I know that Magic Girl is the current really rare pin really desirable but wanted to share with another JPop rare bird
I'm lucky enough to own a CV prototype ( with red board and proto roms with the old Ringmaster voice! and unfinished software) and, as a pin enthousiast.
I wanted to share information regarding the story of developpment of this pin that I could find and also the differences on playfiled between prototype, sample and production.
Actually, I think really interresting to see the design changes on this pin so wanted to share.
Since I'm not part of developement team, and this is from 20 years ago, some infos could be lost but anyway I think it might/should be close from reality.
If some info are missing, incomplete or else, please feel free to share, it will be great.
a bit of story...:
The CV had same destiny as other pin with the fact that creativity made a lot of changed regarding the theme:
same as the TOM which was supposed to be different and related to David Copperfiled
The idea to create a pin with the circus theme went first. Then, 2 directions could have been taken but abandonned: circus with pirated and gladiators. I'm not sure how those could have been matched together
to create the magical and the attraction but it is was abandonned anyway.
Really interesting video is Jpop explaining the idea and concept (at 2:45):
Also... not sure how the event come through but export at this time was really important for Bally/williams (same for the sales) and seems like a major French operator asked for a pin
and the idea of Voltaire (a major french writer) came because of that. At the end it was kind of a tribute of the "bagatelle" play which is the pin ancestor even if I can't really say if there are fully related to each other.
Regarding the context of development, what is interresting is a lot of novelties were introduced in this pin, and others from this period of time. This fact came from that "Bally Williams" asked their team and moreover their designers to introduce/implement new things in order to save pinball and I think the company (branch).
->That is also maybe why the feeling of those 90s pins feel like there was a lot of new stuff to grab the interrest after each releases.
Context was different from today because the market was different with much more export and also sales, from which the market was mainly dictate from/for operators and not for personnal use if we compare with nowdays.
Regarding the prototype, it seems there were 18 prototype total, including 4 true protoype with 3 whitewood, 1 prototype with color. The 14 other prototype with colored playfield were with changes as prototype with no change.
Regardng those, they were probably used for slow build first: train and check the loading and assembly phase in a slow process to identify all the issues, mainly assemble and build at this phase.
Then couple of them were used for software developement, used for changes (cosmetic) and at the same time, and for cost saving, others went to some operators used as test game to identify issues.
Mine is one of those. I do believe that same process was used for other pin developpment In this period of time. (i could be wrong)
For those prototype games, it seems that at least 2 went to the people from the design team but it could be (probably) more.
Regarding the test games (prototype with no changes) Some of those games have been shipped outsea, probably only to europe, maybe one for each major countries and to their biggest operator at the time:
I would say Spain, France, Germany and Italy. Again this is conjecture, but since there was really few of those built and design team kept some for developement, I guess I should be close. Again export was really important and it was sort of a test as well. I think the "pinball circus" was never released because of bad return of this kind...
Probably the other went to some location in the US. Actually from what I've seen from other prototype pins from this period, I found one MM proto and one proto Totan export (Fist one France and other Germany) used for test games as well.
So, using prototpe as test games and those to be shipped out, was probably a recurring process for bally Williams.
Cirqus Voltaire Development Timeline (from the web)
Here are the developping phases (didn't put the software on purpose)
16 - Playfield sketching begins
03 - Artwork concepts begin
23 - Software development starts
15 - ** Whitewood Number 1 **
10 - Playfield artwork (including plastics) begin
20 - Cabinet artwork complete
03 - ** Whitwood number 2 **
15 - Playfield artwork complete
21 - Backglass artwork begins
20 - ** Whitewood number 3 **
30 - Backglass artwork complete
05 - ** First prototype built for programmer **
09 - Date of manufacture of my prototype
26 - ** First test game put on location **
09 - ** Software version 0.1 released for sample games **
08 - ** Software version 1.0 released for production games **
Regarding the Ruleset of prototype, note that the ringmaster was supposed to be friendly and ring master activation needed a loop behind.
Note that my CV prototype manufactured date was the may 9th (a friday) and it began on monday the 5th. So the prototype build phase last probably a week with same date for all.
The oldest sample game Ive seen/found (still date of manufacture) to have been built was August the 8th. If someone own an older one please share a pic of the sticker, it would be interresting.
Anyway, during those 3 months; from May to August 1997, design team should have produced hard work on the developement aspect changing design, software and more of all fixing issues...
Final production games start on beginning of october so 6 months after the prototypes and 3 after the sample!
Note: One of the major changes was the skinny head. This has probably been implemented after the test games report but some of them are present in the early sample and not the others. Again probably for cost savings...
For much more infos regarding the dev and others, check this wonderful website: