(Topic ID: 170287)

Join the middle-pop club!


By NicoVolta

3 years ago



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  • 303 posts
  • 61 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 84 days ago by gdonovan
  • Topic is favorited by 25 Pinsiders

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There are 303 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 7.
#51 3 years ago

Thanks Pecos but not a fan of most AAB games and not interested in paying more in shipping than the game is worth.

Besides,. I should be thinning the herd, not adding to it.

#52 3 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

Historically it's a good introductory machine, though it isn't quite like the others in the sense that the distance is so great from the flippers

It is what it is. I had played a Carolina and it was pretty fun. The first flipper game, Humpty Dumpty designed by Harry Mabs had a middle bumper , although not a pop bumper, it was still a bumper that redirects the ball and can be hit with the flippers.

His Lady Robin Hood has two or three depending on how you look at it.

image-33 (resized).jpg

#53 3 years ago
Quoted from frobozz:

Obscure footnote: in the 1970s Harry designed several center-pop and other weird-bottom games, but they were never produced. One, which he designed in September of 1972 (therefore well after Spanish Eyes was on location), precisely copies the very bottom flipper/bumper/post arrangement of Spanish Eyes, but then puts proper slings above the flippers and gets more and more different the farther up the playfield you go.

How cool! Where did you find this information? Are these layouts published anywhere? Would be cool to see the sketches!

I'll edit the text if possible to say "no further middle-pop games would be produced" and add the info... thx!

#54 3 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

It is what it is. I had played a Carolina and it was pretty fun. The first flipper game, Humpty Dumpty designed by Harry Mabs had a middle bumper , although not a pop bumper, it was still a bumper that redirects the ball and can be hit with the flippers.
His Lady Robin Hood has two or three depending on how you look at it.

LRH is a cool game with great lighting effects. Played it at the PHOF a few years ago. But personally I wouldn't include it in the middle-pop lineup... would you? Anyone else care to chime in?

A lot of pre-flipper games had "bumpers in the middle" of some sort and LRH generally resembles this older 40's-era style. Designers were still figuring out what to do with flippers around that time. But, to me, the "main thing" about middle-pop games is a deliberate design philosophy which places an active pop bumper between two flippers to serve as a third flipper of sorts... often ricocheting the ball around and saving it from oblivion.

Carolina has a lower pop bumper but the flippers are pretty much out of the picture once the ball gets down there.

#55 3 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

How cool! Where did you find this information? Are these layouts published anywhere? Would be cool to see the sketches!

Come to Pinball Expo and attend the seminar at 3PM on Friday!

#56 3 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

But personally I wouldn't include it in the middle-pop lineup... would you?

It's not a pop bumper, but is certainly a prototype of that style game. I'm not sure they were even using pop bumpers at the time, but besides the kick it is basically the same feature.

#57 3 years ago

Let's not overlook "Miss Adventure", a custom middle-pop work-in-progress by Brian Cox (creator of other custom machines - Tattoo Mystique, Retro Spa, and Jupiter Crush):

tattoo (resized).png

http://www.space-eight.com/Pinball_Miss_Adventure.html

#58 3 years ago

I just love middle pop games. Spanish Eyes is always a favorite when people come to visit.

#59 3 years ago

Sign me up, Nikola Tesla (is he laughin'??) he worriedly asks.

I qualify... and with the very first game, no less.

Or at least was thought to be at one time, seems to be some confusion now.

Gottlieb's 1952 All-Star Basketball

Great post and research by the way! Interesting and informative...

#60 3 years ago

In my opinion, All-Star Basketball is the game where middle-pop gameplay "effectively" originated... at least as far as how we came to know it. You can see for yourself how the style evolved over the years while retaining a familiar feel/geometry throughout.

Just one person's opinion, of course. This is a discussion forum, after all, not a historical document.

#61 3 years ago

The pop bumper on Carolina might be able to knock the ball back up thru one of those rollover lanes, and it is a middle pop bumper that came before all the others you have written about. So I figured I'd mention it so credit could be given where credit was due.

