Amateur Tips #1: Useless Pinball Moves

For my inaugural post on The Capital Combo I decided to start a series of “amateur tips” – advice from a novice.  I am ready to share with you the accumulated wisdom of almost one year of league play.  Today’s installment:

Useless Pinball Moves

These are moves that have absolutely no effect, but which I have somehow instinctively picked up.  They do nothing, but I feel like I’m doing something, and that’s what’s important.

  1. The Almost Nudge.  This was the first UPM I caught myself doing.  It involves tapping the sides of the table too lightly for the table to actually notice you’re doing anything.  This is an excellent move because you will never tilt doing it.
  2. The Lean.  This is an advanced version of the Almost Nudge.  Think about the principle of steering a bicycle by leaning, and then attempt to project this psionically to the pinball.  This is achieved by leaning side to side as the ball pings between the slingshots.
  3. The Fist Shake.  When on the receiving end of Total Bullshit, shake your fist at the machine.  Add a threat or a curse to make it even more useless!

    A pie chart explaining pinball loss.

    A pie chart explaining pinball loss.

  4. The Futile Flipper Slap.  After the ball is lost forever, slap the flippers a few times, the harder the better.  Ideally, your expression should be affronted or disgusted while you execute this move.
  5. The Supplication Stroke.  Before beginning a ball, particularly after the table has been offended in some way (possibly because someone executed the Fist Shake or Futile Flipper Slap on a previous ball), gently pat or stroke the lockdown bar while saying soothing things.  I learned this one from Joseph, the Pinball Whisperer.
  6. The Flag of Surrender.  This is an instinctive display of harmlessness to avoid further provoking an agitated machine.  After an unsuccessful save attempt causes double dangers, throw your hands up into the air where the table can see them and take one or two steps backward while silently praying it will not tilt.  I’m not alone in doing this.  I’ve seen some highly skilled players do it, too, so I am starting to wonder if it’s not a Useless Pinball Move after all…
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