austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Still, I will go with not a tear, just a prayer

Among the highlights at the VFW Ann Arbor Pinball Museum Whatever You Name It: they had a Roller Coaster Tycoon table. Barely two weeks after playing it in virtual form, in Pinball At The Zoo, for the first time we could play the actual machine. It's pretty appealing, really, and a couple bits of it seem to be drawn from the Comet/Cyclone/Hurricane string of roller coaster/amusement park-themed games. I think I could get the hang of this game.

They also had Varkon, a 1982 attempt to make pinball as popular as video games by putting a pinball machine in a video game cabinet. The intent behind the game is a bit mysterious. The game has joysticks rather than flipper buttons, and you stand up and watch a vertical screen, courtesy of a signal-splitter type glass display. The pinball table is underneath and horizontal like normal. It's not a very exciting table, probably because it can't be any longer front-to-back than a standard video game cabinet is. So it seems like this should annoy serious pinball players who want a real table and disappoint video game players who want invading alien ghosts inflating penguins till they explode. Also, why joysticks to do the work of a flipper button? It feels like the original project drifted off-course somehow.

They also had Solar City, another of the rethemed rereleases of El Dorado. On this game I was able to get two-thirds of the way to a rollover. On the other hand, on the second ball of the appealing 1978 table Gemini I scored a perfect zero. Modern tables will give you the ball back if you fail utterly like that. This was too old a game for generous treatment like that.

You might faintly remember a video popular about a year back, of a pinball caught between some pop bumpers perfectly, bouncing back and forth with no end in sight. That was at last year's Michigan Pinball Expo. This year, on Af-Tor, the only commercial pinball made by joystick company Wico, the same thing happened to bunny_hugger. It got caught in an infinite loop between the bumper and a kicker. The same happened for MWS, and it happened for me too, though a different bumper and kicker. Apparently the bumper is a little too lively right now. We had to tilt the game to get it loose each time, and we weren't the only people to do this. On the other hand, a lot of people got pinball-infinite-loop videos.

Also, they had Secret Service, and while the glass was taken off for some kind of repairs a couple times over the night the game was working much of the evening. It was among my first loves, and now that I'm well-versed in pinball gaming I can say that yes, it's a kind of a clunky game. But it's got some great music --- the themes to Secret Agent Man and Mission: Impossible and even a Get Smart multiball; and at the end of the game it plays Nobody Does It Better with the basic sound system even deploying a couple ``bay-buh bay-buh''s at the appropriate moment, the only word sung --- and some sweet shots, and it was the game I was playing as the six hours in the hall ended and they turned off everything. I was on the right table for the close of the night.

Trivia: Before George Pullman's Pioneer sleeper car no railway car had cost more than $5,000 to build. Source: The Story Of American Railroads, Stewart H Holbrook.

Currently Reading: 2018 AD, or the King Kong Blues, Sam J Lundwall.

PS: Duality, fundamental and profound, but here's a starter for you --- reblogging from someone who happened to mention duals, which I wrote about in a post earlier this week. And yes, I figure this as making six posts in six days. I'm a bit exhausted too.

Tags: pinball
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