Operators Ball Saver Yes or No?


If I was an operator I would find a great place for 3 pins . . . sell those 3 pins to collectors . . . put a Jurassic Park Arcade in it’s place. You’ll thank me later :slight_smile:


Have one great game! Also have a walking dead.
so far our new Galaga Assault is rocking too.
But I don’t want to not have any pinball of I can help it. I did notice 257 wisely added a redemption area figured that was coming, Namco seems to learn slowly, they already tried non redemption arcades in the early 2000s


I doubt I could bring myself to turn off ball save…particularly for machines that have been in place with it turned on for months already.

I’m guessing here, but I see it like this:

Things that impact newbies the most:

  • Ball save length
  • Outlane settings
  • Price

Things that impact skilled players the most:

  • Outlane settings
  • Inconsistent kickouts
  • Tilt sensitivity
  • MB ball save length
  • Software settings (how many shots for X, etc)
  • Replay settings
  • Match settings (I’m putting this here because most newbies don’t understand when they’ve matched…so the free credits often get used by the veterans)

I’m sure I’m missing some things, and probably wrong about others. None of this has been validated with data.


I’m operating in a comic book shop, so I operate under the assumption that my players have never played pinball before. I will do anything I can to help them have the best experience possible from the first plunge, so I doubled my ball save times. I also lowered the default high scores and clear them once a month so new players have a better sense of accomplishment by putting their initials in.


I have them on. Tilts as low as can be, some removed. Allowing nudging, not abuse, my players know this. And run the games on auto percentage.
LTG : )


I’d say the demotivating part is the part you described re: kickouts that go SDTM. I will never be convinced that this is OK or designed behavior on any game. Getting a short ball saver on Aero or KISS is nice, but feels like a cop out. Then you’ve got Ghostbusters… if the left scoop is kicking SDTM, as one on location near me was wont to do, it’s basically equivalent to a gobble hole.


On GB I’ve lowered the strength of the left kickout so it goes to the left flipper, at least then if it gets weaker it will hit the slingshot or end up in the inlane area.

Did the equivalent for the right kickout on Star Wars.

Having a weak kickout travel across the playfield seems like a really poor design choice.


Thanks guys for your input :slight_smile: I totally get the players perspective. I guess I feel pinball maybe cutting itself short. Its a good product that you cannot get at home well at least for most people


This is pretty much what I’ve seen across the board from operators. Mine personally coughs it up nicely to the left flipper for a catch or dead bounce to the right.


I played in the classics at the Belgian Open last year. The Baracorra we played, virtually every single shot to the saucer resulted in it kicking it out SDTM.
A 4 player knockout game resulted in 11 of the 20 balls played ending this way. If it wasn’t so annoying it would be funny. The game became - avoid the saucer at all costs.


I’d be curious to see your survey. I’m also curious how you’re using security footage as a measure of satisfaction.


The cam captures audio and high res video, basically a tally of customer replays(multiple plays not free games) negative or positive comments etc and the overall coin drop.
Please keep in mind we did lower the price to 75c
Also a controll sample would be done under normal conditions.


I always find the idea of operators trying to minimize game time funny. When I put a pin on location I put the outlanes low, set it cheap, nice replays, and long ball save, whatever I can to increase the odds of the same player coming back. There’s not enough players to be creating lines or anything like that

Pretty sure the ball saver came from T2’s plunge that had a habit of going down the middle…


Its a matter of real estate, the location of the test is a restaurant where a majority of the revenue is generated in a finite window of peak times. If we had more room that required filler games it would be a different story. It really was a matter of space potential. I am not a hobby operator, my job essentially is to produce as much revenue possible for the location. While providing the best possible experience for the end users.


What a terrible way to have to play that game. I hope you told the TD’s about how poorly their game was set up.


Not an operator myself, but I have a friend who runs about 20-25 pins out of a chain of ice cream shops. He’s known for having some of the best maintained games in town and as such has many high level players seeking out his games. In addition, kids are fond of ice cream, so they make up a high percentage of his player base. I asked him specifically how he balanced between the two. His strategy was to keep initial ball saves pretty long to help the kids and their parents to not feel ripped off on a twenty second game. In addition, he keeps the tables set up fairly difficult, but not to the point of removing rubber or posts completely. Tilts are set on the tight side, but generally allow “one good move” per ball. He’s also very good at adjusting tables with kickouts or other well known cheap drain features so that you get a safe trap or dead pass. His bar locations seems to mirror the same philosophy. In general his strategy is to keep the players (and their parents) happy, and he’s developed a fairly loyal following among both kids and competitive players. YMMV.


If you know the game is doing this, go on the offensive. Hit the side of the cabinet or nudge the machine at the exact moment it kicks, or a fraction of a second beforehand. Change the position of the ball on the kickout arm before or as it kicks. Just a little ball movement as the arm fires is usually enough to change the trajectory and allow for a save.

I have an Old Chicago with deadly good aim SDTM from the upper right saucer, and I leave it that way to practice this move. OTOH I’m not a masochist - I fixed my Jackbot that was just as deadly. One practice game is enough, and it’s less annoying to lose a 100K OC game over a bad kick rather than a 5B JB game.


Trust me, we all tried everything we could - with varying success rates.


In the same logic as @metallik, if I could get my Delta Queen working I wouldn’t fix the bonus collect saucer feed that’s dangerously STDM to practice digs and reactions. If it were on location, I’d try to move the feed slightly closer to a flipper as to add some challenge and keep the coins (fairly) flowing.

Well call me a kid then - where is this magical place?


Not sure i would eat ice cream from a guy whose name is Hepatitis B is Good lol