Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 22, 2013.

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We are creating PAPA TV, an online programming channel dedicated to pinball.

PAPA TV will broadcast live coverage of pinball tournaments with the professional quality of other sports, including multiple camera angles, live commentary, and interviews. With PAPA TV, we will create a highly visible and entertaining production, bringing pinball to a new and substantial audience worldwide.

Stretch Goals

As you can see, we reached our initial funding level after just 18 hours!  If you're new to this project, feel free to skip past this section.

Stretch Goal #6 IS LIT - All remaining funds raised beyond $57,500 will go towards a professional Web design for PAPA TV, allowing us to bring together the content from the Shoot Here and Here blog, the pinball.org Video Archive, and the new material we produce, into one coherent and professionally-executed presentation.

Bonus Reward IS LIT - We have released our fourth ringtone after reaching 600 backers, and will release more at 650 backers.

Stretch Goal #1 - $25,000 level ACHIEVED - we will build a broadcast studio at PAPA World Headquarters.

Stretch Goal #2 - $32,500 level ACHIEVED - we will add specialty cameras to our rig, such as slow motion, dynamic range, and a custom-built tilt-cam (which shows the tilt bob moving inside the game).

Stretch Goal #3 - $37,500 level ACHIEVED - Smooth HD Glass for glare-free broadcasts, upgraded overhead cameras with superior optics, and wireless microphones for capture of player sounds and game audio to mix with broadcast coverage.

Bonus Rewards ACHIEVED - For each $1000 tier from $38,000 to $49,000, we will present one new pinball tutorial approximately once per month for a year.  The creation of at least six of these tutorials will be livestreamed on PAPA TV, and viewers will have the opportunity to either call in or ask questions in the chat room.

Stretch Goal #4 - $50,000 level ACHIEVED - There and Back Again! Fund a cross-country round trip starting at PAPA Headquarters to the PAPA Circuit Tournament "It Never Drains in Southern California" in January 2014. We will take along the latest and greatest pinball machine, and turn this trip into a long-distance public relations effort for pinball itself. In addition to livestreaming the Circuit Event in Southern California, content for a monthly show on PAPA TV will be created daily, with stops at arcades and private collections, interviews with pinball personalities, and visits to local leagues. We will be setting up the new machine in as many places as possible to encourage new players to enjoy the game. In addition to the monthly show, we will stream content live during the trip. This level includes the purchase of a PAPA TV van or trailer, which will also be used to haul equipment to future Circuit Events.

Stretch Goal #5 - $57,500 level ACHIEVED - We will develop and release a mobile app for PAPA TV.  This cross-platform app will be a unified source of information for competitive players, offering rulesheets, tutorials and gameplay videos, as well as live tournament updates.  Future updates may include features such as pinball locators, annotated playfields, ranking information, league features, and more.

What is PAPA?

PAPA is the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association. Founded by Steve Epstein, owner of the famous Broadway Arcade in New York, and Roger Sharpe, arcade industry icon, PAPA started hosting World Championships in 1991, attracting players from around the world with big prize pools and media attention. PAPA Champions have appeared on the Today Show, ESPN SportsCenter, and Late Night with David Letterman. Sadly, the Broadway Arcade lost its lease, and the tournaments were suspended after 1997, until PAPA came under new management and relaunched in 2004 at its current location.

Steve Epstein and The Today Show's Bryant Gumbel watch Roger Sharpe play.
Steve Epstein and The Today Show's Bryant Gumbel watch Roger Sharpe play.

On the outside, PAPA Headquarters is a plain-looking warehouse in Scott Township, Pennsylvania. On the inside, it is a gaming heaven with 500 pinball machines and classic video games. The collection includes some of the most popular games of all time alongside rare games and prototypes, spanning the years from 1946 to today.

A night-time view from the back of PAPA World Headquarters.
A night-time view from the back of PAPA World Headquarters.

PAPA continues to run the World Championships every August, along with the Pinburgh Match-Play Championship every spring. These tournaments are the largest and best-attended pinball tournaments anywhere in the world, featuring prize packages totaling more than $100,000 between them, and attracting a thousand or more players and spectators from around the world. 

In 2012, PAPA launched the inaugural Tournament Circuit, sponsoring and helping run events across the country. Hundreds of players competed in these events for almost $150,000 in cash prizes. Our efforts have increased pinball’s visibility, through TV appearances in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Orlando, and Louisville, through coverage in print and on the Web, and through presentations at conventions like PAX East.

You Can Watch Pinball Online?

Yes, and lots of people do!

In 2010, based on a design by Keith and Randy Elwin, PAPA constructed overhead camera rigs to film the PAPA 13 World Championships. Players were competing for a prize of $10,000 and the World Champion title. While the live audience was large thanks to the cameras, the online audience was even larger.  When our overhead footage of the decisive game was released, over 100,000 people watched it, even though it had no narration.  We knew we had the tail of something huge.

Overhead footage from Pinburgh 2012.
Overhead footage from Pinburgh 2012.

In the three years since the cameras debuted, PAPA has built an online video archive at http://pinball.org/videos. The archive includes videos of games in action, tutorials from champion players, and tournament play with voiced-over commentary.

The Addams Family tutorial, featuring former World Champion Bowen Kerins.
The Addams Family tutorial, featuring former World Champion Bowen Kerins.

Altogether, our videos have been viewed over 1 million times by pinball players around the world. We have helped people learn that pinball is a game of skill, helped players develop those skills, and showcased the talents of the greatest pinball players in the world. We feel we are just scratching the surface of the potential audience for competitive pinball, and that PAPA TV can give our game a level of exposure never before seen.

How Will PAPA TV Work?

At the Tournament Circuit Finals on April 11, 2013, and again at the Pinburgh 2013 Finals on April 14, we partnered with GeekGamer.TV to conduct a proof-of-concept live broadcast of those events, using borrowed cameras and GeekGamer.TV's broadcast equipment.  Even though this was our first attempt, the broadcasts were a huge success, each with over 30,000 viewers.

Tim Tournay plays Demolition Man in the Circuit Final, broadcast live.
Tim Tournay plays Demolition Man in the Circuit Final, broadcast live.

While we plan to continue fostering the relationship between PAPA and GeekGamer.TV, the distance between the two organizations and the effort and travel required to properly livestream events around the United States means PAPA cannot continue to rely solely on borrowed equipment and must purchase its own.  The equipment list includes HD cameras and tripods, a mixing and broadcasting station, switched HDMI feeds, and much more, plus protective cases for transporting all of the equipment safely to events outside of PAPA Headquarters.  As part of this project, we will also be developing a new, more flexible system for setting up overhead cameras, as the existing rigs are unwieldy and prohibitively heavy.

Chase Nunes from GeekGamer.TV, the primary technician behind the proof-of-concept broadcasts, will continue to be involved with PAPA TV broadcasting and will focus on events on the West Coast.  The PAPA crew will focus on broadcasting events in the East, and together this team of capable broadcasters will bring the highest level of visibility competitive pinball has ever experienced.

We will commit to broadcasting an increasing number of tournaments through the end of 2015. Each year will feature a larger number of events, including all events at PAPA Headquarters and the entire 2014-15 PAPA Circuit. PAPA TV will be available for free as both a livestream and an archive.

Why Back PAPA TV?

PAPA knows pinball and loves pinball.  We believe pinball is meant to be played competitively and enjoyed by everyone.  The growth of our annual pinball tournaments has brought our facility nearly to its limits.  By expanding to online coverage, we will be able to bring fascinating competitive pinball to an audience of unlimited size.

By backing this project, you will be supporting an effort that will last for many years.  PAPA TV's quality coverage of competitive pinball can lead to sponsorships for events as well as players, larger prize pools, and perhaps even syndicated programming on television.

