Tournament ruling: Near infinite pop bumper

In a tournament yesterday. There was a flip flop that probably once every 20 games or so would get the ball between the pop and a rubber and basically bounce forever. People were getting 300,000+ just by leaving it, and average scores for entire games were probably lower than that.

Is this a beneficial malfunction, or normal gameplay?

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.

This happened at the Louisville Arcade Expo in 2014 or 2015 on a Whirlwind. The commentators on the screen said “well, if it keeps going too long, it could cause the coil to catch fire, and that would be an instant DQ” or something along those lines. The player eventually bumped it and it moved the ball enough to stop the rebounding.

What game was it? If I were a betting person, my money is on a TX-Sector. Pops banging off the rubbers and right back into the pops is standard gameplay; carry on and be ready if the coil fries.

Should have been fixed or pulled IMO.

Play on.

As a TD I don’t feel like you can rule against this in a live game. Where do you draw the line? 5 seconds? 20 seconds? 10 minutes?

However, a game like this should be adjusted or pulled imo the moment that first match ends.

The real problem here I feel is that the game kept being used.


We had this happen on Jumping Jack at ifpa11. What Cayle said … One player gets lucky. Burn the game to the ground afterwards.


At TPF I was really close to the cut and I had the ball go into this state on Dr. Dude. Didn’t feel right to let it sit, so after about 5 seconds of it obviously not going to move, I nudged the game and freed it. Yeah, one position up and I would have been able to play in finals, but…NOT LIKE THIS.


The commentators on the screen said “well, if it keeps going too long, it could cause the coil to catch fire, and that would be an instant DQ” or something along those lines.

Instant DQ? Seems rather stupid since its actually a game issue, not a player issue.

I think this is the incident mentioned

I think that the machine would be DQ’d, not the player?


Couldn’t we call that a stuck ball and have a tech remove it? Is “stuck” even defined?

I don’t think any definition of stuck involves something moving haha.

I agree with others that if it was truly infinite, get the player to shake it loose if possible. If it continues, pull the game.

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What about a weak VUK that won’t kick a ball up far enough to get it back into play?

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stuck: unable to move from a particular position or place, or unable to change a situation:

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Well that would be a malfunction right? Not as easy as freeing a stuck ball as it would most likely happen again as soon as it goes into the VUK again. So that would be a similar situation. See if you can get through that game, try to fix the issue, if not, pull the game.

I guess in this situation if the tilt was crazy tight one could ask the TD to manually Free the ball, but what if the ball comes loose as the game is being opened up and drains?

Fair enough. See above post. If I was the player I would notify the TD, try and shake it loose myself, then hopefully after that game the TDs would go to work on it to decide if it could be used still.

The fact that it happened during a multiball makes a huge difference IMO. If it happened to me, I would’ve treated it like a stuck ball and immediately tried to knock it away using the other two balls.

Situations like this (stuck ball during MB) rarely end well for me, but immediately trying to free the stuck ball is the right move in my view. I know this has happened to me more than once (probably at league) and I don’t ever remember not being able to free the stuck ball. Maybe draining the other balls, but I’ve never cradled up and called over an official.

Whether it’s in the rule book or not, this is one of those unspoken rules in pinball for me. Like not crowding another player while they are playing. No idea who that player is or how experienced he is, so not throwing shade his way.


Ha! Tell that to half of Europe XD