Good Side Contests for Events


I’m interested to hear from people about good ideas for pinball “Side Contests” at events.

For example, I’ve listed some things we’ve tried at recent events. Some are generic and Pinball Olympic-style, others are things that are game specific. I’m interested to hear more “Specific” examples to see what we can do at future events for fun side events.


  • “Punching Contest” - on Title Fight. Only the punches count, which are shown on the side scoreboard. Regular score doesn’t matter. Similar thing could be done on any of the street level games.

Generic + Simple:

  • “Covered Flipper” - Cover the bottom part of the playfield with a piece of cardboard.
  • “Closest Without Going Over” - Set a target score and get as close as you can. Lots of fun with older EM games.
  • “Dollar Game” - $1 to enter, high score wins.
  • “Boxing Gloves” - Wear boxing gloves, play the game.

Generic + More Complicated:

  • Reverse the left and right flipper switches, so the buttons are reversed.
  • “Crazy Flipper” - Switch the flippers to a mini-flipper and a banana flipper. Tried on a Meteor and it was a lot of fun.
  • Tilt Bob outside the machine - The tilt bob was attached to a helmet that you had to wear.

What else have people done?


Do you want these to be IFPA-sanctionable side events? Some of your suggestions would qualify, many would not.

For a bunch of fun (non-IFPA-sanctionable) ones check out


Non-IFPA conforming. The idea is that we’re hosting an IFPA tournament, but in between rounds we’ve got a few machines set up on the side for something fun and entertaining, but accessible for everyone to give it a shot.


each player has a coaster, each chooses a place to put the coaster on the glass, play the game with the coasters.


One I usually wind up having to play at my barcade is “try not to spill a full pint of beer on the mounted drink rest”.


@BonusLord and a bunch of Cleveland pinball people were doing this at PAPA last year. It was a lot of fun, though we were using the dollar we each were betting on the game, and also it couldn’t be placed directly, you had to drop it from six inches up. With all the nudging it was interesting to see them move as the game went on.


I was thinking that the coasters would have some “sticky” bit on the bottom to keep them where placed, but the dropped, unattached objects seem like a lot more fun.


Football - Set the flipper buttons up to be activated by guitar pedals. Must be played with your feet.
Great fun - especially on WCS.

Triathlon- Achieve 3 distinct goals on 3 different machines. Shortest time wins. (requires an additional time keeper)
For example. Lock a ball on WH20, Start Leapers on SS, Lock a ball on RG.

Sprint - Quickest to a certain score - (requires an additional time keeper)

Invert the flippers - release to flip, hold to drop. (Try doing a slap save now!)

Accurate shooting - Hook the Thunderstruck targets on AcDc up to the tilt bob, (or any other targets on any other machine) Highest score wins.

One ball only - Highest score without starting a multiball. Works well on TWD, GoT (requires an invigilator)


Split flipper.

Cover the entire playfield except the flippers. When I did this, people ended up playing on their knees while looking up the playfield through the tiny gap.

If you cross the flipper buttons, you might want to make a rule that doesn’t let you cross your arms while playing it, which makes it fairly easy.


Tiny flippers on a game. Always a crowd pleaser.


These were the side contests in a tournament I played over the summer (not my ideas):
WCS: Most goals (tie-breaker: cities traveled)
Fish Tales: Fish caught plus tales told (tie-breaker: tales told)


Most Dragons Killed

2nd place: Most Monkeys Killed


One-Handed, if chosen well, can be really entertaining to watch if extremely rewarding games are used.

One-Handed Star Wars! Do you manage the multipliers?

One-Handed Demo Man! Can you get the Secret Jackpot? Bonus points if game played with handles only.

One-Handed Shadow! Defeat Khan! Start Vengeance from a 4 way combo!

And so on. :slight_smile: