2017 Press Release



The Nation’s Pinball Elite Vie To Become USA Champion

It may be fitting that 2017 marks an anniversary of a device that would change the pinball landscape forever. 80 years ago, Bally Manufacturing pinball designer, Nick Nelson, brought to life the bumper. This ingenious device appeared on a machine, appropriately called, “Bumper” and helped to revolutionize the play and design of pinball. Initially labeled a ‘block-type’ bumper, it caused pinball strategy to change from being primarily a matter of maneuvering the ball through a network of pins and guiding it into scoring holes. Although block bumpers supplied only a gentle push to the ball, later improvements and refinements in electrical capabilities gave bumpers a muscle that added speed, excitement, and an element of unpredictability to the playfield. Bumpers have remained an integral part of pinball while continuing to test the timing and reflexes of players the world over.

Today’s modern marvels provide a host of ingredients which has helped put pinball back into the spotlight as a vital part of leisure time entertainment. And this fact has never been truer for over 10,000 players from 40 different states who have put their skills to the test in the 4th Annual IFPA State Championship Series.

An incredibly ambitious undertaking, the competition is based on tracking the World Pinball Player Rankings (WPPR) performance of players in all International Flipper Pinball Association endorsed tournaments on a state-by-state basis throughout the year. The culmination of the battles will take place on Saturday, February 11th with the top 640 qualifiers stepping up to determine who will represent their state in the penultimate finals to be held in Mesquite, Texas at FUN! Billiards & Gameroom Superstore.

This resurgence in pinball has captured the fascination and attention of players of all ages and skill levels not only throughout the United States but also across the globe with over 47,000 players now ranked and more than 3,500 different events and competitions being staged annually. And these numbers have kept increasing at a dramatic rate.

In just over a decade, the International Flipper Pinball Association has been able to provide support, guidance and a structure to solidify all of these players and competitions with the help of more than two dozen different IFPA country directors leading the charge. The result has been over $1.5 million in cash and prizes awarded during the past twelve months.

The International Flipper Pinball Association was created with the express purpose of encouraging, supporting and endorsing competitive pinball throughout the world. The organization provides oversight and assistance to not only establishing pinball leagues, but also tournaments, and other promotional activities.

“It is remarkable to trace the history of pinball, going back to France and the days of ‘bagatelle’, to appreciate how much has changed while still keeping the game relevant and intensely captivating. From one generation to the next, pinball has not only endured but it has thrived as the supreme test of man versus machine”, states Roger Sharpe, Co-Chairman of the IFPA. “It is truly a timeless creation that has continued to evolve with technological advancements that keeps pinball on the cutting edge. We are seeing new locations and businesses opening their arms to the magic of pinball with the net result that millions of players are taking part in this totally immersive and tactile experience that defines pinball.”

The IFPA is sponsored by Stern Pinball, Jersey Jack Pinball, Nitro Amusements, Zen Studios, Marco Specialties, Playfield Protectors, Little Shop of Games, The Pinball Factory, Raw Thrills, Planetary Pinball Supply, Bay Area Amusements, Player One Amusement Group, Color DMD, Double Danger Pinball Accessories, Tilt Amusements, Betson Enterprises, Farsight Studios, Game Exchange of Colorado, Suzo Happ, the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association, the Amusement and Music Operators Association, and the American Amusement Manufacturers Association.


For more information regarding the IFPA or any of its participants, please contact International Flipper Pinball Association Vice President Zach Sharpe (ifpapinballPR@gmail.com) or check the organization website: www.ifpapinball.com.