IFPA Classics Tournament Rankings


I knew I needed to go to that!!


To reduce confusion TD’s need to label their tournaments correctly and to indicate the type of machines that will be in their tournaments. The problem is there is no standard for what type a machine is there are just perceptions of what people think they are. Should there be categories for the following eras and machines categories in each sure, be nice is someone set a standard for everything.

Late SS
Early SS


I miss the good ole days when WPPR started when we received complaints from European players that any tournaments that used games that were built before High Speed should be ineligible for IFPA endorsement.

Those pre-High Speed games are to not be considered “pinball” in the same way that games post-High Speed should be classified.

(I wish this was a joke, but it was an absolute real thing back in 2006)


To be fair the only game(s) I don’t consider to be pinball are Pinball 2000s. They should just call them 2000. :smiley:


I didn’t know drug use in Europe was that high back in 2006. Firepower and Flash Gordon aren’t pinball, eh? And let’s get real: anything with a Video Mode is not pinball.


What was the first game with tilt warnings?

Seems like this feature had a big effect on game play and style as it allows for more aggresive nudging. I tend to think of tilt warnings as a modern feature and one factor to consider in setting a cutoff between classics and moderns


So Motor show won’t be used in any tournaments anymore? I’ll be okay with that. Haha


This is a great one.

The rules gap between 90s and 2000s+ games is much larger than the rules gap between EMs and late 80s games. I’m not saying we need more categories, but let’s keep in mind that the current distinctions are based on “feel”, rather than game complexity.


Firepower had them in 1980! I don’t know about before that, though.

So would everyone in the PPL when we play finals.
Family commitments mean they get a season off from me, but I’ll be back with a PLAY VIDEO vengeance…


I hate when tournaments have a ‘main’ and a ‘classics’ tournament where the ‘main’ is only modern games. There’s a word for that, and it’s ‘modern’. They’re all pinball!

I think Williams introduced them with their first SS, Hot Tip. Not aware of any before that


I’d love to see some kind of standardization of what a “classic” is.

Tired of seeing games like Space Shuttle, Sorcerer, and even newer System 11 type stuff in classics banks.

I’d draw the line at any game with both multiball and ramps not being allowed in a classics bank, with 1982 being a guideline cutoff. I suppose lower-budget mid 80s stuff like Laser Cue and Time Fantasy can sneak in…

If you don’t have enough classics for a classics tournament, don’t have a classics tournament.


Or just name it the “Almost a Classics Tournament”?


poor old Four Million BC. Nobody wants it in classics.


“No Europeans Allowed Tournament”


I’ve got a '72 Fireball I can’t wait to get rid of!


OK, Mr. Classics decided to review the game list company by company [for those in business around the time of the transition] and try to remember when the “feel” changed. I knew it was in the mid-80’s, but I needed to refine it. There were numerous Solid State games that didn’t feel the same as what I now consider “Classics” machines. Here’s what I’ve got:

Bally: Spy Hunter [1984-10] is the first game that jumped out at me as “different” in terms of feel as a player. Kings of Steel and Black Pyramid just preceding it felt more like what had come before. Post-Spy Hunter games like Eight Ball Champ and Beat The Clock also have a non-Classic flavor.

Gottlieb: Jacks to Open [1984-02] still felt a lot like Jacks Open, but El Dorado City of Gold [1984-10] didn’t feel the same to me as Gold Strike, and certainly Touchdown and Ice Fever felt new. I never saw Alien Star when it originally came out, but I’d now place it in Classic rather than post-Classic.

Stern: all of the old Sterns [1977-1984] feel like Classic games to me.

Williams: Firepower II [1984-01] feels like the change point here. Laser Cue and Starlight likewise were new. Warlok still has that Classic feel. Williams didn’t do many titles in 1983, just Warlok and Joust.

So, the last “Classic” games by company IMHO are:
Bally – Black Pyramid [1984-07]
Gottlieb – Alien Star [1984-06]
Stern [original] – all
Williams – Warlok [1983-01]

Note to Funtorium that these cutoffs would exclude Space Shuttle and Sorcerer. Personally, I really like both of those machines, but they don’t feel like “Classic” games to me.

I don’t know how many would agree with any of these picks, but then “you had to be there.”

All this said, the Europeans were at least in the ballpark [cricket grounds?] in their pick of High Speed [1985-12] as the change point; I’d just go back a year and a half further having lived it.

As for having “rules” for what a lineup has to exclude to be considered a “Classics” event, I’d propose a maximum of one exception to the list, and that exception can’t be after, say, 1986. If you have too many late-SS games, then it’s an SS event, not a “Classics” event. As for whether or not to have any “Classic” machines in an “Open” lineup, I’d say that if you are having a separate Classics event, then Classic machines should be no more than 25% of the total Open lineup. If the Open event has no Classics side tournament, then everything is in play in any mixture desired.


So pre-sys 9 then? Which basically means pre-1985? So the same as we have it now? Sounds good to me!

Let’s put a bow on it!


Think you are bang on Bob, further there should be a rule for 25% EM in order to be classified as a Classics event.


Or at least for full credit… Only 75% point value without EMs, can’t get 100% without at least one 2" flipper or flipperless :slight_smile:


While I think a true Classics event “should” be not just 25% but at least 1/3 EMs, I realize that tournament-condition EMs are not always readily available, so while I would encourage TDs to try to keep the mix between 1/3 and 2/3 for each of EM and early SS, I can see not meeting that when there’s just no viable option. That said, I think some TDs do deliberately skew towards SS because they like them better.

I’d also discourage using too-early EMs that tend to be bumper-love luck boxes. Many players say EMs are “less” (I’d prefer “differently”) skill-based than Moderns, and while this can be debated, there’s a point where even EM fans say a game isn’t a good test of skill. Been there, played them, didn’t enjoy it.

Flipper size doesn’t really come into play in my mind.