Yellow Cards, behavior and penalties


You realize what you just said, right? An average Joe at an arcade tournament is more detrimental to influences on a child/society than a pro athlete. Thousands of people look up to pro athletes and in some cases are even seen as father type figures and now we are trying to say that me hitting a lock down bar in an arcade is more influential to a young mind than their hero on the field having a meltdown.

Shoot, I would argue that what the player doing in the dug out is worse than someone throwing their bat down or arguing with an umpire after a bad call. At least those acts are part of the play in the heat of the moment (reactionary vs orchestrated).

And further more. You are 100% right, they are not paying to watch me play which is even more justification to me that they should mind their own business then. I’m not their parent or their father figure. I’m some random dude in an arcade or a tournament. We are however paying pro athletes to play their sport so it is now their JOB and as such we should then hold them to a higher standard.


I only brought one machine to BPSO, but it was a pretty nice EBD. I tried not to pay too much attention to people playing it, because I knew it would be getting slapped and nudged all weekend. (AKA, pinball would be played on it.) After watching a lot of the Classics videos, here’s the only incident that made me slightly regretful about bringing it. (Timestamp 1:00:25.)

On one hand, a one-time version of this kind of thing won’t hurt the game much or at all, and the game probably deserved it.

On the other hand, it’s not necessary.

On still another hand, while I’ve drastically reduced and maybe even eliminated rage shoves from my repertoire, the fact that I’ve ever done it to someone else’s machine can help us view this one in something of a chicken-coming-home-to-roost light.

Regardless of all of the above, if I had it to do all over again I’d happily bring this game to BPSO. Even though it kind of betrayed me when I needed it the most. :smiley:


Again, this point shows up. I don’t understand why making millions at a sport allows you more leniency with this stuff. It should be the opposite. If you are making millions playing a sport and having thousands of people look up to you then you need to be on your best behavior all the time.

I’ll never understand how an average Joe has so much more influence on people. Maybe Nike and Coke should hire me for their commercials as apparently my behavior is more of an influence than Tom Brady.


My point is money changes everything. There’s no money in pinball. It’s very hard to get people into pinball. It’s harder when some of these behaviors are commonplace.


Shoot, I brought my mint condition totally modded out METLE for play at TPF in the tournament. I saw all this stuff occurring on my machine. Didn’t bug me one bit as I know it’s not going to do any real harm to the game. Shoot, the 250 mile drive in the back of my SUV on some crap roads did more harm to the machine than people playing it. Game played 100% when I left TPF and when I got home several things had rattled loose…


Remind me. How quickly did Pinburg sell out at 800+ entrants? Have any limited number of entry tournaments not sold out this year? We are talking competitive play here and I’m not seeing any lack of players.

You know what is limiting people to the hobby/sport? Prices. Maybe we should all cut the price we want to sell our games for by 50% as that will do quite a bit more to drive new people to the hobby than talking down to people whom say a dirty word. The other devil to pinball growth in arcades is redemption games. Those should be banned too.


People have recalled @pinwizj’s slide save on Congo. That was a legitimate slide save that people admired and applauded. But, had Josh done the exact same move 500 ms after the ball drained, it should have been ruled machine abuse?

What are we policing here? The integrity of the machine, or the integrity of some arbitrary standard of behavior?

I don’t condone bad behavior. But, disqualifying someone for machine abuse, when the exact same thing 500 ms earlier is considered a legitimate save, is a cop-out. Let’s be at least honest in that case: “You are disqualified for that move because we disapprove of your behavior” instead of “You are disqualified because what you just did might damage the machine.”


I know what we’re talking about. I believe competitive play can be improved with very minor changes to the rules. I’ve done it with my tournaments locally to rave reviews. I guess I’ll see what happens at Pincinnati, but for now, I’m going to keep doing things a bit more strict than some of the big tournaments I’ve been to.


