tips & tricks

How To Get a Billion Points…

How to get a billion points on “Batman: the Dark Knight” with the first 35 shots.

by 4th Place Andy

Begin by plunging the ball to hit the Batmobile skill shot.

(1) Shoot left loop to collect the mystery award for “light multipliers” (the award is random- you have about a 1-in-5 chance of lighting multipliers first).

(2) Shoot the center ramp to begin Batmobile Hurry-Up and also light the “mini-mine multiplier” for the center shot.

(3 – 33) Shoot right loop 31 times to increase the Hurry-Up Value to 132,250,000 [this value increases by 250k more each hit: 500k -> 1M -> 1.75M -> 2.75M -> 4M -> and so on]. If you accidentally hit the left loop or center ramp, or allow the value to count down to 250k and time-out, you won’t be able to continue increasing the Hurry-Up Value here.

(34) Shoot left loop to double Hurry-Up Value to 264,500,000.

(35) Shoot center ramp to collect quadruple Hurry-Up Value of 1,058,000,000.

Congrats, you’re the new grand champion!

Okay now – not everyone can hit a shot 31 times in a row. However, you can still get some big points by stacking the “mini-mine multipliers” (those little white Xs that appear in front of the five main shots) with the skill shot (the three white circles in the plunger lane: “Joker,” “Scarecrow,” and “Batmobile”). Once stacked, all hits to that particular shot score quadruple. “Why so serious?” Think of a Joker Multiball where Joker Jackpots are 800k and Supers are 16M!

news & gossip tips & tricks


by 4th Place Andy

Centaur is a fun classic pinball table. You can hear it taunting you from across the room, saying “Energize Me!” The black and white and red all over table art is beautiful. If you play at Shorty’s it is only 50¢ for 5 balls! So it is overall a very attractive game to practice. However, it probably plays a little different than other games you are used to playing. For starters, there are no extra balls. Bummer! The next difference is that there is no extra scoring for multiball–no score multipliers, like on Fathom, nor any Jackpots, like most multiball-equipped tables. Therefore, I like to think of it that you are ALWAYS in multiball. The reason for this is because you can, at any time (regardless of how many balls you have in play), lock balls or release locked balls or even add a ball! So don’t get too bogged down on how many balls you have, every shot still scores the same. Here are the ways to lock/release/add balls:

To lock a ball– Shoot the O-R-B-S targets, in any order. One of the orange “captive ball” targets (1-2-3-4) will light up to show you how many balls you have locked. When you hit each target once, they reset and can be completed again for another lock, up to a maximum of 4 simultaneous locks. Note: these are virtual ball locks, so you will not see a pinball physically restrained.

To instantly add a ball– either A) Complete the four lower blue lanes (“Guardian Releases Power Orb”) or B) Shoot the O-R-B-S targets, in that order. Orbs… Pinballs… same thing, right? Option B also locks a ball, as mentioned above. Remember, you can add a ball during single ball play to get two balls on the playfield at once, or during a multiball you can add another ball! Option A is great when one of your pinballs is going down the left or right outlane–if you can rotate the lit blue lights so that you roll over and light the last blue light, another ball is launched automatically. What a great way to save your game when you are about to drain your last ball!

To release all captive (locked) balls , there is a little more prep work required. Release Option I: Complete the right bank of drop targets in order (1-2-3-4) to light the orange “Release Power Orbs” shot on the upper right. You can shoot the upper right white stand-up target (with playfield green light) to spot a number, and the middle left white stand-up target (with playfield green light) resets them if you accidentally hit one out of sequence. Once the “Release Power Orbs” light is lit, shoot the upper right shot to release all of your locked balls. The game will say “Orb Release Sequence Activated!” Release Option II: Complete the Queen’s Chamber. This is the mini playfield on the upper left-hand side that can only be accessed by hitting the captive ball hard enough to send it up to collide with the drop targets. Once all drop targets are completed, the top-most stand-up target alternates between “Release Power Orbs” and “Special” for the remainder of your ball. Release Option III: During ball 5 of every game, the top right “Release Power Orbs” shot automatically lights and unlights approximately every 2 seconds. This is a good last chance effort to get a multiball even if you were unable to strike 1-2-3-4 in sequence.

Using the above techniques, it should be pretty easy to start a multiball and keep it going indefinitely! The game scores rather slowly, so be prepared to play for a long time if you want to get a high score. If you are attempting to roll the score over, expect about 30-60 minutes of continuous play to get 10 million points. Good luck destroying Centaur!

tips & tricks

Let’s Get Some Jewels!

by 4th Place Andy

Welcome to Tales of the Arabian Nights! The princess has been captured by an evil Genie and imprisoned in a bottle. You will have to collect seven jewels before you can battle the Genie. If you beat the Genie, you win 20 million points! There are seven tales, each corresponding to a jewel. Finish a tale, then shoot the ramp to collect the jewel. Note: If “fireball” hurry-up mode is activated, the ramp will not collect a jewel, so shoot the Genie to finish fireball mode first. Here are the tales, in order of difficulty:

