Game malfunction ruling question

Hey all. Twice this weekend I was struck by the same malfunction/ruling, and while frustrating at the time I ended up winning anyways both times, so just out of genuine curiosity I’m wondering if it’s clear from the PAPA/IFPA rules what should have been done. From what I’ve read/searched, I didn’t see something that directly related to it.

So what happened is the Terminator 2 software bug, where after shooting a cannon shot to start multiball, the ball immediately ricochets into the skull saucer before the drop target resets, balls get kicked out for multiball, but the software gets in the state of being out of multiball. So, getting balls into the skull at this point will start a cannon shot to start another multiball in terms of software, but you have 2-3 balls on the playfield. I caught 2-3 balls on the flippers and asked for what should be done, and it was ruled that I had to drain the extra balls, because multiball was over according to the software. Draining the extra balls did not end the ball because the software did not lose track of how many balls were in play, but just from a rules/scoring perspective it was out of multiball.

Is there a rule that addresses this directly, or is this such a unique situation that it’s just a tourney director’s call? I did see the PAPA game note not to use T2 because of this exact software bug.

Using the extra balls as a more safe way to get targets down towards the next multiball was something I would certainly have liked to do. It could be argued that starting the multiball with 2+ balls on the playfield could have caused a more catastrophic software malfunction, but I can’t see any other situation in the rules where a player is forced to do something harmful to himself in order to prevent a malfunction by machine, or a ball is taken out of play by a tournament official intentionally and then play continues(except perhaps two balls being kicked out of the trough at ball start, but in that case it was a malfunction for the extra ball to come out).

But, on the other hand, if I was losing big in the game already, and I thought I could cause a more catastrophic software bug to occur if I started the next multiball with 2+ balls in play, I might intentionally be trying to get that to happen to start the game over, so I can see the point of view of being forced to drain.(I don’t know if that would happen, it was blind speculation at the point it was being discussed).

I guess in the end, the only reasonable solution is to not use T2. But, this seemed like an interesting “edge case” kind of scenario that I was interested in hearing what people think.

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Do they force you to drain if you win Kobayashi Maru[1] too?

Forcing someone to drain because the machine fell out of mb sw-wise is insane to me. Getting fed multiple balls by accident, yes, I could see draining one of them. But not in a legit-earned mb sequence.

[1] Disclaimer: I don’t know if anything is after KM in the “new” code yet or not.

While I agree with your sentiment in general, I think in this case it can safely be inferred that a software bug did occur, whereas after winning Kobayashi it can be inferred that a bug did not occur. The ruling that there was a software bug and playing with all balls could cause a more catastrophic bug isn’t shared with the Kobayashi case, unless you take the stance that nothing can be inferred about whether something that occured is a software bug (you probably have an interesting take on that question :slight_smile: ).

There is nothing after KM in the new software. It just goes back into a state of single ball play. (Away team lit for mode start). No victory laps or anything

I was the official in question, and I’ll outline my thought process. Note that I had never seen this bug happen, and I even brought it up to @sk8ball after and he hadn’t heard of it either. After the first occurence I considered pulling it but I figured it was so rare that it would never happen again. We did pull it after occurence two and now its on my ban list as well. Anyways my thought process was

  1. Falling out of multiball unintentionally is pretty clearly a minor malfunction based on the rules. As I was going over the PAPA/IFPA rules this weekend I was noting that almost anything which doesn’t cause loss of ball is considered a minor malfunction.
  2. This then becomes a beneficial malfunction situation in which the player has multiple balls on the playfield during single ball play. The operative paragraph round beneficial malfunctions:

Any beneficial malfunction which provides one or more players with a significant scoring or strategic advantage in a way that is not part of normal gameplay will void the score of the affected player(s), unless all immediately-affected players and tournament officials can agree on a suitable adjustment of the score or other elimination of the advantage. If the beneficial malfunction has been specifically avoided by the player, it is unlikely that a penalty is necessary. If any player score(s) are voided, the affected player(s) may then replay the game after the other players have finished, and the new score(s) are used for the affected player(s).

