(Topic ID: 123359)

Whats your favorite four player em game


By gatordad

4 years ago



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#33 4 years ago
Quoted from novaguy:

Unless you're competing, multi player games suck because every ball is the first ball.

Once, I asked a friend what he thought of a certain multi-player EM game. His smirking reply was, "It's more fun to compete!" which told me what I needed to know. Ha. But, I'm going to reprint below from another thread a long thing I wrote about that, just because why not and also it took me a while to compose it. Here it is, freshly re-edited in places for clarity:

Quoted from I_P_D_B:

People often say that multiplayer EMs had no ability to retain the playfield settings from player to player and that the games just reset everything after every ball. While I can think of examples where that is exactly true, I am going to be the annoying guy who plays with semantics and say that quite a few multiplayer EMs actually DID retain the playfield settings from player to player, and these settings did NOT just reset after every ball. Quite a few multiplayer EMs are like this.

What I think people mean to say is that these games did not allow each player to accumulate features that were not also available to the other players to collect. That these games did not allow for private progression for each player but had features for shared progression. That it is the solid state games which retain "for each player", not "from player to player".

Here's what I mean:

Certain EM features let the next player's ball start out with whatever the previous player left for him/her. Games like Williams 4-player Whoopee and Gottlieb's 2-player Sunset have 5 steel balls in the center looping feature that do not reset for each player. What one player does with that feature is there for the next player to deal with. Gottlieb's 2-player Wild Wild West (and maybe also Lariat) have the unique vari-targets that stay "pushed" until collected by either player. Games that have roto-targets may not spin them at the start of a player's ball so whatever target value (and target bonus multiplier, don't forget) that the last player left exposed is what the next player gets. If the targets do spin at the start of each ball, this still means the playfield is not identical for each ball. Gottlieb's 2-player Seven Seas, the 2-player Mayfair, and Bally 2-player Twin Win each have two bonus ladders available to either player that stay until collected by either player. You don't start over like at 1st ball. Community features, shall we say?

So, this is why I say that these playfield settings do indeed retain "from player to player". These carry-over features do not reset after every ball. Quite a few multiplayer EM games are like that. You can probably think of more. In this way, people who press off 2nd, 3rd, and 4th player are not exactly playing individual 1-player games simultaneously on the same machine with no feature progression. I'm just seeking to counter that specific perception if you are not an EM player.

If you have never played a multi-player EM game with these carry-over features, except all by yourself, then you may not fully appreciate the built-in challenges they present in terms of competition game play. Unlike what my friend meant, it's more fun to compete but in an enhanced way because you can collect on another player's hard work and vice versa.

Yet, even without competition play, you enjoy feature progression. Even if you play all by yourself as just the 1st Player, the fact that these features carry over and do not reset means that you are able to build on what you achieved on previous balls, just like the standard 1-player machines.

In addition to the 1968 2-player "Pit Stop" game mentioned earlier, other Williams games like 1966 "8 Ball" and 1971 "Strikes and Spares", both 2-players, also carry over at least one feature from ball to ball.

Hmm.. interesting, I just noticed that eight of the ten games that I mentioned are pre-1970s. I've mentioned Gottlieb, Williams, and Bally. Could it be that the 70's games put an end to this ball-to-ball carry-over through some type of standardization... such as... I just thought of this... that ubiquitous outhole bonus ladder that was seldom used prior to 1970 but had a resurgence that never subsided starting with Gottlieb's 1970's 2-player Snow Derby and 4-player Snow Queen? You'll notice how the multi-player games that followed seemed to jump on having that outhole bonus ladder feature. The pre-70's games I mentioned here do not have outhole bonus ladders. Even the three games I mentioned that did have bonus ladders did not collect them at the outhole. Did the outhole bonus ladder kill EM multi-player carry-over? Hmm... I may be onto something here.

Could it also be because these 70's outhole bonus ladder games are more well known, are more of them, and are what many of today's EM players are used to seeing, is what keeps the thought alive that (all) multi-player EM games always reset for each ball? It's true that many people think that. Maybe that's what is going on. Maybe readers can think of examples from the 70's that carry-over.

See, this is why I gotta stay away from the forums. I cannot write one or two lines and shut up! What brought me here today is that someone asked me to talk about a certain multi-player EM that few people know about that I think is great fun and I was looking for the proper thread to talk about it, but look what I posted instead! He's not going to like that I didn't talk about that game!

Jay

#35 4 years ago

Hi David,

No specific goal behind these things I next write. I like to brainstorm out-loud.

