Pinball Player Bio Sheet

Post-PAPA, there’s been a lot of discussion and media articles revolving around providing pinball event broadcasters more information about competitors, so they can add more color to their commentary. I thought I’d take a crack at improving this situation. I’ve created a Google Forms survey requesting info about you, YES YOU!, the player. I’ll work to make the data collected here available to tournament software / event directors / commentators, via API, data dump, and/or other means.

So, do you compete at pinball events? Want people to talk about you? Fill out the form! :slight_smile:



Maybe update the question about “how long have you been playing pinball” to “what year did you start playing pinball competitively” or something along those lines. Especially since if I put 4 years now, next year it’ll be 5 years.


Great idea Joe. Can’t wait to see this in action!

Will there be a process for updating the information given? For example, it asks about “family info” and while I do not currently have a spouse or kids, I might; similarly, someone might currently have a pinball-playing SO and mention it in the form only to break up later. Will there be ways to ensure that commentators are using up to date information?

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Am I crazy, i thought someone tried this last year?

It was tried for the pinmasters in 2016.

I like it, especially for events where the majority of players are not “household names”. Would you be able to import the survey into the DTM software, or would TD’s/staff need to manually input it? It would be awesome if commentators had easy digital access to this as well as the players current standing, rank, etc.

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How about adding a question asking the player’s favorite location? This would help to promote location play and give the announcers more potential talking points.

‘I heard they had to throw Larry out of Shorty’s last night at closing when he was only one door panel away from LITZ.’ ‘That’s a shame.’


Thanks for the feedback and early flurry of survey responses, everyone! Appreciate it.

I went back and forth on that wording… both approaches have pros and cons, because some players may have started playing a long time ago, then gone on hiatus for awhile. The problem you mention isn’t a big deal because we know when survey responses were submitted and can calculate the delta from there.

I don’t think a player can go back and edit their responses once submitted. (I didn’t want logging in to be a requirement for this.) But we can encourage players to re-do the survey periodically and use their most recent responses. Or if this gains traction, I can stand up a front end for profile maintenance, either independently or perhaps in conjunction with IFPA profile pages, if @pinwizj / @Shep wish. Starting this off on Google Surveys was a Q&D solution to see if there’d be enough interest to pursue this further.

Sounds good to me.

As for whether this has been done before… don’t know, but I’ve never seen it, nor do I recall being asked for it. (I wasn’t at PinMasters 2016.) But this information was not available to me as a live broadcaster at PAPA, beyond what I happened to already know about each player. (I tried to throw in some tidbits of color like hometown or last PAPA victory to the extent that I knew them.) And yes, my intention is to make this data available via API and/or data dump to any TD or entity (DTM, PAPA Scoring, MatchPlay, etc) that wishes to use it… thus the repeated privacy warning notes in the survey, so no one is confused about that. :smiley:


API please! Or a data file that can be fetched repeatedly. I don’t want individual TDs to have to upload their own data files :slight_smile:


minor suggested edits: instead of asking “how long have you been playing pinball”, ask “what year did you start playing pinball?”. Otherwise, these bios will be outdated in one year!

Great idea, btw!

Can you API what year someone started playing from their earliest result in the IFPA database?

I know we used to have ‘favorite game’ as part of items a player could add to their player profile. I’m sure @Shep could expand things to include a player bio section . . . just need to figure out how much of #dollargate goes to him to make that happen :slight_smile:


For most players, sure. But not for old-timers … for example I started competing years before my first IFPA-registered result (and started playing long before that).


Before IFPA…there was no pinball

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Some of us played in tournaments even before Roger “saved pinball” and before there were any, ah, little Sharpes.


I would add some other questions that are not directly related to pinball and open-ended. For example, “what do you do when you are not playing pinball?” Or “do you have any other passions besides pinball?”

Or ask some tough questions. “Was there ever any time were you felt that you were wasting your time playing pinball and it was all a frivolous self-indulgence?” Or “did you ever feel that you were never going to be any good at this game and, if so, how did you deal with that?”

Or “did you ever feel that playing pinball at such intensity has made you miss out on other things?”

I’m sure that there are many more questions along these lines. The point is to get people to open up and tell something about themselves they don’t mind telling and isn’t about pinball. I already know that Bowen is a superb player, has won three world championships, blah, blah. But I don’t know Bowen, not even one little bit, outside his pinball persona.

If you want to make it interesting, try to get at those other aspects of players’ personalities. I bet it would be insightful, entertaining, and break up the monotony of the laser-beam focus of “pinball, pinball, pinball…”

And there would be no pressure on players either. They can divulge as little or as much as they deem appropriate. Some will say lots, some will say little. But I bet all of it will help to make for a better viewer experience.

I intentionally put a very open ended question in there (“tell us interesting stuff about you!”). So far about 50% of respondents are making use of it.

Yes. I’m suggesting to make a bit easier for respondents to be drawn out. If someone asks me to “tell interesting stuff about myself”, I’m likely to think “oh boy, what could possibly be interesting about me? I have no idea what to say.” Or I think “I better be careful, otherwise people might misread what I say as showing off.”

The problem with this question is that it likely is too open. By making questions a bit more specific in scope, people are more inclined to respond because there is a well-defined topic area, and they are not confronted by some vast open green field that they then may perceive as intimidating. (“This is like high school, these guys are asking me to write an essay, and my brain is all empty.”)

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Cool idea. I’ll be sure to fill one out if anyone starts broadcasting any of the divisions I play in. :wink:

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Fill it out regardless of which division you play in! Even if your division isn’t streamed, the broadcasters might still want to interview you after you win, and then it’s helpful for them to have some baseline info. :slight_smile: