One of the many reasons why I enjoy doing commentary for PAPA TV is the potential for me to learn something about pinball. During the PAPA Circuit Final, I had the opportunity to learn something new about Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Of course, I have been playing CFTBL for years like many of you. However, I had heard only a few years ago about the programming bug that can stunt your scoring in a bad way during multiball.

I am not talking about the Ten Billion Snackbar glitch which really can happen, believe me.


Instead, the story of the multiball glitch goes like this: When you are playing multiball, if you bring your playfield multiplier to 4X scoring, you will no longer be able to get any playfield X multipliers for any subsequent multiballs. So, once you go 4X, you had better take advantage of it during that multiball, because that multiball ends, you will lose out on playfield multipliers for the rest of the game.

But, why? Is this a bug or a feature? (A Creature Feature? No? OK.) I wasn’t fully aware of the ramifications of this bug until the 2014 Circuit Final Marathon match on CFTBL. When Keith Elwin played a multiball on CFTBL, he only pushed the playfield X to 2X scoring. He purposefully did not got to 3X or 4X.

I understood why he didn’t push to 4X because of the bug, but why not push to 3X scoring?

The reason became clear on his next multiball. If you watch the replay of the game, you will notice that during his next multiball, his multiplier goes from 1X directly to 3X (skipping over 2X entirely). Apparently the game “remembers” that he was at 2X during his previous multiball, and that why he goes straight to 3X.

Following this theory, that would mean during the next multiball after that, the game would remember that the player is at 3X and would go from 1X directly to 4X.

Finally, after that multiball with a 4X playfield multiplier, on the next multiball, the game would remember that the player was at 4X before. Therefore the game would go from 1X directly to … well, what next after 4X? Since there is no such thing as a 5X playfield, it is reasonable to assume that the game would go from 1X, wrap completely around past 4X and go back to 1X again. Which means you would be stuck at 1X. If this is true, that would confirm the reason why you can get anymore playfield  multipliers after a 4X playfield multiball.

So, the reason why Keith stayed on 2X scoring instead of pushing to 3X scoring on his first multiball, is so that he could go quickly to 3X scoring on his next multiball. And the reason why you wouldn’t push to 4X scoring on a 3X multiball is so you could go quickly to 4X scoring on your next multiball.

This is why I will play CFTBL differently from now on. I used to push all the way to 4X on my first multiball. After i heard about the playfield multiplier bug, I would only push to 3X on my first multiball. But, apparently, that is also an incorrect plan. It seems that what players should do on CFTBL in order to “be like Keith” and other top players is:

Assume you will get three separate multiballs during the game, one at 2X playfield, one at 3X playfield and one at 4X playfield.

Only push to your next playfield X when you have Super Jackpot ready (or at least close) so you don’t risk wasting playfield multiplier opportunities during the game.

Anyway, this is my hypothesis. Now, I want to hear from you. Will you play CFTBL differently after seeing what happened during the Circuit Final. Does what I am proposing makes sense, or does it sound like the ravings of a pinball fanatic?

SSB is the editor of the website Fun With Bonus, home of the semi-coherent, misguided ramblings of a journeyman professional/amateur pinball player.

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