Gary Flower also suggested "coil count" as a governor in this evolution when he called me this morning but I'm not quite seeing how that could be solely responsible. He suggested I ask Greg Kmiec. I wish I could ask Ed Krynksi who designed Snow Derby/Queen what was it that put him on to the bonus ladder thing.

I know correlation is not causation and the outhole bonus ladder may be just another consequence of the same driver(s) that I imagine. I gotta notice the multi-player carry-over seems to show up more in the pre-70 games. Even if we agree that the increase in deployment of the outhole bonus ladder after Snow Derby/Queen was permissible under a coil count governor, did its popularity with players have an ultimate final cost to the player, unwittingly? Did players love Snow Derby/Queen (and games that immediately followed also with a ladder) and begin to want to earn their own scores all by themselves? Was it the exciting score boost at the end of each ball, just for them, that they loved? Was this response from the player evidenced by increased cashbox profits from these games which had this outhole ladder feature, which drove designers to make more games having it, thus putting in the designer's mind a focus on individual achievement and an exciting bonus payoff, and focusing less on shared progression, thus representing a change of theology in their playfield designing? In this way, did the players themselves drive shared progression off of the playfield, turning many multi-player EMs into the "boring" games we now hear about because they reset after every ball? Were players themselves the driver that made these (1970's) multi-player games boring to them now?

That's really as far as I intended to go with that stream of thought of the moment, but now I am brain-storming some more: Did players begin to turn into individual-players and not community-players? Was a tide turning as far back as 1970? If so, solid state games aren't helping it. I could argue that most solid state games, whether 2-player or 4-player, with their memory-and-recall are nothing more than 1-player games with simultaneous play, the players are interleaved ball by ball, insulated from each other (except, for example, Bugs Bunny Birthday Ball, where players' scores can be swapped). You can't say that about the player-to-player carry-over of older EMs. Ok, I see I am heading into dark territory here pitting EM against Solid State and I might start a range war. Stopping.

Gordon Hasse wrote me this morning to say "Every Gottlieb multi-player from their first (SUPER JUMBO, October 1954) through FLAG-SHIP (January 1957) had a build-up bonus (or bonuses) that could be collected via a gobble hole, target or rollover at any point in its progression by any player. Later Gottlieb multi-players, beginning with MAJESTIC (February 1957) incorporated the popular roto-target feature." Notice that Gordon wrote, "by any player". Gordon says that Wayne Neyens insists that the multi-player saved the day for pinball. Since Wayne had to have meant the 1950's, he'd be talking about a period of time when multi-player Gottliebs were steeped in shared progression. Maybe I will ask him if he recalls just what about the multi-player experience back then kept the cashbox full, beyond what I can guess for myself.

#37 4 years ago
Quoted from dmarston:

I have no recollection of any group of players deliberately playing in multi-player mode for purposes of community scoring.

Let me make sure I do not diverge here. I've been saying "community features" but you've just introduced the phrase "community scoring". Do we agree that we are NOT referring to any cooperation between players to "beat" the machine (earn awards, replays, etc.) through these carry-over features? Do we agree that "community scoring" does not imply that? If we adopt that phrase in our thinking moving forward, we may find that an unwanted inference will pop up in the minds of others causing us to have to explain it out of them.

I suppose I cannot see players jumping with anticipation to play a game *primarily* because of community features, but I could see it in an indirect way when players return to a game to play it again and again. Wayne said multi-player games saved the day, which means they were played again and again, and per Gordon the multi-player Gottliebs from 1954 to 1957 had community features. It must have been an acceptable part of competition play for which players anticipated when they stepped up to a game to compete.

I don't necessarily want to say that even designers back then had a theology of community features but that maybe they only stayed with what made the money. Nor do I want to say that such a design theology ever existed right up to before Snow Queen/Derby. I'm only theorizing that a "feedback loop of higher revenues", starting with the outhole bonus ladder games Snow Queen/Derby, may have helped create a theology moving forward that de-emphasized and ultimately excluded community features. I should clarify that by saying "theology" I am not insisting it was a documented practice but likely a general understanding in a designer's mind of what's been working based on the feedback loop. But, okay, perhaps it became any number of "deliberate design guidelines" as you put it. Such guidelines fit into this discussion and now I know at least one existed at Gottlieb for multi-player games. Did Alvin or Wayne elaborate on why that guideline came about, and when?

So, your experience with the revenue feedback loop *began* with Snow Queen/Derby?

Always great input from you, David.

#41 4 years ago

David> I'm not yet prepared to agree to that. I can think of instances where players would cooperate to figure out what the match number would be, so other conspiracies seem plausible.

Other (player) conspiracies seem plausible for... what? Towards a post-1970 decline and demise of community features? Or something else you had in mind?

Jay

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