In both cases Todd immediately trapped up and called me over, which was exactly what he should have done. So the question is adjustment of score or elimination of advantage. So I eliminated the advantage and said play on.

Totally open to other interpretations or thoughts around this. That was definitely one of the tougher rulings I had to make yesterday.

All that said, I’ve certainly seen enough situations in which T2 caused problems in a tourney that I should have known better. So my real error here was not pulling it from the lineup from the start.

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Good to hear you have finally seen enough evidence to put T2 on your banned game list.

We (IFPA) put it on our banned list on August 14th, 2011 :wink:

How you handled the ruling was spot on IMO.

No offense to Keefer but as a TD I don’t particularly care that you earned the multiball as some way to give you the right to play multiple balls when the game believes you are in single ball play. The game says you’re not in multiball, so you shouldn’t get any beneficial treatment because the reason why you aren’t in multiball was malfunction related. Like Greg said it’s a minor malfunction.

Email Dwight Sullivan to complain about it . . . not the TD ruling :slight_smile:

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Can I see that somewhere? Now I’m curious.

I think PAPA’s recommendation list is pretty solid. For us we simply have a long memory of games that have put us into bad situations as tournament organizers, and we have no interest in putting ourselves into those kind of sticky situations if we can prevent it.

Terminator 2 and Getaway are on that list for us at every IFPA we run, which is a shame because I think Getaway is an excellent tournament game in the way the rules are designed (more so that T2).

Hey Greg. Hope you didn’t take me posting this here as being upset about the ruling, or trying to knock you in any way, just thought it was a genuinely interesting call to have to make. I like seeing other people’s stories of hard rulings, so figured I’d contribute :).

As the player in question, I would say it’s difficult to come out of this bug “feeling” like I had a beneficial malfunction. I should have had multiball with a shot at jackpots, but instead I had plain old multiball with no rules allowing me more opportunities for points. Considering I was planning on using the 2+ balls to more safely try to get back to the thing I was robbed of by the malfunction, in this specific case I don’t think there’s an argument that I benefited from the malfunction.

Now, I understand that rules have to work in generalized cases, and the interpreting of the rules could need to be 2 distinct events, but it at least felt like a single event to me, and the overall effect was detrimental not beneficial.

One other thing, when you made your ruling, you said that the game was “out of multiball”, where “multiball” was defined as the software state, not the physical state of multiple balls on the playfield. That was actually the thing I went searching for in the rules, but didn’t find anywhere. Did I miss it perhaps?

I know that there is specific wording that “loss of a ball during multiball is considered a minor malfunction” and there are lots of references to “playing a single ball during multiball” or “playing multiball with a ball stuck” but I don’t think there is anything that specifically calls out “multiball is a software state defined by game rules rather than the number of balls on the playfield”. I know there is a general impression I get from reading the rules and from watching tournaments for 20 years that both “multiball during single ball play” and “single ball during multiball play” are things that can’t be allowed to happen, and either can be considered advantageous. For instance, you say yourself you wanted to use the multiple balls on the playfield to get lock relit with less risk of a drain. That is playing with an advantage. The fact that the advantage stemmed from a malfunction isn’t really relevant, as there is never compensation for a minor malfunction (and I don’t think there is any reading of the rules that can possibly consider this anything but a minor malfunction.)

Also no worries about calling it out. I’ve been playing for a couple decades but I really only just started on the directing side. This kind of discussion is great for hashing stuff out and educational for all the others that have to TD at tournaments.

How Greg’s quote should have ended:

“T2 should not have been used in the tournament to begin with.” :smile:

“Loss of multiball” as referred to in Greg’s quote I always read as ball(s) leaving the playfield causing you to go back down to IRL single-ball play. I don’t see how anyone could POSSIBLY interpret that any other way since I don’t believe this has ever been discussed before.

But, now that you’ve said what you’ve said, I assume that multiple balls after KM is cheating, as is the warp 9.9 extra ball (you must drain it immediately).

