The Pinball Industry Awards

January 28, 2022

8:00PM CT / 9:00PM ET

About the Pinball Industry Awards

It is our goal to create an awards organization where the recipients of the awards would be determined by The Pinball Industry Awards Judging Panel, rather than determined by a popular vote. The judges will be comprised of pre-vetted pinball hobbyist media such as podcasters, streamers, video creators, writers, etc. In the effort for transparency, all judges, nominations, and vote tallies will be public.

Art Cabinet/Backglass

Art Playfield


Sound Effects

Call Outs

Lighting Effects


Animation, Display, and Effects

Theme Integration





Game Of The Year

The Pinball Industry Awards Governing Committee


Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible for the 2021 Pinball Industry Awards, the pinball machine must have been released from 12/1/2020 to 12/1/2021.

Category Award Judges

The Pinball Awards Judging Panel will be comprised of any Pinball Hobbyist Personality who meets the criteria below. The PIA Governing Committee will vet each applicant around the eligibility requirements. All Judges will be identified by name and organization publicly on this site to ensure transparency of the judging pool. However, the judge's final votes will be kept confidential. A list of declined judges and reasons why will be retained but not published. If an issue arises around someone being excluded the reasons why may then be made public. Once a person qualifies as a PIA Judging Panel Judge, they will receive the secure online voting ballot via email where they will vote for their Category Award choices.


  • - Minimum 7 annual podcasts
  • - Cannot have content behind a paywall
  • - Archive must be publicly available


  • - Minimum 200 followers
  • - Minimum 50 hours streamed annually

Video Content Creator

  • - Minimum 10 standalone videos annually (Streaming content imported from another source excluded)
  • - Minimum 100 subscribers
  • - Content not web hosted will be reviewed case by case


  • - Minimum 1 annual written article (physical or online)
  • - Cannot have content behind a paywall
  • - Article be publicly available

Social Media Provider

  • - Minimum 50 pinball-specific posts annually (across all social platforms)
  • - Minimum 1,000 followers/subscribers (across all social platforms)

Tournament Organizer

  • - Minimum annual organizing of 6 IFPA sanctioned pinball tournaments
  • - Note: At least one IFPA sanctioned tournament must have 40 or more attendees

Top 50 Tournament Player


To ensure The Pinball Industry Awards are as unbiased as possible we strive to keep conflicts of interest in the judging pool as small as possible. This requires exclusions in the selection criteria. Any individual contracted or employed by an industry manufacturer that was responsible for the development or creation of physical or intellectual contributions. Moreover, any employee who had an employee/manufacturer relationship but was terminated by either party in the 12 months prior.

Recognition of Excellence Awards

The Excellence in Pinball Awards Judges are comprised of the same judges as the Category Awards. It is our goal to prevent the Excellence Awards from becoming a popularity contest among those nominated. To prevent a popular vote run off from happening, the PIA Governing Committee has determined to allow the judges a write-in style of vote for any one they see fit in a specific Excellence Award Category.

Each Judge can vote one individual per Excellence Category on their ballot. They may also decline to vote by leaving the write-in blank. Once the ballots are submitted, the write-ins votes will be totaled, and a winner chosen.

Top 3 finishers for each category will be considered 'Nominees' and will be posted on this website prior to the Crystals being awarded.

The list of write-in votes will remain confidential to prevent future vote lobbying, judge intimidation, and bias.

Excellence In Pinball Streaming

This award honors a pinball streamer(s) that has displayed ‘Excellence in Pinball’ by significantly contributing to the sense of community in pinball, has innovated in terms of technology in broadcasting, worked to grow the community, has consistently engaged virtually on streaming platforms, built a professional and positive brand, and who is an ambassador to the hobby of pinball.

Excellence In Pinball Podcasting

This award honors the pinball podcast that has displayed ‘Excellence in Pinball’ by providing consistent content, unique creative license, technical achievement in editing and sound production and furthered the hobby of pinball in a positive way.

Excellence In Pinball Writing

This award honors a pinball writer that has displayed ‘Excellence in Pinball’ by publishing a pinball article of significance, be it fiction or non-fiction, formally printed or online and has built the literary portfolio of the hobby of pinball.

Excellence In Pinball Photography

This award honors a pinball photographer that has displayed ‘Excellence in Pinball’ by publishing photography with an emphasis on pinball, where technical achievement is displayed and has advanced the photographic presence of the hobby of pinball.

