Malfunctioning slam tilt ruling (PAPA19 LAH)

Regarding the malfunctioning slam tilt on Belsito during Last Action Hero at PAPA19 quarterfinals…

If I understand the sequence of events correctly:

  • Jim has a slam tilt occur during his ball 3, as player 3. Game resets, but scores are visible. Players 1 & 2 have already completed their games.
  • TD rules that the slam tilt sensor didn’t function properly. It is thus ruled as a catastrophic malfunction for all players who haven’t completed their games in progress.
  • Jim’s game is deemed over (he had crushed his game anyway), and Bowen (Player 4) is provided with a compensation ball, with the TD setting up the compensation ball to be ball 3, so that his M-Ball is lit for his compensation ball.

(1) If the ruling was that the machine erred with a slam tilt (that shouldn’t have been a slam tilt) on Jim’s ball 3, why wasn’t Jim also given a compensation ball for never draining his 3rd ball prior to the catastrophic malfunction?

“Any player who slam tilts a machine, thereby ending play for all players, will receive a score of zero for that game. The slam tilt is treated as a catastrophic malfunction for any other player(s) who have not completed their game(s) in progress. If a tournament official rules that the slam tilt sensor is not functioning properly, the slam tilt will be treated as a catastrophic malfunction for all players.”

(2) While I agree with the fairness of Bowen getting the game state restored to a ball 3 for his compensation ball, I don’t believe the rules read this way. It seems the rules say that game state SHOULD NOT be restored for a catastrophic malfunction. This is different for than the section dealing with Major Malfunctions, in which it provides the TD latitude to restore game state at their discretion.

From Catastrophic Malfunction section:
“When a catastrophic malfunction occurs, if the scores are able to be recorded, players will be provided the appropriate number of additional ball(s) of play on a new game once the machine has been repaired. If the scores are not retrievable, players will be forced to start their game over. No attempt will be made to estimate scores, or reestablish state, at any time.”

From Major Malfunction section:
“Tournament directors may allow the player to play ball 3 or 5 of the new game, if that player has been denied certain features that are freely awarded by the machine. Examples of this include ‘Double Bonus’ balls on many EM machines, as well as pity Mist Multiball on Dracula should the player have not yet played one. The player’s total score on the additional ball of play will be added to his or her previous score, and the new game will be terminated. Tournament directors may attempt to re-establish the state of certain game features at the time of the Major Malfunction if the tournament directors feel this has a material impact on the results of the game/match in play. An example would include reaching Super Bonus on Bally games that carry this forward for future balls.”

I think that the portion on catastrophic malfunctions should be rewritten to provide the same latitude to TD’s to restore game state that the major malfunction section provides.

A similar situation came up for Keith’s circuit game of Dracula when the flippers died on him. The ruling was to make him play ball 1 of Dracula as opposed to setting state to ball 3 where mist multiball would have been lit.

@sk8ball did miss his mist opportunity prior to the bonus count so maybe that came into play. Probably td discretion in both scenerios?

I pretty sure Keith had played his Mist through 5 left ramp already before the malfunction.

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Since I missed mist I was not going to argue that I should get to replay ball 3. If I can’t legit not get last place on a 4-player game of drac then I have no business even being in the finals :wink:

LAH was slam tilting in practice as well so they diconnected the trigger. Speaking of LAH what a god-awful tournament game. Ramp-scoop, ramp-scoop, ramp-scoop until ball 3 when you get your free multiball (when the auto launcher isn’t plunging it down the right outlane that is lol.)


Yeah, who picked that game for our match? Hmm :slight_smile:

When I saw that happen, my first thought was, “I’d hate to be the guy ruling on this mess.” In the end I can’t disagree with what they did, but yes, it seems as if some rules need to be re-written to clarify what to do in these sorts of situations.

I found the Game of Thrones bug to be the stickier issue, to be honest.

My guess is that they modified the MM rules but not the CM ones because they forgot the repeated verbiage. I’d suggest thtat ‘compensation ball’, along with other defined bits of compensation and penalty, should be broken out into its own rule, and all relevant places reference it.

Yes I should have picked genesis, FG or Baywatch instead :wink:


Which one? lol

I’m assuming you mean the ruling to change a game after a tournament has started, forcing the power cycle between games?

