Recently was sent via email the 3 part article that PinGame Journal published several years ago about PM.
A few things I found interesting:
There used to be a rabbit in one the prototypes in the hat that would lift up. Was taken out as Mark Ritchie felt is would become monotonous.
Plans were for a musical theme for each magician, but lack of Eprom space didn't allow for this.
Mark Ritchie's wife is the voice of Matra Magna, Mark Ritchie is Mister Mystique, and the critics voices are loosely inspired by the two critics from the Muppet Show.
Mark Ritchie states "I didn't do a lot of design work" and he mentored Bryan Hansen and Python who worked on playfield design and came up with many of the ideas for the toys.
On a prototype there was a house with a chimney behind the drops and after you knocked the drops down, you entered the house or dropped in through the chimney.
Some of the Easter eggs and artwork reflects Big Willy's (Williams) attempts to make things hard on getting this game made. There's a plastic on the game that says "Big Bad Willy vs The Elephant Man." Williams reportedly hired a detective to spy on the team including going through the company's trash, looking into the company's windows, taking photos of employees, looking into their contracts and other things. There's another plastic with a guy running off with "magic plans." There's also a guy holding binoculars up to his eyes referring to the spying going on by Williams-wow! They had guys in cars and in bushes with binoculars spying. They were reportedly even going through the engineer's garbage at his home-crazy! Don't know if all of the above is true, but guys in the article insist it is.
Capcom was first called GameStar. For awhile, the pinball division called each other "Those 3 guys" because they didn't have a name yet for their division. They had 3 guys starting the pinball division and changed the name as they added people by changing the number, ie. "Those 4 Guys" etc.
Bryan Hansen per Python's encouragement before they worked for Capcom presented to Williams some ideas about making a magic themed pinball. These included the magic wand and other ideas, but Williams said they couldn't be done. Later on Mark Ritchie reportedly didn't believe the skill shot could be made possible to work. So a lot to overcome to make ideas into reality.
Because of patents and threats of lawsuits and because they wanted to do some new things, the flippers, operating system, hardware and of course the toys all had to be made from scratch. Even had to find new vendors as many wouldn't use Capcom that were using Williams already.
The elephant references in the game are because the president of Capcom Japan, Tsujimoto, liked elephants. Kenzo Tsujimoto is balancing an elephant on his finger on the BG. Tsujimoto means the great wise elephant and elephants are a symbol of prestige.
These start the hidden video modes:
Initials BWL and NTD.