Travis's Godzilla ball Ruling

What ideally should have happened:

Travis holds flipper up to prevent ball search and gets TD to machine.

TD comes over to assess and sequence of events is described to him.

TD realizes that ball entered building lock physically but failed to trip lock registry switch.

TD declares this a Stuck Ball. Solution is to open game, remove third ball from building lock and place it on left flipper, assuming the machine will not produce any other issues as this is being done.

Game is closed up and Travis plays on. With luck, the other two balls remained locked and Travis can start multiball by shooting the cradled ball into the building now.

Sound like the thing to have done, or does someone have a better idea?


With hindsight, this sounds like the best bet.

But, unless the TD is familiar with how GZ code handles this exact situation (eventual ball search that dumps out 3 balls with no ball save), I could very easily imagine this scenario:

  • Travis holds flipper up to prevent ball search and gets TD to machine.

  • TD comes over to assess

  • TD instructs Travis to put his flipper down and see if the game will compensate and start MB.

  • Eventual ball search, multi-drain, player sadness.

It crossed my mind to hold the flipper up early on, but I elected to wait and see what the first ball search did. When nothing happened with the building mech, I decided to hold the flipper up during the second ball search to get a ruling but I kept facing forward in case the building mech dumped balls. At that point it was too late and the mech dumped the balls anyways. I tried to just get under control immediately, but in hindsight knowing what I know now maybe I’m better off in that spot flipping away to get myself in a better position to be in control instead of micro flipping.

not a happy event for sure but well covered in the stuck ball rule. When in doubt hold up (and keep holing) your flipper to avoid automatic ball search that could have an adverse effect then talk it through with TD.

IFPA rules:
7. Stuck Balls
During the course of play, it is possible for one or more balls to become stuck on a playfield feature, usually after
becoming airborne. If this happens during single ball play, the player must wait for three automatic ball searches to
occur. At the discretion of the Tournament Director, the forcing of a ball search to be triggered can be waived. This
is for situations where inducing a ball search has adverse effects on the current game state. The expiration of any
timed feature during this period is not considered a malfunction.
If the stuck ball has not been freed after three such searches, or if the machine is not performing searches for
some reason, the player must alert the Scorekeeper, and a Tournament Official will be brought to the machine. The
player must remain alert and at the machine, as he or she is responsible for the ball if it becomes freed at any point.
Where possible, machines will be configured with “chase” features disabled, so that additional balls will not be
released into play as a result of ball searches. However, in the event this occurs, the player is responsible for
continuing play, and a suitable malfunction will only be ruled if the machine is unable to function normally from this
point forward.

I really wish that had not happened.
Here is the link to just before the balls get dumped:
If you watch closely you can see a fourth ball is put into the shooter lane before any of the three balls in play drain.

I’m not sure the stuck ball rules apply. The ball was in the lock where it was supposed to be. Godzilla malfunctioned and did not recognize that third ball. That is a minor malfunction.

I’d love to hear @pinwizj or @bkerins opinion.

Maybe the right call is play on, trap up one ball, and if Godzilla ends the ball before that fourth ball drains it would be a major malfunction causing loss of ball so you award a compensation ball.

I’m guessing the software would still recognize the first two locks had been awarded, keep the locks lit, and begin multi-ball but that’s not a guarantee either.

what Germain said …

Trap up and we can bypass the ball search rule due to that verbiage.

Once those balls were released it was a ticket to Travis MemeTown ™. As a TD I would have just given him a hug at that point.


The 4th ball popped out because a ball immediately went left outlane and consumed Mothra.

The most frustrating part about it is that everyone watching knows there’s a malfunction occurring, yet I have to somehow fight through the malfunction and be on the winning end of it just to be able to get a ruling on said malfunction. My flippers died as soon as the trough recognized one ball hitting it, which I think was the 3rd ball since Mothra activated early in the chaos. Either way, I’m boned as soon as 1 ball out of the 3 go into the trough. Which I don’t understand that logic in the game state, but it is what it is.


Hmm if your flippers died when one hit the trough I think this would be a major malfunction, no? Similar to a chase ball scenario that frees the stuck ball on the plunge?

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I didn’t see anywhere in the video where your flippers not working impacted play at all.

Players notifying officials of issues is kind of the way it works (even if everyone is watching). A player not asking for a ruling = a malfunction tree fell in the woods and nobody hears it.

You standing there letting the game to ball search while not raising your hand or asking for any assistance is on you. There was plenty of time for this to not have been the end result for you on this one, but that’s not the TD’s responsibility to make happen.

Agreed, lesson learned to wave the flag lol.

My flippers died when the 3rd ball drained. It wouldn’t have mattered because the 4th ball was going out the right outlane at the same time so it didn’t have any impact on getting control, I’m just stating what was happening on my end while playing as I’m still trying to figure out what was happening software wise in all the chaos.


Hurts to rewatch that on video, pinball is selfish, it takes and gives away!


It’s no biggie. I’m not losing sleep over it. Even a frustrating moment is still more fun than no pinball. Is what it is, already focused on the next event. :sunglasses:



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Can physical locks be disabled on the premium? Maybe virtual locks should become the recommended tournament setup for future significant events?

will that just lock and dump center? or just move the building to dump to ramps?

Don’t think there is a setting for virtual locks but I maybe wrong.

I just want to know what the stuck ball exploit recipe is that will get me hugs from @pinwizj

Gotta wait for v6.0

This is definitely a stuck ball. The ball is not in player control, and it’s been placed somewhere that it’s not triggering anything but ball searches. The game should have been opened, with the third ball returned to a flipper, and Travis can cash the multiball with the next shot.

In these situations, one thing the player can do is hold up a flipper, and get the TD to make a decision about ball searches.

One thing the TD can and should do is be very present. The reason this went from bad to horrible is that any decision about what was happening did not come quickly enough.


Both Karl on ball 2 (4:11:35) and Travis did the exact same sequence. Started Titanosaurus and nicked the left powerline target as the ball went into the building for the 3rd lock. It looks like the backsplash building flasher starts flashing when the ball hits the lock. In Karl’s case the ball immediately gets popped onto the building as the flasher starts, but for Travis the flasher flashes for 5 seconds before the ball gets popped up, and then the lock didn’t count. (The display camera locked up, so it’s hard to compare what the game was thinking.) The flasher seems to indicate the lock switch was activated, but for some reason the VUK had a hard time getting the ball up for a few seconds. I don’t know if this confused the game logic or there is a bug in the software. Just some observations.

If the game is set up where all 3 balls go straight down the middle and this ball search release happens the player won’t get a ball save and that’s it. Going from what should be MB start to end of ball. We have a local game where this has happened to players, but I think it was a different issue where a ball search had to occur before the 3rd ball got popped onto the roof.

Anyway, any time a game starts doing a ball search is a good time to hold a flipper up and get a ruling. The TD could choose to allow more ball searches or open the game and free the stuck ball.

It was unfortunate that Travis couldn’t trap up one ball which usually would have happened 99% of the time. In unusual situations like this the player should “attempt” to trap up, but I don’t think a player is obligated to risk losing a ball in an attempt to trap up. It’s better to just keep flipping with multiple balls in play until you are certain you can gain control of a ball. Only Travis could answer, but it looks like he may have attempted to trap the one ball on the left flipper and when it became apparent it would roll off the flipper he flipped and got unlucky with it going over to the right outlane.

It’s hard for a TD to rule that you should have been able to trap up. As a player if 2+ balls come into play when they shouldn’t I’d rather argue my case that I kept flipping because I couldn’t trap up than argue the case that I attempted to trap up and lost all the balls so I should get a comp ball.