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I got to play Houdini a couple of times today at the NW Show and was very impressed. A very cool looking game that was fun to play as well!
I also was fortunate to be able to attend American Pinball's presentation at the show and liked what they had to say regarding the game. I will be keeping tabs on Houdini as a potential purchase in 2018!
Quoted from Superchicken:
OK. Picky feedback. The curtain movement is unnatural. It needs to move from to top. This is a big part of the animation.
This has actually already been improved from the previous version in which the curtain moved entirely to one side only.
I think I like it as it is so that you're not waiting for the score at top to be the last thing revealed (if it was raised instead).
Thank you - looking forward to Flipout and SO looking forward to Houdini becoming available!
Enjoyed every game I played on it at the NW Show - it looks creative as well as beautiful; the gameplay is both challenging & fun; its theme is historically cool and artistically outstanding; AND it has a ruleset that already delivers on a high level with much more expected to come!
Quoted from rosh:
Here are some photos that show the interior art, which as mentioned is one of a few add-ons. It reflects the inside of a theater and features art elements used elsewhere in the game (playfield, backglass, animations), as well as other period pieces and some, well, other interesting things. I don't think the photos do full justice to how it looks as a whole.
So cool - this game is even more beautiful than when I played it at the NW Pinball Show last June! Thanks for posting the various pics today!
Quoted from rosh:
with levelers all the way in, the game will sit at 6 or 6.5 can't remember which insures on location it will be at least at that, which is not a bad level, but personally I like it a touch higher. Obviously if all the way in is 6, you can get this pretty damn steep. The bigger issue, especially on Thursday and part of Friday, was the flipper strength was turned down too low. Joe likes them softer than I do. He complains anytime he comes into my office that the flippers are too hot (which might a touch true) and he did the set, and this was when the hall was pretty quiet, as more machines powered on, etc. the power dropped and they were way too low. When the JJP presentation ended and you had a ton of folks come back into the hall (and more machines turned on), there was a drop. I increased strength on the different machines throughout the weekend, pretty much any time I played a game on it. You can change the strength to most flippers via the settings, and I'm sure a few of you saw me doing it. I think they were at 18 at the start of the show and on Saturday I had them up around 25. I also had increased the pops and sling strength. I think it is important for the left sling to have sufficient power so you can the occasional hit up into the scoop, that is important with novices playing since it helps them start Seance. You also want enough pop action to get the ball into the jail/magic shop and the play off the upper stand-ups. Pops in this game are not just a place to banging around and do nothing, they are needed to advance through the game.
The Expo power issues and the games' initial set up were unfortunate as apparently some folks came away with a bad impression of Houdini. I was really disappointed to hear Tommy Skinner's perspective on its playability at Expo in the latest episode of This Flippin' Podcast (go to 1:43:25 for start of Houdini discussion):
BTW - go Wheaton! Although it has grown a lot (and changed somewhat) since I lived there as a kid, I have many fond memories of it.
Quoted from Mr68:
I think it's silly we have to resort to going underground this way but emails have been sent.
I agree, but I understand that Kaneda was a royal pain in the ass to Robin/Pinside Mgmt for a time and made the bed that he now lies in.
Anyone looking to find the Houdini podcast can just google "Kaneda's Pinball Podcast".
Quoted from pin2d:
The Desire to Create - Interview with Joe Balcer, playfield designer of Houdini Pinball
- How Houdini went from a piece of paper to a flippable game in four months
- Why the unique head shape
- An extremely cool one-of-a-kind mod is coming
- The magic and illusion of the design and code
- The development of the catapult
- Houdini sales goals and how many can be produced each week
- Game #2 - licensed or unlicensed?
- Game #2 - who is the designer?
- Game #2 - when will it be announced?
I'm digging this well deserved and well presented coverage of Houdini - thanks!
Houdini has been on my wish list since first playing it at last year's NW Show. I really enjoyed playing it again at this year's show this past weekend and set a goal of getting one by Christmas. After making some game deals though, I ended up buying one of the 5 Houdinis on the floor and am now very pleased to have joined this club!
I'm really looking forward to being able to play this game in depth at home now!
I had the pleasure of attending American Pinball's presentation at the NW Show last weekend.
Most memorable quote: "Oktoberfest will be our best game yet!"
... or something like that
Quoted from NorCalRealtor:
Its the catapult switch and its intermittent. I agree probably just needs an adjustment. Thanjs for the tips, guys. Overall, very impressed with this pin so far.
I've noticed that the ball occasionally gets hung up in the opening below the trunk on my game. It appears that the metal piece that slides to the right (to create the opening) doesn't always get retracted enough, but I need to check this out further.
Quoted from rosh:
Hmm, that would be hard to hang up, would mean the ball is getting wedged into the opening. Test it when you can get a closer look at to see if that is what is happening and check that the diverter moves smoothly when opening and that the bracket is proper attached to the plunger.
Yep - exactly. I need to check out the diverter's operation more closely. This wedging only happens occasionally and I've been having too much fun playing the game over the three days I've had it set up so far to take the time to do so yet!
Quoted from Ericpinballfan:
I purchased Beatmasters shooter rod.
Like it a lot. Whole hand grasp feel.
Thanks - that does fit well with the look of the game, but I prefer the feel of spherical shooter knobs.
I'm thinking this one may match the armor best:
Quoted from vireland:
Super Secret Skill shot! All the cool kids are doing those now.
"Super secret" skill shot?! I just realized from catching up on this thread yesterday that there is a super skill shot. Went for this exclusively on the games I played last night and managed to hit the left Magic target 4 times, but it only registered twice as the ball typically travels in a soft arc to make this shot. I'm apparently going to need to adjust the switch contact on the left Magic target to be a little more sensitive if possible.
Quoted from Yelobird:
The Mod Couple is Proud and Honored to announce a partnership with #Ericpinballfan to offer his Amazing and creative Houdini premium mods! All of his highly detailed Houdini creations will now be offered along side our Houdini collection via our web store www.TheModCouplePinball.com We are excited to work with such a creative and talented guy (and his wife gets some much deserved credit!). We look forward to working with Eric and his wife and feel Confident he is a wonderful fit for our team and this creative hobby. All of his products are now available and in stock so he can attend to his work and family duties and come home with newfound inspiration and creativity for Houdini and others! Thanks for joining us Eric!
The Mod Couple
Very cool! I have Eric's fantastic Houdini mods and coincidentally, just ordered The MOD Couple's "Q The Robot" mod earlier this evening. Thanks for producing these excellent additions to the game!
Quoted from jkashani:
Where do I obtain the hook up for the external sub?
Quoted from konjurer:
It is covered in this thread including pictures. Basically, the amp has a subwoofer output as well as a crossover knob. You have to take off the backglass, then take off the monitor which is like 6 screws. Then you have access to the amp and all of it's controls and outputs. You can route the wires out the back by loosening up the ventilation grill and sliding the wires behind the grill to the subwoofer.
This seems to be a very popular option and the one that I purchased.
amazon.com link »
I am partially happy with the sound. It's not a punchy as I had hoped. The final mastering of the soundtrack is rather boomy that punchy. My guess is that it was mixed down for a system without a sub so maybe the sound engineer tried to compensate in the mix. Any one else notice this? Overall, the soundtrack on this rocks.
I connected a Polk PSW10 subwoofer, which I have been happy with on my Stern games, to my Houdini, but I had to use a slightly different cable due to the backbox amp's bare wire subwoofer output connectors. I used one similar to this:
You can plug the RCA connector into either the L or R Line Input on the PSW10 or add a Y-split cable extension to plug into both. Since the PSW10 doesn't have an LFE (low-frequency effects) input, just turn the "Low Pass" filter fully clockwise as instructed in its manual.
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:
Just to assuage anybody’s concerns: the game is Awesome. It stands up to (IMO)
DI for longevity, but the game is fun on short ball times too. There are some minor adjustments to be Made yes but what game doesn’t benefit from being dialed in? Houdini gets more
Play at home
Than any of my other games (MB, SS, TZ..)
No no. Although you own both Houdini and DI, you are apparently deluded. Did you not see the poll results or various judgements expressed on the Houdini vs DI thread?! To paraphrase: "DI is OBVIOUSLY a much 'better' game than Houdini."
Now stop enjoying your Houdini. It's not a fun game.
Quoted from drummermike:
Had best game so far of 2.3 million on 5 ball play. Some days everything goes great. Still hard to do the left milk can shot!
Quoted from BladeFury:
Highly recommend one for the home environment to get a real feel for it. Love the challenge and as many say some days your on and can get in a great groove and have killer game, some days it just plain whips your a$$ Personally love the challange and keeps me coming back for more.
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:
The game is SOOOOO deep, I keep finding new things. The elephant mode still has (one) animation missing with a “placeholder animation!” Screen, so you know more code is coming. I hope future updates are as mind blowing as the recent Hobbit update - but honestly even if they aren’t, the game is already way ahead of the competition
Houdini is really challenging, but also really fun! I love the theme and historical aspects, but beyond that, the game entices you to go for some shots that you know are more difficult, but completing the required sequence is sweet indeed!
