Weird Pinburgh Malfunctions

It’s nice to see the Awesome Pinburgh Stories thread get resurrected. I had such an odd failure this year, I figured it might be interesting to hear some of the strangest things that happened to you or others in your bank.

For me, it was definitely Surf Champ. After 2 balls, had 18K and 9K in bonus built up. The ball power drains at one point and immediately goes to player 1. The game didn’t tilt, but it didn’t give me my bonus, and in fact the bonus STAYED for player 1, and the ball is in the shooter lane.

It’s almost like the ball power-drained through back into the plunger lane, and didn’t activate the outhole switch long enough for all of the logic to take place. I only even speculate this as a possibility because during 1st round finals last year on Doodle Bug, I had a case where the post was up and I was shooting at the 1 to build up the bug value. In that case, I barely hit the switch, and what happened is the post went down but it didn’t award me the “1”.

And then Hee Haw happened.


That is a weird one, in that it advanced to P1 AND held bonus.

This happened to me on Space Race (bypassed outhole switch, back into shooter lane). Had a tech come and place my ball in the drain.

Ugh, I had a wacky game on Checkpoint. Sometime during ball two the display blacked out so that you couldn’t see the scores. If you hit the right ramp it would play the animation and show your speed, but then go back to black. You could pull up the instant info, but it wouldn’t show your score. Had a tech come over and check all the connectors diligently, no fix. He went for a consult and came back with a ruling that it was a known bug, to just play through. The scores did come up at the end; but it was nerve racking not knowing scores, if shots were registering, or whose turn it was. I barely edged out a 3rd, but I can’t help but wonder if 4th would have played differently had he known how close he was. If it’s a known software bug, I feel like it should be pulled from comps.

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That’s actually a known bug and it happened to my group last year. It is software and, presumably, doesn’t affect scoring.

I’ve seen it on other data east games. Our Rocky and Bullwinkle did it on occasion.

I don’t think it was a malfunction, but I earned an extra ball on CSI which probably should have been turned off right?

Playing Torpedo Alley player 4, ball 3. 2nd place guaranteed, trying to find a million points to catch 1st. @Adam has a 0 locked in. I’m reading the rulecard and go to plunge the ball only to find that the display reads “player 1, ball 1, 00”. It not only reset, but also started a new game so we could not recover the old game scores.

The ruling is a new game on Tommy, where Adam turns a 0 into a 3. I retained my 2nd, so was not too salty the rest of the day.

Ugh I was in the group behind you watching that. That’s the worst. But worse for me, I didn’t get to play Torpedo Alley!

Had Centigrade 37 jump the rail on just a ball return from the drop targets. It went perfectly into the in lane without any kind of friction from the rubber / plastic and just popped right over the metal guide. Just stood there staring at it in disbelief.

Then later on GoT had the ball take air off of the Targaryen shot. And I don’t mean it jumped the flipper on contact. It literally took air and just sailed over it.

I had two drains in the same game that jumped the flipper on contact and saw an opponent in my game have one as well. That dragon kicker was strong.


I was lucky that was my first shot for Greyjoy so I never had to return that shot for the mode. Definitely was a big surprise.

Round 10, Game 3. Four A players on the bubble of qualifying, all needed to go 11-1, and since one guy won the first two games, he was the only one of us with a fighting chance left. He just needed a 1st and a 2nd on the back half.

I had a demoralizing fourth place finish on Hoops the game before and was frustrated, so I chose to go first on Embryon rather than stand around not playing pinball and feeling sorry for myself. During my third ball, the upper flipper started chattering when flipped. It was annoying, but I checked to make sure it wasn’t awarding extraneous points and played on. Ended up with 635k, with the rest of my group at sub-200 going into their third balls.

Player 2 steps up, takes a practice flip, and the chattering upper flipper is noticeably worse and less controllable than when I was playing. Nooooooo. Call @bkerins over, he says we’re moving games. There’s a back-up Embryon in the practice bank, maybe we can just use that! No, we have to use whatever game is next on the TD back-up list. Oh wait, it’s Embryon anyway!

So now we have to start the entire game over (since I was P1 and had the highest score, no positions were locked in from the previous game) on an Embryon that behaves completely differently. My group was, like, apologizing to me for ruining my awesome game, but as an experienced TD I wasn’t bummed about it because them’s the rules. I ended up with 650k and everyone else finishes in the spots they seemed to be headed toward in the first game. Least disruptive catastrophic malfunction ever!


Not a malfunction, but definitely weird in my opinion. Wondering what the odds of this are. I repeated 4 of the 10 banks I played in 2016.

Cetus this year was Columbia last year.
Gineah this year was Lacerta last year.
Auriga this year was Betelgeuse last year.
Virgo this year was Antares last year.

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A player whose finish position is guaranteed should not be part of a game restart. I made that ruling at least two or three times throughout the tournament, when there was a disabling malfunction on ball 3. In one case, P1 and P2 had finished and locked 3rd and 4th, then the game went down, and only P3 and P4 played a two-player game to determine first and second.

Will include when we discuss the tournament with the other TDs. And, lucky break for the player who got let back in!

A really rough estimate is about 3.186% likely. For at least 4 repeats, 3.894%. Note those probably won’t be exact, but they should be in the realm.

[Based on binomial probability assuming 10/72 chance of a success.]


Game 4, I’m currently on track for a perfect 12 and I’m in the lead on Raven. On ball 2, a player tilts the game. The machine’s display turns off. A ball is spit into the plunger lane and the flippers are dead. The machine is still on but the display is broken. It’s ruled to restart the machine. The display turns on again. No scores came up on the restart since the game wasn’t over. We have to play a new game over again. I ended up missing out on the perfect 12 by 4,000 points. ARGH. Damn you Raven!!

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I was in third place at the time when I ended my ball 3 as player 2. Player 3 was still behind me and Player 4 was passed me. The game reset on Player 4, but I did not see the scores after Player 3 played a quick ball 3 and before Player 4 had the game reset. Since all the scores were lost on the reset, I personally could not verify anyone’s final finishing position before the reset. I believe the correct ruling was made.

I was standing nearby when this happened and agree that, in this specific situation where all scores were lost due to the reset and there was no picture or other evidence one way or the other, the correct call was made.

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That reminds me that I can now delete the dozen or so pictures on my phone of “Mid good game scores that I don’t want to lose due to a catastrophic malfunction” :slight_smile:


Only works if you take a picture after every player, every ball, correct ?