Pinball has ridden a wave of booms and busts for 80 years, surviving because of its physical nature. It’s not a video screen or simulation; it’s a fast-moving steel ball that bangs into real ramps, targets, and sometimes even bouncing Martians!  Who doesn't think that's awesome?  PAPA wants to bring the excitement of this mechanical action to a new generation of gamers.  With the support of the pinball community, and with the support of viewers who find themselves drawn to an iconic sport offering many unique personalities and situations, PAPA TV can play a big part in ushering in a new boom cycle for competitive pinball.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The biggest risk to any livestreaming operation, other than equipment failure, will be poor Internet connectivity. We will work with tournament organizers ahead of time to ensure the best possible connectivity. At some locations, this may incur additional costs, or we may be limited to a lower-resolution broadcast.

Our collaboration with GeekGamer.TV has proven that pinball tournaments can be livestreamed, with commentators, successfully. We already know exactly what equipment and software we need and how to use it. We have worked on dozens of world-class pinball events, and a wide variety of skilled commentators. We are confident that with your help, PAPA TV will succeed.

FAQ

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    ENTER YOUR INITIALS. Your initials will appear on a permanent sign at PAPA HQ in honor of the launch of PAPA TV. No swear words.

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    IMMORTALITY. Your full name will appear on a permanent sign at PAPA HQ in honor of the launch of PAPA TV. No swear words.

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    SUPER IMMORTALITY. Your full name will appear, IN A LARGER FONT, on a permanent sign at PAPA HQ in honor of the launch of PAPA TV. No swear words. This reward is included in all higher rewards.

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    CREDITS 1/2. You will receive a limited-edition token, not available elsewhere, commemorating your support of PAPA TV. Keep it, or spend it on half a game of pinball? This includes putting your name on the sign. Also, this reward is included in all higher rewards.

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    THE OTHER SHIRT. You will receive the alternate custom PAPA-themed T-shirt, size of your choice, available only here. It does not have a dragon on it. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token. Also, for the higher rewards which include a shirt, you may choose this shirt instead of the BAO shirt.

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    BAO. "Man, that's fifty dollars for a T-shirt." You will receive a custom PAPA-themed T-shirt, size of your choice, available only here. It's got a dragon on it. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token. Also, this reward is included in all higher rewards.

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    TWO SHIRT COMBO. You will receive one of each of the custom PAPA-themed T-shirts, sizes of your choice, available only here. One has a dragon, and one does not. You can see the preliminary designs in Update #7. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token. Receiving both shirts is not automatically included in any higher rewards. If you have selected a higher reward and wish to receive both shirts, please add $30 to your pledge, and remind us when we fulfill your pledge.

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    MOVIE NIGHT III. You will receive a Blu-Ray or DVD set of our coverage of the Pinburgh 2013 Finals. Popcorn not included. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    MOVIE NIGHT II. You will receive a Blu-Ray or DVD set of our coverage of the PAPA 16 Finals. Popcorn not included. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt. Sorry, this is US only.

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    MOVIE NIGHT. You will receive a Blu-Ray or DVD set of our coverage, produced in conjunction with GeekGamer, of the Circuit Finals as broadcast on April 11, 2013. Popcorn not included. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt. Sorry, this is US only.

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    DOUBLE FEATURE. You will receive a Blu-Ray or DVD set of our coverage of the Circuit Finals (as described above), and a Blu-Ray or DVD set of our coverage of the PAPA 16 Finals (as described above). Popcorn not included. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    BE MARK'S LACKEY. This is not a joke! You'll be put to work for a day at PAPA HQ, to fully appreciate how much effort it takes to keep things running here. Liability release required. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    10 backers Limited (2 left of 12)

