Travis's Godzilla ball Ruling

When the balls released my priority was to get trapped up immediately. In hindsight, I should’ve flipped away until I was 100% certain I could get under control. At 4:20:03 I did attempt to stop the final ball search by putting my right flipper up as it dawned on me that “oh shit, balls will dump down the middle without this MB starting on its own.” However, I literally missed the ball search by less than a second as you can see the left sling fire during the same time stamp. From there at 4:20:10 is when I officially switch over to the “I’m screwed” reaction lol.

The balls draining were just a weird sequence as I didn’t see the ball plunged from the Mothra ball saved and then lost my botched microflip ball in the glare, hence no nudges or wiggles lmao. I kept trying to flip for a moment at 4:20:19 but the flippers died at that point when the 3rd ball hit the trough. No idea why that happened though as they should’ve still been able to work with the 4th ball in play and I was unable to recreate that issue. But again, that had no bearing because the balls were already gone regardless. For good measure 4:20:23 is me realizing I most likely blew another chance at winning a SPC event.

On the bright side, I should have another Pinball Degenerate Award next year.


I was sitting behind Travis when this happened whilst watching the stream and I knew immediately that the game was stuck and the game would not recover correctly; and eventually kick all three balls into a single ball play mode. I wanted to shout out trap up call a TD but refrained from doing so as I couldn’t remember the coaching rule clearly enough to know if there was a risk that Travis getting booted if I randomly acted - Looking at it I’m still not 100% certain and If I had done so what would have happened?

Also the rules say this:

“ 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”

Was Travis in multi-ball or not? I’d argue he was in single ball owing to a minor malfunction which on any other game would be play on and so flipper up and hand up from how the above is written isn’t permitted which in my view, on this situation, is incorrect. It says at TD discretion but in this situation how does the player vs the TD know. if I had been TD looking at what happened I know that ball search will drop the game into another undefined state where by potentially losing the ball might have caused end of ball. Personally speaking I’d have intervened right away and placed ball 3 in the building on flipper and let Travis have another attempt at starting multiball.

Can you turn virtual locks on this game because after this I’d consider that.


I think the flippers are dead when the door is open but the coin door ball saver was on.

So he wouldn’t get the ball on a flipper but he could plunge in his manner of choosing.

I was standing a few feet to his left but probably out of his field of view.

You can always flipper up hand up. In single ball play, in multiball or whenever. Balls stuck or not.

Huh? Both @YeOldPinPlayer and I were right there. I was actively watching the game via the stream, and walking over to the pin around the 2nd ball search, expecting the player to hold up a flipper and ask for a ruling.

We should have a specific category for topics like this: “things that just happened in tournaments”
I like how we can all come here for such discussions.

Travis shook his head and said something out loud at 4:19:14 of the video. What did he say? Did he say something about a malfunction or stuck ball? It is clear in the video Travis knows something is not working correctly.

My point is a TD should be present enough in finals for this communication to be simple.

You left the broadcast booth almost a minute after Travis knew there was an issue (at 4:20:04) and returned at 4:20:19, asking what happened. If two TDs were present this is probably the ideal time to talk to each other about what happened and discuss how to proceed.

It sounds like you are saying that the player should hold up a flipper when they think they have a stuck ball – the rules don’t say this. It’s a fair point to say the player is responsible for alerting the TDs – but the TDs were already alerted by their knowledge of the situation. Perhaps this is language that could be made more clear in the overall rules.

After seeing this game get stuck while tilting and locking the ball at the same time. I would be thinking that where is yet an other bug with the lock.

how about this?:

“ 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 should hold a flipper up to prevent automatic ball searches and get the attention of a TD or assitant TD. At the discretion of the Tournament Director, they may request the player to allow for up to 3 automatic ball searches to occur. the forcing of a ball search to be triggered can be waived The TD should AVOID doing this if: 1) the ball search procedure is likely to trigger multiple balls being released into play during single ball play (common if the game uses a physical lock mechanism for multiball that is not disabled) 2) Game settings that allow for “chase balls” to be put in play in the event of “missing” balls have not/were not able to have been disabled. 3) Any other 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”


Lol. I’m a bit taken aback that you’re insisting on laying this at the TD’s feet. I stand by my actions and @YeOldPinPlayer’s actions and our responsiveness as a TD in this situation. The game malfunctioned, and after intently watching the game and waiting approx 30 seconds to see if the game would finally process his lock shot, I began taking off my headphones to get up, and go to the machine even BEFORE Travis asked for any ruling or assistance.

