This morning, as I was working on a possible blog topic, I visited my Facebook page for some ideas. And sure enough, my friend Bill Winans posted this video of what looks like the way-coolest pinball machine ever.
Ho kee smokes. That is just awesome on twenty levels.
I love pinball machines. Have loved them since I was able to drop a quarter into a coin slot.
Back in ancient times (okay, the 1970’s), I would go to various places after school that might have a pinball machine available. Sometimes that included bars and taverns, and I would get in at least two games of pinball before the owner chased me out for being underage in a bar.
Back then, the games were completely analogue. Scoring was kept by ratcheted dials on the front of the machine, and you could hear how much you scored with every bell and click and snap on the playing field. Sort of like this game from 1972.
Now around 1979, I came across this pinball machine. It was called “Gorgar,” and it was the first pinball machine that, to my knowledge, had a speech synthesizer. That’s right, Gorgar could talk smack to you as you played the game.
Another game I used to love playing was Space Invaders. In fact, I became proficient on the pinball version of Space Invaders before I even knew there was a video game of the same title. And as you can tell, this game also has the same sound effects as does the video game.
In “Pinbot,” you had to clear a 25-light “colored field” to get into the bonus play area. Definitely a waycool machine.
“Funhouse” was another talking game, but this one had a little ventriloquist’s dummy in the playing field. The dummy would taunt and tease you, but you could shut him up by jamming the ball in his little mouth.
Of course there were licensed pinball machines out there, and one of the most desirable pinball machines today is a clean “KISS” pinball game. Yep, you drop a quarter in the slot and it immediately plays a 4-bit version of “Rock and Roll All Nite.”
Remember when South Park used to have merchandising of anything and everything? Yep, they had a pinball machine as well, and I remember playing this game over at Jillian’s – back in the day when Jillian’s had a game room.
Oh, and I can’t finish this blog post without showing at least one fragment of the only game show I’ve ever seen to involve a ginormous pinball machine, the 1975 classic “The Magnificent Marble Machine.”
Oh, and one more thing. You know the most famous movie to include a pinball machine in its motif, right?
Well, not only was there a pinball machine featuring Elton John as “Captain Fantastic” …
… I should also mention that someone created a “Tommy” pinball machine, complete with a “blackout” feature that would block your view of the flippers. Yeah, you could be the deaf, dumb and blind kid if you wanted to.
So all you video gamers and PlayStation aficionados… You need to find a classic pinball game, drop a quarter in the slot, and play that thing like it’s the most fun you will ever have.
Because it will be.