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The Pinball Podcast – Featured Machines by Rank 2.0

Introducing the new and more accurate TPP Featured Machine Rankings. We had several requests to rank our games, and for a long time it was a shoehorn routine (I like this more than that, so it goes here.)  Now, Jeff and Don rated all the featured games on Pinside, then took the average of their Pinside ratings to determine the overall rank.  Pinside allows the rater to determine how important various traits are to them (ie. art, sound, overall fun, etc.), so the rankings should be fairly ‘true’, based only on the opinions of two people though.

ANYWAY, here they are.  A perfect game gets a score of 10.000, and then downwards from there.  I’ve included our combined scores.

  1. Twilight Zone – 9.282 – Episode 2
  2. Judge Dredd – 8.866 – Episode 1
  3. Lord of the Rings – 8.863 – Episode 42
  4. The Simpsons Pinball Party – 8.8395 – Episode 68
  5. Medieval Madness – 8.746 – Episode 80
  6. TRON Legacy – 8.648 – Episode 55
  7. Circus – 8.586# – Episode 63
  8. The Addams Family – 8.518 – Episode 24
  9. The Wizard of Oz – 8.4166667 – Episode 56
  10. Tales of the Arabian Nights – 8.38 – Episode 28
  11. Whirlwind – 8.2885 – Episode 23
  12. Elvira and the Party Monsters – 8.2775 – Episode 10
  13. Spider-Man – 8.255 – Episode 73
  14. Theatre of Magic – 8.228 – Episode 12
  15. Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure – 8.188 – Episode 78
  16. Red and Ted’s Road Show – 8.158 – Episode 48
  17. Metallica – 8.112 – Episode 22
  18. Funhouse – 8.0995 – Episode 6
  19. Haunted House – 7.8925 – Episode 13
  20. Whitewater – 7.854 – Episode 18
  21. World Cup Soccer – 7.8105 – Episode 51
  22. Medusa – 7.804 – Episode 25
  23. Star Trek: The Next Generation – 7.788 – Episode 71
  24. NBA Fastbreak – 7.766 – Episode 9
  25. Champion Pub – 7.763 – Episode 37
  26. Congo – 7.736 – Episode 20
  27. Creature from the Black Lagoon – 7.7025 – Episode 35
  28. Revenge from Mars – 7.7015 – Episode 16
  29. Jacks Open – 7.6915 – Episode 32
  30. Bride of Pinbot – 7.6615 – Episode 3
  31. Taxi – 7.6615 – Episode 15
  32. Demolition Man – 7.6545 – Episode 61
  33. Doctor Who – 7.6195 – Episode 21
  34. Johnny Mnemonic – 7.5595 – Episode 29
  35. Mata Hari – 7.555 – Episode 19
  36. Rollergames – 7.4663333 – Episode 65
  37. The Walking Dead – 7.327 – Episode 82
  38. The Shadow – 7.3255 – Episode 7
  39. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – 7.2655 – Episode 40
  40. Sky Jump – 7.2595 – Episode 44
  41. Baywatch – 7.1805 – Episode 53
  42. Scared Stiff – 7.1165 – Episode 10
  43. Monopoly – 7.08866667 – Episode 59
  44. Iron Man – 6.9775 – Episode 30
  45. Lights…Camera…Action! – 6.765 – Episode 47
  46. Swinger – 6.739* – Episode 72
  47. Maverick – 6.539 – Episode 4
  48. Shrek – 6.46 – Episode 14
  49. Fish Tales – 5.9235 – Episode 11

# – This is Nick Baldridge’s score.  Nick’s views do not reflect the views of The Pinball Podcast.

* – This is Ryan Claytor’s score.  Ryan’s views also do not reflect the views of The Pinball Podcast.

Episode 83 – Rocky Mountain Pinball Shoutouts (except Lee)

This week, Jeff and Don talk about the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown, Ghostbusters Premium, SHOUTOUTS FOR DAYS, I dunno…a bunch of stuff n’ junk.  LISTEN UP.

The Pinball Podcast is sponsored by NiftyLED.

We are now schilling for  NiftyLED.com  and ULEKStore.com and MezelMods.com! Go get some!

NiftyLED.com has given us the code MILLIONAIRE to share with you for 5% off your order!

ULEKStore.com is offering an exclusive coupon for listeners of TPP! The Coupon Code is now active and may be used by July 2016.

