Among the rarities the Vintage Flipper World Ann Arbor Pinball Hall of Fame Museum had this year: Firefly, an electromechanical developed in 1973 but not produced. It's got a theme of a man collecting firefly-women in jars, based on the pencilled line art on the bare wood surface. It's a little creepy, really. That the backglass has a giant firefly-woman holding the man in a jar himself balances things a little bit. I don't know how authentic the pencilled art is to what the original 1973 plan was. (The Internet Pinball Database has a picture of the designed layout, but none of the artwork.) But you can see how, back then, a centerpiece of a guy holding a jar with a trapped fairy-firefly-woman inside up to his face to leer at would pass without comment and maybe that's not what we should be writing about now.
There were more old or novel games to explore. Loop-the-Loop, a 1966 Bally game with an amusement park theme, including roller coasters on the backglass and playfield. No ramps, as the technology didn't allow for them yet. bunny_hugger right away has the key strategy in mind: shoot the bonus-collection scoop. I understand the strategy but can't do it. Still, the game's close for my not being able to play.
I have hopes of playing Allied's 1976 Thunder Bolt, which sure looks like it's got a superhero or maybe goddesses theme. But there's no credits on the game and apparently it can't be automatically set to free play. We have to wait for staff to be done fixing a nearby game to get this one started.
We get games in on Gottleib's Class of 1812, a wonderfully silly game with 90s-style Gottleib obscure rules and imbalanced scoring. And get to play another novelty, Gottleib's 1988 Robo War. Possibly Warning.... Robo War, if you read the MICR-typeface lettering on the backglass literally. It's got a wonderfully tinny computer voice suggesting the next target to hit. Also a majestically thumpy 80s background music; I joke that Total Nuclear Annihilation uses its soundtrack and I'm not positive I'm wrong. We have very good games, and both enter our initials on the high score table. They seem to reset the high score tables just before public events like this; we'd set a couple of high scores and our names would be off of Warning.... Robo War by the end of the night. On the other hand my grand championship on Black Rose, set in November, is still there. (On 90s-and-later games you can set the high score table to reset after a certain number of plays, so that the players of today are not lost under the giants of a past age. But you can also set the Grand Champion reset to be separate from the rest of the high score table, and that's probably what happened there.)
Eventually I get to the solid-states that interested me so. Bally's 1986 Black Belt, which bunny_hugger had played at Pinburgh. I threaten to have a runaway game as I get the hang of the most difficult shot, one where you have to hit the ball onto a ramp using a small upper flipper that's rotated 180 degrees from normal. The ball gets stuck and while we could easily open the unlocked machine and free it ourselves, that's also grounds for ejection. We have to find staff and wait for them. It doesn't wreck my flow, though.
We finally find a Party Animals that's in working condition. It's another of the late-80s games that seem to be at least a bit furry, or maybe just cartoony. The Party Animals get a cameo in The Party Zone, a sequel also to Doctor Dude. bunny_hugger has a better handle on the game than I do.
Trivia: The last BMT train under company management rolled out of the 57th Street/7th Avenue station at 11:55 pm on 31 May 1940. Source: 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York, Clifton Hood.
Currently Reading: Hero-A-Go-Go: Campy Comic Books, Crimefighters, and Culture of the Swinging Sixties, Michael Eury.
PS: Who's The Most Improved Pinball Player? A question asked at league.
PPS: My last pictures of Keansburg!
My madeline train ride, catching the complicated lights of evening, with the crescent moon above.
And I promised we'd come back to the Keansburg Amusement Park approach arch, didn't I? Here it is, lit up and almost showing off what the sign's colors look like.
The log flume and the Sea Serpent kiddie coaster, put to bed for the night.