Just sayin' as this isn't anything new, but I guess Joe Balcer knows what he's talking about (go figure ) in recommending Houdini be played at a 6 degree slope. I reduced my game's slope from 6.6 to 6.1ish last night and turned the flipper power down to 20 and the difference is fantastic! Backhanding (or forehanding for that matter) the inner loop is almost easy now and the overall gameplay just feels much more balanced and in tune.
That was me and I've since bought and installed one. I'm very pleased with it!
Here's a pic:
The stage alley ball gate broke on my game during the NW Show. My distributor said that AP was redesigning them and AP subsequently sent me a pair of replacements, but I don't know that they're any different from the one still on the shooter lane.
Quoted from hawkmoon:
Hay,fellas,I just received a pkg.in the mail from my distro(GEX) and its 2 small black felt like fabric squares with sticky tape on the top& bottom edge,also with 2 wire formed metal clips ??? any one tell me where this goes????Thanks Guys!!!!
Sounds like they may be lower speaker grill foam inserts.
Perhaps metal "clips" are replacement ball gates (?)
Quoted from PersonX99:
I wonder if other draws on the circuit "could" effect the catapult? ... Anyone else notice anything like this? I am going to test further with the settings and having one or more machines on the same circuit.
I believe that this cause and effect has already been corroborated in this thread. I'll leave it to you to do the search though.
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:
The game is just hard - the outlanes are tough AND a lot of brick shots just go SDTM. I have mine set to 5 balls which -Also- hasn’t helped much. And I’ve set the modes to 60 seconds. IMO that should be the default - just getting control of the ball sometimes takes 20 seconds, then if you don’t nail the shot immediately you are sunk.
I’m not THAT bad of a player but getting to any of the mini modes just feels impossible right now. It’s so hard to be precise. ...
I have mine set to 5 balls, outlanes on narrowest setting, and modes set to 60 secs too. The game can still be VERY challenging, but is a lot of fun overall for me.
I don't go by leg position (mine aren't all the way down) - I go by the slope on my digital level and it currently indicates 6.1 degrees. This slope has resulted in better feeling gameplay than the 6.5+ degrees I originally set the game up at.
Quoted from rosh:
The next release will be a litttle less insulting on skill shot misses. You won’t hear one on your first miss and if you make a skill shot you won’t hear a skill shot miss insult during your game.
If you drain the ball during the ball save window and are getting the ball back, the insult is the price you pay. You can always shorten up ball save timers to be insulted less. . I’ll take s look at some other adjustments.
How about throwing in a callout of one of the assistants exclaiming something like: "Ooooo ... you're so masterful!" too?
You know ... just to help offset all the ego deflating negative comments a little.
Quoted from mcbPalisade:
Imagine if Pinside existed when FunHouse was introduced. Megabytes of complaints about that obnoxious Rudy. ( - :
Conversely, imagine if the means existed for Williams to willingly receive constructive criticism (as well as praise) before Funhouse was totally finished. It would likely be an even better game than it already is.
Quoted from Videogod:
Exactly! I suggested either louder cheering or having Harry proclaim his victory upon escaping, which would be cool!
Yep - if I don't catch a glimpse of the display at the right time after I complete a mode, I often can't tell from the sound alone whether I was successful or not.
That sucks regarding his house (as well as his TOM). My family suffered a major house fire when I was a kid and we had to live elsewhere for 6 months, but I can only imagine how hard a blow it is to have your home totally destroyed in a wildfire. Hopefully, no one was hurt or killed in getting out and he has adequate insurance.
Quoted from PhantomO:
My trunk catapult shoots both far left and far right erratically. not sure how to adjust that. Coil strength is 27. Score was from 5 ball game set up easy peasy. [quoted image]
Try lowering the catapult coil strength. I operate mine on 25; if I raise it to 26, it throws it to the left.
FWIW: No such thing as "easy peasy" on Houdini. Just "Kill Me Now Hard", "Super Hard", and "Hard".
Quoted from ezeltmann:
I do appreciate the effort put into this game; and as a bit of constructive criticism, i do not care for the new movie mode voice. Seems out of place and muffled compared to the rest of the package. The female voice i wasn't thrilled with , but it seemed to fit the time period somehow. <yes i know it can be turned back to the other voice>
Interested if others share the same opinion. I was up until 3am playing a nice 3mil game![quoted image]
I tend to agree - I don't consider the male voice to be much of an improvement over the female voice, but I like the additional variety it adds. I consequently have them both on via the "random" setting selection. I also like how the film modes now start with a close-up and zooming-out of the original movie posters and the objectives are shown on the screen during each mode.
