So when you have a lineup of games at home, or a favorite on location, at some point you’ll play a given title enough to get a feel for a “solidly consistent / typical / average” round, relative to your skills at the time. A final score and set of accomplishments that’s nothing spectacular, and nothing shameful, where nothing overly WTF or amazing or unusual happened. You walk away satisfied - not feeling overly accomplished, but not frustrated either. Contrary to how it sounds, these types of rounds are actually important! They help you establish your personal baseline of consistent ability, so you can begin to focus on other skills or modes or strategies and see how things change and progress from there... So that as you play again and again, you have a “normalized game” for mental comparison, so you can “feel” what works and what doesn't, and when you might be doing better or worse.
And then it happens:
The planets align, your buzz is just right, the zone comes into focus and you’re taming the legend that hooks us all: THE MONSTER BALL. The ball that owns the machine through a mental telepathic extension of your will smiting everything you dare to target, defying the outlanes and danger bounces, obliterating obstacles and rolling digits like nothing else. You taste the greatness of being a god among mortals for those fleeting moments until alas, this too must come to an end. But it was only ball one or two! Just think of what the final score is gonna be once you add your remaining typical average balls (I mean let's not get greedy, and just plan on a nice solid finish, right?)... so suck on that, next player!
Oh, foolish mortal - you dare feign as a deity? MWUHAHAHA! Watch as your next plunge shoots form the pops right into a newly manifest Oursler Outlane on a game designed by someone else. Stand agape as the laws of physics momentarily shatter with a spectator-gasp-inducing ball stop dribbling off the tip of a moving flipper. Struggle to react as the ball hops over a lane guide, smacks the glass, and ricochets out in a way you’ve never seen in a thousand previous rounds. Bask in the marvel of a ball scoring fewer points than if you'd been flipping blindfolded, earplugged, and crossarmed with your back to the machine! Oh and by the way, that Extra Ball the Monster gave you? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Yes, the Monster Ball has a curse. Known as Muphy’s Law of Averages (or GIC’s Cancellation Rule), your monster ball will bear no fruit as the next ball is preordained to shatz void within seconds, rendering your total score less than the previous high you foolishly dared think besting was all but assured.
I have more examples than I can count, with several in full view of friends and spectators, sometimes with me “predicting” yes most assuredly not throwing. From truly bullshit house balls, to inexplicable bouts of monkey-flip-itis psych-outs… I almost hate knowing I’m in the midst of a Monster Ball. It almost never - to the 95th percentile - bodes well for the remaining balls. I've said "oh yeah well Fuck You!" to Space Shuttle more than I should... and while that game is probably the worst offender in my collection, the Monster lives in all of them.
When have you been bit by the monster? Or is it really just me?