Ruling: TNA at TPF

So I was watching Trent play on TNA in the finals for TPF. I noticed that one of the balls didn’t register it getting locked. When the ball search happened it activated multiball prematurely. Here’s the video:

Should Trent have trapped up and drained his extra balls since he got multiball when he wasn’t supposed to?

Certainly should have trapped up and waited for a ruling. I’m not sure what the ruling would have been, but if I was the TD it would have been that he would have had to drop down to a single ball.

No. The game announced a multiball, so it was earned. Trapping to end a multiball happens if there are multiple balls when the game is on a single ball state.

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Game callouts are what we are going by for tournament rulings?

Seems fair to me. Otherwise you need all the players to have intricate rules knowledge.

If the game says ‘jackpot’ and I get lots of points does it seem logical that I have to start questioning whether things are working correctly?

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Come on… if on some other pin a stuck ball was thrown into a lock (starting multiball) by the ball search would you require the player to drain 2? Isn’t that equivalent to what happened here?

If he did it on purpose, then it is against the rules :slight_smile:

Seems like this would fall under beneficial malfunction.


Can you elaborate as I have a hard time seeing a malfunction in my hypothetical example. Or did you mean what happened on TNA?

The initial post says one of Trent’s locks didn’t register. If the subsequent ballsearch caused that lock to register and multiball to start, I wouldn’t consider that a beneficial malfunction. It sounds like the ballsearch did what it was supposed to do - locate an undetected ball. Trent made the lock, it just took a while to register.

Note: I have not watched footage, just going off the description posted here.

Looks like the ball was stuck on top of the drop target while it was down…there was no indicator that ball two was locked.
My guess is that the machine knew one ball was locked when ball search was started, and had no choice but to call it a multiball because it knew two would be in play at that point?

Raises a good question: is (x) really a malfunction if the game is programmed to handle (x) gracefully and recover properly?

The TNA example.

Although a stuck ball falling into a lock upon a ball search would also be fine. The rules actually state you must wait for ball searches before resolving a stuck ball issue anyway.


I have no knowledge of the game so I am not familiar with the rules at all.

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Interesting gray area here. On the one hand, it does seem to merit definition as a Beneficial Malfunction as the IFPAPA rules are written (because Trent had only locked two balls, and did not make the shot to start the multiball). But on the other hand, as Bowen mentioned, the game announced and awarded multiball, so perhaps Scott intentionally coded in for TNA to start multiball in the situation where the game first incorrectly didn’t recognize the second ball lock. If the latter, then the game is performing as intended, and my ruling would be play the multiball.

Note: neither @spraynard nor I were asked to make a ruling on this when it happened.

I suppose we could always ask @GaryTheNoTrashCougar what he thinks when he’s back and unpacked, too!


You shouldn’t have to be asked to make a ruling; someone should be observing these games. This is a big reason why there should be a dedicated non-playing TD in charge of large events with prestige.

Your description of the situation is accurate: the declaration of multiball is the correct game behavior when the game loses track of where balls are positioned in the locks. The game is performing as intended.


That logic would validate any play that the game code picks up on (like shaking balls off the mist magnet). Horrible standard.

The convention/principle as I understand it is not to do with if the game adjusts for it, but if the feature/etc was actually correctly earned.

Edit: the later posts add the dimension of ‘game playing as intended…’ - which I think is a much better standard than simply saying “announced = earned = fine”

Yes… bad opto/switch… game would still be singing jackpots you didn’t earn… doesn’t mean its ‘play on’

You mean like the documented rules…

“Applying physical force to a machine in order to derive a benefit from the activation of a switch, stuck ball, or other other scoring feature shall only be permitted if the benefit can not be repeated continuously as determined by a tournament director. Nudging a machine so a locked ball moves and registers a switch causing a ball save, or nudging in order to manipulate a feature to begin a multiball would be permissible. Examples include shaking Bram Stoker’s Dracula such that the mist ball falls from its magnet starting multiball, shaking Avatar when a ball is in the Link assembly causing it to register, or shaking The Walking Dead causing the Well Walker to register a hit. Shaking a machine repeatedly in order to derive a continual benefit from a loose switch or stuck ball is not permitted. For example, shaking Champion Pub such that the boxer gives free hits over and over allowing the player to score continually. Any player who intentionally takes advantage of a significant beneficial malfunction may be given a warning and/or have his or her affected entry interrupted and disqualified by tournament officials.”