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


Here are our current challenges, more suggestions welcome! Note: the game is in tournament mode, but EBs are on.

  • Highest score in 2 minutes
  • Race to Multiball
  • Race to Boston
  • Race to 5 goals
  • Race to 200M
  • Race to Extra Ball
  • Fewest flips to get Multiball
  • Most goals in 2 minutes
  • Most cities in 2 minutes


First to get 3 free kicks!


Race to Hit The Goalie :slight_smile:


Will the ball 3 striker pity multiball only work if you don’t have a ball locked? If so, this can be done with 2 flips.

Ball 1 - drain, ball save, drain
Ball 2 - drain, ball save, drain
Ball 3 - transfer to left flipper via bump over or left ramp, shoot striker


I had the game in tournament mode.


Gotcha. I guess I’m not that familiar with what tournament mode changes on WCS. Does it remove the pity multiball award?


It standardizes the Striker awards to give them out in the following order:

  • Penalty Kick
  • 3 Goals
  • Advance 3 Cities
  • Extra Ball (50M with EBs turned off)
  • Unlimited Kickback
  • Super Free Kick
  • 20M


This seems like the next logical step to me. Many people have commented that following two games at once is difficult. I would like to see the format retested in this way to see if it has any lasting value. It could still be exciting knowing the pressure is on a player if the opposing player was able to achieve a challenge. It could also come down to who did certain challenges faster.

For posterity, here are the comments I made in another thread:

I just got through watching most of the stream.


  • The format is very TV friendly. This is something that could almost be shown on ESPN with proper production. Instead of having marathon games, this breaks the objectives up into something condensed to 2-5 minutes per round.
  • I liked the Objective Breakdown segments, but they should be shown before the plunge, not during the ball.
  • This format allows for a great deal of variety in the objectives, meaning later rounds could have more difficult goals.
  • The breaks between rounds, if used appropriately, provide a good space for commentary, rules, instant replays, and strategy.
  • I liked the timer. There are many interesting challenges in gameplay that can come from using it.
  • I liked giving the freedom to the player to pick the score or have options about how far they want to take each objective (like picking a race to 30M or a 5-ball Toy Box Multiball). This changes the strategy of each game, but it needs to be regulated. For example, you wouldn’t want to race to 500M because it would take too much time.


  • I found it very somewhat taxing to concentrate on 2 games at once. I was watching more of one than the other. There needs to be some way to direct attention to one player or another.
  • Multiballs are fun - and they’re fun to watch. Having the objective to start a multiball kinda takes away from the excitement of achieving it. If you don’t play it out, then why bother?
  • These types of tournaments will be difficult to manage. Two of each game means twice the breakdowns and malfunctions. Due to space constraints, it also limits the variety of games. No two games are ever the same, so setup, cleanliness, and age of each game could play a role in how different they play giving an advantage to one player.
  • The players’ names need to be located on the screen to make it easier to follow along. When Jack refers to Gavin’s side, I’ve already forgotten which side that is 30 seconds into the game.


  • Over all, this is something I could really enjoy with a few tweaks. For a proof of concept this works well.
  • The broadcast will likely require two full-time commentators - one for each game. Jack does a nice job by himself, but at times he was having trouble keeping up and knowing where each player was with their ball. Another person would also help to fill the dead air between rounds.
  • It would be interesting to have a secondary goal for an additional point in each round that must be completed before your opponent completes their primary objective. Risk/reward.
  • I liked that the games were not changed from 3 balls. If you didn’t make it to Elevator Multiball on your first game, then too bad. Time to start over.
  • On timed rounds, I would just call hands off the game and let the bonus count towards your score. You’re going to run into issues where someone will start complaining about what their score actually was when time was called. If you allow the bonus to count down there will be much less controversy.


The example of the race to Kobayashi:

  1. 6 playfield lights show the players progress
  2. There is a distinct DMD display screen to determine the finish point.

The way we judge a Pinball Done Quick speedrun is by having a distinct starting and ending. The starting point is generally when the ball leaves the rest position from the shooter lane and the end point preferably a DMD screen but it can also be a audio callout, if you can click through the animation.

I feel the challenge here is to make each pinball machine equal. Even playing on the same machine in series will give people unfair advantages because the game changes from game to game. It might level out over the course of playing several matches on several games and I believe its definitely more interesting as a viewer than watching someone hit the left ramp ad-nauseum.


Unless the challenge is “Shoot the Left Ramp 5 times” . . . andddd GO! :wink:


5 might be too many.


I’ve decided I like this idea a lot more when it’s only only constrained to the physical shots or things on the game… and not basing them on game rules at all. Knowing my own limitations, I can’t explain anything about pinball without it turning into the SM64 - Watch for Rolling Rocks - 0.5x A Presses video.


Something I posted elsewhere:

If you’re going to do this, you need some extra hardware. External interface to hit the start button on both games simultaneously. Probably also want an external (protected switch) to slam tilt both games as a reset. Serial output from game to report all score changes (even when DMD is showing animations). Potentially a computer/device monitoring the output and showing some sort of meter visible to both players as to who’s closest to winning. And the computer decides who has won — stopping the clock and showing the winner.

Recent Stern games have a serial port. If they could update code to dump information out that port during game play (timestamped game events including score changes), then other people could take up the torch of grabbing that input from head-to-head games and doing something with it (status display, declaring a winner).

You could also decide on how close scores are to declare a tie. The sport of fencing considers two hits within 40ms of each other as a double hit (otherwise the first hit locks out the second fencer’s hit).


Switching to a more audience friendly format over a more traditional format for comps reminds me of how Cricket introduced 20/20 for TV as opposed to Test match (which takes place over 5 days - and often ends in a draw anyway)

I’m guessing the analogy may be lost on a lot of Americans here.


A similar format I’ve played in got me my very first win.
Goal 1 : Lock a ball in WH20
Run to next mahine
Goal 2: Start Leaper mode on SS
Run to final machine
Goal 3: Lock a ball in RG.

My winning time was under 1 minute.


Sounds like Gauntlet.


Details to come shortly, because it’s happening in 2 months :slight_smile:

This whole having a Sharpe working in the industry seems to already be paying off!


Just ran a gauntlet at my house a couple weeks ago. The format is fantastic for viewing. Would be hard to stream though as I haven’t seen a setup that can switch from game to game fast enough.

It was 6 games and the max time was 8 mins (so you stopped if the clock hit 8 minutes). Was fun to see peoples’ strategy. One of the most clever ones was when a player was close to the task on WCS but drained out ball 3. Instead of starting a new game, he used the extra ball buy in button and finished the task on ball 4.

But what made this so fun was everyone loved watching it. That made me immediately want to see it done on stream with great commentary.


Thanks Roger! :slight_smile:


Glad to see this idea coming to fruition. I can seeing this being a much more approachable format, and I would think easier to broadcast.

The format reminded me of the old ‘Home Run Derby’ show from the late 50s. Take the basics and simplify everything so that it can be easily cut down into a 22 minute show. As much as I like it, I can see where a 45 minute game of Metallica between two players may not be viewer friendly.

Although maybe the presentation can be amped up a little for pinball!