The code: PINBALLPODCAST (all one word) and will save you 20% on all of your pinball MOD purchases by simply going to www.ulekstore.com > Personalized Items/Gifts > Pinball MODs

MezelMods.com is offering the code MAUDE for 15% off any Mezel-made items in their store!  Enter code at checkout.

You can now buy The Pinball Podcast Maverick Paddlewheel shirts too! Email pinballpodcast at gmail dot com for information!  $16 shipped in the USA!

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Fanboys (and haters) in pinball are their own worst enemy

Over the past few years, pinball has rallied as an industry. It wasn’t that long ago that Stern was the lone manufacturer and the forecast looked grim for them and for pinball as a whole. With the steady growth of new collectors and a return to location pinball, the industry has rebounded to a state where we have multiple manufacturers, games coming out with big feature sets, and a secondary market that is filled with high quality and HUO only machines. With this revival, we’ve seen two things spike: prices for both new and used games and fanboyism.

A fanboy goes beyond the realm of a person that can be considered a passionate supporter, and they’re hardly unique to pinball. Willfully ignoring faults in the products they choose to support while magnifying flaws in any products that can be viewed as competition to their preferred product, the fanboy works tirelessly to mold conversation to their liking.

There’s nothing wrong with a little passion. In fact, passion is actually great for the hobby. Where problems arise is when people start abandoning reason and objectivity to blindly support a company or product.

Even with pinball’s recent growth, the community is still pretty small. Individual voices carry weight in pinball more than they do in many other industries and hobbies. Opinions, both based on objectivity and subjectivity, are valuable to pinball designers, manufacturers, and accessory (mods) makers. Positive feedback drives a maintaining of the status quo, while negative opinions create change. This is true of many industries, but in pinball where the success of each title is so incredibly important, opinions are mined much more deeply than in other industries.

When fanboys take over the narrative over a certain game, feedback becomes very unreliable. Faults are minimized and passed off as no big deal and nice features are aggrandized to be the pinnacle of innovation and ingenuity in pinball. When haters grab hold of conversation, minor faults become the worst thing ever in a game, while actual innovations become dismissed as gimmicks or too weird to risk spending money on. People throwing out these overblown accolades or magnified nitpicks can actually do more to harm their cause than help it. Here’s how.

When a game is launched, pinball manufacturers look for feedback from three places: operators, distributors, and feedback from collectors. Operator feedback is usually based on how well a game earns and how well it holds up to large amounts of play. Distributor feedback is based on how well a game sells and on warranty claims for service. The collector gives feedback on a fuzzy metric: is the game fun, and how well does it hold up in regards to longevity in a collection (which typically goes a long way towards determining value)?

Since the operator and distributor are concerned most about their bottom line, their feedback is going to be mostly objective. They won’t quibble over art packages or code unless it is so bad that it affects their profits. With the majority of their feedback being objective, Stern, Spooky, JJP, Heighway, and the other pinball makers look to the collector to find out what is working and what’s a dud in playfield design.

If fanboys are driving discussion around a game, we get skewed perspectives. Let’s take an example. Say I’m a diehard Stern fanboy and I blindly support anything they put out. Let’s say that I’m intent to troll and hate on anything other manufacturers are putting out. Let’s say that I’m not alone in this practice. Now, let’s say that Stern releases Fraggle Rock and Jersey Jack Pinball releases The Muppets, roughly at the same time. Both games look good, and both games have their strengths and faults.

Oh, but I’m a fanboy, so I hide the fact that Fraggle Rock has a problematic mech that often gets stuck balls. My fellow fanboys run noise against people who complain about the mech. We paint them as whiners and deny that we’re seeing the same issues. Over time, we’re able to shift the narrative around the mech from being a “definite problem” to “something that just needs some tweaking.” Well, rather than offering a fix, Stern decides things aren’t that bad and advises that people adjust their games for optimal play. On top of that, that mech might get used again in another game in another way. An opportunity to help Stern improve got lost because of me and my fellow fanboys.

