At a certain point in the history of pinball, the most creative designers looked for ways to bring elements of a pinball theme to life in the physical pinball hardware itself - this is Mechanical Theme Integration (MTI).
A good example of MTI is the spinning house in WOZ which spins like in the movie while incorporating the goal of continuing to shoot the pinball around the house in a tornado-like fashion. Going even further, the house landing on the wicked witch of the East is further put into hardware by having her legs actually pop out right before our eyes. MM and AFM are also good examples from the 90's.
Now there are many different ways that a theme can come to life in a pinball machine, for example, it can be done in very simplified ways (object on spring) or on digital displays. But sadly, in recent years it seems like there is less attention given for actual mechanical theme integration.
However, some of us still yearn for more mechanical theme integration in our new games and are waiting to see what the future will bring.
Question 1: What do you think are the best examples of mechanical theme integration in pinball? (please attach a picture to your post if you can)
Question 2: When it comes to mechanical theme integration, do you think the best days are behind us or are you optimistic about the future?