PAPA A Division qualifying: the new normal?

Josh brought up an interesting point on the most recent Coast 2 Coast podcast regarding how consistent “decent” play at PAPA is now less likely to get you into the finals (than in the past), vs having a ticket where you blow up 2-3 games on one ticket. Essentially, with more participants and entries being made, scores that used to give you middling ranking points, now slide down to next to nothing or even a zero. Give it a listen – I believe it’s around minute 18.

Thoughts? Opinions?

I had posted this a couple of other places. I enjoy studying the numbers and statistics.

So looking at this year’s 24 qualifiers of A division at PAPA:

Only 2 players in the entire top 24 did not have a ZERO as part of their qualifying composite score.

Every qualifier in the top 10 had one ZERO as part of their composite score.

5 of the players had TWO ZEROES as part of their qualifying score.

188 was the lowest composite score, or an average of about the 51st best score on each machine.

Which of course could also read 2 top scores of 100 on 2 games in a run would qualify a person.

I don’t completely agree with this. It’s more true now that a ticket where you blow up 2 or 3 games could get you into the finals, just because it’s top 24 now instead of top 16.

The one thing I do agree with is that with the increased number of players in A, the number of entries per game is quite a bit higher. Taking some samples:

PAPA 10 Funhouse: 174 plays … 232 plays at PAPA 18
PAPA 11 Creature: 163 plays … 265 plays
PAPA 12 Simpsons: 147 plays … 194 plays

but then…

PAPA 13 Shadow: 220 plays
PAPA 14 Batman: 256 plays
PAPA 15 Taxi: 210 plays
PAPA 16 Metallica: 224 plays
PAPA 17 World Cup Soccer: 264 plays (thanks Karl for the resurrection)

PAPA 18’s qualifying wasn’t out of line at all with what has happened since PAPA 13. The largest number of qualifying games on any machine ever is Medieval Madness from PAPA 14. PAPA 14 also had the lowest-ever 24th place total, lower than this past year (but close).

I think it’s about the same as it has been the last five years.

PAPA 12: Paul Jongma qualified with a #17 as best score
PAPA 13: no qualifier with any worse than a #7 score on ticket
PAPA 14: Jim Belsito qualified with a #23 as best score
PAPA 15: Zach Sharpe qualified (#3!) with a #19 as best score
PAPA 16: Roy Wils qualified with a #16 as best
PAPA 17: Andrei Massenkoff qualified (#5!) with a #15 best; Jon Replogle qualified with a #21 best
PAPA 18: Joshua Henderson qualified top-16 with a #16 as best; Josh Sharpe qualified with a #24 as best

I haven’t dug down to the analysis of getting through with multiple “zero” tickets. While I think the adage that you need 5 good games to qualify has never been completely true for PAPA, that might be one direction things have moved in the last few years. I’d say Zach’s crazy consistent run at PAPA 15 is the exception, not the norm.

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To be clear, I just meant having 2 top scores on a single ticket would have qualified based on this year’s numbers.

I agree that it might not necessarily work every year.

Nonetheless, it was still interesting to see the numbers.

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I think you really have to also take into account how the games are playing as well. I felt like while, yes, it sucked to have my “that’s a decent score” end up bleeding down to only 20 points, that’s because for that game, it was an okay game, but could have been easily higher (for example, I thought my 30 mil TSPP was a golden 60 pointer, but the way that TSPP played, 30 mil simply meant you played both multiballs with some modes, which most people could do seeing as most of the settings were close to factory + a ball save).

In the end, while it’s true that the line is blurring between the “ok game” and the “zero” game, it really just means you have to play better to push yourself into the point-getting zone. As long as the games play fair and skillful, it’s really just you against everyone else, and that’s what makes the challenge great. You can’t just get a decent score against the GAME, but you have to put up a score that’s equal or slightly higher than what the PLAYERS will be putting up on it

In C Division I had 4 “decent” games and 1 zero and qualified 10th for the finals.

How the game is playing is key.

Your TSPP example reminds me of a favorite tourney story of mine on a TSPP that I tell new players about always keeping their first scores at traditional high score event, regardless of how bad it looks.

My first attempts are what I call the “planting seeds” phase.

At a local show tourney, TSPP was in the 5 bank mix. I played my first game and upon realizing the game’s quirks and brutality, went to a Moe’s ramp strategy since that was safe and reliable for me.

I earned my extra ball worth 2.5 MIL and kept hitting ramps and ended up with 10 MIL total.

I knew it was nothing to write home about based on my knowledge of the game, but at least I had a score. People were laughing at my score bragging about how they could beat it etc. but I always keep my first score as something to improve upon.

Over the next 2 days, I watched countless attempts from the braggers and mockers struggle to even get a few million.

Turned out my 10MIL was the top score on TSPP all weekend.

It served as an illustrative story for newcomers about not comparing home or arcade scores and to keep the first score.

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Zahler had a two zeros on a qualifying ticket in PAPA 14 and qualified.