The Space City Open Pinball Tournament is organized by the Space City Pinball League of Houston, TX. The tournament is designed to be fun for players of all ages and skill levels. This year the tournament will take place on Friday, October 11 to Saturday, October 12, 2024.

Given the tournament format, we must cap the number of players in each qualifying session. If you would like to play in the tournament, you should strongly consider pre-registering in advance! Online pre-registration will open on Saturday, August 3, 2024, at 11am Central and will go until the tournament starts. You can also register at the show, but there is a chance there will not be openings remaining. Please check with tournament desk during registration hours if there are any available walk up spots. Players on the waitlist will be given first priority. Waitlist positions are non-transferrable.

If you would like to donate a game to the tournament, please contact us at spacecitypinball@gmail.com. Anyone who loans a game to the tournament will receive a free weekend pass to the show, and reimbursement for your tournament ticket! All tournament details are subject to change prior to the tournament. Major changes will posted here and announced to all registered players.

HUGE THANKS to Jim Mueller, for donating $300 in parts towards making the Space City Open run smoothly!

Click the button below to register. After event is sold out, use the waitlist button that will be added to this page. The waitlist will open on Saturday, August 17 at 11AM central.

The Week of WPPRs

Each year local tournament directors coordinate to host a full week of tournaments leading up to the Space City Open! Note that these are separate events from the Space City Open, and are not affiliated with the Houston Arcade Expo. They may have their own pre-registration requirements. Please see the Space City Pinball Calendar or IFPA pages for more information on each. 

  • Friday, Oct 4: Eureka Heights 3X
  • Saturday Oct 5: Wormhole Monthly 4x
  • Sunday Oct 6: Einstein’s Drainiacs
  • Monday Oct 7: 3X and Whiskey at Poison Girl
  • Tuesday Oct 8: Space City Pinball: Three Strike Tuesday
  • Tuesday Oct 8: Space City Pinball: Week of Wpprs NASA Strikes
  • Wednesday Oct 9: Space City Pinball: Ten on Wen Won’t Win
  • Thursday Oct 10: Space City Pinball: Max Matchplay
  • Friday Oct 11: SCO Go/No Go pre-tournament


There will be two unique qualifying groups (Early & Late), each following a 12 round match-play format. Each round, competitors will be placed in groups of four and play on one randomly chosen machine. Players will earn points based on how many opponents they beat in the round  (3, 2, 1, or 0). Points will accumulate across the twelve rounds to determine each players overall qualifying score. Players may only play in one qualifying group. 

The top sixteen qualifiers from each qualifying group (32 total) will compete in the finals for trophies and cash prizes. During finals, players will be placed in groups of four and will play three games. Players will score points on each game based on finishing position (4-2-1-0 scoring).  After three games, the two players from each group with the most points will advance to the next round.

Player limit will be capped at 112 (56 per group).

The tournament finals will be streamed live on twitch.tv/wormholepinball

Tournament Directors

The tournament directors will be responsible for managing and organizing the tournament, as well as making rulings in the event of malfunctions. The tournament directors are Lee Balusek, Elizabeth Dronet, David Dronet, Marc Gammons, David Pollock, Lisa Shore, John Speights, and Matt Quantz. Note: some tournament directors may also be playing in the tournament. Tournament directors are not permitted to make rulings on games they are directly involved in.  

Any questions about the tournament can be directed to spacecitypinball@gmail.com

Space City Open Schedule

8am Load in and set up

10am SCO Go/No Go pre-tournament

4pm Space City Open Practice Session (1 Hour)

4:30pm Early Group Check in & Registration

5pm Early Group, Rounds 1-6 Begin

7:30pm Late Group Check in & Registration

8pm Late Group, rounds 1-6 Begin

9am Early Group, rounds 7-12 begin

12pm Late Group, rounds 7-12 begin

3:00pm Tiebreakers

4pm A Division Finals Round 1

6pm A Division Finals Round 2

8pm A Division Finals Round 3; Women’s Tournament in Space City Booth

10pm A Division Finals Round 4

Registration and Entry Fees

Each year the online pre-registration for the tournament will be scheduled approximately two months before the Houston Arcade Expo. After the tournament is full, a waitlist will open approximately two weeks later.  Please have your IFPA number ready when you register. Spots are nontransferable and players may not switch sessions.

The entry fee for the tournament is $60. Players are also responsible for separate entry into the convention. Entry fees will be used to cover costs of the tournament, trophies, and prizes. 

Player List



There will be 12 rounds of match play qualifying (Rounds 1-6 on Friday, and 7-12 on Saturday). Each round, players will will be placed in four player groups. Depending on the number of players, there may be three player groups. Each group will be randomly assigned a game to play. The software will attempt assign games that players have not played previously, though this cannot be guaranteed.

Players will be matched in a balanced fashion. This means that each round, players will be grouped with opponents that they have not faced before. Player order will be determined by the tournament software. At the end of each game, players will earn points based on how many opponents they defeated  (3, 2, 1, 0). For three player groups, scoring is (3, 1.5, 0). Results will be submitted by players via the matchplay software. Players must enter full scores for each game. We also encourage all players to take photos of their scores to verify results if they are challenged. 

There will be two separate groups (Early & Late), each playing separately. Players may only play in one qualifying session.

Qualifying ties will be broken by playing for high score on a single, randomly chosen machine.Tiebreakers for each group will be played separately. Only critical ties will be broken, such as those that determine advancing to playoffs or byes.

Qualifying Ties

Critical Ties are those that determine who advances to playoffs or who receives a bye. Critical ties will be broken by playing for high score on a single, randomly chosen machine.Tiebreakers for each group will be played separately. 

Non-critical ties are those that determine seed position in the finals. Non-critical ties will be broken with a random number generator. 


The top 16 finishers from each qualifying group will be placed in the A-Division finals (32 total). 

Finals will follow a “PAPA style”, group elimination format, with some modifications.  During finals, players will be placed in four-player groups based on seeding. Each group will play on 3 machines. At the start of each round, the highest seeded player of each group will choose all three games for the round, starting with the highest seeded group. Players may not choose the same game two rounds in a row. Players will then choose player order for the first match, starting with the highest seeded player. All subsequent matches will be determined in reverse finishing order of previous match (i.e., last place chooses first).  

Multiple groups may choose a game that has been selected by a higher seeded group, but it must be played as a different game number. For example, if group 1 chooses to play Iron Maiden on Game 1, group 2 can only play Iron Maiden as their Game 2.

Players will earn points depending on the finishing position of each game (4, 2, 1, 0). The top two players from each group will advance to final round (determined by points accumulated within the round). If two or more players are tied to advance at the end of the round, they will play a randomly chosen game (excluding any games previously played in the round).

General Rules


All games have been graciously donated by local collectors and enthusiasts. They have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into these games. Simply moving them to the tournament was a lot of work. Do not abuse the games. Do not hit or kick the games. Players who abuse games will be issued warnings or ejected from the facility, depending on the severity of the offense. 

During play, do not distract your opponent by talking to them (unless they talk to you or tell you it’s okay). Do not hover over their shoulders. Do not coach them or give them advice while they play. It is perfectly fine to talk/exchange high-fives between balls.

Please avoid “rage-tilting” a ball (i.e., intentionally tilting out of frustration). In addition to making you look silly, it is disrespectful to your opponent as they must wait for the tilt bob to settle before starting their ball. This also increases the total duration of the tournament.

All players are expected to conduct themselves in a polite and sensitive manner. SCPL is first and foremost an inclusive organization. Players should behave in the spirit of community, which makes competitive play more enjoyable for everyone. Outbursts and offensive language are not acceptable. Derogatory speech towards any age/race/gender/person is not acceptable. Any overtly aggressive behavior that any TD determines to be inappropriate is not acceptable. Expressed or implied threats or actions of violence are not acceptable.

Players who exhibit any of the above behavior may receive a yellow card or red card depending on the severity of the offense. Any further infractions may result in a player being ejected from the tournament.

Extra Balls

Extra balls will be disabled. However, if you are awarded an extra ball, you may play it. 

Game Malfunctions

Pinball machines are mechanical in nature, and thus often produce unintended behaviors. Moreover, many of these machines are very old! If a game malfunctions in any way (e.g., flipper breaks, debris on field, game reset, etc.), please ask the tournament director for a ruling. The director will attempt to repair the machine without sacrificing the game. If this cannot be done, a new machine will be drawn and all progress in the original game will be lost.

Stuck Balls

If a ball becomes stuck during single-ball play, notify the tournament director for help. The ball will be placed on the right or left flipper, determined by the side of the game the ball became stuck on.


Tournament directors have the final say on all rulings. If a game requires a ruling that a tournament director is directly involved in, the ruling will be deferred to another tournament director. We will defer to the IFPA rules for any scenarios not covered in these rules. 

Game List

A tentative game list will be posted here. This list is subject to change at any time. If you would like to lend a game to the tournament, please contact spacecitypinball@gmail.com.  Those who lend a game will receive a refund for their ticket entry after the show. We are looking specifically for alpha-numeric and newer games. Games must be in excellent condition.