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Welcome to Pinball Intrigue, where I indulge my fascination with the silver ball. Here you will find posts regarding my pinball experiences, pinball machine repairs and mods, a virtual pinball build, and links to other pinball sites.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pinballs I Own

This is the second of 3 related posts - in this post I provide a quick take on each pin my roommate and I own, in order of purchase:

White Water

Known as WH2O for short. The first game bought and the last game I'd sell. To me, this is the best pinball ever made. The ramps are a blast, especially when the ball flies down the Insanity Falls ramp and smacks the glass! It's the best ramp in pinball. Then you have the bigfoot toy, who blocks your ball unless you give him a hotfoot; the lost mine; advancing the rafts; Spirit of the River; the whirlpool; the animated waterfall topper; the pretty backglass art; and the Vacation Planner, all cool features. The yell of "WHITEWATER!" and the popping of 3 balls into the upper playfield, then managing to send all 3 balls down Insanity Falls for a triple jackpot, is probably one the best applications of multiball in all of pinball. I also love it when your guide tells you to "get the extra ball, ya weiner!" Completing the Vacation Planner mode causes the machine to go dark - you think "oh great, I've lost power!" then one of the most beautiful light shows in pinball takes place. Can you tell I love it? Can you also tell I miss playing it? It's the only pin I own that is not functioning right now.

Creature From the Black Lagoon
Known as CFTBL for short. My roomate loves Universal Monsters, so for the price this was a no-brainer. Unfortunately there is some damage to the playfield, the hologram has turned from green to blue, and there are parts I still haven't been able to find after several years. This is a difficult machine to score on. In addition, many people don't like the way part of the playfield is hidden by the ramps, that it's too much work to get the creature hologram to appear, it's low-scoring, and it can become repetitive.

While this all may sound negative, I've never found the flaws to be a deterrent to playing. The machine is a great blend of two themes: 3-D horror movies and a 50s drive-in theater. And on the plus side, with a few mods it's probably the most beautiful machine in pinball: adding green LEDs to the main ramp and whirlpool, and green or teal LEDs to the pop bumpers, and adding the backbox mod that lights up all the car taillights, the snack bar, and the moon simply make it the most jaw-dropping visual experience in pinball.

Popeye Saves the Earth
Not one of my favorites, to be honest. This one was purely my roommate's choice based on price (it was cheap) and theme (he loves old cartoons). The upper playfield is a neat idea but the space underneath it is somewhat wasted, so what's the point? For a widebody, there's a lot of real estate but just not much to do. And at first I thought the lightstrip over the animal trough in the upper left area was upside down, until I saw some other pictures that showed the same setup on other machines. This is an incredibly ugly feature that I would have designed differently. I'll play it every once in awhile as a diversion, but there are a lot of other pins I'd rather have instead.

Elvira's Scared Stiff
Purists say this game is too easy. I can see why they'd say that, as it's pretty easy to rack up scores by simply shooting the crate multiball everytime. However, it's a nice to have a game like this after you've had your butt kicked by a tougher game. When you combine the horror theme with Elvira's sexy one liners and a guy that sounds like a hip Dracula, you've got a great game. There are lots of cool toys - the Coffin, the Bony Beast Ramp, the Spinning Spider on the back glass, and the multiball-releasing Crate. The DMD (dot matrix display) is one of the best ever implemented into a game. There's lots of neat mods you can add to the game too - lighting the eyes in the skull pile, an eyeball shooter, dancing bogeymen, etc. A very fun game and a definite keeper.

Junkyard
The last pin added to the collection ranks above Popeye but below the others. Again, a choice of the roommate for price and theme (mainly all the toys on the playfield). I've played it quite a bit, and there are some interesting features. The wrecking ball is one of the coolest toys in pinball, and the DMD features fun games, like shooting Spike the dog with gun made from a toaster. It also features the Time Machine, which plays DMD mini-games taken from previous machines (such as Attack From Mars). Although it's a fun game, it doesn't quite have the appeal of some of the other games in the collection.

And that's the current collection. In my next post I'll talk about games on my wishlist.

Note: all photos used in this post are from the Internet Pinball Database (www.ipdb.org).

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