1. Scheherazade
Shoot any shot once to finish (5 shots lit).

2. Cyclops
Shoot either captive ball (“orb”) once to finish (2 shots lit).

3. Forty Thieves
Shoot ramp to finish (1 shot lit).

4. Sinbad and the Rocs
Hit one jet bumper to finish (1 shot lit).

5. Camel Race
Shoot any four shots to finish (all shots lit).

6. Flying Horse
Each shot lit, jewel is randomly “hidden” behind one (1 to 5 shots required).

7 Ali Baba
Left and right banks of red targets are lit. Hit any six targets.

Now let’s talk some strategy: Play the easy modes. Wish away the harder modes. Get 4 jewels to light extra ball! You can use the left flipper to select which jewel is “lit.” Shoot the Genie when a jewel is lit to start the mode (only when Lightning Lamp is not activated). Good opportunities to “select” your mode: when the ball is in the plunger lane (i.e. when you begin the game, and begin each ball thereafter) or any time you trap the ball while not already in a mode. When you’re playing a mode, shoot “Make a Wish” and choose “collect jewel” to instantly complete the mode. Awesome opportunity to “select” your mode and complete it in one shot: “Make a Wish” is lit, and the ball is trapped on either flipper. Shoot “Make a Wish” to COLLECT selected jewel (when shooting from the left flipper, remember the jewel selection will rotate to the right by one; I prefer to shoot “Make a Wish” back-handed from the right flipper). Light “Make a Wish” every 15 lamp spins–One or two solid lamp hits will light this award.

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Medieval Madness

Why The Castle is a Good Strategy for Tournament Games

by 4th Place Andy

Castle payouts are on a fixed schedule, and there’s no way to botch it (as opposed to getting stuck with a 2-ball multiball when you were trying to light up catapult+joust+peasant+damsel). They pay out regularly (gate hits award nice points, and destroying castles are huge) plus there is that extra ball at the 2nd castle. After 4 hits, you’ve already destroyed one castle for 2.4M points. That’s 600K per hit! 4 shots to the peasant ramp scores you only 250K and lights a weak multiball (100K Jackpots, 400K Super Jackpots). Why not keep shooting the castle – after another 6 shots you’ve earned another 4.6M points. You’d have to hit 11 Super Jackpots during your multiball to get that many points.
6 shots is less than 11 shots.

After your 28th castle hit, you have earned a cumulative 22.8M, which is nearly a replay, for an average of 814K per shot! You need to get 4 multiballs stacked (ie catapult+joust+peasant+damsel simultaneously) to beat that with an 850K Super Jackpot. And still you only get that scoring while multiball is active. You keep getting massive points per shot with the castle throughout the whole game. The only dry spells are when you shoot the moat. At your 54th castle hit, you defeat the King of Pain, which awards 20M on top of the 41M you’ve already received from castle hits. Assuming you have not gotten all of the blue lights, you move to a “Castle Bonus” mode where the drawbridge is always down, gate hits score 750K, and every 7th shot or so you get 7.5M for destroying the castle. Now if you put me in a situation where I could get a guaranteed 750K, or I could try to build up my multiball for a chance to collect similarly-sized Super Jackpots, I’d just shoot the castle. It’s like getting multiball scoring in single ball play. And the best reason to always shoot the castle: If/when you miss, the ball does not go near the slingshots or outlanes, not to mention that you only have to practice one shot, so your accuracy should get very high.

tips & tricks

Star Trek: TNG Holodeck — Videomode Diagram

Start at the bottom and work your way up!

tips & tricks

Pinball Arsenal – Beyond Basics

by Uglúk

Greetings.  Uglúk here again to impart some ancient old-ass pinball wisdom.  Last time we learned about Slap Saves and Bounce Passes, now we have to round out our skill set with a few slightly more deliberate pinball control techniques.  Fair warning:  these things all need to be witnessed in person to be truly understood.

HOLD (UP) PASS – This one’s easy but majorly handy.  Simply hold up the flipper as the ball is heading down the inlane towards it, and if the ball has enough velocity it will roll off the tip over to the other flipper.  A well-timed push/nudge can really help the ball clear the gap and keep it under control.  If the ball is really flying try raising the receiving flipper as the ball is being passed, this can take some speed off.  The Hold Pass is utilized VERY often by skilled players, so try it.

POST PASS – Here’s an extremely useful move requiring fairly precise timing and touch.  Trap the ball on a flipper then quickly drop the flipper and hit it again rapidly.  Ideally, the ball should transfer to the opposite upraised flipper.  Some pins are harder than others to successfully Post Pass on (some can seem nigh impossible…).  Ask somebody to demonstrate it, it’s pretty fun to be able to Post Pass back and forth between the flippers at will.

