The Professional & Amateur Pinball Association was founded in the mid 1980’s by Roger Sharpe and Steve Epstein at Steve’s world-famous Broadway Arcade in New York City. Steve and Roger ran six world championship tournaments, with the last one being held in Las Vegas, before retiring and passing the reins to current president, Kevin Martin.

In Steve’s own words: The beginning of what was to become PAPA began in the late 1970’s when myself, Roger Sharpe, and a third player named Lionel Martinez, began tracking personal games played against one another. We logged over 10,000 sets of games over a four/five year period. From that data we developed the league scoring system used in the first PAPA league play around 1985/1986. This lead to the tournaments in the early 1990’s. I guess meeting Roger at the Arcade in 1975 and starting to play together on a daily basis not only led to a great and lasting friendship, but to the world of competitive pinball.

Way back in 1992, Steve Epstein, co-founder of PAPA, started publishing a nifty little magazine called “The Flipside”. Each issue was between 24 and 44 pages, all black and white, and the issues came out on a regular schedule of “whenever”. When Kevin Martin acquired PAPA from Steve and co-founder Roger Sharpe, that included various inventory such as T-shirts and back issues of The Flipside. Unfortunately, most of those items were destroyed in the flood of 2004, before they could be put to any good use. The good news is that we still have at least one copy of every issue of The Flipside. Better yet, we have scanned these in and published them here. You may browse these pages as high-quality JPEGs, or large PDFs. Download them, save them, enjoy them at your leisure.


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To the best of our knowledge, The Replay Foundation has the rights to this content, which were assigned to PAPA, without reservation, by the authors when they submitted articles for publication. PAPA hereby re-releases this content under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

If you are an original author of any content published in The Flipside and do not agree with the above interpretation of The Replay Foundation’s rights to the content, please contact us immediately.

PAPAs 1 – 6

The first six PAPA World Pinball Championships were organized by Steve Epstein and Roger Sharpe. The first of these six events was held February 2, 1991 in New York City. The next four tournaments were held annually in the same general area before a three year hiatus, during which the PAPA organization did not hold an event.

PAPA experienced a brief revival February 8, 1998, when a sixth tournament was organized under the PAPA banner in Las Vegas, Nevada. Following the PAPA 6 World Championships, the Professional & Amateur Pinball Association fell silent for six years before experiencing a revival under current management in 2004. A great deal of information surrounding the first six PAPA tournaments has been lost. What does remain is listed below or can be found in the Flipside Archives.

Prize Money

Prizes for the first six PAPA World Championships ranged in value.  No information is available for PAPA’s 1 or 2, but PAPA 3 featured a $15,000 purse with a $3,000 first prize. No information is available for the prize package at PAPA 4, but PAPA 5 returned with sizable increase to $30,000. First place at PAPA 5 received $2,000 and a new pinball machine. PAPA 6, the only PAPA World Championships to ever be held outside of New York City or Pittsburgh, offered a grand prize of a two-person trip to Hawaii plus a brand new Williams pinball machine!

Media Coverage

PAPA 1 NY Times
PAPA 4 Pittsburgh Post Gazette
PAPA 4 NY Times
PAPA 5 NY Times
PAPA 5 NY Times
PAPA 5 Forbes
PAPA 5 AP Wire
PAPA 6 Pittsburgh Post Gazette