I think you misinterpreted what I said. My point was that pro athletes have much higher pressures placed on them as performing poorly can literally cost them their job. I’m not defending bad behavior from them, I just think it’s more understandable.

I don’t disagree that many people look up to these figures and they should try to set good examples. However sometimes things that are normally looked down upon in regular society can be part of the entertainment factor at professional sporting events so I don’t think they should be the bar for pinball players. For example if you go to a hockey game there’s a decent chance a fight will break out. People aren’t shocked this happens, and it can be part of the fun of watching the game. If a fight broke out at a pinball tournament, that would not be a normal part of the game. What I’m trying to say is that context matters. Screaming obscenities in a public place is generally bad practice, and playing pinball doesn’t suddenly change or justify that.


It’s a truism that, the more public a person is, the more people will notice bad behavior on their part. Presidents are expected to be on their best behavior more than senators. (Despite that, bad behavior doesn’t always cost them their job.)

Bad behavior is bad behavior, period. But, the higher someone’s social standing, the higher the public’s expectations. (“I expected better from someone like that.”) Whether that’s right or wrong is beside the point. It’s simply how it is.


The more I think about it, the more I like the swear jar approach. Next tournament I run, I am adding a swear jar explicitly to the rules. If you swear loud enough for a TD to hear, $1 in the jar. Push or shake the machine after the ball leaves play, $1 in the jar. All proceeds will be donated to charity.


We have a swear jar at one of our regular leagues. 20¢ per transgression. Proceeds at the end of the year go to a local hospital.

I usually put in a dollar when I walk in, resting safe in the knowledge that I can utter up to five f-words before I have to pay up again. Usually, I don’t use any of my stash. And I can feel good about having helped other people in some small way :slight_smile:


Some people are going to fall out of their chair but I actually LIKE this. Anything for charity is good in my book and I wouldn’t really feel like someone is trying to punish me for being, well… ME.

Only caveat - Can I pre-pay :slight_smile: If I don’t use them all it’s still to charity anyways so no harm, no foul.


Yes. I’ll use the proceeds to buy Lawlor some treats.


There are lots of things that aren’t necessary that I would categorize as “annoying pinball habits.” A couple come to mind:

  • Whacking the side of the cabinet every single time a ball comes down an orbit. I’m not talking about legit moves to move a ball to avoid hitting a sling or something, just irritating whacks for no reason.
  • Bringing hands down on the lockdown bar whenever a ball is near an outlane. I know there’s a theory this deadens the ball somehow but in my experience this does nothing except create noise.

I still think some sanity is in order here, unnecessary doesn’t mean damaging (to machines or sensibilities).


I’ve actually had people joke about throwing a $5 bill in there before we started. My answer was NO to avoid them feeling that they bought the right to go crazy on my games, lol.


I would throw a $5 in there to not have to play your Harlem :slight_smile:


I can hear “fck!" and "sht!” all day long and basically not even notice it. However, there’s a different kind of psychic energy that people can put out that takes me back to being eight years old and it’s like “wow, my friend’s dad is losing his sh*t.” It’s not ‘scary’ to me, as a grown-up, but it is, I’ll call it, transportative. Now, people will have different reactions to the same stimulus. Some may not bat an eye, but some may feel their little hairs standing up. I assume most people react to things the same way I do. (because I’m normal, womp-womp) But if I knew that my outbursts were going to activate some kind of fight-or-flight response for many of the mammals in the room, wouldn’t I try to curb myself.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen an unnecessary whack; nearly every game that sends the ball down an orbit from lanes, etc. benefits from getting the ball off the wall as it’s coming down. If anything, I get tired of games that require constant smacks to keep control. Specific example would be POTC and chest shots - every one must be followed by a hard hit to the right side as the ball dribbles down, otherwise it’s off the top of the right sling into the left outlane. One of the reasons I dislike that game - too much work.

Stop designing games this way and I’ll stop hitting them :slight_smile:


Come down to MD and I can introduce you to some of our locals. I mean this in jest; but we do have a couple people who do this.