, these players don’t need a PA to overhear commentary, so I’m not sure what I was doing was any more likely to “coach” players than the kind of standard commentary we’ve seen at most major tournaments over the years. In fact, on occaision, I’d overhear something Ray Day said in the booth during the final 4 and “steal” it for my live commentary (Thanks Ray!)

Regardless, I’d never want to influence a match. Just influence a kickass show.



Not entirely true Snailman (in that some commentary could have been construed as tips) - see my previous comments.


I’m all for live commentary to the crowd to pump them up as long as the player can’t hear it. It’s super distracting to me and, I’m sure, other players. Telling players to use headphones or earplugs, in my opinion, is lacking empathy. For me, I want to hear the game call outs and the sounds of the game. On 99% of the games you can’t do that with headphones. In esports, that’s exactly what they get with their headphones. They can block out all other noise so they can hear the game. Until that is the same for pinball, I don’t think that you can compare it to esports.


All the games volumes were set to about 1. Even without commentating you couldn’t hear much especially with 20 other games going and 80 people talking in the room.


I don’t think the concern is coaching as much as the issue of distraction. To me it’s not the noise… but the people who talk about what you are doing… or not doing. When the loud droning voice says “ I don’t know why he isn’t shooting X” or repeats… you may be in disagreement with these “experts” and that is the mental distraction.

I think being conscious of what is said makes all the difference…

But I agree with the value for the spectator experience. It’s stuff we have been saying for years about the papa events. If you want a crowd and be engaged… you need more than staring at people’s backsides for several hours.


I just don’t see any way around it. For now, the “distraction” is just something folks are going to have to live with, at least at any tournament I’m involved with. Providing ear plugs and especially
Indicating there will be background sound in the rules and on signs posted on site is the best I can come up with for now but I’m hoping we see lots of new ideas and innovations in the near future.


I would say either deal with it or go play in another tournament that doesn’t have so many distractions. Doesn’t bother me at all, there are plenty of them at Pinburgh as well and nobody complains there. Put your big boy pants on and deal with it.


Well louder than that - I think around 8-9 WPC volume or thereabouts on all games, except for TOMMY which I turned all the way down after being annoyed to death by it all weekend at Allentown Pinfest recently.

In final 4 players could hear the games clearly. I would love to be able to broadcast the game sound over the PA to back up commentary, I would expect we’ll do that on some level next year.


I am curious how the sponsorship went - will you be developing a relationship with G FUEL in New York?