(Topic ID: 260351)

Working on a Pinball History Piece. I Need Your Comments

By davidlldennis

2 years ago



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  • 3 posts
  • 3 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by snyper2099
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#1 2 years ago

Hey Fellas,

I'm working on a couple of pinball history pieces and I'd love to add comments from the community to add differing opinions and lines of thought.

Can you post below some memories, thoughts, critics (art, layout, electronics etc.), happy moments and angry rage tilts on the following topics:

Steve Ritchie
Atari
Early 80's Williams

Airborne Avenger
Flash
Superman (Atari Pinball)
Stellar Wars
Firepower
Black Knight
Hyperball

#2 2 years ago

I have followed the history of coin-op games since the mid-1960s. My dominant memory of the topics you list: the outsized influence of Atari. When Atari announced that they were diversifying from video games into pinball, the existing pinball manufacturers of the time (Gottlieb, Williams, Bally, Allied Leisure, and the soon-to-be-defunct Chicago Coin) were intimidated. When Atari revealed that their games would have very wide playfields, the main manufacturers were sufficiently spooked that they started developing their own super-wide cabinets. Stellar Wars is an example of a super-wide game, and it is not well regarded now due to its overly horizontal mode of play. The wide Atari games are also not highly regarded by players, especially the ones with non-traditional positioning of the
lower flippers. Airborne Avenger had traditional lower flippers, making it one of the better designs from Atari. By the time of the pinball contraction of 1983-84, we were already looking back at the super-wide playfields as an expensive mistake.
.................David Marston

#3 2 years ago

Steve Ritchie - The most important thing with Ritchie is really that Ritchie constantly pushed things forward in pinball. Not only that, his attention to how the game made the player FEEL when a successful shot is made. He is a master at using peripheral lights and sounds that do not take away from your pinball groove/flow. In my opinion, he was the pioneer for applying this to his games. They were the first to tell a story where the player actually felt like they were part of the game itself.

Sidenote: Ritchie is rarely credited with the tube wireform ball guides that 100's of machines used after he created them for High Speed. Looking at all the games he designed after HS, he constantly looked for new ways and mechs to make pinball entertaining. Yes, all designers "borrow" from each other but how many games had wireform ramps after Ritchie thought they were a good idea?

Atari (Should have stuck to only arcades, computers, and video games. They entered the marked right when pinball was tanking!)
Early 80's Williams (others can chime in)

-----If you really want the raw truth, Atari held Ritchie back. In a way, it's great that they ultimately failed, because he may have never worked at Willaims, had that not happened.

Airborne Avenger - eh not that important, a so-so game with fantastic artwork.
Flash - eh, not that important. First US pin with flashers but gameplay is so-so.
Superman (Atari Pinball) - it's fun and the art and gameplay is among Atari's best.
Stellar Wars - Focus seemed to be on incorporating sounds and constant ball action.
Firepower -2nd most memorable game for currently middle aged men. Only game on this list that was the #1 game to play, on the day it was released and was only surpassed by High Speed, about 5 years later.
Black Knight -most memorable game for currently middle aged men
Hyperball -great idea but not great pinball

Yeah, my favorite designer by far. I really do not think I would even like pinball today, had he not created the games that he did. I grew up playing his games HS, Getaway, T2, F-14, Rollergames, STTNG. Had no idea how important they really were until 15 years after playing them.

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