Bowen vs the Right Ramp


  1. Dave Stewart
    November 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    As I understand it, updating the ROMs of the game fix this problem. The machine at the back of PAPA actually had updated ROMs, not sure why the A bank machine did not, as it was a known exploit to some.

    Oh, and I was the lucky one who was ‘next in line’ when Bowen played this game during qualifying. And no, I didn’t use that same strategy, cause it took the ‘fun’ out of playing, even if that turned out to be a winning strategy.

    Thanks Mark for posting that. It’s an important lesson to organizers of tournaments to not select games with single-strategy-single-shot options.


    1. MHS
      November 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      The ACDC at the back of the PAPA hall was updated after the tournament started. We didn’t have much of a choice to update once things got going. There’s also the issue of making a major update to a game that only one competitor knows the rules to just prior to a tournament, but that’s another headache entirely…

  2. Todd Williams
    November 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Nicely done MHS. That was an excellent educational and informative video. That desire to continue to learn and move forward is what makes PAPA tournaments the best in the world

  3. O_R_D
    November 27, 2012 at 2:07 am

    I bet Andrei Massenkoff wasn’t watching, otherwise he would have pulled the plug 5 minutes into it.

  4. Dave Stewart
    November 27, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Mark, I completely agree that you can’t update software after the tourney started. However, I wouldn’t worry about “only one competitor knows the rules prior to a tournament”. That happens often, and changing ROMs right before play begins is not much different than changing a machine to hard settings (as often done) that nobody really knows either, or selecting a machine that only one or very few competitors have ever seen in the past (which also happens sometimes). In this case, one, or perhaps a very small number, knew about that right-ramp cheat and nobody else did, so not changing the ROMs also had a negative effect.

    I know PAPA often likes to go with the surprise announcement of machines … you see the list of machines once it is selected and in the bank. But what if a preliminary list of machines was announced a day or two ahead of time, with a question about any known vulnerabilities that should be considered to possibly not use the machine, then it might be possible to find out such info before the tourney starts. It’s just a thought. 🙂

    At least Bowen waited till the end of the qualifying to pull out that technique. Imagine if he did that on day one of qualifying … and that became the entire tourney? I know, visions of junk yard then come to mind.

  5. November 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Just to clarify Dave’s comments, I was not the first player to use this strategy in PAPA 15 qualifying. Several other players knew about and used the strategy before me, some of whom were doing this on Day 1 of the qualifying.

    Additionally, I included the use of this exploit in the June 2012 tutorial video for AC/DC, in order to help make it more well-known for competitive play. I did not pull a brand-new or secret technique on the machine in an attempt to gain personal advantage.

    I disagree that not changing the ROMs had a negative effect. There were a significant number of code changes in AC/DC 1.60, not just a change to the cannon behavior. A mechanical change to the cannon’s strength or behavior could have worked here without new code.

  6. Dave Hubbard
    November 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    This, coupled with the stupid rule about having to ABANDON unfinished tickets at the cutoff time was precisely why I gave up including ACDC on my tickets.

  7. Caucasian2Step
    November 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I laughed through the entire featurette. It has been a long time since I have ran a tournament. Ahhh, the memories of dealing with all the unforseen issues that inevitably arise during such events. Thank you for sharing your experience, pain and ability to laugh at the situation for what it is.

    People who take pinball seriously.

    Keep em’ comin’ – Homer Simpson.

  8. November 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Nice video Mark. I like the comment about starting a league. That’s exactly what I did after my 1st PAPA in 2009. I have learned many of the same things. Most notably that you cannot please every player, all of the time.

    BTW, nice editing on the video. I laughed out loud at the end when Bowen drained, and flipped in vain, exactly to the last chord of the song! Funny stuff!

  9. December 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

    It’s the best video of pinball I have never seen.

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