LRH is not a pop bumper, just a preview of what was to come.

#62 3 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

The pop bumper on Carolina might be able to knock the ball back up thru one of those rollover lanes, and it is a middle pop bumper that came before all the others you have written about. So I figured I'd mention it so credit could be given where credit was due.
LRH is not a pop bumper, just a preview of what was to come.

The thing about Carolina is that it really isn't like all the ones which followed in terms of gameplay. The proximity of the lower pop is so far away from the flippers (and separated by lanes) that the chances of the ball returning to the flippers after it falls down there is very low. In fact it might not even happen a single time throughout a five-ball game. Whereas all of the other games which followed offer multiple encounters between the middle-pop and flippers. I think that particular give-and-take/touch-and-go aspect is a key part of what gives middle-pop games their character... yes?

Seems like splitting hairs but hey, we're doing this for posterity and future generations.

#63 3 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

The thing about Carolina is that it really isn't like all the ones which followed in terms of gameplay. The proximity of the lower pop is so far away from the flippers (and separated by lanes) that the chances of the ball returning to the flippers after it falls down there is very low.

You showed pics and metioned games that had all different proximities and locations of the middle pop bumper to the flippers. Especially on the early models. All I mentioned is which one was first.

#64 3 years ago

True... just thinking of the various ways in which to categorize everything. I think we're just looking at this from slightly different points of view. The phrase "middle-pop game" can be interpreted a couple of different ways.

In terms of gameplay, I really do think the style was established with All-Star Basketball. The back-and-forth flipper/bumper action is kind of the "main thing" when it comes to the middle-pop experience. Carolina technically has a pop bumper down there... but the proximity distance and layout is closer to flipperless/nudging games like Fun Cruise than the others which followed.

Anyway, do appreciate spotting it & if any others "pop" up, post 'em here. And keep the pics rolling from your own collections!

#65 3 years ago

I guess if Carolina doesn't have a middle pop bumper than neither does Score Board or Derby Day for that matter.

#66 3 years ago

Eh? Score-Board and Derby Day get way more flipper/pop interaction... whereas by the time the ball reaches the lower pop bumper on Carolina it's pretty much a nudge/flipperless game by that point.

No worries... I'll add it to the story as soon as I can edit it.

#67 3 years ago

No worries. I just did some more research and the pop bumper was relatively new at the time. If IPDB is correct, the first game to have one was Williams Saratoga in 1948.

So hats off to Harry, for breaking the ice, and being the first to install that wonderful device.

#68 3 years ago

A photo of "Miss Adventure" in playable condition. Photo was taken in 2014... wonder if it has received any updates since?

Miss Adventure

#69 3 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

A photo of "Miss Adventure" in playable condition. Photo was taken in 2014... wonder if it has received any updates since?

Brian is an awfully nice guy. Had the pleasure of meeting him at Expo in 2000...14...I believe? Anyhow, we exchanged some correspondence shortly thereafter. I'll shoot him a line to see what's the word on this machine.

In related news, that upper playfield looks like complete insanity. Ha-ha! Would love to try it.

#70 3 years ago

Cool beans! Let us know what the latest is. That playfield looks like it would be a lot of fun. Double opportunities for the ball to hit the middle-pop by falling through the top set of flippers onto the lower playfield... neat!

#71 3 years ago

Here's what Brian had to say:

"Good timing for the MA game, a lot of people have been asking about that one. I had kind of moth-balled it for a while because there were some game play issues that I thought couldn't be fixed. On the positive side, the pop bumper between the flippers actually worked really well, and was the best (and very fun) part of the game. It was more the flipper and ramp angles that weren't working.

But, after doing a lot of flipper development for my wide-body Steampunk Royale game (I remember you weren't thrilled with the theme, but give it a chance!), I realized that there was actually a way to fix the layout.

So, I'm in the process of re-booting that game and hopefully getting a new playfield cut this week. But will still take a while to populate, trying not to scavenge off of the old playfield. Would like to have it intact for historical reference...

