Rules questions about that crazy WhoDunnit game at Pinburg

I was rewatching the Pinburg videos on Twitch the other day and finally got to see that crazy game of W?D that Cayle had. I noticed quite early on that the 3-bank target was not functioning for Cayle but it was for everyone else, why wasn’t play stopped due to a beneficial malfunction? The rules appear to support this thinking:

Any beneficial malfunction which provides one or more players with a significant scoring or strategic advantage in a way that is not part of normal gameplay will void the score of the affected player(s), unless all immediately-affected players and tournament officials can agree on a suitable adjustment of the score or other elimination of the advantage. If the beneficial malfunction has been specifically avoided by the player, it is unlikely that a penalty is necessary. If any player score(s) are voided, the affected player(s) may then replay the game after the other players have finished, and the new score(s) are used for the affected player(s).

Now I learned that W?D is a bit bugged and there are a certain sequence where you could get the game to behave this way, but I’d still argue that this is a beneficial malfunction. So why wasn’t this called a malfunction?

I thought it was a beneficial malfunction, too, that provided one or more players with a significant advantage. It was pointed out to tournament officials during the 2nd Round of play — the wall stayed down for one player’s entire Elevator Madness, allowing for a cradle on one flipper and repeatable unlimited left flipper shots to the elevator, in a situation where typically, the wall should raise up after a certain number of initial elevator shots.

It was an unenviable position to be in for the directors. They made the call to let the game stand, and had techs address the issue after the 2nd round. The issue obviously happened again during the quarterfinals. Given that they let the 2nd round game play on, and the results stand… I applaud their consistency in doing the same during the quarters.

I’m of the same mindset that it’s still a beneficial malfunction, and given that techs were called to work on the pin after Round 2, I’m guessing that the tourney officials weren’t aware of the bug that’s been mentioned.

Oh, and what is this magic sequence that gets the wall to behave this way?

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As I see it, I don’t believe it is a beneficial malfunction, or even a malfunction at all, provided that the target bank can be raised or lowered by consistantly exploiting a software bug.

Its a bug thats hard to repro (though usually is tied to the roof MB), but is easier to hold onto once its occurred by avoiding certain stuff (the game can fix its self back into a good state).


At pinburgh the up down bank got in a bad state and was down for a good portion of Karl’s final ball 3 which was a great high scoring ball (he was player 1).

I brought it up to the TD during his ball that the bank was in a bad state again and they said that there wasn’t anything they could do as it had been happening a few times already (I think this was the right call, and certainly didn’t want a ruling against Karl).

When my ball 3 came up, I reconfirmed with the TD that the bank was in a bad state and asked what should we do about it, TD replied that I should “play it as it lies.” So, I played it as it was.

The game was back into a normal state after my final roof.

The work being done on the game just before that round was unrelated - the center U turn ramp was installed incorrectly causing a major lip on the ramp entrance - we prompted the techs to fix it and they nicely did.

I’ve often felt that pinball rulings have a huge grey area around software “bugs.” if the exploit is commonly known, then people usually treat it as fair game, but if a “bug” is not commonly seen or known, then often it is treated as a malfunction and rulings come into play. Weather or not anything should change the tradition here is up for debate. :smile:


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I think often it’s hard to tell the difference between a software bug and a hardware malfunction. Even here, I think most people watching your game thought the up down bank was just physically malfunctioning, and not stuck down due to the software.

That’s especially true if it’s an unknown or uncommon problem, determining if it’s the correct behavior of the machine is very difficult. Usually the reaction is to remove the game from competition, which is probably the right thing to do, but also sucks; there are some excellent games that are rarely or never used in tournaments now (such as Getaway). I don’t know what will happen if or when a player hits a 9 billion hurryup on Creature, but that’ll probably be the last time we see Creature in a tournament.

I was still waiting for you to get Roof and Basement at the same time :wink:

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Roof+Basement literally gives you 1 flip to start it out of the sewer, else it ends your ball - too risky :wink:

… afaik, the creature 10B hurryup was fixed in the last (or a late) code release.

… And, imo, I dont think getaway really has any problems on L5. Sure you can “restart” your multiball, but the situation around that is pretty clear and certainly has its own risk/reward factor.

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Hadn’t heard about a newest Creature ROM, that sounds really worth looking into. (Also, definitely a game that could benefit from a tournament mode on its random awards.)

Good point about L5, lots of games have unlimited add-a-ball multiballs, so it’s a little like that. Is it still true in multiplayer that one player’s Secret Mania can mess up locks for all players?


not to get all geeked up, but this thread is an example why I love this forum.

