Monday, 15 April 2013

Gottlieb's Hot Shot from 1973

Rack 'em up! with Gottlieb's Hot Shot.

Card and pool themes were very common in the 60's and 70's with all the manufacturers.  Hot Shot nails the theme perfectly, and if you're a fan of drop targets, you're going to love this!

The 2 player version of this game called Big Shot has been emulated on pretty much any digital platform you can think of via the excellent Pinball Arcade software.  Check it out if you haven't already.

So the objective is pretty straight forward.  There are 2 banks of 7 drop targets.  Solids on the left, Stripes on the right. The 8 ball is scored via the kick out hole just below the bumper.
Knock down the whole bank of either solids or stripes plus the eight ball, and go for the Special by hitting the alternating targets either side of the bumper.

You can also score big points on the last ball of the game with triple bonus automatically lit, which can make things very interesting in multi player games.

There's really nothing bad to say about this game.  It's a target shooters dream.  If you like the digital version, you'll love the real thing!

Monday, 8 April 2013

1984 Black Pyramid from Bally/Midway

1983/4 was a dark period for pinball.  So how does Black Pyramid stack up?

This game was released at the time when video was king.  You know something is up when production runs from Bally are around 2000 units compared to the late 70's when they were pumping out 10,000+ of most titles.

So due to the lower numbers, some cost cutting measures were in order.  Crappy chipboard cabinets with pealing decals instead of painted designs. The speech board has been dropped, plus pretty much zero innovation on the playfield.  Black Pyramid could have been released back in 1979 and probably would have sold 10,000 units.

So, if you don't care about all the nerdy stuff above, what is the game like?.

Well the one in the video was immaculate.  For whatever reason it has had very little use, and you could tell by how smooth it played and how tight everything felt.  On the night it was played constantly for hours and everyone raved about it.

I have a feeling if this particular game was in lesser condition it probably wouldn't have received so much love, as there's really not much going on with a swing target in the middle, and some inline drops on the right.  The other main shot is the left lane up to the top saucer. 

It's not a bad game.  I wouldn't say no to one if the price was right (crazy cheap).  Keep it for a little while and flip it.  It's an attractive looking game.  I don't mind the art at all, so it's not like it would be hard to move on.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Pointy People! - Williams Love Bug from 1971

The late Christian Marche was the king of the "Pointy People" an art style known as Cubism which was popular back in the late 60's, early 70's on Williams and Bally games.

I don't mind the pointy people art in small doses.  1972 Williams Swinger is a favourite of mine.

Anyway.  Love Bug is a great little single player Add A Ball version of Doodle Bug, and the 4 Player Dipsy Doodle.

Even though the playfield may look a little sparse, there's actually a fair bit going on with 5 snappy bumpers, a kickout hole, a bunch of standup targets, rollover buttons and lanes, Up Post between the flippers, Ball return gate to the shooter lane, and of course the Doodle Bug!, which is a captive ball below the playfield that gets smacked back and forth.

So lighting 1 2 3 4 will light the Extra Ball target which is located in the middle of the bank of three stand up targets above the doodle bug.  The 2 outside targets in the bank of 3 will start the doodle bug feature which will constantly score the lit value until you either lose the ball or roll over a button or hit a certain target to switch it off.  Oh, so I'll just trap the ball while the doodle bug is going, and clean up?.  Nope, not gonna happen because there are gaps between the flipper and slingshot so you cant trap the ball.  Sneaky!

It's a really cool game, and I have seen people walk up to play it without expecting much.  20 minutes later and they are still there playing :)

The game in the video had a bit of an issue where the ball kept on bouncing back into the top hole all the time, making it a bit easy.  However, I played it recently and it's much better :)