Why do you dislike watching competitive pinball?



“Never in brevity.” Very much yes.

Maybe? I dunno. If I can play off the circuit events/in leagues I would be potentially fine with this.


Questions for all:

  • Would having just one groomed commentator at each event be good enough? (My guess is: probably, as long as that person was empowered enough to continually steer their rotating co-commentators towards best practices)

  • Who are some outside-the-box sponsors that might be willing to help with cash? (I’m not experienced with seeking sponsorship, but the first thought that comes to mind are things like the makers of the microphones, cameras, and software used in the stream).


Malfunctions are another whole can of worms. No idea what to do without those, Lewis. Cut to our sponsor, Tilt Amusements?


Interesting read. First and foremost, full disclosure, I’m pretty obsessed with watching competitive pinball. The amount of work that goes into streaming is immense, so anyone who is willing to do this at a tournament I take my hat off to you.

As is the nature with this topic, this is a pretty negative thread and I don’t want to discourage anyone as I absolutely love watching competitive pinball. But there are definitely things over the years that have made broadcasts more difficult to watch and jdelz covered the majority of my bug bears at the beginning of this thread.

Arrogant and unenthusiastic commentary is very hard to stick with, especially when commentating on the best players in the world as if the things these players are doing are every day occurrences. Personality and enthusiasm as a commentator is absolutely essential in my opinion. The enthusiasm of a commentator definitely rubs off on me as a spectator. Don’t downplay things, build it up. Please be accurate with information, consistently making mistakes (be it rules, or player based, HIS NAME IS RAYMOND! HE IS THE WORLD CHAMPION!!) as commentators is again hard to swallow.

I guess I would prefer to highlight really really good examples of when it all comes together perfectly. If we can look at superb examples of peoples commentary, superb storylines and games unfolding, then perhaps we can improve the viewing experience.

Karls work is immense and is getting better and better with every broadcast. But even with all the advancements made in streaming, the NW Champs game between Cayle and Daniele, in its raw form, is still the most perfect example of competitive pinball at its best in my opinion.

For those people in the thread who say they don’t really like watching competitive pinball, I would encourage you to watch this https://vimeo.com/44970176


It’s not anymore . . .


In all fairness, wasn’t one of the commentators also named Raymond? Which might have been the person who was saying David? I know I’d be weirded out saying my own name…


I should’ve titled the thread “how can we improve Pinball streams”. The way it’s titled now starts things off with a negative connotation for sure, and that wasn’t my intent. I think for the most part, people have been fairly civil in this discussion and most, if not all of the feedback has been constructive. People want to see streaming succeed.

This isn’t the worst idea. Or doing a quick recap of everything that’s happened so far.

I didn’t even finish this bullet point before saying “No”. If I had to listen to one single person commentate, I’d only last a short time. One of the best things about commentary is finding that awesome combination of a 1st, 2nd and 3rd chair who work really well together in the booth. Just one would be wayyyy too monotonous.

Hence why who is available for mic time varies widely and producers have to decide on the fly who is going where and when. Most people in the booth have found their way out of the tournament or knocked out in early rounds. =]


It was Raymond Ashby. Should’ve left him in control of the stream. I’d rather get names wrong then miss the final game. @Bdiv4life needs a username change to ThePlague.


At BPSO, I made a strong effort to take a large amount of gamestate and score notes while commentating. It was really helpful to know the score they were chasing, even when the DMD would never show it (because multiball). That said, it was really hard to do this and commentate. Hence the need for a team.

I would like to design consistent representation of state that can be tracked by someone on the team. I don’t know what boxscores for baseball are, but I think this is the correct analogy.

At a glance you know which player is which, what the scores are, game specific state (how far from monster fish and what is the jackpot up too, how many fire lanes so song jackpot). This hard work to keep track of, but I feel structure could help.

Basically, you probably need someone dedicated to watching just the DMD. With a big clear view of the DMD and just tracking state.


I think having just watched the clinching game of B was useful - Petey timed the awards well with the down time.


I have streaming notes that I’ve been setting aside and this exact thing is on the top of my list. My thought is that I’m going to have someone by the games with an iPad/laptop/phone, whatever, that’s connected to a google sheet or google doc that’s also available to someone working behind the scenes in the booth. That data would be uploaded to the doc and then transcribed by the booth person onto assets that are shown in the screen. I envision it to look something like @kdeangelo has for his 4 player assets with number of points etc, but it would definitely need to be modified.

Was literally screaming and typing in “NO NO NO NOOOO JOHNNY WHYYYYY” at the same time the whole time it was happening.

I do appreciate Raymond stepping into the booth to help out. It isn’t easy, and hopefully he uses that and the flogging he’s received from the internet as a learning experience.


This might be a good place to play some pre-recorded content such as interviews with players, or like you suggested some sponsored promo spots.


You should have finished reading the bullet point. I was suggesting 1 groomed commentator at each broadcast. Maybe the rotating body of co-commentators don’t have to know what they’re doing, as long as the groomed person is empowered to instruct them about expectations, and/or pull them aside and correct non-best practices.

The reason for that suggestion is that, especially with little/no budget for this sort of thing, I can’t imagine having 2-3 polished and professional commentators who know what they’re doing at events. Maybe we’ll get there someday. But having one seems like a more reasonable starting goal.


You’re right! I totally should have. What you’re saying makes total sense. +20 asshole points for me. Sorry man, truly!


Haha, no worries. But, do you think what I’m suggesting would work? Would one experienced commentator be able to shape the temporary co-commentators effectively?


Yes. I think it’s well within the capability of an experienced commentator (doesn’t have to be “professional” or “non-player”, just someone who is experienced and competent) to steer the conversation on the mikes. I’ve done this myself on occasion: if someone else in the booth is rambling, or going off topic, or whatever, a pointed question directed to that person about the game in progress can do wonders. 98% of people get the idea soon enough.


If you have the power to dictate who is there to commentate, yes.

For me personally, if I was producing a stream, there are people who I would put in chair 1, call it lead. at all times. There are people I would never put in the lead. There are other folks out there that I would never put in chair 2 or 3 to work with the lead due to personality differences which are super obvious on the stream. There are also folks who I would put in chair 2 or 3, even though they could be an excellent lead, because of how well they work the lead or because of their ability to adapt to the other personalities and still be efficient in providing quality content.

When I have a roster to pick from, pre-emptively, I know who I’m calling every single time.

If I have a smaller sample of people to work with at a random circuit event or something, my ability to pick and choose essentially disappears.

This second scenario is most often what happens(ed), at least when I was still pretty active. You wind up with a mix of alphas, people that aren’t exactly good on the mic, people that wind up being terrific on the mic, people that are sure/unsure of how to direct each other or lead each other, and so on. It’s really unpredictable in the booth somtimes. Does that make sense?


All of this, yes.




A few things I can think of…

  1. Dead air silence for at least 5-10 minutes…not good

  2. Announcers not knowing what is going on.
    This happens every competitive broadcast I watch.
    Heads Up Championship- Announcers not knowing what objective was selected by the players. At least there was a few times someone broadcasting would get it up and go find out. This was better than most i have seen with handling this. However, there should be someone bringing the info to the announcers and not the announcers getting up to find out.