To continue this, imagine that JJP’s The Muppets has a really cool mech that hasn’t been seen before. Let’s say the Animal toy picks the ball up and throws it 3/4 the way across the playield and it lands on a ramp, feeding to a flipper. It’s the ultimate evolution of Thing Flips, of sorts. Now, say it works 99% of the time, but me and my group of Stern fanboys raise noise and claim that the problem is way bigger than 1% of the time. The narrative shifts from JJP having created one of pinball’s coolest new toys to a controversial one that is prone to failing and messing up your game. Since I don’t care about JJP, this shouldn’t be bad for me, right? Well, not exactly.

Pinball designers are notorious for borrowing ideas and concepts from one another. Maybe a Stern designer doesn’t rip that Animal mech off whole cloth, but maybe they might use it as inspiration to do something very similar, and a different version of that toy might be in the next game I’m planning to buy. Well, that would be nice, except for that me and my friends crushed it on the JJP game, and Stern deemed it to risky to iterate on. A great innovation dies before it can be carried forward, improved, and implemented in new ways.

If you don’t like something in pinball, express it. If you like something in pinball, say so. The key is to give reasons why that go beyond “because I like manufacturer X or designer Y.” In the end, properly expressing why we enjoy or dislike a certain experience in pinball helps designers make their next game better. It helps designers to know what they should eliminate from their own designs, and it keys them into what things they should look closer at from other designs to learn from.

One of the best things I’ve seen in regard to positive feedback recently is the community’s reaction to Game of Thrones. Aside from a few adamant premium and LE owners, most people have been very fair in their criticism of the game. The orbit issue is a major problem, and the upper playfield is confusing and really slows down the game. As a result of fair criticism, the pro model has become the favored model of Game of Thrones. Stern and Steve Ritchie will learn from the feedback and certainly try to avoid repeating those mistakes in the next game.

I understand that when you pay $5000-$8500 for something that your natural inclination is to defend your decision. You don’t want to feel like you made a bad decision or you don’t want to feel like you are now stuck with a dud of a game. But in the long run, if you’re just honest with yourself and others with your praises and criticisms, ultimately your collection and future titles will be better for it. Fair criticism could have prevented the Iron Man shortage, and it could also drive hidden gems to earn the praise they deserve.

Let’s resolve to be better and more fair in our shared opinions. If a game has a problem, explain WHY it’s a problem. If a game is a lot of fun, explain the WHY of it. That’s all it really takes.

Episode 82 – “Mitchell”. Even his NAME says “Is that a beer?”

This week, Jeff is back and we are talking to Mitchell Curtis, the creator of the MoonWalking Dead pinball retheme.  Keep it funky, keep it free, but don’t get that funk on me.

The Pinball Podcast is sponsored by NiftyLED.

We are now schilling for  NiftyLED.com  and ULEKStore.com and MezelMods.com! Go get some!

ULEKStore.com is offering an exclusive coupon for listeners of TPP! The Coupon Code is now active and may be used by July 2016.

The code: PINBALLPODCAST (all one word) and will save you 20% on all of your pinball MOD purchases by simply going to www.ulekstore.com > Personalized Items/Gifts > Pinball MODs

MezelMods.com is offering the code MAUDE for 15% off any Mezel-made items in their store!  Enter code at checkout.

You can now buy The Pinball Podcast Maverick Paddlewheel shirts too! Email pinballpodcast at gmail dot com for information!  $16 shipped in the USA!

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Episode 81 – Tim Has Better Things To Do.

This week, Jeff is replaced by multiple MezelMod-ders…primarily Kristin and Tim Mezel!  We mostly talk about international shipping rates.  PUT A TOWEL DOWN AND STRAP IN.

The Pinball Podcast is sponsored by NiftyLED.

We are now schilling for  NiftyLED.com  and ULEKStore.com and MezelMods.com! Go get some!

ULEKStore.com is offering an exclusive coupon for listeners of TPP! The Coupon Code is now active and may be used by July 2016.

The code: PINBALLPODCAST (all one word) and will save you 20% on all of your pinball MOD purchases by simply going to www.ulekstore.com > Personalized Items/Gifts > Pinball MODs

You can now buy The Pinball Podcast Maverick Paddlewheel shirts too! Email pinballpodcast at gmail dot com for information!  $16 shipped in the USA!

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Tim Mezel of MezelMods.com

Ghostbusters Launch Party Road Trip

On Sunday, May 1st, Pinball Jones in Fort Collins, Colorado hosted an official Stern launch party for Ghostbusters. I (Jeff) decided to drive out to Colorado that same morning, compete in the tournament, and then drive back through the night. As I went out and traveled back, I recorded a solo podcast of sorts, catching up on some listener questions, giving my thoughts on Ghostbusters, and going over some recent issues in the hobby.

