Pinball Map Open Thread


Alright, I know this is lo-fi, but we added a Flier page to each map. You can visit this page (desktop webpage), print out the flier, and then distribute it to help spread the word! It’s localized for each region, and dynamically generated. It contains some simple stats (# of machines in the region, and total # of machines across the whole site), and some words/links. It looks alright in black and white or color.

Each region has one. Example:
And you can find a link on the region’s homepage or About page.

Here’s a blog post about it.

Example (screenshot of a quarter page):

We did not concurrently organize a legit street team or anything. This is simply for anyone who wants to help spread the word. If you spot someone who is playing pinball and might like to learn about the site/app, give it to them. If a coffee shop or whatever if ok with you leaving a couple fliers, go for it!



We just added a “random location link” to each region’s home page. This is in an effort to help users “get started” in case they are new and don’t know how things work. Or if they just want to randomly explore.

The link is randomly generated each time you load the page.


Any thought put into sending email updates when a chosen/followed location gets updated with new games or comments?


We hadn’t yet put thought into that. I think the closest thing we’ve suggested is “Mark a location as a favorite (and remove a place from the favo list). And then they can do a search just for their favorites” (link). But yours is a good idea.

Though I’m not sure how many people would want to have comments included in there (for illustration, here are all the comments left yesterday on machines in Portland, OR - this came to me as an email. As you can see there are only a few locations represented. But the comments might not interest people - or they might overwhelm them day after day). But I guess it could be opt-in.


This info is probably useless to most but I was thinking in operator terms… I’m a tech at a location and it would be awesome if I had some way to know if someone posted a game issue (without having to get awkward text messages or hand out my number to strangers) so that I could take care of it asap


What you describe was implemented nearly two years ago! Many operators take advantage of it. See this blog post.

If your operator name is tagged as locations, we’d just need to associate an email address with the operator name. You can direct message me the details and I’ll set it up.


We updated the location search on the website so it acts more like search. Previously, if you typed in a location name, it would autocomplete the name for you, and then you had to select it. It was essentially a “lookup” and not a “search.” But now, even if you don’t choose the autocompleted suggestion, the search will still bring up results. For example, if you type “cafe” you’ll get all the places with cafe in the title. I probably don’t need to keep explaining this…


We added a Savannah, GA map!

Got some locations added today, and the locals are doublechecking which machines are currently at them. If you live in the area, please help keep it up to date!


Visiting Savannah next weekend, so not a moment too soon.
The Map is the greatest!!



In other news, we sold out of t-shirts. We think it would be cool to make more. It could be a way to help cover website costs (we gave away so many to our admins that we just covered t-shirt production costs after selling them all). New ones would likely be a different design. But we haven’t come up with the design yet.

Also, we’ll be releasing an iOS app update pretty soon. See what’s been tackled for this update here (click over to “closed”).


Since I know some people here enjoy stats. Here are some fun site usage stats!

Neither Scott or I are fascinated by web analytics. The only parts of analytics we care about are device/browser stats (e.g. how many people are using chrome vs firefox, and what devices they’re using to access the site), response times, and error rates. But we both hardly ever (maybe a couple times a year) view stats showing the number of visitors. Well, newrelic sends us a weekly email containing that, but since it only captures website users and not app users, it’s not super valuable.

Anyway! A better (or at least, more interesting) metric is map edits/submissions. How many machines were added/removed, etc. Given that we started working on this app back in 200…8? the following stats only cover a smidge of the life of the project. The start dates represent when we added functionality to track this information.

Locations submitted (since 2015-10-17): 2,809

A small percentage of this number can be attributed to an iOS “bug” wherein if people smash the Submit button then we receive their submission multiple times. I’d say 3% at most can be attributed to that bug (which will be fixed very soon!).

Machines removed (since 2015-10-17): 11,130

Machines added (since 2017-03-06): 4,166

Different start date than machines removed :<
To extend this rate to the same start date as the “machines removed” date, very basic math can show us that if 4,166 machines additions occurred in the past 146 days, then 18,604 may have occurred in the past 652 days (e.g. to 10/17/2015). But that’s not really accurate, given that we’re regularly adding new regions, thereby increasing the opportunities to add machines to places.

High Scores (since 2017-03-06): 420

We wiped all the high scores from the site when we implemented the user system on March 6.

Machine comments (since 2017-03-06): 3,278

Location metadata (since 2017-03-06): 1,555

Metadata refers to user-editable location info, such as Location Type, Website, Phone #, and Operator. I know that’s technically not “metadata,” but… shut up.

Contact Us messages (since 2015-10-17): 407

Confirm Location (since 2017-03-06): 2,283

And we have about 2,000 user accounts (since March 6). That number is obviously a better representation of how many people are editing maps, and not how many people use them.

I hope you find these super basic stats interesting. We certainly did! More interesting would be something like, “rates of usage, holding ‘number of map regions’ constant” in order to see how usage has evolved over time.

I guess I’ll write a blog post about it…


if you make more shirts can you have options that aren’t black as well? I like bright colors and so many shirts are black these days :slight_smile:


Yeah, I was thinking along those lines, too. So many of my shirts are black! We’ll definitely go for some color. Personally, I like tie-dye, but I might be in the minority there. :blossom:


I didn’t buy Pinburgh shirts the last two years because they’re black. I have cats, so it’s tough to keep black clothes looking right until you walk out the door in the morning. Plus black t-shirt just screams “metal guy” to me. I got the black Pinball Map t-shirt because I felt like it was the least I could do back when you didn’t take donations! If we go tie-dye then the my black shirt can become a collector’s item and we can retire.


The reason most pinball shirts are black is because black doesn’t make overweight people look as overweight as white shirts do. If you look around at a pinball show, you’ll see that our hobby is at least as overweight as the general public. Those overweight folks are rarely wearing white shirts. Pinball machines in the home are luxury items. If you have a pin at home, you’re eating all the food you want. Not passing judgement, just an observation.

My non-pinball black shirts are some of my favorite shirts, although I would agree black pinball shirts are overdone. Just got one for league. I’d wear black shirts more often, but the climate where I live won’t allow it. It’s over 100 right now. Definitely not black shirt weather.


Hit me with that freakonomics!!


Maybe the brand can appeal to the slimmer set! :joy: seriously though I know some of the t-shirt design sites let you use lots of colors and shirt styles vs just offering up specific locked in colors.


My experience with t-shirt sites is that the quality is low. Like, the graphics fade/peel fairly quickly. If you know of any kickbutt ones, let me know. The concept of printing on demand on whatever color is pretty cool.

For the shirts we made, I went to a guy in Pasadena. He did a good job, but he complained A LOT about using those colors on top of black. I can’t remember the details, but he had to experiment with different types of ink to get it to work. By the end he was so fed up he basically booted me out and told me not to come back. :unamused:

Luckily, my wife is a clothing designer, and spends half of her days at factories, many of which specialize in silkscreening. So I was planning to tap into her resources. It would be much more cost-effective than using a website. I bet I could get some cool colors, too. Free Gold Watch also seems like a good option.


Yeah FGW is definitely a good option if your wifes options down there don’t work out. It’s league night so I can talk to Matt about it but he’s done work for my own photography studio as well as Pinburgh and a bunch of other pinball folks too :slight_smile:


Well, no rush. We don’t even know yet if we’ll do two-sided (or have pentagrams running down the arms, a la SF’s own Necrot). And those things really impact costs.