That’s ridiculous to think it’s on the TD’s to monitor and respond to every word that is muttered/spoken by a player directed at the machine or to themselves, which I believe is what Travis was “saying” at 4:19:14. There was no communication from Travis directed toward a TD or asking for a TD, until after his balls had drained.

See above. And I returned to the booth to ask what happened because I was proactively responding to the situation, and the three balls released and drained between me getting up from the booth and me arriving at the game a few feet away.

Two TD’s were present – I guess you didn’t notice the ever-present tall gentleman wearing a similar bright blue “Tournament Director” shirt standing next to me as we discussed what happened and how to proceed? We even sought out a third opinion from one the IFPA team there to confirm our ruling (Zach).

Once again, I’m taken aback at your insistence on a point that doesn’t match the reality of what took place.

Player’s are certainly not required to hold up a flipper – though as you well know, that is commonly done, as a means to prevent the game from continued ball searches. I said I was “expecting” Travis to do this, and more importantly, to ask for an assessment/ruling… even though I was already on my way to the game to do just that.


I felt I would be cheating players 2-4 if I stepped in before Travis asked for a ruling.

We don’t wait for players to ask if we notice a stuck ball in multiball, probably don’t need to wait at other times either.


assitant TD should we also put scorekeeper in that list. Or just change all times that scorekeeper is listed in the rules to assitant TD? / officials?
the rules seems to have an uneven mix of TD / official / scorekeeper. Just to clean things up in the wording.

also add an 4 some games do not have any ball searches

5 some games may lock up / get stuck and need an full reboot after to many ball searches (I think system 3 games)

talking about the wording in general, i wonder what @pinwizj think about TD proactively engaging players when they notice there is such an event or is it truly the responsibility of the player to engage the TDs and they should not be stepping in to be fair?

I know we had a similar case in my daughter climbing comp recently. Where a climber must report an issue during her climb herself to be awarded a possible retry. if it does not come from the climber as they notice the issue then the judge is not allowed to offer them the retry once the climb is in progress.

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I don’t feel comfortable proactively engaging unless I see a player actively doing something against the rules.

Ball flies into the plunger lane during multiball. I’m going to allow the player to show me they understand what should happen before I yell at them.

The truth is the situation was handled fine by allowing the game to ball search. No rules were broken. I’m certainly not going to interrupt a player who isn’t breaking the rules.

If a ball was stuck and a player began violently shaking it out … I’d stand there and let them tilt if they felt the need to handle it themselves within the rules of play.

There’s a version where Travis traps up, and then asks what can be done now that he lost locks. Or he traps up and the flipper dies and we give him a comp ball.

This falls on Travis who handled it in a completely acceptable way. There’s just a nuance in the rules where he could have received additional assistance if he had asked.


I agree with this. I would call a TD over if I noticed a stuck ball in multiball and alert the TD to watch. Or some other rule breaking scenario.

Would I alert the TD if I noticed a stuck ball like this? Maybe, just to have them “make the call” and keep the tournament going, but I wouldn’t want them to interrupt because what if I was wrong and me personally that would interrupt my flow in game. Someone making “false calls” just to stop a player.

I would not talk to a player during a ball no matter what, that’s on the TD.

Is my logic correct in this scenario? Meaning if I notice something(not counting rule breaking ones, I’d always call a TD for that), call a TD, never approach a player and just alert them of the situation? Or should I just wait for the player to call the TD when it’s their game? Their game, their call.

This is not on Colin or the other TDs. See my first sentence of this thread: “(Travis) gets TD to machine.” It’s up to the player to ask a TD for help when the machine appears to be malfunctioning. Travis has since agreed with this earlier in this thread. If one or more TDs are observing the game at the time, they can be thinking ahead about what to do when summoned, but unless either a Beneficial malfunction is in progress or a potentially Catastrophic malfunction is imminent, their duty to the player is to not interfere with their play until asked in case the situation resolves itself. And as I commented to the others in lounge, the right call of no comp ball was made given what did and didn’t happen.

As Andrei said, it’s good that we have this forum for such discussions. We’re all trying to improve how we handle pinball’s imperfections. We want to both play better and TD better.


But there may be times where you don’t see that and only start looking after some drains.

That also may happen just as daylight savings time ends …

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But how much rule sharking / Yunicking the Rules is ok?

Say you know that letting it ball search can give you an Beneficial malfunction and the rules do say that you can wait for one. So what is the best and fair way for an TD to step in? and do the other places in the same game HAVE the RIGHT to say something? To get an TD to make an ruling?

that may just crash the game Yes the weather channel IntelliStar systems did crash and reboot around the start / end of daylight savings time