DROP CATCH/DROP STOP – Catch that evil ball!  So let’s say the ball didn’t quite make it up a ramp and is now screaming right back to a flipper.  Instead of wildly flipping at it — hold the flipper up in anticipation of the incoming ball, and right as the ball makes contact with said flipper, Drop the flipper.  If the timing and angles are correct, the ball should Stall right on the flipper and slowly roll down, allowing a measured shot.  You may even be able to trap the ball if it stalls near the base of the flipper.  Drop Catches are not necessarily easy and can get you into trouble… Oh, like when sometimes (or a lot of times) the ball won’t stall and instead will happily ricochet off somewheres.  Also you gotta have good reflexes for when it doesn’t quite work out and the ball attempts to rocket down the lowered flipper out of sight down the middle… that’s not a Drop Catch, that’s a Drop Drop.  Uglúk does not recommend getting good at Drop Drops.

PINBALL PERFORMANCE ENHANCERS? – Some players swear they play better pinball when under the influence of certain mind-altering substances.  Sure, adult beverages can definitely help one loosen up but they can also lead to diminished reaction times and sloppy shooting.  Some pinballers claim there exists a fungus with magical properties that will give you like a billion points.  In any event, endurance is definitely required during marathon pinball sessions.  Uglúk recommends some exercise and fresh-squeezed carrot juice.  Have fun, eh.

tips & tricks

Cheat Codes and Secret Modes

via The Duchess of Bourbon (certified Atheist)

Episode 2: Addams Family (collectors ed.) Multiball with Mansion Awards!

Ever start doing awesome mid-game and wish you could start a new game from that point on?  Well, you can if you are playing Addams Family!  It has to be the collectors edition, of which only 1000 were made, and thank god (who doesn’t exist) there’s one at Shorty’s.  There’s a pretty sweet secret trick which allows you to start a new game mid-multiball. It requires sacrificing a credit, but if you’re on ball 3 or just want to show off your fancy pants, then it’s totally worth it.

The Secret:

Put multiple credits in the machine and start a game.  You’ll probably want to do a one player game, because once you do the trick, you are essentially just starting a new game and any other players will be lost, bye bye.  Just make sure there is still a credit once you start your game.

Start a game as normal, and once you’ve lit Greed and locked the first two balls, make sure to hit it in the Chair to start Multiball (not the Vault aka Bermuda Triangle like you should normally aim for).


The first ball shoots out of swamp kickout (on the right), then you’ll hear the second of your impending multiballs kick over from the chair to the swamp. Right before it shoots out, hit the Start button. Ta Da! New game starts, the balls continue shooting out for your Multiball, and jackpots are still lit; you are automatically in Multiball with either Mamushka or Cousin It running.  You will now be on Ball 1 of your next game with 3 balls and mansion lighting possibilities with jackpots!  Wowee!  If you can take advantage of the ridiculous point scoring possibilities (I always mess it up right away), that could be awesome!

The Breakdown:

1: Start game with credit +1

2: Get multiball in the Chair

3: First ball shoots out of Swamp

4: Listen for the second ball to kick over to the Swamp

5: Hit Start right before it shoots out… cha ching!

6: Kick ass and get billions of points on ball 1 of your fancy new game.

tips & tricks

Cheat Codes and Secret Modes

via The Duchess of Bourbon

Up up down down left right – wait a minute, this isn’t Contra! We play pinball, but cheat codes and secret modes can still be a part of our life. Some of our most beloved pinball games have fun little secrets that can offer you multiballs, bonus scoring, alternate modes, or even a fresh audio track. All it takes is a few simple maneuvers or flicking the flippers in a particular pattern and such a prize can be yours.

Episode 1: Monster Bash
Ever get annoyed or just bored with the same old audio? Try this little trick to start the game in “Lyman’s Lament,” a mode where all shots get you a bit of wisdom from the game’s programmer, Lyman Sheats. It’s pretty funny, and fun to show off.

With two credits on the machine, begin a one player game.

Before launching the ball, hit both flippers, then the left flipper 11 times, then the right flipper once, left 5 times, right once, left 6 times, and the right once more and you should hear “Totally”. Plunge your ball and get it in the scoop, and cha ching! The music will change, “Lyman’s Lament” will appear on the screen and you’ll hear a distinctly different god-like voice coming from the machine in front of you, and it’s nothing short of magical:  It will blow your mind, change your life, make you a much better pinball player, and slightly more attractive, I promise…

They appear to have played around a bunch when programming this game. In addition to the Lyman’s Lament supertrick-cheat code awesomeness (which by the way, if you’ll notice, spells KEF, Mr. Sheats’s pinball initials perhaps?), there’s also a 50 million bonus when you get Monsters of Rock with at least 110 million points, if and only if Monster Bash mode has not been played. Good to know, huh?

So anyhoo, have fun playing, and stay tuned for more fun tricks and hidden modes on such classics as Addams Family, Attack From Mars, Junkyard and more…

Again that’s:

Put quarters in
Press Start
Both Flippers
Left x 11
Right x 1
Left x 5
Right x 1
Left x 6
Right x 1
Plunge and hit Scoop!