Pinball Done Quick

I’ve been kicking the idea around for a year and I’d like to get a conversation going about Pinball Done Quick.

This idea grew out of the video-game speed running community at an event last year called Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) its where Kevin Birrell played the best game of tetris ever.

Pinball Done Quick or Pins Done Quick or PDQ is simply timing an attempt on a game to reach an objective, such as the wizard mode or super jackpot.

In order to make it accessible to all, the rules included

  1. set the game to factory defaults
  2. set a fair tilt
  3. start the timer when the ball leaves the shooter lane, or is plunged
  4. stop the timer when at a certain event on the DMD.

It’s a basic outline and I hope with everyone’s help this could be something we do and develop a audience for. I see a future where PDQ is the type of pinball that gets on ESPN.

  • its time limited
  • the path to success is somewhat linear

What do you guys think?
Thank you
check out:


Additionally, I will be at AGDQ this January 3rd to 10th with Jack Danger, Steve Bowden, Chris Newsom, Austin Mackert and Drew Cedolia hosting the Pinball ONLY official side-stream.

We’ll be mostly doing Pinball Done Quick and having some of the video-game speed runners trying out pinball… some of them for the first time.

We could have over a million views if things go well.

It will be broadcasted from my channel at:

follow me.

I think all games in PDQ should be set to the maximum number of balls (10 I think for DMDs), that way players can actually focus on strategy for what’s the fastest way to do a task (rule the universe, monsters of rock, etc.) instead of having to worry about draining all the time. Or at least maybe have it be a separate “class” of speedruns (like any% vs 100%, could have “3 ball” vs “10ball”.


There’s a big pitfall with adjusting settings as there’s not a way to know what the settings were after the game has been played. I feel like a fast setup is to reset to factory, maybe change to free play, maybe adjust volume and play. Factory is the same game to game, if the software version is the same, which can be confirmed after a successful run by turning the game on and off again.

I also feel that these restrictions, in an attempt to standardize the challenge, makes it unappealing. So my inclination is to not care about settings and let people do whatever they want. I feel like with that attitude we’ll encourage participation and therefore we’ll get more data as to what is fun to watch.

fun way to play and a good way to dial in sequential shooting.

I’m stoked about the event this year! Last year was a blast.

It’s not a bad idea, but the issue that arises is I think most wizard modes are pretty attainable in three-ball play, negating the need to boost the ball count. Maybe on some of those games with seemingly mythical wizard modes (DoD MB on Iron Man, Super Duper Wizard Mode on TSPP, etc), there could be sub-categories.

I think the most enjoyable aspect of this format however is the smaller goals. Fastest to Super Jackpot during Disc Mulltiball on Tron last year was fun, as was the first to Total Annihilation on AFM, among other things.

I did really enjoy the “smaller” goals as well. Something that is attainable by brute force by just about anyone. A good time however would take serious practice and be really impressive to watch.

Our biggest key this year will be to get the lighting down.


I’m beyond excited for this.


This topic is 7 years old now, but I got a question: Has anyone attempted to get a pinball speedrun on the actual Games Done Quick? They’re always looking for stuff off the beaten path, and there has been some interest in someone actually bringing a pinball machine in and demonstrating how to play it well and quickly.

I was looking up if it has happened and I stumbled across this, and I find it odd that there’s a separate project done independently from Games Done Quick rather than someone pitching pinball gameplay for them. Is there a known reason for it? Or has pinball been rejected on Games Done Quick?

I submitted a Game of Thrones Iron Throne speedrun for SGDQ 2017 and had it rejected. At the time (not sure if it is still true) there were no rejection reasons included.

On Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 7:28 PM Tim Sexton wrote:


I am planning on submitting some pinball runs this week with KevinDDR
and we have decided to submit runs for the Game of Thrones pinball
machine. There are 2 categories for this game, Hand of the King
Mini-Wizard mode (<5 minute run) and Iron Throne Wizard mode (<15 minute
run) both which can be done solo or as a race. Iron Throne does not work
as well as a race but Hand of the King works very well as a race,
probably better than it does solo. Is it worth it for the 2 of us to
submit both runs as both solo and race events (total of 4 submissions
each) just to get everything up there, or is it better to submit the
runs as best we could see them as an SGDQ segment?

Thanks for running a cool event!

Tim Sexton

Response from Matt Merkle, Director of Operations, Games Done Quick LLC:

Solo is fine, but focus on how you will present it and commentate it. This has been a major concern for allowing such runs in the event in the past. It can be EXTREMELY hard to keep track of what you’re doing if a viewer is unfamiliar with the table or pinball mechanics in general. And while we appreciate the short length, we also have to balance the setup time, so keep that in mind as well (For example, Tetris had major setup times, but we got a lot of “runtime” out of it, so it balanced out).

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Ah, I see. They do bring up a good point: For someone who has no knowledge of pinball other than “hit the ball with the sticks,” it feels impenetrable, and it will take someone who’s really, really good at explaining things for it to work.

Games Done Quick will allow the same person to submit something in though. Apparently, there was a Monster Hunter fan who made a submission every year for the past several years and managed to get on in 2021 with Monster Hunter Rise. They’re also going for less conventional games than they did five years ago; there was a recent showcase of maimai, an arcade-only rhythm game that required them bringing the machines over and the player explaining the basics plus a demonstration so the audience can follow when they cut loose for real.

This doesn’t mean that you should try again unless you really want to, of course. I just personally would like to see somebody showcase pinball of some sort on the show, and I was wondering why they hadn’t done so already. (Even virtual pinball is exceedingly rare. I think Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire was the only one they had.)

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I stopped attempting to submit runs because of the potential conflict of interest created by my employment. If anyone else were to submit I would recommend that they include a video showing exactly how easy/difficult it would be to move a pinball machine and set up the camera equipment to capture it as part of their run submission.

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I remember submitting a Twilight Zone run and that prompted Matt’s reply above, as the ball would disappear and reappear and they sited that being the main reason why it wasn’t accepted. They were supportive of the idea, just had the viewers in mind and they weren’t 100% confident it would be a good addition.

Then Tim submitted his on Game of Thrones where the ball never disappears and it still got rejected. What did they give as reasons @timballs ?

I would encourage submissions every event and each time listening to their feedback until “we” figured out what would work.

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They didn’t give reasons for run rejections in 2017. I don’t know if that’s still their policy. At the time they said it was too much work to type out reasons each run got rejected.

Its really all about
check it out, upload some runs.

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Thank you for the link, but what I want is the other way around–I’m more interested in introducing that pinball can be speedrun to the already existing GDQ crowd. They won’t come to you–you have to come to them.

Apparently, the GDQ site has an arcade with a few pinball machines lying around for people to play, and there is always a pretty sizable group of people hanging in that area. Anybody know about this? It seems like the the demand to see pinball on GDQ has substantially increased than there used to be.

I personally believe it could be done–but if someone opens instead with an introduction how pinball gameplay works. Most people who watch GDQ have no familiarity with pinball at all. You need to present it as if the person you’re addressing has never seen a pinball machine before. These are people who don’t know pinball machines even have rules. They think the objective of pinball is survival–that is, you’re trying not to let the ball “fall in the hole.” They don’t know you can hold the ball on a flipper. They don’t know there’s such a thing as “modes.” They don’t know that it’s anything more than bouncing a ball and causing pinging and chiming sounds. That’s your baseline, and personally, for a pinball machine to be accepted at GDQ, the person submitting a speedrun must first play a normal game explaining absolutely everything, from the initial plunge to the modes that start up to how you use them to score points to techniques like nudging and flipper techniques.

(I am not good enough at any machine to actually attempt a speedrun myself though.)