If you're interested, here's a link to the Steampunk game updates:

https://www.facebook.com/SteamPunkRoyale/

...and here's a recent photo of the MA game being re-worked:

https://www.facebook.com/howtobuildapinballmachine/photos/a.504056909698381.1073741828.498124213624984/890002761103792/?type=3&theater

I'm probably not going to make it to Chicago this year, but the FAST Pinball guys are bringing my "Tattoo Mystique" game for their booth. Nothing new, it was at the show last year as well."

#72 3 years ago

Put me in the club too. I have two real nice examples of these type of games. I hadn't really thought about categorizing them or grouping them by that feature. My Magic Town and Spanish Eyes just coincidentally sit next to each other in the end of a row.

Very nice thread.

#73 3 years ago

I'm curious about the rules of Magic Town. Post a video if you can... would really like to see it in action and how it works/how generous the AAB rules are. Is the playfield artwork any different?

It was fun to research the evolution of middle-pop games and see how the designs evolved. It all started with the Freedom prototype... the story just kept getting more interesting as it unfolded. Really cool to see how Neyens/Williams influenced one another as the years progressed. After the woodrail era, Norm Clark was entirely responsible for resurrecting middle-pop games and designed all which followed (with the exception of Safari). If you listen to his interview from the TOP podcast, you will hear him say his favorite personal touch was putting a pop bumper between the flippers:

http://www.pinrepair.com/topcast/past.php

Middle-pop games are different enough to deserve their own category. They have an interesting give-and-take flow which requires a slightly different set of skills. I'm certain it was my familiarity with the Freedom prototype which helped me dominate the competition at a recent EM-only tournament. It literally threw the other players for a loop.

#74 3 years ago

That's the big downfall of Magic City, I believe the only way to score the special is to drain the ball. I wonder if they adjusted for that on Magic Town.

Seems to me it would have been good if it adapted the Gottlieb-esk rules of the lit letter also being a replay after you complete the sequence. But that might have made it too generous. But, I would expect it to reset the sequence upon scoring it on an AAB.

#75 3 years ago

There once was a pinhead named Dan
Who was not in the middle-pop clan
Then on Craigslist he buys
A nice Spanish Eyes
And his life is complete once aga'n

#76 3 years ago
Quoted from DanQverymuch:

There once was a pinhead named Dan
Who was not in the middle-pop clan
Then on Craigslist he buys
A nice Spanish Eyes
And his life is complete once aga'n

hahahaaaa

I like it.

#77 3 years ago
Quoted from DanQverymuch:

There once was a pinhead named Dan
Who was not in the middle-pop clan
Then on Craigslist he buys
A nice Spanish Eyes
And his life is complete once aga'n

+1 for limericks.

#78 3 years ago

Here's a '66 8-Ball for sale about an hour and a half from me. The price is tempting but it needs a backglass, cab repaint, playfield glass, back panel, coin mech and entry plate. For starters. The good news is it does have the correct short front legs and lockdown bar (not shown). Could be a cool project for someone with a little more ambition than I have.

madison.craigslist.org link

#79 3 years ago

Agreed. (Thanks for posting.)

#80 3 years ago

Too much work. I'd hold out for one with a good backglass.

#81 3 years ago

Does this one count?

SB (resized).jpg

#82 3 years ago

It couldn't be much more middle than that. Somehow I don't think that is what Nick had in mind. Still I'd trade you my Spanish Eyes for it.

#83 3 years ago

LOL O-din you are O-fficially hired as our keeper of pinball obscura! Good work tracking down the outliers (and love the artwork on Struggle Buggies).

I think it's a bit closer to the rest than Carolina because there's obviously more flipper/bumper interaction possible. But if we're soliciting opinions I think the distance is still a bit too far apart to offer the same type of gameplay as the rest. It looks more like a "lower-than-usual" pop bumper to me than the sort of thinking employed by Neyens/Williams/Clark.

Do keep 'em coming though. Grey areas are fun to figure out.

#84 3 years ago

Never played a game with a pop bumper almost between the flippers. Looks like fun!

#85 3 years ago

I like to be a club member and looking around it was the closest thing I have.

