Gameworks Tournament of Champions

The second event on the PAPA Circuit took place recently at Gameworks in Schaumburg, Il. Over fifty players competed for a chance to take home $1000 and an invitation to the Circuit Final held one day prior to Pinburgh 2013. For current Circuit standings, click here.

Zach Sharpe and Keith Johnson had each won one game prior to this video during the best of three final. The dramatic and deciding game three, shown below, took place on Tron.


  1. KME
    May 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    So who won the most tickets?

  2. soren
    May 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    What’s the closest scores people remember from head-to-head competition pinball? Anyone ever drawn a tie.

    On a recent Sweden vs. Denmark match the third and final game on Congo were settled at less than 5M. As seen at the 11 minute mark here.

  3. JPW
    May 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Zach, did it to me on ACDC to move on to the finals. My ball 3 bonus was 1 mil short.

  4. Cayle
    May 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    iirc The women’s championship at shorty’s one year decided by less that 200 points (120?) on the game Game Night Rider!

  5. LDK
    May 15, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Great commentary! Love the game too. Tron seems like a good tournament game, or is there a drawback?

  6. bowen
    May 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Tron is a very good tournament machine. One of the only drawbacks is that strategy is fairly straightforward so you see all players generally playing it the same way. Still, a skillful game with good combo-shot opportunities.

    Pinburgh 2011 and Pinburgh 2012 each had TWO ties, the highest-scoring tie being on Alien Poker with something like 150,000 each for the tied players. I don’t want to say too much, but there was a very, very close game of Funhouse in the Pinburgh finals: when the time comes it will be shown here on video, but you can find the scores on if you’re interested.

  7. May 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm


    Speaking of which… What was the gist of the short conversation that you and the Dr. had before that fateful plunge attempt at the Crazy Steps… you know, before the ball did that special thing that it did?

  8. Cayle
    May 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    “Bowen, how do I lite payback time?”

  9. MHS
    May 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    @ Bowden

    He was worried the ball was going to get stuck on the steps because it had been stuck there earlier in the tournament, so he wanted us to stay close to release it when / if that happened.

  10. May 15, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    That conversation was between he and Kevin Martin, not me.

    Earlier in the same game the ball became stuck after he plunged Superdog; I bopped it out since there was a timer running. He wanted one of us to prepare to bop the ball out in case it became stuck again… it didn’t.

    10 consecutive ramps on Funhouse starts Payback Time, duh!

  11. Colin
    May 21, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Re: Not-so-secret-anymore GEM Skill Shot…
    I try to “plunge GEM” (hehehe) every ball, unless there is something critical lit at the arcade. Besides the obvious of getting a GEM shot spotted toward qualifying GEM Hurry-up and SOS modes, the bonus X alone is nearly always worth much more than the 500-600K skill shot award for soft-plunging the arcade. Bonus carries over between balls, has a free base value of 50K, adds on 50K per mode started, swaps out 50K for 250K per completed mode, 450K for SOS, & 2.25M for Portal. Flynn and Recognizer wall generally complete themselves on ball 1, so you’re already at 550K bonus = conservative base hidden value of GEM shot.

    The bad news: I find it very difficult to consistently get GEM on the skill shot. The silver lining? When you fail to plunge GEM, assuming you shot the ball far enough to make it past the shooter lane ramp — which drops the ball into the R loop area — you’ll pick up the R loop Light Cycle.

    Further, combined with the times where you don’t make it all the way up the shooter lane ramp, I’d say around 50-75% of GEM plunge failures end up going through the Zen rollover, which qualifies the easy 250K consolation skill shot on the L ramp, not to mention the TRON award benefit of Zen.

    In summary, by plunging GEM, you’re potentially getting a GEM shot spotted plus a bonus points payoff of 550K-2.3M, and each time you fail, merely sacrificing 250K in skill shot points in exchange for a spotted LC shot or Zen award.

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