Pin Enhancer Tournament | Jaws Launch Party | Debriefing

On March 23, 2024, the Jaws Launch Party was held at our partner and pinball distributor Planète Jeux Transcards. Top Game and Fliptonic also joined us, bringing their Jaws pinball machines and equipment. It was an opportunity to further develop our Pin Enhancer concept:

  • a pinball tournament reserved for registered players;
  • a freeplay zone with dozens of machines available free of charge;
  • live streaming all day long;
  • Good humor and conviviality.

We’ll come back to the freeplay section at the end of the article, but let’s start with the tournament section. This will give those who haven’t yet participated a chance to understand the spirit of our competitions.

Jaws Launch Party Lequipe Pinball Mag avec Planete Jeux et Mr Garcin 1
Back row, left to right: Aetios, Nick_O, Nas, Lazarus / Front row: Mr Garcin, Syl Vain

Promote pinball tournaments

Pinball Mag.’s mission hasn’t changed since the beginning: to democratize pinball and make it accessible to as many people as possible. Our competitions contribute to this, and we calibrate every aspect of the tournament to give as many people as possible a positive image of the game.

First of all, registration was open to all, with a limit of 50 participants. First come, first served! There was no cut-off point for good players: everyone was treated equally. The proof? The youngest player in the competition was seven years old (hello Luna).

Another demonstration: less than half the participants had an IFPA number. For the record, the IFPA is the international association that keeps a worldwide ranking of the best pinball players. From the very first official competition, a number is assigned to the player. It’ll stay with you for the rest of your life.

At Pinball Mag. the more players we bring to the competition, the better off we are! There’s a clear consequence to this choice: if you win a Pin Enhancer tournament, you’ll earn fewer points than in other, more selective competitions. We want you to know that we prefer goodwill, inclusion and good humor to pure competition.

Jaws Launch Party Goodies

Qualifying phases

To ensure that all players, whatever their level, have a satisfactory amount of playing time, we favor long phases at the start of the competition.

Each participant received 10 tokens, corresponding to 10 games. To get through the qualification phases, you had to be first or second on one of the ten pinball machines selected. As it often happens that a good player qualifies on several machines, Aetios concocted a particularly fair way of drafting other competitors. Mind you, the calculation stings, but it’s logical: we calculate the percentage difference between the player’s score and the best score on the machine. The players are then ranked from the smallest gap to the largest, and we select as many players as necessary to reach the twenty who make it through the qualification phases.

Here are the two best scores on each pinball machine, so that you can assess your chances next time (I’ll spare you the exact numbers):

  • Jaws (Pro) :
    • Abet08-01 : 901 millions
    • Cynomis : 386 millions
  • Rush (Pro)
    • xlbtflip : 459 millions
    • TipTop75 : 242 millions
  • Venom (Pro)
    • xlbtflip : 1,819 millions
    • Abet08-01 : 1,242 millions
  • ·  Deadpool (Pro)
    • spoutnut : 666 millions
    • Abet08-01 : 464 millions
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (Pro)
    • Aaronbec : 778 millions
    • xlbtflip : 609 millions
  • Godzilla (Premium)
    • Aaronbec : 738 millions
    • Mystik44 : 543 millions
  • James Bond (Premium) :
    • Abet08-01 : 1,240 millions
    • Micka : 602 millions
  • Stranger Things (Pro)
    • Cynomis : 215 millions
    • Abet08-01 : 186 millions
  • Foo Fighters (Limited Edition)
    • Abet08-01 : 438 millions
    • olivierarmy : 427 millions
  • Avengers Infinity Quest (Pro)
    • caius-ceplus : 684 millions
    • Aaronbec : 269 millions

As you can see, a number of players took the top spots, with some stratospheric scores:

  • Abet08-01 (15 years old!) was positioned on 6 out of 10 pinball machines;
  • His father xlbtflip took 3 places;
  • Ditto for Aaron, our favorite Gottlieb fan.

This monopoly of a few excellent players freed up places. We drafted ten competitors! Think about it, don’t leave before the end of the qualifying phase, you can still be drafted.

We like to take as many players as possible as far as possible in the competition. In fact, twenty out of fifty are elected to go through to the second round.

First final phase with 20 players

Here is the list of the 20 players who made it through the qualifiers:

Pin Enhancer Finalistes Tournoi

We formed 5 groups of 4 players. The choice of pinball machines and groups was 100% random, with the exception of one machine chosen by the team (or our followers) and randomly assigned to a group for the purposes of the stream.