Excellence In Pinball Videography

This award honors a pinball videographer that has displayed ‘Excellence in Pinball’ by publishing videos featuring pinball content, whose ability to capture an event or communicate a pinball-oriented message is exceptional, where technical achievement and innovation is on display and has advanced the presence of the hobby of pinball in a visual medium.

Excellence In Pinball Social-Media

This award honors a pinball social media provider(s) that has displayed ‘Excellence in Pinball’ by consistently engaging virtually on one or more social media platforms, has a significant social media following, worked to grow the social media footprint of pinball, has built a professional, positive brand, and who is a representative of the hobby to those on social media platforms outside of pinball.

The Harry Williams Pinball Legacy Award

The Harry Williams Legacy Award is awarded to an individual in recognition of their designs, programming, innovations, boldness, business acumen, or industry leadership. This individual, who over a period of years has made a substantial and lasting contribution to the industry of pinball.

Disqualing Behaviours

Given The Pinball Industry Awards have a goal of positive promotion of the pinball hobby, there are a list of disqualifying behaviors. This list is applied by the PIA's Governance Committee (ballot vote) and the Excellence Awards (write-in process).

Below is a list of conditions that the PIA Governance Committee have deemed to make a potential recipient ineligible for a Category or Excellence Award. If the top vote-getter is in violation, the next highest vote-getter not in violation will receive the award. It will be publicly declared if this happens for transparency, but the name of the violator will be redacted from the announcement for privacy reasons.

The ineligibility criteria are as follows:

  1. Entity has been convicted of a crime that stains the hobby of pinball (e.g., child abuse, murder, sexual assault, fraud).
  2. Entity has engaged in systematic sexual harassment, intimidation, targeted exclusion or humiliation of a person or group based on age, race, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or political affiliation.
  3. Entity has engaged in physical violence, or the threat of physical violence, against another
  4. Entity has engaged in systematic harassment such as but not limited to doxxing, attempted to organize a harassment campaign, or otherwise sought to disrupt the life of someone else.


The Pinball Machine Hall of Fame

Annually, The Pinball Industry Awards Governing Committee will induct pinball machines (not individuals or design teams), voted on by the pinball community to the Pinball Machine Hall of Fame. Votes will be accepted until January 6th 2022, 12:00PM ET

Machines must:
- Have flippers
- Machines prior to 1995 must have a production run of 500+ machines
- Cannot include novelty machines
- Pro/Premium/LE machines are included as one machine

Electro-Mechanical (EM) - Write In

70s Solid State





Frequently Asked Questions

Isn't This Just the TWIPYs ?

The This Week In Pinball Yearly Awards (TWIPYs) are a great part of the hobby and are a People's Choice style award, which means everyone online can vote for their favorites. Conversely, The Pinball Industry Awards are a Critics Choice style of awards with a pre-vetted judging pool, comprised of the pinball industry Hobbyist Media.

No, really... Isn't this just the TWIPYs ?

This Week In Pinball does an amazing job of hosting the TWIPYs, a People’s Choice style award. Everyone should be proud of what TWIP brings to the hobby in terms of community engagement, energy, and quality. Pinball is an awesome hobby to be a part of and TPN wants to continue to diversify the various ways those who put so much into the hobby are celebrated. The best way to expand the hobby awards is adding a Critic’s Choice style award.

Are the Excellence Awards Biased Towards TPN ?

The Excellence Awards are designed to be a recognition of innovation and creativity in pinball, NOT a TPN provider celebration. Nominations will be from both inside and outside TPN and are based on merit. There is a great deal of debate among the Excellence Award Panel members regarding who should be nominated, the reasons they are nominated, and who should be publicly recognized for their yearly excellence.

Why are the Excellence Awards Chosen if the Judging Pool is Closed ?

To prevent a popular vote run off from happening the PIA Governing Committee has determined to keep the judging pool closed with nominations and judging to be done by TPN members.

How will The PIA Governing Committee Eliminate Bias in the Excellence Awards ?

Bias will always exist. By making all Excellence Awards judges, nominees, and final votes public, we plan on being as transparent and open as possible. This will help us manage conflicts of interest and bias. In the end, the pinball community will be the final judge.

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