How to Earn Multiple March Machine Mania 2024 Badges Each Week

By Todd Russell Mar10,2024

Want to learn how to earn multiple Stern Pinball March Machine Mania 2024 badges?

We’re diving much deeper into this unique Stern Pinball Insider Connected (IC) event in this detailed article (also see the initial article: UPDATED Stern Pinball Insider Connected March Machine Mania Has Arrived + 007 Tourney), because talking with other players: there is definitely confusion regarding how it works.

Before getting to our tips and later wishlist recommendations for Stern, let’s review the instructions from Stern regarding the event located officially week #2 (happening as of this writing) here: https://insider.sternpinball.com/insider/events/8026/leaderboards

These instructions are written pretty well. The basics of the event, to recap, are:

  • play on any Insider Connected machine during the week in a state/location
  • your highest score for the day on one or more machines will contribute to the overall team score for that state/location (international)
  • the combined average score of all players in the state/location will be the score shown on the leaderboard for the week

The keyword to earning the badges is: travel.

In week #1, now over, if you lived in or near Indiana, perhaps a bordering state or vacationing, you could have earned the championship badge in week #1 and all you had to do was login with your IC QR code and play a single game during week #1 of the event.

The good news for those that don’t live anywhere near Indiana is that state can’t win again in week #2 or week #3. Each state or international (all the countries outside USA) can only win one of the first three weeks. If Indiana wins again, the championship badge will go to the second place state (assuming they haven’t won yet either).

This event is encouraging travel beyond your home state area if you want to accumulate multiple badges each week.

We received badges in two states: Washington, where we live, and Oregon, where we frequently travel to play. By sheer coincidence, we also picked up the Jaws Launch Party badge when we played Jaws.

So, we were at the Next Level Pinball and Arcade in Oregon on Friday and talking with some folks picking up multiple Jaws pinball machines they had preordered and the discussion of this month’s Stern Insider Connected promotion came up.

I mentioned while we were playing that instead of our scores helping our home state, we were helping Oregon’s scores.

One of the guys there buying multiple machines said he thought only his scores counted in his home state, regardless where we played. No, unfortunately, that is not how it works. The event is not tied to your home state location, it’s tied to the machine where you play at during the week.

My wife heard this and remarked that she wanted to leave Oregon and go play in our home state before midnight so she would have a chance to earn an additional badge. That’s exactly what we did, head back home, played a few games of IC machines in Washington and that’s how we received a badge for the week with Washington in the third bracket and Oregon in the second bracket.

With this in mind, you are only going to earn the badge(s) on machine(s) IC where you play. Therefore, watch the overall weekly results and see where the surrounding states are located and how they rank. If they’re in the same bracket as your home state, well, no opportunity to earn multiple badges, but if the states are in brackets that you do not yet have a badge, this is an opportunity to earn an additional badge.

Since we’ve already earned Flipper 4 and Electro 8, those badges are unavailable to earn again in week #2 and week #3.

Washington is currently placed #13 (Electro 8) and Oregon #6 (Electro 8), so if this is how the ranking ends up, we’ll not earn another badge in week #2. Yes, we still have to play in both states to have any chance.

What are the other badges not earned yet? For us, anyway, there are Championship (placing #1), Sling Shot #16 (places #14 – #29) and Runner-Ups (places #30 – 52).

Looking over the surrounding/nearby states, Idaho seems to be our closest choice. Idaho borders the eastern side of the state and it looks like there’s a chance they’ll finish in one of these two lower brackets. That’s about five hour or so drive away. It’s about seven hours to Montana, which also has a very low ranking (#50).

Am going to mention this to my wife: “Hey, let’s take a road trip and play some pinball in Idaho and Montana at some point this week.” Of course there is no guarantee either or both of these two states will place in the bottom two brackets, but it certainly increases the chance for us to earn these badges. It’s like a 10-16+ hours round trip to find at least one Insider Connected machine in these states just to earn a virtual badge in the event.

