Sweet pinball moments

Let’s hear it, what are your sweet pinball moments? The ones that make you literally freak out a little bit, and you remember for years to come.

Just the other night, I had the coolest thing on Roadshow happen (an oxymoron? :stuck_out_tongue:) I started the worker trapped in the blast zone mode, and somehow had Flying Rocks lit, shot flying rocks, plunged short for the 5x blast and made the shot, collecting over 150 million! I had no idea this was possible, and it was super sweet to pull off and I don’t think it’ll ever happen again…


Fun topic!

There have been so many over the years. First one that came to mind when I read your question was FSPA A-division finals a few years back, playing heads-up against Dave Stewart (an excellent player who has a solid statistical edge over me) on High Speed. He finished with a reasonable score of ~3M, and I didn’t have much starting ball 3. I managed to get into multiball and wound up with two balls trapped on the right flipper, one ball on the left. This would normally be the point where I would choke and triple-drain somehow :wink: but instead I shot the left flipper to the tunnel, then two-staged the right flipper up the ramp for the jackpot, which was large enough to win the game and (as it happened) clinched the overall playoff victory. Felt awesome.


A few that I can recall:

  • Playing AFM I was in Annihilation, 4 balls in play, balls were coming from all directions. I got in my head a sequence of 4 shots, and bam-bam-bam-bam, all 4 shots hit. Mmmmm.
  • Playing Medieval I was in the regular multiball and needed a good one (not much castle action), somehow managed to get good timing on ramp shots. All five jackpots were killed within 5 seconds, I was pretty shocked, and a couple other people came by wondering what-the-hell from the rapid fire sound.
  • Playing Shadow in the warmup against Cayle at IFPA9, I shot all 8 ramps for Super Vengeance on the first 8 flips. Then, I proceeded to tank the actual game…
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My earliest wow memory was from the Atlanta regional ‘Fall Flipoffs’ back in the 90s.

I was playing Whitewater, started multiball, but the ball kicker was failing to put any balls out. It ball searched a few times, kept trying to kick them out, and I let down my guard… After a minute, I heard the balls come out, all of them closely spaced together. 3 quick flips for all 3 jackpots.

Playing my second or third ever game of Iron Man at the Georgia Pinball Classic. Just flipping around, not really knowing what’s going on. I realized I was having a good game, noticed a few people watching. Evidently I achieved Do or Die.

Of course, once I knew what I was doing I made about 7 or 8 straight attempts at Louisville last year, and I didn’t crack 10 million. Good times!

I really specifically the first time I got LITZ and Vacation Jackpot. I had worked so hard towards both those goals, to finally reach them was a really big deal. LITZ was the first big wizard mode I ever got, there was a pinball room called Stix in Chicago that had a mint TZ. I played there so much trying to LITZ that game. It was crazy. My first Vacation Jackpot was at an arcade called Times Square in Chicago that was a Williams test location. I was there with Noel Steere, who some people here probably remember, and he missed it because he went outside to talk up some girl.

Competitively, I remember at PAPA … 11 I think … I was in qualifying in B and playing Cue Ball Wizard, a game I always hated and didn’t really know how to play. @keefer had given me some clues about playing it, specifically how to time out the modes and just crank on Poll Ball Mania. I did that and ended up racking up like 950M on it. When I finally drained I stepped back and watched the bonus catch up, turned around and saw a huge crowd watching who burst into applause. That’s the best feeling.

I also remember playing Attack From Mars early on, and goofing around during Martian Multiball. I had two balls caught on the left flipper, and I kept popping one up into the left standups and it kept landing back on the left flipper. If you’ve never hit one target bank five times in around during MM, its pretty hilarious.

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These are great stories! For me, it was definitely qualifying in Classics at PAPA last year. I remember thinking I’d played well while during my run but it wasn’t until a few hours later when I was still sitting pretty safe that I thought, “Holy crap…I might actually qualify!” Of course I ended up in a group with Bowen and Andrei Massenkoff in the first round so my run was short but at the same time, to be competing in a group with these players that I’d watched and studied was a rush as well :smile:

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I still remember the first time I got multiball on Addams. What an amazing show with lights and sound. I thought either I’d broken the game or something insane was about to happen. Brilliant.

Other games I’ve reacted to … the first time I saw the Yagov kicker go … the first time I saw a ball go up the playfield on Banzai Run … the first Super Jackpot chance on T2 with the roving light that just seemed impossible.


Had just met Roy W and Robert G for the first time at Pinburgh 2014. They were about to start a game of AFM for fun in the back area and I weaseled my way in. As player 2 I got the 1 billion hurry up on my first ball by getting all four shots ramp, ramp, orbit, perfect loop pass to orbit (which I had never done before) and ended ball one with maybe 4 billion or so.

They both came back and beat me anyways :smile: It was cool seeing that even in a casual game, they can still take pinball seriously enough to show a noob how it’s never over until the last player drains ball 3.


