We stopped on the return, though, because of the Pinball Pete's arcade. It's an arcade we happen not to have got in before, though it's got both Ann Arbor and East Lansing locations, as quite a few shops have. bunny_hugger had taken it to be an Ann Arbor business that colonized the Michigan State University ecosystem; it turns out to be the other way around. Neither of us were sure whther there'd be any pinball, or more than a token pinball, presence, but they had a healthy number of machines there. Some of them are indisputible classics, including Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Addams Family. Some are of newer vintage, like Pirates of the Caribbean or Lord of the Rings, neither of which we understood well enough to play competently. I think they also need a slightly longer ball save time. (We saw, but did not touch, the Tron Legacy game.)
They also had one of the two ``Pinball 2000'' machines, Star Wars Episode I. This was an attempt by Bally/Williams to make pinball machines which had all the visual effects and animation and different modes that people want in modern games, with a minimum of the physical props and tokens that keep breaking and make arcade owners hate pinball machines. Unfortunately this means almost all the stuff that moves --- you know, the stuff that makes the pinball attractive --- is just the reflected video monitor, so why not just play a video game? The bigger problem is one I found in gameplay, that you can pretty much do nothing but center shots and build your way to the high score table without ever being really challenged. (And I did get the ``Jedi Youth'' high score; I couldn't figure how to beat Darth Maul in the fight.) This might have been solvable; the other Pinball 2000 entry, Revenge From Mars, is better, but Bally/Williams gave up on pinball by then. And even then it's mostly a game of center shot after center shot.
The game has various short clips from the movie, and a tiny bit of Jar-Jar and Pre-Teen Annikin after a decade or so in which I haven't seen the movie caused me to realize that actually they are pretty much that annoying and it's hard to figure out what was supposed to be the appealing part of the movie, other than the robots that kind of have that kangaroo look going.
Trivia: Among the names of Jurassic-era rocks found in Dorset, England, are the Wild Beds, the Red Bed, the Snuff-Box Limestone, the Forest Marble,the White Sponge Limestone, the Scroff, the Zigzag Bed, and the Yellow Conglomerate. Source: Th Map That Changed The World, Simon Winchester.
Currently Reading: The Airships Akron and Macon: Flying Aircraft Carriers Of The United States Navy, Richard K Smith. You know, there's some odd similarities between the airships and the Space Shuttle, it seems to me. I must learn more and work out whether there are meaningful parallels.