Back to the thread…



So you’re one of the guys that would have made this decision to pull the game, why didn’t you/wouldn’t you? IMO, having the three bank down for a ball is a game breaker as Cayle demonstrated quite well. (I didn’t see Karl’s game on it, just Cayle’s ball 3).

I’m just trying to figure out why it wasn’t called a malfunction. The very definition of a software bug is a malfunction (courtesy of wikipedia)

A software bug is an error, flaw, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways.

Was it too late to call it a malfunction by the time it was pointed out? Was it too much of a hassle to switch the game out of the bank? (This was kind of a big tournament). What are the odds we’ll ever see a W?D in a tournament setting again? :slight_smile:

For finals, each bank gets a tournament director, with the main Pinburgh TD a “floater” to resolve difficulties or get a second opinion. I believe the A Division TD met with the main Pinburgh TD to come to a mutual decision on this, but it’s the same decision I would have made.

Malfunctions in pinball fall into many categories, as defined by the PAPA/IFPA rules. There are catastrophic malfunctions, major malfunctions, minor malfunctions, and beneficial malfunctions. In particular, minor malfunctions are “play on”, part of the nature of pinball.

As someone mentioned, the Who Dunnit issue first happened during Round 2 of the finals. The ruling was for a minor malfunction, “play on”. Then the up-down bank was inspected at the end of the game and was cleared for play. When the same issue occurred during Round 3, the same ruling was followed. After Round 3 the game was removed from play.

I don’t know the circumstances leading to the ruling of “play on” during Round 2. My suspicion is that it was ruled to be a minor malfunction, based on this rule, which suggests that the up-down bank malfunction was equal for all players:

A minor malfunction is any incident without external cause which deviates from the normal course of gameplay, without directly causing a player’s loss of turn and without providing any player a significant advantage over others. A minor malfunction is considered part of normal play. Tournament officials shall determine what constitutes a significant advantage; in the event that such an advantage is obtained, refer to “Beneficial Malfunctions”.

If this happened during a normal Pinburgh round, this is the ruling I would have made. There were several other rulings like this made throughout Pinburgh 2015 when a feature was not working perfectly. In general, you play out the game you’re in, then either fix the machine or don’t use it again. It was believed to be fixed, so it stayed in.

So, I’m not at all surprised by the ruling that was made, nor am I surprised that the ruling was consistent when it happened a second time. You’re right though that this is unlikely to make Who Dunnit a trusted choice for future tournaments, especially tournaments with a timeline like Pinburgh.


The IFPA banned game list grows!

Who Dookie joins Getaway, T-2, TOTAN, NGG on the “we’re just not going to put ourselves as TD’s in the position of having to deal with this shit” list :slight_smile:


I’m surprised you quoted the minor malfunction rule here as I disagree with this part:

without providing any player a significant advantage over others.

I’d argue that the bank glitch gives a significant advantage. Is it so common a glitch that everyone knows how to glitch it?

I have no problems with how it was dealt with, I was just confused as to why this wasn’t ruled beneficial. I think we’re in agreement that this one is unusual.

At the time, it was believed to be a hardware malfunction, which would put it in the same state (always down) for all players throughout the rest of the game. Therefore it would not provide any player with a significant advantage over others.

If, on the other hand, there was a known way to make this occur, and that would happen through skillful play, it’s hard for me to argue that’s a “malfunction”.

It’s such an uncommon glitch that I have never seen it before, nor knew it was possible. I can’t speak for the other TDs on this, but I don’t think they had seen it either; I suspect if either of them had seen it before, Who Dunnit would not have been selected to be used in the finals.

I hadn’t seen the glitch before either but oddly enough experienced it yet again during league play the other night. Staged ball was still on that machine though, and Cayle mentioned in another post about turning it off to potentially fix it, unconfirmed though. Don’t know if Jim turned it off for league yet or not after that instance but would love to test it and identify the bug.

I think you’ll see it VERY soon…

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Just to clarify, during round 2 the bank was working through most of the game and the malfunction was noticed when a player got an elevator madness multiball and the bank stayed down while on the previous ball, I had an elevator madness with the normal bank moving after a few jackpots :frowning:

Is a list like this maintained anywhere?

Maybe not an “official ifpa” list, but a TD beware list or something?

I know papa has some of these bugs and exploits in their learning center, but it doesn’t seem to get a lot of updates.

Ill follow that up by asking if there is a list of non typical ROMs that are used at PAPA or other tournaments?

Could you or anyone else run down the problems with T2 and NGG please? I’m about to start thinking about the games for City Champ and I certainly don’t need extra problems. Thanks

Multiple issues for each listed here:

BSD has absolutely zero bugs. Nope, none at all. Just sayin.

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So I’m curious how to reproduce (or try to reproduce) this bug. And if successful, what should you avoid to maintain it?