I hope you like this special episode. If you do, let us know and we can try doing more road trip episodes. Sorry for the audio quality, a car traveling 80mph (that’s the speed limit, don’t yell at me for going that fast) on the freeway isn’t an ideal recording space.

For those that just want to know how I did at the tournament, I took second. Yes, second place…again. It’s always second with me.

Episode 80 – Medieval Mountin’

Featured Machine – Medieval Madness

This week we are joined by Dan Nikolich of the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown.  Join us June 10-12 in Denver for the show!

The Pinball Podcast is sponsored by NiftyLED.

We are now schilling for  NiftyLED.com  and ULEKStore.com and MezelMods.com! Go get some!

ULEKStore.com is offering an exclusive coupon for listeners of TPP! The Coupon Code is now active and may be used by July 2016.

The code: PINBALLPODCAST (all one word) and will save you 20% on all of your pinball MOD purchases by simply going to www.ulekstore.com > Personalized Items/Gifts > Pinball MODs

You can now buy The Pinball Podcast Maverick Paddlewheel shirts too! Email pinballpodcast at gmail dot com for information!  $16 shipped in the USA!

Episode 79 – The Call of Cholula

The Pinball Podcast is sponsored by NiftyLED.

We are now schilling for  NiftyLED.com  and ULEKStore.com and MezelMods.com! Go get some!

ULEKStore.com is offering an exclusive coupon for listeners of TPP! The Coupon Code is now active and can be used by July 2016.

The code: PINBALLPODCAST (all one word) and will save you 20% on all of your pinball MOD purchases by simply going to www.ulekstore.com > Personalized Items/Gifts > Pinball MODs

You can now buy The Pinball Podcast Maverick Paddlewheel shirts too! Email pinballpodcast at gmail dot com for information!  $16 shipped in the USA!

This week we are joined by Lee from PinballSupernova.com for some mod installation tech tips!

Episode 78 – No Time for Love, Dr. John!

The Pinball Podcast is sponsored by NiftyLED.

We are now schilling for  NiftyLED.com  and ULEKStore.com and MezelMods.com! Go get some!

ULEKStore.com is offering an exclusive coupon for listeners of TPP! The Coupon Code is now active and can be used by July 2016.

The code: PINBALLPODCAST (all one word) and will save you 20% on all of your pinball MOD purchases by simply going to www.ulekstore.com > Personalized Items/Gifts > Pinball MODs

You can now buy The Pinball Podcast Maverick Paddlewheel shirts too! Email pinballpodcast at gmail dot com for information!  $16 shipped in the USA!

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Phantastic Jessica’s Cake

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PAPA Circuit voting results that I kept calling IFPA whatevers.

Episode 77 – Michael Paul Schmidt was not mentioned on this episode.

The Pinball Podcast is sponsored by NiftyLED.

We are now schilling for  NiftyLED.com  and ULEKStore.com and MezelMods.com! Go get some!

ULEKStore.com is offering an exclusive coupon for listeners of TPP! The Coupon Code is now active and can be used by July 2016.

The code: PINBALLPODCAST (all one word) and will save you 20% on all of your pinball MOD purchases by simply going to www.ulekstore.com > Personalized Items/Gifts > Pinball MODs

You can now buy The Pinball Podcast Maverick Paddlewheel shirts too! Email pinballpodcast at gmail dot com for information!  $16 shipped in the USA!

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Episode 76 – Post-Partum Impressions

The Pinball Podcast is sponsored by NiftyLED.

We are now schilling for  NiftyLED.com  and ULEKStore.com and MezelMods.com! Go get some!

ULEKStore.com is offering an exclusive coupon for listeners of TPP! The Coupon Code is now active and can be used by July 2016.

The code: PINBALLPODCAST (all one word) and will save you 20% on all of your pinball MOD purchases by simply going to www.ulekstore.com > Personalized Items/Gifts > Pinball MODs

You can now buy The Pinball Podcast Maverick Paddlewheel shirts too! Email pinballpodcast at gmail dot com for information!  $16 shipped in the USA!

Thanks to Joe Zenkus for joining us to talk Ghostbusters!

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