PAPA 14 Finals

In preparation for the PAPA 15 World Pinball Championships coming up this week, August 9-12, 2012, we present game one of the PAPA 14 finals from 2011. If you would like to attend PAPA 15 and compete for the title, pre-register on our website or register in person at our facility during the tournament.


  1. O_R_D
    August 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Time for some grand finals action. Thanks so much for posting these vids.

  2. GNN
    August 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    fantastic game play from Josh!

    Thank you guys for the commentary track on these videos and for posting them!

  3. Rob Wintler-Cox
    August 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I’ve been looking forward to this one… I saw this live and wanted to know if Josh really should have gotten that Super Jackpot… excellent instant replay action, boys.

  4. Alexandru
    August 3, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    thank you all, much expected this video!

  5. Womble
    August 4, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Thanks for this. Lots of great gameplay in this one.

    Gotta say I was disturbed by the judge’s ruling on that 50mil super though. To me, it was just a machine glitch/oversight, rather than a technical failure.

    Correcting a table’s scoring “mistakes” is a very slippery slope, particularly in competition. Where does it end? How do you accurately calculate the EOBB? Or take in to account shot multipliers? Or account for Bally drop targets?

    If a shot accidentally gives you more points than expected, do those points get deducted? Or do we only take action when it’s in the player’s favour?

    I’d like to see judges be very conservative in this area. Sometimes, pinball rips you off, but as Bowen likes to say… “that’s pinball”.

  6. O_R_D
    August 4, 2012 at 5:39 am

    That’s pinball indeed.
    If a straight super jackpot on T2 doesn’t add up, that’s bull****.

  7. August 4, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I totally agree with Womble! I was shocked when Josh called the organizers and get added the 50 mil. The target works, so as far as we know, that’s how it is.
    In the IFPA championships the ruling are very different and much more conservative. I was very glad to see he won the match without those 50 millions.

  8. August 4, 2012 at 9:29 am

    For the record, if we saw EXACTLY what Kevin saw at the IFPA World Championship, we would have made the exact same ruling and awarded the additional 50mil. Had this not been witnessed personally by IFPA staff during our event, there would have been no compensation (I’m assuming this would be the same ruling at PAPA if the tournament director didn’t personally witness the incident).

    In that situation there’s only two normal occurrences from firing at the Super. “You missed” when you don’t hit the lit target, or collecting the Super for hitting the target.

    Advancing the number of hits towards the next multiball while in multiball is not part of the intended gameplay and was in no doubt a major software malfunction.

    Ultimately it means I think we’ve seen the last T-2 for a PAPA or IFPA final, because no tournament director (myself included) likes running into these issues.

  9. YOPP
    August 4, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I was shocked by the added points as well. I’ve only recently gotten into pinball at this level, but I’ve been playing electronic darts for many years. Even at the international championships, it’s common knowledge that “the board is always right.”

  10. August 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I think the complexity of pinball rules makes the game extremely unique to the point where you can’t really compare it to other sports.

    There is also a bad T2 software bug that can jump into a “255 more hits for multiball” under certain circumstances. If “the board is always right”, that means that should this bug surface, play should continue as normal, and that unfortunate player is really screwed the rest of the game? IMO that’s a major software malfunction and it needs to be dealt with on the spot.

    I feel the same way if the opposite happened. Had I plunged my skill shot to start the game, and the display showed 51,000,000 directly after the skill shot, I would consider that a major software malfunction to my benefit that should not be kept.

    I’d be curious at the electronic darts international championship, if you were down to your final dart and needed a bullseye to win the championship, what would happen if as you stepped up to throw, the electronic board awarded a bullseye spontaneously (with no dart thrown). “The board is always right”, therefore you win the championship having clearly NOT having even thrown a dart to collect that bullseye?

  11. MHS
    August 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    @ Womble

    We are conservative in this area and it’s not something we take lightly, but when 100 people all see a game give the correct sound call AND dmd display effect for a super jackpot, it’s a different story. The director who made the call also used to program pinballs for a living, so he’s very aware of outright bugs versus “that’s pinball” scenarios.

    This was a major feature of a game that clearly acted incorrectly. The director made the best call he could with the information available (which was actually watching it happen). It was a special case in a game with other known buggy issues, not the same as a bally drop not going down which we’ve all seen a million times. To this day I have spent several hours trying to reproduce this scenario after the fact, and never once did I get a missed shot to produce the same outcome, but I have done it with a made shot. IMO it was the correct ruling, and I will stand by the TD who made it.

  12. soren
    August 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Mind you, this is the second glitch for T2 documented by PAPA vids. On a previous game we saw the machine awarding Light lock thanks to the ball saver.

    My theory to what we saw here, is, that the game program is sequentially lighting/activating the next target before deactivating the current. And the flaw is, that the on hit-procedure does not handle this correctly for SJP.

    If that is the case, it’s a likely a million to one shot to trigger at that exact moment. And we will likely never see that happen again.

    Alternatively. The Skull was awarding Extra ball before feeding the ball to the gun for SJP. Maybe this combination, EB and SJP lighted, did the trick. Anyone having the game can try to reproduce this with the glass off.

    BTW awesome playing. Good luck next week.

  13. ZEN
    August 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    He should have went for that “DOUBLE” extra ball value!

  14. MCC
    August 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Soren – interesting theory. I was also imagining something similar, and it would make sense that “1 Target Remaining” was referring to the one target left to acquire the super jackpot rather than start the next multiball, which was hypothesized in the video.

    I understand and respect the ruling, but I would also consider this from the point of view of “did something the player had reasonable control over cause this situation, and did it result in a consistent and expected state?”

    From the video and speculating on the cause, it seems like this was a case of hitting the appropriate switch just as the light was either moving to or moving away from that switch. In that case, you could make a reasonable argument that the player had “just missed” the super jackpot and that what happened was a display / voice call / lamp malfunction rather than a scoring malfunction. Especially as, unlike the “255 more hits” bug, it appears that the situation resulted in an expected gameplay state (no super jackpot awarded for a “just missed” shot, super jackpot still available)

  15. August 4, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    From what Mark mentioned, and we couldn’t have known this at the time, but it sounds like he was able to recreate the issue when making the Super Jackpot, but not when missing it. I’m guessing when missing the Super Jackpot in those instances, he got the standard “YOU MISSED!” sounds call.

    If that’s the case, then one could argue if the software bug never presents itself on a miss of the SJP, then it must have been hit for it to go into it’s weird state.

  16. YOPP
    August 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm


    You are correct that pinball is far more complex than darts, and I don’t disagree with the ruling.

    In the case of the “no dart thrown” win… that might be cause for a ruling from the judges (who would be watching a final like that). But in darts the likelihood of that happening are so very very remote.

    Can’t wait for PAPA 15! This will be my first pinball tournament. Don’t expect to do much, but it’s going to be fun just to see the really good players go at it.

  17. MCC
    August 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Let me also point out that it was great play and a great video to watch – thanks to all involved!

  18. Adam
    August 4, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Regardless of whether you agree or not with the 50 mil being added to Josh’s score, I would just like to point out that the observation: “Well, Josh won by more than 50 mil anyway, so it really didn’t matter…” isn’t really accurate. Calmly hitting all the ramps to start and then collect a decent Payback Time on ball 3 to *pad your existing lead* is a VERY different beast than calmly hitting all the ramps to start and then collect a decent Payback Time on ball 3 when you are *behind and trying to catch another player’s score*… As all of these wonderful Quarter, Semi, and now Final videos have shown us; the pressure on ball 3 to catch and pass another player’s completed score is extraordinary in PAPA finals and can make even the simplest shot significantly more challenging to even the very best players in the world. Would Josh have caught Andrei on ball 3 without that extra 50 mil ? As good a player as Josh is and as comfortable as he appeared on this game, the answer is probably “yes”, but then again, I saw way too many crazy and bizarre endings in just this tournament alone to know for sure! So I would say that right or wrong, that extra 50 mil on ball 1 certainly made a difference in the outcome of this game.

  19. Womble
    August 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you for all the considered responses, from judges and others.

  20. August 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks for the clarifications, now I understood better the issue.

  21. Raymond
    August 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    One thing I noticed that could be taken into account is that although it didn’t award him the Super Jackpot, it did spot him one target towards his next multiball… which meant that the next time he got a ball in the skull he just needed one target left and got an easy multiball. So the bug technically helped him too 🙂

  22. soren
    August 5, 2012 at 5:04 am

    @ Raymond

    The multi-ball start system is not necessarily mixed into this (refer to previous post).