Each player had two lives. In each game, the 3rd and 4th players lost a life. So in practical terms, and depending on how the matches went, this round took between two and four games for two players per group to lose their two lives.

At the end of this round, 10 players remained:

  • On the Avengers pinball machine:
    • Yesai
    • caius_ceplus
  • Foo Fighters
    • xlbtflip
    • Zecab
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
    • Abet08-01
    • flippallier03
  • Venom
    • Micka
    • olivierarmy (discreet during the qualification phases, but always present during the final phases)
  • Jaws
    • DAM58
    • chucky

Second phase with 10 players

Ten players, making one group of four and two groups of three. The community present on the stream chose the James Bond Premium pinball machine, and chance selected flippallier03, olivierarmy, chucky and xlbtflip to battle it out. Olivier and xlbtflip won in three rounds.

On the Deadpool Pro table, Abet08-01 lost no lives! Caius qualified and Zecab37 was eliminated.

On the Foo Fighters LE game, our pal Yesai was no match for DAM58 and Micka. He lost both his lives in two rounds… But well done to him, who worked hard to achieve a good result and made it into the top 10!

6-player phase

Given the lengthy games played by our competitors, it was already past 9pm during this phase. We therefore made three decisions to speed up the end of the tournament:

  • switch to direct elimination (one life, not two)
  • Eliminate a phase of the tournament that would have seen the last four players face off.
  • Make the final four players rather than two (which everyone seemed to prefer anyway).

So we made two groups of three, with direct elimination:

  • On the Jaws Pro: xlbtflip, caius, Micka
  • On the Venom Pro: Abet, DAM58, olivierarmy

Micka and DAM58 finished third, so ciao friends, you’ve done your bit.

4-player final

The final saw xlbtflip, Abet, Olivier and Caïus face off on a Jaws Premium pinball machine this time.

Jaws Launch Party Finale Tournoi Pinball Mag
The finale!

The son (Abet) and father (xlbtflip) in the final! Good genes run in the family. While Abet had clearly dominated the rest of the competition, he finished fourth. At any age, it’s not always easy to resist pressure, especially when there’s a family issue at stake.

Caius took third place, as serene as ever (on the outside, at least). Olivierarmy, who won the tournament at the Venom Launch Party, came second.

xlbt won with a score of over 500 million!

Grand Champion xlbtflip Jaws Launch Party

Gifts during the event

Of course, the winners didn’t leave empty-handed. What’s more, we always look after the unlucky players, as well as the participants in the freeplay section. Without giving you an exhaustive list, all competitors received, upon registration :

  • a souvenir badge of the day ;
  • a Jaws Pro flyer;
  • 3D glasses, to make the most of the video mode found on Jaws pinball machines;
  • a “pinball VR” badge

For the winner: a Jaws figurine, a Jaws Premium flyer, a Jaws water bottle, a Stern Pinball Challenge coin, a voucher from La Petite Plaque (a metal plate engraved with your Stern Insider Connected code).

For the twenty finalists, we offered, in bulk :

  • Jaws T-shirts
  • Jaws hats
  • Avengers and Godzilla translites
  • a Jaws alternative translite
  • a Venom banner
  • water bottles
  • Jaws mugs

For visitors, Planète Jeux distributed Spooky Pinball goodies. Hexa Pinball offered a Space Hunt translite, and Stern Pinball a Big Buck Hunter translite.

The freeplay zone

An event at Planète Jeux gives you the chance to discover pinball machines you don’t often see. Over twenty machines from Stern, Spooky Pinball and Chicago Gaming, including the latest arrivals, were freely available. A few retro arcade machines were also available.

Jaws Launch Party Scooby Doo et Halloween

Hexa Pinball brought along its Space Hunt pinball machine, whose code and playfield continue to improve.

Jaws Launch Party Space Hunt

Pinball VR was also present with its hybrid machine: a digital pinball machine with a virtual reality headset. You can play at exclusive tables that take full advantage of VR, as well as at all Pinball FX and Pinball M tables.

Jaws Launch Party Flipper VR 1
Starskyller playing the chucky table on Flipper VR

The artist Mr Garcin was also present, with a stand where you could buy his work, which was very much in keeping with the themes of recent pinball machines.

The Planète Jeux team welcomed everyone, even offering free breakfast and aperitifs! For meals, two excellent foodtrucks were on hand all day.

Many thanks to you all!

There are days when everything comes together. We wanted to make this event a moment of shared pleasure. And you were all kind and cheerful! It was a great satisfaction for us, after weeks of preparation.

Many thanks for your impeccable attitude and fair play during the competition!

Collector of friends who have pinball collections.

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