Our simulated Super Bowl 2024 predicts only a single touchdown because it's really hard to score a touchdown in the pinball game we used for the simulation

An American football game
(Image credit: Super PowerUp Games)

I'll be the first person to admit that my computer simulated Super Bowl predictions haven't been all that accurate. Despite predicting multiple raccoon attacks in Super Bowl LV, there were none (reported). Tom Brady didn't dunk a bowling ball through a basketball hoop in 2019's Super Bowl despite my computer projecting that he would, several times, on a field covered with banana peels. And in 2022 I predicted there wouldn't be a Super Bowl (because I forgot to do a simulation). But rumor has it, there was one??? Whatever.

This year I can state with confidence that my computer modeling is definitely on the ball—and that ball is round and silver because I'm using a football-themed pinball machine to predict the 2024 Super Bowl. Even better, I'm using a computer simulation of a football-themed pinball machine called Touchdown Pinball to simulate the Super Bowl. That's two simulations! It simply can't be wrong.

Almost the entire game of football is right there on the machine. There are yard markers so I can calculate roughly how far each drive gets. When you knock down all four defenders in the middle of the field there's a touchdown minigame. And there are some lights near the top that indicate you can "kick." 

I'll switch between pretending to be the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, the ball will represent the ball, the paddles will be the QBs (either Pat Mahomes or Brock Purdy), and the bumpers will be players, like Travis Kelce, who I'm mentioning because he's a just a random player for the Kansas City Chiefs, not because if his name is in this article maybe search engines will find it more easily. Travis Kelce, Travis Kelce.

According to the first Google result when I searched, there are usually between 10 and 12 possessions (or drives) per team per game, so I'll treat each play as a drive and swap teams each time. Once I've played 12 times for each team, the game is over and I'll see who won. Are you buying this?

Touchdown Pinball"

The first play of the game is an interesting one! The ball goes the entire length of the field (the punt!). At the one-yard line Pat Mahomes makes a pass to midfield where it knocks down one defender, followed by the ball returning to the one-yard line after bouncing off another player (Travis Kelce). Then Mahomes lets it go through his legs and out of bounds.

But! The ref suddenly yells "BALL SAVER" and there's… another punt! Mahomes makes a second pass to mid-field, then another, then a long one to the 20-yard line, which finally comes back and goes through his legs again. BIG TARGET MISSION START reads the scoreboard, somewhat confusingly, followed by D-FENSE USE GREEN RAMP 4 which sounds more like stadium parking instructions than what's happening on the field.

But, yeah, OK, this is football, almost, pretty much. Right? Two punts, four passes, and roughly 250 yards that resulted in a nothing but a turnover. At least that feels a lot like football.

The 49ers take possession and, wow. It's a hell of a drive. Brock Purdy makes 16 passes for a total of 870 yards. Did they score a touchdown? Hell no. Did the scoreboard say something weird like KICK-BACK RED PLAYER 3? Hell yes. The ball is turned over to the Chiefs but someone, let's say me, noticed you can tap a button to shake the table, and so that happened, and the game didn't like it and locked the paddles so Pat Mahomes couldn't throw a pass.

Touchdown Pinball"

On the next drive there's some excitement as the 49ers get within kicking range. The ball bounces around several players (Travis Kelce was probably one of them) on the upper part of the table for… well, quite a while. It lights up the K, the I, and the other K, and continues to bounce around the C for what feels like 45 entire minutes. It eventually rolls back downfield where Purdy immediately throws it back, it bounces around a bit more, then returns and goes through Purdy's legs. Total yards? I dunno. 700? Let's say 700. The game is still tied 0-0 as halftime approaches.

Eventually the Chiefs knock down four players standing in a line in the middle of the field and get the ball to a spot on the 50-yard line where, as every football fan knows, touchdowns start to happen. The minigame begins, giving me four paddles, which implies Pat Mahomes has grown two extra arms—Vegas odds on this are currently 7,000,000,000 to 1. 

Touchdown Pinball"

Somehow the refs don't call a penalty for too many players on the field: there are about 80 of them, including Travis Kelce, standing stock still as Mahomes slowly walks sideways, knocking players of both teams down with the football one by one. He gets a little too excited, however, his four arms flailing wildly, and eventually bobbles the ball. Going into halftime, there's still no score despite a combined total of over 8,230 yards.

The second half proceeds much like the first, except this time the 49ers manage to light up all the letters in KICK, but nothing in particular seems to happen. Mahomes and Purdy both make tries for a touchdown with little success, and the scoreboard continues to broadcast confusing sentiments like TACKLE THE RED PLAYERS 36 and PASS INTERFERENCE MULTIBALL 13.

Touchdown Pinball"

Finally, just seconds before the end of the game, which coincides with the end of my interest in playing pinball, Mahomes uses his four arms to patiently work his way up the field, knocks down dozens of players not named Travis Kelce, and fires the ball into the endzone. It's a touchdown! At last! A football the size of Travis Kelsey appears and does a little dance. HOLDING HIT BUMPER 48, the scoreboard excitedly proclaims.

What a rush. There's nothing like an accurately simulated football game, is there? Final score of the 2024 Super Bowl? Kansas City Chiefs 6, San Francisco 49ers 0

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.