    I believe the shot was registered at a brief moment in the cycle transistion, where, as far as the game program state was concerned, there was two lit targets. Josh only hits one of them. So the game shows a shot hit success sequence, followed by a one to go sequence. Whereas the SJP procedure interprets this as shot missed and terminates.

    I believe you can trigger similar oddities in each and every CPU controlled pinball machine. But the timing required makes them rare to see. I wouldn’t worry too much about having this game in competition. Actually, now the bug is known, the ruling in regards can be predetermined.

    I’m curious as to what precedes the 255 targets remaining bug. Anyone?

  23. August 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I believe the key to the “glitch/feature” is at 5:24 when he locks a ball with 0 seconds left.

    Starting at Multiball stage one, the game thinks there are three balls in play. (correct)
    Two balls are locked. (so far, so good)

    Here is where the conflict might have happened.

    1. There are 0 seconds left, so it’s time for the game to release the balls for a retry. Stage one continues albeit VERY briefly. A ball was locked in the skull immediately (after the hypothetical release that didn’t happen), so lets go for the Single Jackpot. The other two balls are out of play.
    2. Ball 3 is locked! Let’s go for the Triple Jackpot!

    Where the cross-up happens is hard to know. Regardless, the game is playing the “Big Shot Jackpot tension music” so we are good there.

    So, I guess there is a “fight” in the programming between:

    1. The timer ran out and one ball was locked immediately after that. Give him the 7.5 million Single Jackpot, and let’s go back to single ball play.
    2. Three balls were locked! Give him the 22.5 Million Triple Jackpot, and let’s go to stage 2 to go for some Super Jackpots!
    3. ???
    4. Result: Award the 22.5 Million but go back to single ball play. However, move forward to the stage 2 Multiball music.

    Now, the game is in stage 2 for the Super Jackpot attempts. The game’s soundtrack agrees with this, since it is playing the stage 2 music. But, the game also now thinks he is back to single ball play where you need to re-lock the balls (because there were 0 seconds left on the timer from before).

    Then, a ball is locked in the skull.
    1. Let’s go for the 2 targets to start the next multiball.
    2. Let’s go for the Super Jackpot! (But, it’s still playing the multiball stage 2 music, and not the “Big Shot Super Jackpot tension music”)

    The target for the Super Jackpot happened to be one of the two needed for the next round of 2 mutiball targets. RESULT: Give him one of the two targets.

    I may be off-base since this is conjecture and theory. However, this is based on what I have seen when playing the game. I think I remember having some of the same strange behavior when I have locked a ball on T2 with 0 seconds left on the clock.

    By the way, a little bonus glitch: At 20:37, after Josh does not relock the ball to go for a Single Jackpot, the game is still playing the music for Multiball stage 1 when Josh is in single ball play. Yes, I like pinball music THAT much. ^_^

    Excellent and exciting commentary.

  24. MHS
    August 14, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Awesome analysis Steve.

  25. August 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Thanks a lot, Mark.

    However, after looking at what I wrote above, I do have an error:

    Near the top of my comment, I should have written:

    1. There are 0 seconds left, so it’s time for the game to release the balls for a retry. Stage one continues albeit VERY briefly. A ball was locked in the upper right saucer immediately. This may have caused the game to get confused, since there is still a ball in the skull (after the hypothetical release that didn’t happen).

    RESULT: There is a ball locked in the skull, so lets go for the Single Jackpot. As far as the game is concerned, even though a ball was just put into the upper right saucer, that ball and the other ball from the bottom left saucer are out of play since they were “released”.
    2. Ball 3 is locked! Let’s go for the Triple Jackpot!

    As an aside, this series of PAPA 14 Grand Final videos is one of the more athletic pinball video sets I’ve seen.

  26. Marty
    August 15, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Nice showing by Todd on color to compliment the maestro pincaster (Bowen).

    To me it is not possible to tell by the slow-motion replay if the triple-jackpot was hit (he could have gotten there early). So in real-time it would have been impossible.

    I appreciate the above comments which demonstrate the level of thought that has gone into this controversy.

    I agree with Addam’s point that this was a huge boost for Josh regardless of final score.

    In any case, congratulations go out to Josh.

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