Making a successful shot . . .

Listening to Kaneda’s podcast because . . . it’s AWESOME :stuck_out_tongue:

He made some comments when talking about Ghostbusters that making a successful shot should return the ball to the flippers, because that’s how pinball as a game should be designed.

IMO that’s been a huge part of widening the gap between casual players and skill players, and the need for shot-to-shot flow makes those kind of games far too easy for ‘good players’.

As someone who misses a ton of shots and has to deal with ball recovery often, IMO a successful shot can/should lead to also needing to deal with recovery of the ball in play . . . I dare say the ball that “is wild”.

Anyway, I chuckled at the comments on design philosophy that deemed it unfair for a ball to drain after a shot is successfully made.


I haven’t listened to the podcast but I know when ball exits gene’s head on kiss and when ball leaves river of slime on GB a brief ball saver comes on. Why would Stern deem the ball saver on as a default setting unless that feature is poorly designed or they dont believe the ball should be that wild.

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In both cases I think that the ballsaver is an anit-crappy-maintenance feature. If the ball is kicking to where it’s supposed to, the ball isn’t wild and is safe. If the ball isn’t kicking to where it’s supposed to, the ball still isn’t wild, but isn’t safe. It feels like a real ripoff when a saucer puts the ball down the middle, much moreso than a drop target or a post.

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Stopped reading right there.


As long as the game is setup in such a way that you have the ability to recover from a made shot gone wild, it’s totally fine and is just testing a different skill set.

Example: It’s ok to setup Spiderman with sneeze tilt, no rubber outlanes, no center post, etc. because all made shots go back to a flipper. It’s not ok to setup Metallica this way :wink:


It is the epical gordian knot of pinball, isn’t it.

What will make the strolling novice curious? While, what will make the pinhead come back again-and-again? While, what will make the operator feel he gets the biggest coinage per second?

I bet a fair share of scratching the head has been done over these considerations.

PS. I’ve done a tiny effort on the Ghostbusters game (LE) so far. And I believe it is truly stunning. But, oh boy it is a kick in the nuts on a game that is picky about some physical play.


I kind of feel the same way about jet bumper nests. If there is only 1 exit and it is safe it kind of defeats the purpose of having bumpers.


Totally agree here. What a waste of playfield real estate. All games should have one down by the flippers in place of a slingshot mech :wink:


Not like that…


Just played the Ghostbuster LE last night and I and some others lost matches in part due to the left scoop center drain without ball saver. IMO, successful shots should not all be safe, but they should not be helplessly unsafe, which a drain from a rapid scoop eject on GB, Kiss, Nascar and some other games often is. Ejects, bumper exits, etc. should not necessarily go to a flipper, nor any other “easy to get control” location. They don’t even have to go to approximately the same spot each time. What they should never do is drain directly without an opportunity for the player to recover. And shaking the machine just as the ball is about to eject shouldn’t be considered; that’s poor deign and not good for either the machine or the player, and just encourages machine abuse and frustration. When shooting a “dangerous” drop target or standup which can rebound drain on you, you do have the opportunity to hit that target on the left side, center or right side, so a drain from such a “successful” shot is still a matter of skill - - don’t hit whichever part of the target is more likely to drain on the rebound, or don’t hit it from the right flipper, hit it from the left flipper. You don’t have that option with scoops. The one-in-a-hundred-or-rarer random drains you might get from a scoop on, say, AFM are acceptable, albeit painful. But ones which recur regularly, to me, are not.

A ball saver for “bad scoop design and or mechanics” is better than nothing, and should be built in if it’s going to happen commonly in game play. But I’d rather the machine be designed and built properly in the first place.

And while we’re at it, making a successful shot shouldn’t lead to many airball drains, either, which are pretty common on GB, too, way more so than on most other recent games. Poor design of either the things being hit leading to the airballs or to having outlane rails too low to prevent the airballs from draining. Again, on rare occasions, okay, but no way is GB just occasional in that regard.


It’s not just pinball. This is a concept every type of game struggles with (provided there is at least one game designer trying to please both the core players and ordinary people). What the high-level player wants in a game rarely coincides with what a low-level player wants.

Problem is that designers tend to be core players or associate chiefly with core players, so you tend to get games designed with the core in mind. Companies like Blizzard and Nintendo can be successful because they aim their games at the beginner market while providing content deeper into their games for the core players.

By the way, almost all of the best-designed video games and computer games have some mechanic that prevents luck-based penalties, or at least luck-based events that can lead to a loss. Or unwinnable scenarios. TV Tropes calls these mechanics Anti-Frustration Features.

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naw…this is where dwight can use his pop bumper slot machine awards

This is what I find hilarious about ghostbusters. I have seen so many with bad left scoops. It took me many many adjustments and playing to get mine dialed in. It seems it takes a bit of time for everything to settle into its final state. Anyway, no ball save and that sucks.

I have never seen a right scoop throw it between the flippers. I actually love the feed, I find it an easy drop catch. But the geometry is such that if you try to bounce or just hold up your flipper or hit it live, the ball is really out of control. Right does not need a ballsave, left does.

The other thing that impresses me is the geometry of the left captive ball. I expected that to be a death trap. Turns out it isn’t. On a clean hit, the ball deadens quickly and falls nicely into control. I love when things just feel good like that.

Not the same thing, but it reminds me of the feeling I get from the gar bank on gorgar. I still think this is one of the most beautifully designed peices of a Pinball machine every. The way the angles work that from a left craddle you can hit 2 targets, deflect of the rubber to the left, back into the third target and drop controlled back into a craddle.

This thread kind of echos how o have changed as a player over the last few years. I learned Pinball on stern spiderman. Getting to combo multiball was so much fun, finishing new goblin as a six way combo was fun. Eventually, when I started playing competitively I changed to loving older games. I wanted the ball forced out of control.

This post is now officially too long, but I can’t stop. The funny thing is I need the game to force it. TWD is great, you need to play the drops. I love it. You would think that would mean I would love playing the drops on AC/DC, but no. It isn’t the risk that is fun, it is the risk reward. Super targets although really a really cool geometry and bonus isn’t enough for me to shoot it. Maybe I am doing it wrong.


Yesterday I had the pleasure of playing a GB with an evil scoop AND saucer, so that was wonderful.

Yeah, bumpers on the recent Sterns [dare we count how many?] have become “luck bottles” where if the ball rattles around in there long enough you get good stuff, but there’s little skill involved, and making a bad shot that hits a bumper and rebounds to drain isn’t possible. Shooting between, at the sides of, or to deflect off of bumpers used to be a skill. They’ve become mere [and barely if at all] entertainment nests.


With the new trend of slot machine awards off bumpers these days (GoT, GB), a ‘pops all day’ strategy almost seems viable…

If there is a widening gap, I think it’s more due to the evolution of the hobby rather than the games. A quick look at the top 100 shows a ton of old school location rats, including the guy at the top. These days, outside of a few areas, players don’t have enough locations to truly become location rats. So they buy games to practice on at home, join leagues and play in as many tourneys as possible. Lots of play time, but not enough competition on a daily basis and not enough variety.

The baffling of the masses by GB is amusing. Can someone please tell Levi that adding a ball during multiball is way easier from the pops rather than the captive ball? And that soft plunging is the best strategy on like 95% of modern Stern’s? Now that he’s a player, he should know these things.

Talked to NES today and he said he got an 8B point skill shot on a GB. Started a mode too. He’s a big fan of the game, as am I.

If I remember right on GB if you light WCWS but don’t start it you can still get add a ball from the jets for 2 ball single ball rules.