SPIKE Lockup - reproducibility and thoughts on rulings?

Happened at the Bat City open a few weeks ago - been too swamped to get it up with the holiday etc but curious what others think.

Short video (17s)

Summary: KISS 2015 locked up midgame after a generous nudge in the middle of the Bat City Open. Lights off, DMD frozen, flippers dead. No tilt sound or display, just totally locked up. DMD was displaying an animation at the time and I believe the scores were lost on a power cycle. I didn’t have a chance to confirm the final ruling - @Snailman can you chime in?

Anyone seen this before? It seems to me to be walking a pretty fine line between Player Error and Catastrophic Malfunction. No tilt or slam tilt reported by the machine but the player had nudged at the time of the failure. Any ideas if this is reproducible on other games?

Is there any precedent for declaring a tilt when the machine itself hasn’t reported a tilt?

I’m not a generally a TD, but my personal feeling is unless the slam tilt was clearly registered I would go with catastrophic malfunction, restart game or compensation balls depending on how far along you were and if the scores could be saved.


Problem is, the game likely did not tilt. What probably happened was the nudge shifted a connector enough to cause the software to crash. Is node-board communication isolated from the core functionality of the game, or can interference on that bus cause a crash? Regardless, I can’t see blaming this on the player if no slam tilt was registered.


It’s funny that you bring this up. I walked into league last night and Kiss was locked up with the Stern Logo on the DMD. I had to unplug the damn thing to get it to come back up.

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Funny thing is even a registered slam tilt is not the player’s fault on a Spike game, because there is no physical slam switch. If that switch is closed in the matrix, something else is wrong with the machine.


I’d never seen it before. All of the above is correct.

I was summoned to the frozen state. Player 1 (ball 3) admitted to moving the machine, but it was neither a tilt nor a slam tilt because the machine didn’t register/display either – it was frozen on a mid-ball animation from the pops, I believe. Ruled as catastrophic malfunction. Remarkably, all the players had been watching the game closely, and all agreed on the scores of the 4 players. Those were recorded, and each player received one compensation ball on a fresh game to add to their prior scores, including P1 because the game had killed power to flippers, etc before the ball drained. If even one player had expressed uncertainty about the scores, then it would have been fresh game for all.

Indeed, after this, when we power cycled the machine, it had to be completely unplugged. And the score display mysteriously had a single player score held in memory that didn’t match any of the 4 players’ 2-ball scores documented.

The same issue didn’t happen again.

Not that I’m aware of, nor should there be, in my opinion.


Just checked my SAM games, and none of them have a physical slam tilt switch either. Sometime between Star Trek and TWD they stopped labeling the unused connector with an “optional slam tilt” tag.

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But it might be the shaker motor’s fault.


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Good point. But no shaker on the particular Kiss Pro that’s at Buffalo Billiards.

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I don’t think the is ANY fine line here. No way a game locking up in software can be attributed to the player. Unless, that player is Lyman. DQ :wink:


@Law this is the first time I’ve seen this happen, and I’ve had that machine since launch. My best guess would be I accidentally had those 8 games on the same circuit, and it may not have been getting enough clean incoming voltage and it freaked out. Like Demo Man, it quit resetting after I moved it from the main bank.
Next year I’ll make doubly sure I have games on as many separate circuits as possible, because silly shit like that bothers me to no end…

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On SPIKE games if the game slam tilts it will say SLAM TILT on the display.