That is indeed a fair question. How has this mod breathed new life into the gameplay of this old EM machine? Purists please take a deep breath while iI argue that in my opinion adding this multiball mod has actually returned this game to its designers originally intended balance in terms of rewards and game objectives. Does that sound weird? Does that make any sense? Well here is my thinking on that:
If you own this game (Pioneer or Spirit of '76 or New York) you know that the hole shot is extremely risky. So risky in fact that you will not aim for the hole shot unless it is lit for the extra ball. Even the double bonus isn't worth aiming for unless you have already locked in that extra ball. Before I added the multiball mod I never purposely aimed for the special. Not ever. The hole shot is just sooo risky! Plus it just wasn't satisfying to collect the special. Before multiball the special was only worth a wimpy 10k in points accompanied by a pathetic knocking sound. That knocking sound was empty and worthless to me of course because this game is in my basement and I have it set to free play. Another free credit? Yeah thanks. But how about now?! Well now hitting special unlocks the amazing multiball!!! Special is now the ultimate prize in the game play. Also now with 2 balls zinging around the points really do start to add up. Its like when the millenium falcon goes into hyperdrive. I also now totally brag to my entire family when I unlock the multiball. Of course only those few others that have actually unlocked the multiball for themselves seem to be able appreciate this and they also totally brag to me when they nail it. Multiball doesn't get unlocked by accident. Yes it requires a good amount of luck but you also definitely have to have some skill to make a lot of shots before you achieve it. And guess what? That's what the designers originally intended for the special.
I'm currently in a dry spell of 3 days now of playing this game solid with no multiball action. Over those 3 days I haven't unlocked multiball even once. a few times I've turned on the camera so that I could upload a video of me acheiving multiball gameplay to youtube. But I actually can't seem to nail it on demand. I've come close though... real close... tantalizingly close. It has definitely added that "just one more game" feeling. I've now got the multiball itch and I'm trying to scratch it daily.
The other thing about it is with Pioneer (like with so many other multiplayer EM games) once the special is lit all the targets are down and all the roll overs are lit so there ain't much else (or anything else really) to do except max the points. But now forget that, lets try to unlock the multiball frenzy. And I'll tell you the multiball frenzy is actually really really fun. Its fast and sometimes its brief but its always nuts. I now find myself trying to unlock multiball instead of trying to max the points. Unlocking multiball has become a stand-alone satisfying objective. Now that the game is modded I am suddenly starting to appreciate how the designers originally balanced the scoring and rewards of this game. Now that games like Pioneer are in basements and set to freeplay the "special" free credit has sadly and completely lost its special-ness. This mod totally revives the rewarding nature of hitting the special. I think that's a good thing. Now when I'm playing this game voice in my head says "hit the special" every time instead of saying "ignore the special" every time. Now I've even tried to hit the special before the free ball was even lit. It now actually makes sense from a risk/reward perspective to hit special without first locking in the extra ball whereas before the multiball mod that would have been pure madness. Please excuse me now I'm going to power up the machine and try to scratch that multiball itch again.