About PAPA

The New York Years

The Professional & Amateur Pinball Association was founded in the mid 1980’s by Roger Sharpe and Steve Epstein at Steve’s world-famous Broadway Arcade in New York City. Steve and Roger ran six world championship tournaments, with the last one being held in Las Vegas, before retiring and passing the reins to current president, Kevin Martin.

In Steve’s own words: The beginning of what was to become PAPA began in the late 1970’s when Roger Sharpe along with a third player Lionel Martinez started keeping track of our competition together. We logged over 10,000 sets of games over a four/five year period. From that data we developed the league scoring system used in the first PAPA league play around 1985/1986. This lead to the tournaments in the early 1990’s. I guess meeting Roger at the Arcade in 1975 and starting to play together on a daily basis not only led to a great and lasting friendship, but to the world of competitive pinball.

Way back in 1992, Steve Epstein, co-founder of PAPA, started publishing a nifty little magazine called “The Flipside”. Each issue was between 24 and 44 pages, all black and white, and the issues came out on a regular schedule of “whenever”. When Kevin Martin acquired PAPA from Steve and co-founder Roger Sharpe, that included various inventory such as T-shirts and back issues of The Flipside. Unfortunately, most of those items were destroyed in the flood of 2004, before they could be put to any good use. The good news is that we still have at least one copy of every issue of The Flipside. Better yet, we have scanned these in and published them here. You may browse these pages as high-quality JPEGs, or large PDFs. Download them, save them, enjoy them at your leisure.


Creative Commons License
To the best of our knowledge, PAPA has the rights to this content, which were assigned to PAPA, without reservation, by the authors when they submitted articles for publication. PAPA hereby re-releases this content under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

If you are an original author of any content published in The Flipside and do not agree with the above interpretation of PAPA’s rights to the content, please contact us immediately.

The Flood

After a six year hiatus, Kevin Martin took over the PAPA organization in 2004 and began construction of the current World Headquarters facility located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

On the evening of Friday, September 17, 2004, just five days after the end of the PAPA 7 World Pinball Championships, an unusually severe flood put the PAPA facility under five feet of water. Prior to this, the facility had not flooded since the 1950’s. In the 1960’s, nearby Chartiers Creek was retrenched and new drainage systems were put in place. There had been no flooding since that time.

This flood was well beyond the “100 year flood line” and was essentially a freak occurrence. The remnants of Hurricane Ivan dumped a record setting 5.95 inches of rain on the Pittsburgh area in just a single day, on top of already saturated grounds from record rainfall throughout the year. The Carnegie area, where the PAPA World Headquarters are located, was particularly hard hit

The floodwaters carried silt, debris, sewage, and diesel fuel. Every pinball machine was submerged at least up to the backglass, and every surface within five feet of the ground, including playfields and inside cabinets, was coated in the floodwater sludge. The sludge was a sanitary hazard and immediately destroyed materials such as electronics, press board, and playfield artwork.

Two hundred and thirty-two pinball machines were destroyed, as well as a handful of classic video games, an extremely rare Tattoo Assassins prototype, a sitdown Omega Race, some great dancing games, et cetera. We were able to salvage many plastics, some boards, coin mechs, backglasses, and most of the playfield glasses. This process did not take place until a professional cleanup and restoration company had been through the facility.

On December 6, 2004, plans were announced to rebuild and relaunch PAPA, and the PAPA 8 World Pinball Championships were held in August 2005, with 277 pinball machines available to play. A major factor in deciding to rebuild was the huge level of support found in feedback from everyone after the flood. Players, collectors, vendors, and other enthusiasts sent hundreds of e-mails, and we appreciated every single one.

Non-Profit Transition

In December 2012, the entire collection of pinball machines and other arcade games housed at PAPA Headquarters were donated to the Replay Foundation, which will continue to operate the machines and related tournaments under the brand name PAPA. The Replay Foundation also manages Replay FX, a combined pinball and video-game festival far exceeding the scope of any previous PAPA or Replay Foundation effort. We are proud to report the current PAPA brand name and Replay Foundation organization have never had more influence, utilized more games, or offered players more pinball resources than at this moment.