Edit: Should I throw in Gollum on LOTR, since you’re in single ball rules but with different scoring? Should you have to drain the ball in Earthshaker after getting the million(/extra ball) since you’re in single ball play rules at that point?

Multiple balls after KM is not cheating because the game is designed to play that way.

Software MALFUNCTIONS are a different story.

This happens far more often with trough switch weirdness. I’ve been in situations where the game is in single ball rules with multiple balls on the playfield (not SUPPOSED to be via the normal game rules), and I’ll often pull the ball physically and hold it outside of the game. This is to not risk putting the extra ball in the drain and having an end of ball bonus situation.

I remember this happening on Earthshaker in the IFPA10 final between Zach and Jorgen. Once a ball was properly relocked, or if that player drained I would reinstall the ball I had pulled. (and no it was not after a jackpot was collected where the game is in a known state of ‘multiple balls in play’ with single ball rules - except in normal single ball rules you can make progress on your next lock, so technically you are still in ‘multiball rules’ . . . but I digress) :wink:

I guess how do you define what’s a software bug and what’s intentional?

Consider the case where multiball in Creature will reset the timer on move your car when you fall out of multiball. Is that a bug or intentional? Should the TD force the player to wait to shoot move your car until the timer is at the same time as when the MB started? The multiball multiplier bug in Creature is almost certainly a bug and could be considered beneficial, should a TD intervene in this case somehow?

Those situations don’t have to do with multiple balls in play versus single ball play, which by rule the idea of being able to play in a less risky situation with multiple balls on the playfield when that shouldn’t be the case is a beneficial malfunction.

Scoring issue/bugs are really TD discretion. Do you not use Scared Stiff because the right ramp never actually awards you your Web Value? (We don’t consider that material so we’ll use it)

A better CFTBL question is if you get into the situation where the Snackbar countdown rolls back past zero into the 9,999,999,990 and decreasing state. When you cash in that Snackbar shot do you play it as it lies and get to keep those points? :smile:

Considering EVERY SINGLE MODE works that way (complete state reset to the start), I would say it is intentional.

Fortunately no one seems interested in testing the waters on this one despite its ease to pull off. Though, I thought we had discussed it in the past and it would generally be considered cheating with a known exploit and probably scored 0.

Honestly I think this is a slippery slope.

But obviously the one true answer is no more T2 ever.

I’ve gotta agree with @keefer on this, although I certainly think it’s muddy waters. Basically it sounds like @johnnyfive legitimately earned a multiball, the software did something weird that, through no fault of the player, deprived him of the opportunity to earn jackpots (by far the dominant scoring opportunity on that game), and then to add insult to injury he was told to intentionally drain his legitimately earned multiball? That makes no sense to me, especially on that game: the “worst” that could happen as far as “abusing” the situation is that he’d get back to the machine state he was SUPPOSED to be in!


And BTW, I’m of the opinion that T2 is a highly overrated game, so it’s totally fine by me if it never shows up in a tournament again. :grinning:

Oh definitely . . . ultimately it’s TD discretion where to take the slope.

I think 10 out of 10 dentists would agree that the T2 situation wasn’t the intended behavior of the game at that point in time.

However in talking with Lonnie, he certainly thought it would be “cool” to be able to get through KM and suddenly be back working on single ball play stuff with 2 balls on the playfield since you technically couldn’t win the KM challenge in the Star Trek Universe because it was impossible (without cheating). The best suggestion I heard back in the early days was Trent saying that you should have to tilt intentionally after you hit your last KM shot, and if you still had multiple balls on the playfield that would be ‘finishing’ KM (the best way he could think of ‘cheating the machine’). I thought it was a pretty clever rule suggestion actually, but it didn’t make the cut.

Clearly your Gollum situation also falls under ‘designed intention’ in that state, with custom speech, display, scoring, etc. Nobody would argue any sort of slippery slope saying it’s not behaving correctly at that moment.

As a TD if you feel a game puts you at the risk of dealing with a slippery slope situation, my best advise from 17 years of running events and now 22 years of playing in them . . . don’t put the game in the tournament.