What's Up With Flipper Staging on TZ?

Here’s a short video clip of Robert Gagno on twilight zone at our local league last week.

In Powerball Multiball, One ball is trapped behind upper right flipper, another in play, he puts it up on the powerfield and puts it in for the jackpot. When he goes to the powerfield, you can see the right lower flipper flipping, but the upper right doesn’t move to dislodge the trapped ball.

Is this reversed from standard staging normal for twilight zone? if so, any idea what the goal behind it was? I wouldn’t think that letting you trap a ball behind an upper flipper was a deliberate thing…

Seems like it was just a light enough flip to not activate the upper flipper.

What’s interesting is that this made me look up the rule of stuck balls and I didn’t realize this tidbit:

“In situations where a ball is trapped in a way that it can be released through player action other than shaking or bumping – for example, a ball at rest underneath a flipper which the player controls – this is not deemed to be a stuck ball. Balls trapped in this fashion during multiball modes are not generally considered to be a rules violation, although the ruling will depend on the exact machine and situation.”

On WoF it’s fun to see how long you can push a single-ball multiball with one trapped between a flipper and center post.

What do you mean by “reversed from standard staging”? On all games I’ve ever played, the first half of the button press is the lower flipper, and the second half of the button press is the upper flipper.

In this case, you don’t need to do anything to keep the ball under the upper flipper (it’s just stuck there, with the flipper switch at rest). Pressing the flipper button all the way and holding would release it from being trapped. (Not trying to trivialize this, it’s difficult to do).

Interestingly enough, I’ve encountered more than one machine in the wild where the first half would activate the upper flipper. I guess that’s just due to mixed up wiring after some repairs, but it did get me into a habit of checking out staging before tournament matches. Nothing looks quite as stupid as just letting a cradled ball drain for no obvious reason at all.

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Normal staging behavior is:

  1. Hold the flipper button and let it out to keep the lower flipper up and move the upper flipper independently.
  2. ~Half press the flipper button to flip only the lower flipper.

We usually think about staging in terms of example 1, but 2 is what was going on here. Plus there’s the additional slight weirdness of how the Power mini playfield flippers work – they appear to be tied to the behavior of the lower flippers.

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AH! that makes more sense. I always thought of staging as “backing off” from a full flip to drop the upper flipper after it’s already triggered, but thinking about it your way explains it, thanks.

And I’m familiar with the “player controlled trapped ball” thing in general - Shadow’s controlled diverters in multiball, etc.

Oh interesting. I once tried to stage flip those and was really confused why it didn’t work. It’d be interesting if they designed it intentionally that way so that you could do it while trapped under the upper flipper - but I doubt it.

And from what I’ve seen of Robert’s play, he is unusually comfortable with staging

Do the upper flippers work at all during PBM? There is a setting in the game that disables upper flippers for low line conditions so your game doesn’t reset by firing 4 flippers and 2 magnets at once.

On this machine, yes, they work.

If that’s a setting, it might explain why the powerfield magnets are on the first stage of the trigger? just disables everything on the second stage?

I guess no obvious technical reason to do it that way (the magnets are obviously enabled/disabled independently of the flippers…)