Other People Sharing QR Logins

Yes, it is possible to earn these badges by sharing your QR code with others that live in other states. Have stated before that I have zero desire to do that, although appreciate the offer from several others willing to scan my code into their machines.

Earning the badges, to me anyway, is meaningless if you don’t actually earn the badge by playing the machine yourself.

No judging for others that want to do that, just my own personal thing. But before someone hits the comments or makes the offer, realize that for some of us, anyway, it takes away the fun knowing there is a workaround. I will stop at calling this “cheating” but it takes the fun out of scavenger hunting the badges, again, for me. Your mileage may vary, and that’s perfectly fine.

March 2024 Seasonal Badges

Sidenote: there are two seasonal badges that can be earned this month, if the March Machine Mania isn’t tickling your fancy.

WISHLIST FEATURES – How Stern Could Make March Machine Mania Event Better

Does this help better explain this March Machine Mania IC event? On one hand, I like that Stern is doing something creative and different, but this event could be improved in a number of ways.

Here’s a few ideas that would make it better:

  • Allow clickable link to view detail by state/area per player
    • When clicking the state, we would see a deep dive of top 100 players for state and where we rank in that state as far as participating to the overall state team average scores. The current event lacks transparency with these details and it would draw more players in knowing how they are participating to each state(s) overall score. Currently, there is no way to know how our scores are helping. Those following this know that one pinball wizard’s scores — ahem, Eric Stone from Florida — can literally spike the overall score average score for a state. This sort of transparency and detailed stats would really encourage more individual play.
  • Show nearby geographic locations to earn additional badges
    • Above in the examples of Idaho and Montana, we can figure out where we need to go, but Stern could help players by showing them neighboring states/areas where they could join the other states by playing and earning badges there. Yes, the data moves as new scores come in, and final results could change, but if the idea was to encourage playing pinball in multiple locations spanning multiple states, this added detailed feature by individual player would help promote this.

In talking with other pinheads, the general consensus for the current March Machine Mania 2024 event is that it’s anywhere from a lot to a little confusing.

It doesn’t seem most(?) players really understand how they can help their state and/or how much their individual gameplay is helping their state because none of these detailed stats have been shared. Am not blaming players, am saying there are opportunities for improving the clarity.

It’s only the accumulated data for all players within the state, which is a more complex SQL query to the database, but certainly creating additional database queries would be somewhat trivial to provide for individual player data.

Hopefully, if Stern does this promotion again in March 2025 or beyond, they will consider these wishlist suggestions above to improve a future similar event. Individual player data is more important than an aggregation of team data. We all want to know how we are individually participating … other than just earning a virtual badge, anyway.

I realize some people have no interest in these badges, but Stern could choose to do nothing, which is what most other pinball manufacturers are doing (see: OPINION: Stern Pinball has Feature Every Modern Pinball Needs). I’d much rather have some kind of event, even if it isn’t executed as well as it could be, versus having no events at all.

Your turn.

How do you like the 2024 March Machine Mania event? Share in the comments or if this has been shared in another community, please chime in and let us know what you think. Would you like to see more creative team events like this or prefer they stick to individual events? What about the difficulty of earning badges? Do you like the harder achievements, enjoy the current difficulty or want them even easier?

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2 thoughts on “How to Earn Multiple March Machine Mania 2024 Badges Each Week”
  1. The March Machine Mania is pretty good for Stern’s very first try for such an event.

    However they completely missed how to reasonably add up scores with all the differently scoring machines and kind of ruined its excitement themselves.
    Within the whole Insider Connected lineup there are machines that have an extremely tight scoring with Bond 60 being the prime example. 50,000 points and you’re in the pinball wizard region.
    And then there’s the other extreme Batman 66 with scores of 1 billion points and more for a good player with a decent rule knowledge of the game.
    And Stern counts the score of every game equally. So having a good player with access to a Batman 66 in your state makes it an automatic win for the state. Even if the neighbouring state is full of pinball wizards with only tight scoring games like Bond 60 or Beatles.

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