Really enjoying the MANY refinements this upgrade has provided!
Tilted this AM (maybe for the first time ever) while trying to free a stuck ball and was rewarded with this callout in an Irish cop's voice:
"I'm here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I'm all out of bubble gum."
Quoted from HOOKED:
Had some issues downloading new code and Berry was quick to answer my questions all is well now.
Since the code change have noticed more air balls than before an my catapult shot to the trunk has missed 40%.
Figure it is a coil setting. Anyone else noticed that? I am sure I can dial it in but never had to take off of the factory settings prior.
Noticed new light show and call outs. Seems some of the animations are a bit quicker also.
Thanks API look forward to game 2.
My catapult has gone wacky too. Currently makes it into the trunk 90% of the time, but always rebounds off the left side of the cabinet to do so.
How's that water torture mod coming Hooked?
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:
This won’t help if you are going for consecutive ramp shots but you can also backhand it from the right
Sometimes (for me anyway). I find a shot from the left flipper works more consistently.
Quoted from Ericpinballfan:
And what is the best way to clean Magic glass?
Lastley- when you get a sheet, are there no instructions for installation or care?
Just came across these "Back Stage GameBlades" offered by Tilt Graphics for Houdini:
Attractive artwork and given the concerns regarding the durability of the artblade material offered by American Pinball, these look to be a nice option!
Quoted from Ericpinballfan:
In short we all need a separate power board for catapult. Until this happens we are chasing our tales on this lower catapult.
Yep - mine is .... erratic. Works fine one day and then off the next under seemingly same conditions. I haven't monitored my wall voltage.
Sounds like the variac is the key. My catapult will be nothing but perfect one session and then totally off the next day. I can usually tune it in, one way or another, by adjusting the coil strength though.
Quoted from pbwizard14:
This thread has stopped me from buying this machine for now. I have a deposit and down payment in at Little Shop of Games, but I am not going to complete the transaction until this machine plays properly from the factory and the posts reflect that. ...
Houdini has imperfections and its challenging gameplay is certainly not for everyone, but I still find it to be very fun to play as well as beautiful to look at! As such, I have no regrets in purchasing it and I wouldn't let this thread dissuade you from doing so if you really like its many positive attributes.
That said, everyone has their own comfort level for purchases; good luck with your next NIB game whatever it ends up being!
Houdini has its faults and certainly its share of detractors - for various stated reasons. AP has acknowledged and addressed numerous issues with the game. Haters are apparently gonna hate though.
Most Houdini owners seem to appreciate the game for the total (theme, layout, features, artwork, etc.) pinball package it delivers and feel that its attributes far outweigh its minuses. As an owner of primarily Stern and Bally games, I appreciate the different gameplay experience that Houdini provides. The bottom line for me (on any game) though is that it is fun to play. Warts and all.
Wow - does "final" mean final forever (no more Houdinis will be made after these 45) or just final for the time being?
Cool - can't wait to try this out! Thank you Josh and all beta code testers!
Quoted from hollywood:
Sorry to be so inquisitive....is your mod similar to hooked? Your website has very small pictures that are difficult to see
The biggest difference between the two appears to be that Mod Couple's Houdini figure is 2-D and Hooked on Pinball's is 3-D and has feet sticking out the top of the tank.
Quoted from SDTMinSTL:
Here it is. Good news, bad news scenario. ... I also posted a off subject wide shot of my machine in its spot. Lovin it.
Good and bad re: the straightjacket aside, it still adds to the game.
I like the Houdini "spot" you've created! Between the posters and topper, it looks much better than my game does just jammed between two others.
Quoted from JohnnyPinball007:
Mine does not have a knocker or anything else and it is 100% great!
"Ignorance is bliss" as they say. A knocker and shaker definitely contribute to Houdini's complete gameplay experience!
Just a couple of examples:
Knocker going off every time the gun successfully scores a hit in the Bullet Catch mode.
Shaker sensation every time the magic trunk's lid slams shut after a ball is launched into it.
You have the original power supply with the extra add-on improvement. Same as other original owners who subsequently paid for this upgrade. Some owners have decided to just stick with the original power supply only and forgo adding the supplementary unit.
The stage curtain on my Houdini has quit opening and closing. I can manually move it, the curtain test causes the ball drop mech to operate, and the opto still detects curtain hits, but the curtain itself is dead.
I have now opened a service request online with API and performed searches on this thread which have turned up one other owner having this issue in past, but limited info at best.
So ... FWIW, anybody else have this issue in past and have any info to offer re: the fix that was required? Thanks in advance!
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