Until I can find an 8-Ball. It can't be that harder to find one than it was getting an Eager beaver.

#86 3 years ago
Quoted from Otaku:

I know I probably don't count but my 1966 Gottlieb Mayfair has a very unique center double kicker. Plays like a center pop game. Great game.

Similar story: Check out Norm Clark's first game he did with Williams... 1962 King Pin. A sign of things to come? Single up-kicker between the flippers and almost the same spacing as the Spanish Eyes/Fan-Tas-Tic/Freedom (and "Miss Adventure") layout.

king (resized).jpg

#87 3 years ago
Quoted from Electrocute:

Never played a game with a pop bumper almost between the flippers. Looks like fun!

Come to TPF next year! I'll likely have my Freedom prototype on the floor again.

Quoted from o-din:

I like to be a club member and looking around it was the closest thing I have.
Until I can find an 8-Ball. It can't be that harder to find one than it was getting an Eager beaver.

Oh, definitely easier. I've seen a fair number of them pop up on CL over the years due to the higher-than-typical production count.

#88 3 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

Check out Norm Clark's first game he did with Williams... 1962 King Pin. Single up-kicker between the flippers and almost the same spacing as the Spanish Eyes/Fan-Tas-Tic/Freedom (and "Miss Adventure") layout.

Very similar to Arrow Head. A game from five years earlier.

image-4 (resized).jpg

#89 3 years ago

We may need a center-upkicker-game thread. The first one I ever played was Silverball Mania.

#90 3 years ago

This one's cool because you have to nudge it as it's coming out the kicker without tilting it or it will go in the center gobble hole. Unless it's lit for specials then you want it to drop.

#91 3 years ago

Don't like upkicker games. Never mastered passing the ball before the upkicker dropped.

1 week later
#92 3 years ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

How cool! Where did you find this information? Are these layouts published anywhere? Would be cool to see the sketches!
I'll edit the text if possible to say "no further middle-pop games would be produced" and add the info... thx!

Now that I'm not scooping the Expo seminar, here are some examples:

http://backglass.org/williams/tlpdohw/tlpdohw_goofy_bottoms.jpg

#93 3 years ago
Quoted from frobozz:

Now that I'm not scooping the Expo seminar, here are some examples:
http://backglass.org/williams/tlpdohw/tlpdohw_goofy_bottoms.jpg

I.... I'm not sure I want to play that Viking

The other two, sign me up

#94 3 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

I.... I'm not sure I want to play that Viking
The other two, sign me up

On Viking a serious backflip on a lower flipper would definitely then carom off the same-side upper flipper and then do who knows what.

Harry wanted the ball to be wild, after all.

#95 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing! Catapult was obviously inspired by Spanish Eyes. Viking... wow. Gotta be some crazy ball velocity on that one!

I'm going to call the Spanish Eyes lower middle-pop layout the "castle" because it looks like it has a moat and drawbridges. The "castle layout" followed through Fan-Tas-Tic, Freedom prototype, and the recent Miss Adventure. I hope we see more!

#96 3 years ago
Quoted from frobozz:

Now that I'm not scooping the Expo seminar, here are some examples:
http://backglass.org/williams/tlpdohw/tlpdohw_goofy_bottoms.jpg

Is the seminar available online at all?

#97 3 years ago

I think one thing that dooms the "castle layout" from being commercially successful is how critical the bumper operation is to the game. On a normal game, if you have one weak or half-broken pop bumper out of 3 or 5, the game still plays OK. On Spanish Eyes, it means you have a frustrating 5-inch gap between the flippers.

#98 3 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Is the seminar available online at all?

My mom was hoping it would be I did not see anyone filming all seminars this year, like there has been in the past.

#99 3 years ago

Yes, the middle-pop HAS to be powerful and responsive! Otherwise it just doesn't work... the gameplay falls apart like having a weak/dead flipper.

#100 3 years ago
Quoted from frobozz:

My mom was hoping it would be I did not see anyone filming all seminars this year, like there has been in the past.

Did you attend the prior seminar about the "awesome overlooked EM's"?

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