The North American Championship
Series (NACS) is one of the premier
competitions in pinball today. Organized by the International Flipper Pinball
Association (IFPA), the NACS consists of year-long
qualifying to determine the entrants into same-day finals across the continent.
The results of those events determine the invitees for the IFPA North American
Pinball Championship.

The NACS consists of the IFPA Provincial
Championship Series (in Canada), the IFPA State Championship Series (in the
USA), and the IFPA District Championship Series (specific to Washington D.C.).
While anyone can qualify for any such series final, it is possible to only
participate in one (part of the reason they are all held on the same day).

The various provincial/state/district
series tournaments for the 2019 period were conducted on January 18, 2020. Such
prestigious events offer a prime opportunity to better understand pinball game
selection through the competitive lens. What makes for a good competitive game?
Are there trends related to the games that are available for play in such

This article will tackle these questions in two distinct categories. First, it shall examine the games used by the championship series’ hosts (games that could be played by competitors) for some statistical details. Second, it will explore the question of prohibited games and modifications used to make gameplay more ideal for competitive purposes.

Statistical Review

There is no centralized repository of games used in the NACS. As such, self-reported data was required and not every location was represented in responses. Thirty-seven locations supplied their eligible game lists (out of fifty-five total) for a 67% response rate.

NACS Locations Whose Games Are Included

·    Alabama ·    Arizona ·    California ·    Colorado ·    Connecticut ·    Delaware ·    Florida ·    Idaho ·    Illinois ·    Indiana ·    Kansas ·    Kentucky ·    Maine ·    Maryland ·    Massachusetts ·    Michigan ·    Mississippi ·    Missouri ·    Nevada ·    New Brunswick ·    New Mexico ·    New York ·    North Carolina ·    Ohio ·    Oregon ·    Pennsylvania ·    Quebec ·    Rhode Island ·    Saskatchewan ·    South Carolina ·    Tennessee ·    Texas ·    Vermont ·    Virginia ·    Washington (state) ·    Washington, D.C. ·    West Virginia

These locations produced a list of 706 pinball machines available for play (attempts were made to not count