Pinball Map Open Thread


That’s the best reaction! I didn’t expect that.


I like this idea, but am skeptical about it being effective. Maybe that’s just me. I sincerely hope others have different experiences with ops in their areas, but the big name in my area…yeah…just more for them to ignore.

I still think the idea is worthwhile though!


If ops are ignoring you start complaining to the owner of the location (e.g. if it’s a bar complain to the bar owner instead of the pinball operator). A little facebook shaming can also work. E.g. post a photo of the pinball machine, tag the location and write something like “It’s too bad the machines at X are always in a bad state. I really like the place, but a broken pinball machine makes me sad”


Well, one thing to keep in mind is that we don’t have the email addresses of all operators. So not all operators will get this message. In the regions that I administer, I only have the email addresses of operators who are responsive and use the map. And I’ve asked one of them about his thoughts on this feature, and he was stoked about it. So basically, it will be useful for those who want it to be.

And if we have their email but they don’t want to receive these digests, then we simply remove their email in our system.

Oh, and Scott just added this feature. So it’s real now.


An app like this won’t change a bad op into a good op, but it might make some okay ops into better ops, and make the good ops even better.


Update: The Boston map had outgrown its original purpose, so we split it into four state maps:

We didn’t create Vermont or Maine, because there are already two city-based maps in them:

If anyone wants to be an administrator for any of those state regions, please hit me up.

Note to iOS app users: Boston will still show up as a region option. The next update will fix that.


I can’t seem to find Mars: God of War in the drop down list to add to my location… Am I missing something?


What’s listed right above Mars Trek?


Had to use an older version to add it in.


In the iOS app, there seems to be a persistent syncing issue. I added Mars God of War to the database only about a week ago, so if you’re not seeing it it’s because the data is not syncing. Sometimes it can be fixed by changing to a different region, then back to yours. Or by doing a pull down on the list of locations.

Interesting that an earlier version fixed it for you. The earlier versions were worse at syncing.

When all else fails, use the website! It’s mobile-friendly.

Edit: I just tried my suggestions on the latest version, and was not successful.

But it showed up on the iPad, and showed up for Frank Michael in the latest version. Mysterious…


New website features:

  1. Users can now edit some location metadata fields:
  • Operator
  • Location Type
  • Phone Number
  • Website

To edit them, lookup a location then click “click to update location metadata”.

Both Operator and Location Type are from dropdowns. So if you want to add an operator that isn’t currently listed, then you should use the contact form to have that op added.

The Website field currently only accepts values that start with http:// - But we’ll soon have it also accepting https://

The Phone Number field only accepts this format: 000-000-0000. And we haven’t added error messages yet! So, if you type in (000) 000-0000 you’ll be silently rejected.

  1. Regional maps now include a “Show Closest Locations” button. When clicked, it will display all locations within a 5 mile radius.

This button is in the header.


Great to have this exposed to regular users! One thing for your “future ideas” bucket. I know this will mess up your data models so I’m hesitant to even bring it up.

The main location in the city of SF is Free Gold Watch. They have around 40 machines, but here’s the tricky part: There are 4-6 different operators. Current the map only has one operator per location. I don’t want to add an operator for FGW because that person might get emails about machines they don’t operate and I would be really annoyed by that. Just something for the far future.

Love the closest location button! For my apartment it’s a one-click shortcut to displaying almost every game in the city of SF. We’re packed in tightly here :slight_smile:


Yeah, each region is so different - it was hard to come up with a suitable radius. For some regions, 20 miles makes sense! But we settled on 5 for now. There are only three locations within five miles of me right now :cry:

Many years ago we had a location in Portland - Slabtown - with multiple operators. And… we didn’t come up with a suitable solution for tagging them. It would be a hassle to tag operators on a “machine @ location” basis. But perhaps we could have an off/on toggle, with the default being “off - operator is assigned to all machines at location” and then the “on” would somehow enable us to assign operators on a per machine basis…


This past weekend I removed a machine and added a machine! I hope I get internet famous soon.


Thanks for updating the map! If we tracked individual users, then at some point I could write a post detailing your long term usage. Could be interesting. “Heroes of the Portland Pinball Map.” But we don’t have “users” and can’t track people… so you’ll have to remain anonymous! And we’re probably posting too many blog posts right now, anyway.

On that note, we posted another blog post. But it’s about something we’ve already covered here: tagging operators and sending them digests of comments.


Minor update: Re-skinned the site. Bringing it back to our original dark roots. Farewell pink and peach.


Some feedback - without the www seems to fail DNS lookup. Google uses the no-prefix address when the site is searched for, so it looks like it’s always down if you search “pinball map” and click the first result.


Thanks, but we can’t replicate this. It’s working fine without the www. We’ll keep an eye out, though.


I noticed some operators check Pinball Map frequently and pay close attention to problems on the machines reported onto there. Whoever operates the machines at the Lake Forest and Aliso Viejo Ice Palaces, for instance, is quite prompt with them (or, if the problem is something that can’t be easily fixed, will shut them down or swap them with another machine). It’s pretty neat.

But yeah, that’s about the extent that an operator can do. Otherwise, if no one directly contacts the operator (which can’t always be done), they won’t ever know about it.

Since getting ahold of an operator is often way harder than I would’ve expected, I keep some Post-It Notes in my car, and if there’s a problem with a machine and I don’t know of a way to contact the operator, I write down the problem and put it on the machine. (Asking the people who work at the establishment is usually useless–I’ve never had a case where they know who the operator is, or they refuse to tell me because they think it’s a privacy violation or something.) My Post-It Note system worked with the Avatar (and later Shrek) at Granada Hills Bowl, for instance. It’s backfired on some other cases though: I reported a broken Terminator 2 at Ray’s Original Pizza at UC Irvine, and that caused the operator to remove it without a replacement. (Apparently, it was sold off.) Post-It Notes are removed from machines at Family Amusement Corporation without them being fixed either.


Here in NorCal a lot of us will sign off on any updates to machines with our initials so people know who wrote the comment, etc. I guess for you all even if you have to put CFF people would know that you all are legit and such (or are you allowed to put up non-CFF initials on apps :slight_smile: I think I heard you could only put up non-CFF if it was at a CFF person’s home machine or something? #gangtalk