Heads-Up Pinball Championship . . . 2018? 2019?


This (and @cayle’s comment) is basically where I’m at right now. Fun gimick, and would be super fun for side events, but I personally would not like to see this take over the traditional pinball tournament


You got it!


I don’t think you have to worry about traditional pinball tournaments going away.

Ultimately just ask yourself this question . . . if there’s viewership for this kind of format because of the entertainment angle associated with the streaming of the content . . . and that leads to an outside sponsor funding a $1 million prize pool to a pinball tournament with this kind of format, are you showing up to play?


This is basically where I ended up when discussing this in chat with @pinwizj the other day. If this is to become the predominant “streaming” or “viewing” format in the world, then that is fine, as long as traditional tournaments continue to exist and I can still play in and watch them. If it starts taking over to the point that traditional events start disappearing? Then I’d be pretty bummed.


definitely, like everything, different format is fun. be it Herb, PAPA, Pinburgh, Pingolf if it was everything always the same it would be boring… Seems fun as an addition to what is out there :slight_smile:


Edited your comment to be more realistic :wink:


By looking at the screen capture you have no idea of the progress each player has made towards the objective.As mentioned above, if Aerosmith had a “Heads-Up Championship” feature that could be enabled that would display different objectives and each player just selects that different objective and the LCD would give live progress that would be ideal. You can even have the option of selecting multiple objectives that run after each other.


On the dead flip video I found it pretty much impossible to follow the status of two players simultaneously. Specifically for things like the score challenges and starting elevator multiball, I’d watch one player for a bit, look back at the other player, and have no clue how close they were to finishing because the playfield and display doesn’t actually give you that information at all times. I think a back to back format would be more interesting and engaging. This format was pretty overwhelming to try and follow, but I do think that there’s definitely potential in a time attack format. I thought all the graphics and objective flyovers were awesome and would help new folks immensely.


I think the problem with simultaneous H2H is that the players aren’t on the same playfield as in most other sports. Trying to keep track of separate playfields on top of the lack of display info makes it too hard to follow.

I liked the “best time trial” gauntlet format better. The biggest problem there was switching from camera to camera as the player changed machines, but that can be dealt with I’m sure. While H2H could be used, I think a better format would be to use PAPA groups of 4 [or more?] and position points, play 3 heats, fastest player in heat 1 goes first in heat 2, top half of the group after 3 heats moves on to the next round. In case of a points tie, total time for the 3 heats is the tiebreaker, so you wouldn’t have to play ties out. Players with matching times chop the position points.


The disconnect for me with the trial video was that you had SO MUCH PINBALL going on on the screen… and then you cut away from all that pinball to show the sweet transitions and rule explanations. Meanwhile, the normal length pinball streams have a lot of down time at the high level competitions where the TV timeout makes a lot more sense, because you sometimes have several minutes where nothing is happening.


The challenges with the dual pinball on the screen format can be overcome. This was clearly a test run to get this exact feedback. It will take more people dedicated to producing this kind of format to get it right. A one/two person crew probably isn’t going to cut it to provide the quality of on-screen information and quality commentary to make it run well.


I suspect the H2H stuff would be more entertaining if the games were linked, the displays synchronized (split screen?) and there was software to support it. Connections might be a cat5 cable and HDMI cable. Software is the hard part.

I doubt Stern has any interest in investing more time into tournament software. Tops has been supported for a long time, but there have been no changes that I’ve seen. Virtually no one is using it. Not even sure if Spike supports it. With their hands full with Spike, Spike 2 and the new big display, they’re kinda busy these days.

What if they allowed someone else to develop tournament software? They could have interns or maybe a college program support it. Stern could supply a couple of games (Sam and Spike, used games would be fine), then they’d only have to QA the final product. Is there really any proprietary software in there they want to protect?


Anything in the software has to be approved by the licensees, and they don’t want to have to go through that with custom software. Apparently this was a big pain when they did Star Wars and they have no interest in doing it again.


This is not really how you bring a software product to market…


It’s never been a marketable product for Stern. More like a bonus free add-on (that required a $400 kit to work). And none of the ‘assets’ need to be touched. Just get the displays synced and split-screen scoring. Looking at two playfields and two displays is too much. (pun intended)


And to build a pinball machine, you ‘just’ need to glue together some bits of wood, plastic, and metal…

Anything affecting the display would require insight into game state, and a new decision tree about what assets are displayed. It means assets are displayed in a manner not approved by the licensee.


I think its worth Stern exploring a “Heads-Up” feature set in their next pin / next license signing if they think it would give folks incentive to buy two of the same pin. The pins can be “Heads-Up” ready and an addon kit could be sold if additional hardware is needed. When they’re developing it they should add features to make it stream friendly which would include direct video out support & display all needed info clearly if a lcd cam is used to capture.


Tops did all that stuff and it was on every SAM game. Granted it didn’t synchronize screens or anything else crazy, but I have no doubt Stern could do it if there was money to be made.


Heads-Up Pinball Championship: all NBA Fastbreak, all the time.


We’re going to be running some more head to head pinball experiments tonight from POP on @unclecarmie’s Twitch channel:


We will be playing World Cup Soccer 94 (aka Dog Soccer.) It will be a lot less formal than Jack’s stream without all the fancy graphics and whatnot, but we will be running the matches serially instead of at the same time, which should be an interesting experiment. Hope you can join us!