tips & tricks

Pinball Arsenal – Beyond Basics

Pinball skills you should know.

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.

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