There’s one that I will always remember. It’s not me playing, though, so a bit different from the ones listed above. Back in 1992, before I ever heard of PAPA. Before Pittsburgh knew what a pinball league or tournament was. Back in the time when Roger Sharpe was the Sharpe to beat. Back when nobody even knew who Bowen Kerins was. I was attending CMU, and just getting back into pinball after a few years hiatus. At that point I thought I was a good player. Could regularly get high scores most anywhere. Except at CMU. There were initials RCC everywhere … and scores that were triple or more than my best score on every machine. I would have sworn that was the operator doing that with the glass off. Until one day. I walked into arcade, and watched a guy just getting his groove on Terminator 2. And I watched. And I watched. For a good 45 minutes as he may have hit dozens of super jackpots. It was the most incredible pinball play I had ever seen. Sure enough, when the game was over, I see this guy whom I had never met before punch in “RCC”. I said Hi, to Rob Chesnavich. He had just returned from PAPA 2, and described to me that pinball tournament. After that, we ran into each other now and then. In January 1993, he runs into me, and is quite blunt with me, with a request for me to drive to New York City the following weekend cause he needs a ride. I say “huh”? He reminded me of the PAPA tournament he described many months previously, and said that I was the one person in Pittsburgh with a car who might in fact say Yes. I said Yes, having no clue what I was getting myself into, and at that time in my life, having never been to New York City. My life has never been the same since, cause once I competed in PAPA 3 (and managed 2nd in B division), I was hooked for life on competitive pinball. For those of you who may have wondered why PAPA is in Pittsburgh … THAT is how the long story that answers the question starts. :slight_smile:


Nice I remember that :slight_smile:

Being at Chicago Expo at the Ramada when AFM was still a pretty new game. DGH was playing it as one the regular games on the floor. I think he put up 40B or something for the GC. So I started to play it and ended up getting the lock multiball super jackpot up to 1B. Proceded to get to RTU. I knew where the strobing super was and followed it around and every time I got a ball on a flipper I hit it. Probably finished RTU in under 15 seconds. Turned around during the celebration animation and there was a group of people including LFS who looked to be doing an OMG kind of laugh. Got the GC too.

Hah! I was one of the people around watching you play that. That was right around the time I put up my 300M+ on Scared Stiff including 2 Spider Multiballs and 5/6 Stiff-o-Meters IIRC. It was easily the fastest RTU I’ve ever seen by a long shot.

Guess you need a speedrun total to RTU and just RTU itself.


I thought I broke the machine when I was ‘scared stiff’ for the first time. I started to walk away to tell someone. HA!

I had a long way to go on 3rd ball on 24 playing in the final round. I was nailing the center ramp and 30 consecutive middle ramps later, I had the win. This was at the pre-expo tourney at Gameworks 2013.

Another fun memory IronMan. I think Keefer was watching - I needed a good game for qualifying, and was getting my butt kicked all day on IM. Just before qualifying ended, I took one more shot because it was the one game I could move up a lot of places to meet the cutoff. I got do or die lit and quickly cashed in 50 mil - a lot of other stuff went right finally. It was a great feeling of revenge to finally dent the tin man.

My favorite was “Nuking” Fred on the early 24 software in the Colorado finals :wink:


All time memory! Hitting the Super on HS2 in the last game of the finals of the first Slabtown/Rose City Showdown (2009?) FTW. In my memory there was a stadiums worth of applause from the roaring crowd. It was really about 20 people/friends watching, but you could hear a pin drop the tension was so high. I think it felt extra dramatic as it was the first or 2nd major tournament in Portland and a DMD was on the line. I think I’d only played in a handful of weekly events up until that point, and never done very well. A lot of personal firsts that weekend.

1st time qualifying for a "major"
1st time playing with/against a known super ripper from out of town - Cayle
1st time winning a major and only time I’ve won a prize machine - LW3!

Also of significance. That High Speed 2 was the same one in Slabtown that I had played a few years earlier with Eric Hill after a job we were doing together. Not positive, but IIRC, playing those post work HS2 games was at least one of the things that introduced/got him into pinball. After that gig, I didn’t play much pinball or talk to Eric and a few years later he hit me up as he’d gotten way into it and was actually throwing a tournament. He played a huge roll in getting me back into pinball and starting to compete.

Anyway - it all came back around to that HS2 at Slabtown years later. There have been arguably bigger “moments” since, but that one will always stand out.


Then, armed with the realization that I was a living pinball god, I flew to PAPA a few months later and got like 60th in B Division.


Tron. All modes complete except for Gem, which was running, One target remaining for double scoring. Right flipper to ‘O’ target, ricochet through Gem lane, into bumpers, exit right, bounce through skill shot lane into scoop: 100 million Portal bonus. I’ll never hit a better (or luckier) shot as long as I live.


A friend had 18 guys to his game room for a causal tournament. I had been playing well, but was up against a guy I didn’t know who was killing it. I had watched him put up 120 million on Metallica against a friend of mine like it was no big deal. I end up against him in the finals.

Brackelope tell us to play the first of three games on LOTR. We both start out slowly until he hits around 55 million on his second ball. As I approached and looked at my 8 million to start my third ball, I seriously considered just plunging to move on. Then, I decided my goal was to make him play his third ball. Things start going well and I start hearing people say he is going to destroy the ring. Ended up with a round of applause for the ring destruction and a score of 108 million which was another round of applause. My opponent was gracious and everyone enjoyed watching a tough round as my opponent hit about 75 million on hit third ball.

I ended up winning the tournament when I launched the smart missile (?) on DE Jurassic Park as my third ball was draining. I got 15 million and a ball re-start which I played for another 8 million for the win.

Best result in my short pinball career. Best part of it was how nice the host and the other guys were and how much everyone enjoyed the competition.

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