A lull in the action

Yes, it’s been pretty quiet month after the Joystix visit. I have not been playing much pinball, at least much real pinball. I have been playing some Pinball Arcade on my tablet to stay sharp, though obviously that’s not quite the same as the real thing.

I have been keeping up with the goings-on, including the update to the WPPR formula for 2017 posted last week. It’s mostly minor stuff, with the headline change being the addition of an IFPA Tour of “endorsed Pin-Golf events.” For those unfamiliar with it, pin-golf is a tournament format where the goal is to complete objectives using the lowest number of balls in play. An example pin-golf course would be something like this:

  1. Game of Thrones: Start Blackwater Multiball
  2. Black Hole: Score 500K points
  3. Fun House: Score Million Plus during multiball
  4. Xenon: Score 1M points
  5. Earthshaker: Get 50 ramp miles
  6. [etc.]

If I were to get all 5 of these in the first ball of each game, my total score would be the best possible score of 5. If it took me more than that, say I ran into trouble on Xenon and Earthshaker and it took me 3 balls and 4 balls to reach each goal respectively, my score would be 10. Lower scores are better, just like real golf.

I have never really played a pin-golf tournament format, though it does seem like it would be kind of fun and something different. It seems I do better when I focus on just blowing up the score counter versus trying to reach an objective. A case in point would be a recent game of Party Zone I was playing in Pinball Arcade. I was trying to finally make the Big Bang, after many, many failed attempts. When I finally did my final score was in the range of 85M which wasn’t even good enough to make the high score list (I’ve had many games in excess of 100M before).

Amazingly, I made the Big Bang in a way I have never done before on either a real Party Zone machine or in Pinball Arcade: I sent the two balls up the Rock-It ramp right behind each other, such that there was this weird five-second pause on “Lock 2nd Ball for Big Bang” until the game figured out I had already made it. If memory serves me correctly, two of the three times I have made Big Bang on a real machine, it was for a maxed-out 99,999,999 score. (It’s been a while, most of my play of a real Party Zone machine was back when it was new in the early 1990s, so my memory is a bit fuzzy.)

On Pinball Arcade, the Big Bang does not carry over between starts of the app (otherwise, players would sandbag to drive up the value for when it finally does get made) and starts at 20,075,000. That’s still a fairly large bonus in this game, though there are other ways to run up that many points which are arguably lower risk (example: six shots to the far right lane when not lit would score a total of 21M).

Hopefully the next season of the league will start up soon, as I don’t want to have huge gaps between entries. This weekend I will try to find time to post some of my better Pinball Arcade scores over the past few months (there have been quite a few).