Stern Pro Circuit - starts in 2018


Shows up that flaw in modern games, i.e. not always having the score displayed. Can’t have a timed race when you can’t tell that you finished!


I must admit it was extremely difficult for me to watch two machines at the same time and I had to tune out.


The format kinda reminds me of Nick Arcade from the early 90s.


I didn’t watch it long enough to see a score challenge. The ones I watched were all objective-based goals that were evident from PF lights or massive display animations – no score display required. And Jack specifically had an objective intro portion to explain with PF diagram and drawing tool to explain what each player would need to do. But…

@DEADFLIP: one item to add to each Objective Intro would be to tell the viewer how they will know when the objective has been achieved. (ie: The song mode light will go solid. The multiball animation will count down and then start on the score screen. etc) Maybe you got to this during later portions of the stream.


The presentation makes this work amazingly well. This is what’s going to drive popularity.


We were for sure discovering and fixing holes in the format as we went along. Have some more rules to put in place, but yeah. We eventually got to certain animations or call outs as the final nod to a goal achieved.

It’s kinda like playing H. O. R. S. E. But for pinball!


Josh: Shoot the mystery mirror on funhouse.
banks off the hotdog target
Zach: Hey you didn’t call bankshot!




I just got through watching most of the stream.


  • The format is very TV friendly. This is something that could almost be shown on ESPN with proper production. Instead of having marathon games, this breaks the objectives up into something condensed to 2-5 minutes per round.
  • I liked the Objective Breakdown segments, but they should be shown before the plunge, not during the ball.
  • This format allows for a great deal of variety in the objectives, meaning later rounds could have more difficult goals.
  • The breaks between rounds, if used appropriately, provide a good space for commentary, rules, instant replays, and strategy.
  • I liked the timer. There are many interesting challenges in gameplay that can come from using it.
  • I liked giving the freedom to the player to pick the score or have options about how far they want to take each objective (like picking a race to 30M or a 5-ball Toy Box Multiball). This changes the strategy of each game, but it needs to be regulated. For example, you wouldn’t want to race to 500M because it would take too much time.


  • I found it very somewhat taxing to concentrate on 2 games at once. I was watching more of one than the other. There needs to be some way to direct attention to one player or another.
  • Multiballs are fun - and they’re fun to watch. Having the objective to start a multiball kinda takes away from the excitement of achieving it. If you don’t play it out, then why bother?
  • These types of tournaments will be difficult to manage. Two of each game means twice the breakdowns and malfunctions. Due to space constraints, it also limits the variety of games. No two games are ever the same, so setup, cleanliness, and age of each game could play a role in how different they play giving an advantage to one player.
  • The players’ names need to be located on the screen to make it easier to follow along. When Jack refers to Gavin’s side, I’ve already forgotten which side that is 30 seconds into the game.


  • Over all, this is something I could really enjoy with a few tweaks. For a proof of concept this works well.
  • The broadcast will likely require two full-time commentators - one for each game. Jack does a nice job by himself, but at times he was having trouble keeping up and knowing where each player was with their ball. Another person would also help to fill the dead air between rounds.
  • It would be interesting to have a secondary goal for an additional point in each round that must be completed before your opponent completes their primary objective. Risk/reward.
  • I liked that the games were not changed from 3 balls. If you didn’t make it to Elevator Multiball on your first game, then too bad. Time to start over.
  • On timed rounds, I would just call hands off the game and let the bonus count towards your score. You’re going to run into issues where someone will start complaining about what their score actually was when time was called. If you allow the bonus to count down there will be much less controversy.


Are there head to head speedrun components in the SPC? maybe this is explained in the video but my internet is very slow put here


Nope. This was just Jack and myself messing around with a concept that I think has some merit worth exploring.

Whether it becomes part of the SPC is far too early to call at this point. Whether it becomes the “Heads-Up Pinball Championship” as it’s ‘own thing’ is far too early to call at this point. Whether it becomes absolutely nothing is also far too early to call at this point :slight_smile:

I’m personally looking forward to exploring this play style more (both on the competitive side of things as well as the streaming side of things), and figuring out where that fits into the competitive pinball universe . . . if at all.


I just hope that intro song will become the official SPC theme song.


Finally got the chance to watch this. I don’t really feel like the format and head to head part is what was important to the PoC here, but the transitions, rule explanations, graphics, and scenes are really cool to see working in a live setting. One of the biggest issues I’ve noticed recently is the incredible amount of down time during a pinball broadcast where you are waiting for another player to play their ball. Having pre-rendered or live rule explanation cutaways is one of the next steps.

Since I doubt this is going up any time before ReplayFX, I might as well show a PoC i made of a rules overview for WPT, which I tried to keep short and sweet. Video Here There’s plenty of ways I could improve this too… especially if I knew how to film and make graphics and wasn’t quite so color blind.

I really liked these 30-ish second clips they did during the first episodes of ELEAGUE on TBS. ELEAGUE video for CS:GO and think what Jack is demonstrating is similar to this.

In general my idea is that the production and marketing of the pinball streams have yet to catch up to the awesomeness of pinball, not that the format needs to be “simplified” for the audience, since the concept is pretty much as simple as it gets as far as sports go: score more points than your opponent. I think it’s everything else I see here in this PoC that makes me go “yes! This is a great step!”

Anyhow, blah blah blah see the technology in pinball thread for more rants


Yeah, the discussion of DeadFlip, much as we love it, is really not a part of the SPC and shouldn’t continue in this thread. Try to stay on topic, folks.


I agree to an extent. The broadcast is what’s going to make or break something like this. It has to become something that casual players, or even people who don’t play, can stumble upon and immediately understand and enjoy. The ‘‘pinball only’’ audience simply isn’t large enough to sustain the types of sponsorship dollars I think Josh is after.

The broadcast is what will reach the vast majority of viewers as many people will not be able to make every tour stop. It is also the ‘‘product’’ that sponsors are going to slap their logos all over with the intention of reaching a large audience. Without a great broadcast, the SPC simply cannot exist at the level we’re all hoping for. It could exist, but not nearly at the same level as with large amounts of sponsorship revenue.


Of all the talk about money driving prestige, I think that DeadFlip has shown that while money might drive interest, presentation is going to keep people watching.


…and since the internal discussions regarding the presentation of the SPC broadcasts are nascent, the conversation in this thread is premature and should redirect elsewhere. Please try to keep this thread focused on the official information released by the SPC team through their press releases, rules updates, posts, and horses… mouth, Josh.

Thank you.


BACK ON TOPIC . . . nothing to see here . . . talk about something else . . . :slight_smile:

With 15 of the 20 events for the inaugural SPC being carried forward from the current PAPA Circuit events, some events have ‘punched their ticket’ so to speak (unofficially as WPPR values might change).

11 of the 20 events are in the clubhouse, and the top 6 are guaranteed to not be in the bottom 5. These events are:

IFPA Pin-Masters
Louisville Arcade Expo
Texas Pinball Festival


Trying to keep this on topic…

Will the Stern Pro Circuit do any sort of advertising in the local media before those shows to drive interest? Or is it just relying on the work of the tournament organizers?


This is definitely part of the program and falls under the IFPA responsibility tree.

Zach handles all of our media outreach for IFPA related campaigns, so when you see those pieces hit leading up to SCS and the IFPA WC, that’s all on him sending out hundreds of emails to his massive list of contacts that he’s built up over the past 10 years.

Zach will be committed to reaching out to the local media in advance of each SPC event, and driving the interest in both the event itself and the over-arcing tour of events that exists beyond just the local one.