    ADOPT A PIN. We will place a custom plaque on the pinball machine of your choosing at PAPA HQ, with words of your choosing. Commemorate a loved one, say hi to a friend, or use your favorite inside joke. The "adoption" will remain in place for two years. Please keep it decent! You may be asked for your second or third choice; we will do our best to accommodate all requests. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    TRIPLE FEATURE. You will receive a Blu-Ray or DVD set of our coverage of the Circuit Finals (as described above), a Blu-Ray or DVD set of our coverage of the PAPA 16 Finals (as described above), and a Blu-Ray or DVD set of our coverage of the Pinburgh 2013 Finals (as described above). Popcorn not included. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    20-WAY COMBO. You will receive a complete mint-condition set of every token PAPA has produced (there are 20 of them), including the new token available only through this campaign. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    DIBS. You will be the first registered player for the PAPA 16 World Pinball Championships - player 101, with a full pre-registration packet. Fortune and glory could be yours... if you play well. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    20-WAY COMBO DELUXE. Based on record demand for token sets, we are now offering them in a deluxe case mounted for your viewing pleasure. The case you receive will contain a complete mint-condition set of every token PAPA has produced (there are 20 of them), including the new token available only through this campaign. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    NO WAITLIST. You will be the first registered player for the Pinburgh 2014 Match-Play Championship - player 101 - and your registration fee is included. Everyone will tremble in fear to see 101 in their group. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    OH SIT. We will provide "luxury" front-row couch seating for viewing of the PAPA 16 Finals and Pinburgh 2014 Finals for you and a friend. This will include a name tag designating your position of privilege. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    TAKE HIGHEST SCORE. Sign your name in the rafters at PAPA HQ. Literally. At the beginning of PAPA 16, we will lift you into the rafters where you can sign your name. No swear words. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    CAMERA IS LIT. You will select four games to form a playable set which will appear under the cameras at Pinburgh 2014. You get to choose the name of the set. Please be clever but not indecent. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    2 backers Limited (1 left of 3)

    MOVE YOUR CAR! You will receive one reserved parking space at PAPA, along the front of the building, for use during PAPA 16 and Pinburgh 2014. This will be designated by a special plaque which is yours to keep. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    CHOOSE WISELY. Select any pinball machine we have access to (or can get access to), and World Champion Bowen Kerins will produce a narrated video tutorial for that game, in glorious HD. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    UP TO 2 CAN PLAY. You and one friend will have free access to PAPA HQ, with unlimited free play, for 8 hours on a mutually agreeable day, after PAPA 16. We'll send you home with some extra tokens for next time. This includes putting your names on the sign, and 2 custom tokens, and 2 T-shirts. Liability release required.

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    MINTY FRESH. You will work with one of our artists to produce a token design of your own choosing, which may feature your own likeness if you so choose. Nothing indecent, please. We will produce a run of 1000 tokens to be put into circulation at the next tournament, and 25 of these will be given to you in mint condition. This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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    MULTIPLAYER MULTIBALL. You and up to 9 friends will have free access to PAPA HQ, with unlimited free play, pizza and soft drinks, for 8 hours on a mutually agreeable day, after PAPA 16. We'll send you all home with some extra tokens for next time. Liability release required. This includes putting your names on the sign, and 10 custom tokens, and 10 T-shirts.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    CHALLENGE THE CHAMP. You and two friends will participate in a tournament challenge against a world champion pinball player, to be held at PAPA HQ, on a mutually agreeable day. The challenge, which will of course be livestreamed with commentary, will be at least equivalent to the Marathon Round of the Circuit Final, and the Champ will not go easy on you! On this day, the facility will open to the public, so invite all your friends! This includes putting your names on the sign, and 3 custom tokens, and 3 T-shirts. Liability release required.

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    COMPANY PICNIC. Your company, or other existing reasonably-sized group (no more than 100 people, please), will have free access to PAPA HQ, with unlimited free play, pizza and soft drinks, for 8 hours on a mutually agreeable day, after PAPA 16. We'll send you all home with some extra tokens for next time. This includes putting your company name on the sign. Liability release and proof of insurance required.

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    SUPER DUPER MEGA EXTREME WIZARD MODE. You pick the location (US only), setup the event and pinball machines, and we'll bring the livestream and commentary. We'll do it live! This includes putting your name on the sign, and the custom token, and the T-shirt.

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Funding period

- (30 days)