I didn’t want to bring it up because it’s all hindsight anyways, but I thought it felt unfair to leave those two top GoT scores stand. I felt the better options would’ve been to have Keith and Dave play their games over again (which definitely isn’t PAPA protocol), or leave the machine as is and play it as it lies so others at least had a chance of getting the bonus PAPA qualifying points. Normally I wouldn’t care, but I do believe it cost Josh Henderson a first round bye in the finals.

Was the best decision made?

What was wrong with my score? I collected a 5 bil hurry-up


I agree with that, but it was a really weird situation. Tough call no matter what you do.

What was the issue going on? I thought I watched the whole broadcast but I must have missed some of it…

Jims game slam tilted, DURING a rain in which he nudged the machine.

There was no question the ball was draining/drained imo, so he should not have received a compensation ball.

In warm-up, the game was slam-tilting during regular nidging (even though the slam switch was gapped impossibly far apart) - the TD’s made the correct call.

Honestly, I think we need to overhaul the Slam-Tilt rules. Any action that would warrant a legitimate slam tilt would also surely invoke rules regarding DQ for game abuse or interference. That is, in my mind, a legitimate slam-tilt requires that the player would also get penalized for interference and/or game abuse. (donkey kick machine, coffin drop game etc…)
In that case, I don’t think players should be DQd for merely slam tilting as any slam tilt WITHOUT game abuse or interference is a mechanical malfunction.


I’ll have to go back and watch. I thought the slam tilt malfunction was from a relatively innocuous (and successful) slap save. Let’s say that I’m right, and Jim’s ball was still in play after the slam tilt malfunction. What’s the ruling then?

Agreed 100%.
Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the rules on TD discretion to allow the compensation ball(s) to be something other than ball 1 need to apply to catastrophic malfunctions, just like they apply to major malfunctions.

I made this ruling, so I can answer affirmatively. I knew there was a matrix problem dealing with column 1, and at the time, I thought the offending switch was the plum bob. I was also 100% sure it was not the slam tilt, because I removed it prior to the game (bent so far open it was impossible to close). The reason I thought the plum bob was the offending switch is because the game slam tilted once when people were shaking it trying to tilt during warmup. I checked everything prior to the start of finals, tilted it successfully several times, and thought the problem had been fixed. When the game slam tilted during finals, I ruled it a regular tilt because I was under the assumption it was still the plum bob (he shook the game when it happened). After further inspection later in the day, we discovered the true problem was the gun trigger switch, which was shorting out the column when people shook the game side to side. So, in a perfect world, yes, Jim should have received a compensation ball, but by the time I realized my error, the game was long-since over.


In hindsight, everything always seems clearer. At the time, we made the best ruling we could on GOT with the information we had. And at that time, no one, including the game’s programmer (who was consulted), knew the extent of the bug in question.

The general thought process went like this:

  1. We knew there was a scoring bug. At first, we thought it was limited to multiplayer games only, which is why we continued using it after it cropped up during Circuit.

  2. It was very early on during qualifying, and we did not know how much the bug had truly affected scoring. When it first surfaced, it was also fairly difficult to set up. We also believed it would affect everyone equally.

  3. Without power cycling, the bug began to get significantly worse, and it also began to get easier to accomplish.

  4. If we did nothing, I believe the top score on the weekend would have eventually been something like 1,8FF,AA8,443,ABB, which would basically render every qualifying score on the game meaningless. So, without knowing how much the bug truly affected the two scores in question, a decision was made to keep them but to begin power cycling the game to reduce the bug’s affect in the future.

Would I rule differently knowing what I know now? Sure, but for that I’d need a time machine, and if I had a time machine, I would probably go back to the 1780’s and build a pirate ship and sail around the Carolina coast. And once I had sailed around the Carolina coast for a few decades and lost a few fingers while swashbuckling, I wouldn’t be able to play pinball when I returned to the future, which means I wouldn’t be Director at PAPA anymore, and the ruling still wouldn’t get changed. So I guess even a time machine means those two GOT scores would stand.

C’est La Vie…


Yar. Shiver me rulings.

Thanks, Mark. I thought you handled it fine, and thankfully, Jim didn’t need a compensation ball for his LAH crushing.

Do you think it would be worthwhile to merge the rules language around compensation ball (to be indifferent whether from major malfunction or from catastrophic malfunction) to allow TD’s to provide the comp. ball as a ball 3 (or 5, in some cases) as appropriate?

This thread is what I love most about Tilt Forums. Great information and insight. Thanks to the OP for posting and to all that provided the informed replies.