I wanted to raise something that has been mildly annoying me for a while, namely, the sometimes insanely brutal setup of tournament machines. The concern is not that such games are hard, but that I suspect they can make the outcome less skill-based.
Here is one example:
Stern Spiderman. Setup (besides all settings on hard and no extra balls, which is to be expected):
- Hair-trigger tilt
- Center post between the flippers removed
- Ball saver off
- Rubber removed from posts above inlane/outline divider
- Outlane posts removed entirely
Of these five points, my feeling is that there is one (possibly two) too many. Basically, with this setup, if I have an unfortunate feed and the ball goes anywhere near the outlanes, it is almost certain that I will lose the ball immediately. With no ball saver, and with a hair-trigger tilt, that makes it entirely possible to have three house balls because any attempt to save the ball will cause a tilt.
I watched several truly excellent players getting shafted by that machine and losing a match through no fault of their own, simply by being unlucky. So, does such a setup make sense in tournaments? I understand the need to try and make a long-playing game play shorter. At the same time, if the modifications go so far as to pretty much reward luck rather than skill, we might as well draw straws instead…
Where would you draw the line? Would it be better not to use the game at all if the organisers feel it needs to be crippled to such an extent to make it “suitable” for tournament play? Do hair-trigger tilts make sense when everyone seems to agree that nudging is a major part of pinball skills?