I learned something important today

The other day I received a problem report from a player.  The report was submitted on wonderful and ultra useful pinballmap.com.

When I want to play pinball somewhere else, especially when traveling, I always check that site to see how well their machines are taken care of.

I’ve seen problem reports that are years old on that site. Once quite recently I played a game and went to file a report only to find out the exact same issue had been reported three times over the last three years and never fixed. That just makes me sad, and has lost the operator of that machine a lot of money.

But I love getting problem reports.  No, really I do.  It helps me fix my machines faster.  So thank you for reporting problems!

Now sometimes the problem isn’t really a problem.  Often, when someone says “the game ate my quarter” they expect the game to start without pressing that flashing start button.  I’ve seen it many times.  Or they just haven’t put enough money in.

And not everyone can create a good problem report.  A good problem report is specific: “I tried this, expecting that, and this other thing happened.”

Well, this report was kind of vague.  I went out and played Addams Family several times as soon as I read the report, and everything worked.  And when I say everything, I mean everything.

That was my problem.  I shouldn’t have played it.  I should have tested it.

Turns out the game was suffering from something called a 5v reset problem.  Without getting too technical, you could play the game perfectly — unless you whacked both flippers at the same time.

Now I’m not a great pinball player.  I got creamed in the first game of the only tournament I entered.  But I do know not to button mash the flippers.

But that’s exactly what most kids, and a sizable percentage of adults do when they play pinball.

So now I’m adding button mashing to my test procedure.

Brian Jamison

Portland, Oregon

Pinball Capital of the World