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The Horrors of Pinball!

I realized the other day that something I don't talk about enough on here is pinball. Sure, I've gone on an on about video games both old and new, but what about pinball? Pinball is like the adopted son; the parents love him 'n all, just not as much as their real offspring, the video game. Well, with Halloween right around the corner, I got to thinking about pinball because some of my favorite machines have been horror-themed. Two games in particular have always been favorites of mine...

Are you ready for Freddy and his BALLS?

"Freddy: A Nightmare on Elm Street" is easily one of my favorite horror-themed pinball machine designs. There's just so much going on in it that it's impossible not to love. On top of it all, Freddy talks shit to you with his usually array of cheesy one-liners while you play. What more could you ask for?

Freddy wants to play!

I'll admit, I was never really good at this particular pinball game - probably because there were so many flashy distractions on the playfield that it was hard to keep track of where you hit the ball. The game itself is great though, featuring both "awake" and "nightmare" modes. During the nightmare modes, you'd have to keep track of multiple balls while you tried knocking them into the boiler room. Some of the best features included an animated Freddy head (which glowed while it chomped) and a Freddy glove flipper that you could actually use to flip the ball off the ramp. Unfortunately, I haven't seen this pinball machine in an arcade in a looooong time.

Kreepy and Kooky?

"The Addams Family" pin ball machine, while not nearly as flashy as the Freddy one, is easily my all-time favorite pinball game. I don't know how, but they somehow made this machine have the perfect balance of cool features without too many distractions so you can have some long games. Don't get me wrong, it's still quite a challenge; just not to the extent that it's impossible to last a few minutes on one quarter. It's not a surprise that this machine is in the top 10 of most people's "greatest pinball machines ever" lists.

Mysterious and Spooky?

Without a doubt, my favorite thing about this machine was... well... Thing! Thing would actually hide inside a red box and if your ball got close enough to it, he would pop out and steal it. One of my rules for playing the game was that I couldn't stop until I saw Thing steal the ball at least once. Other highlights included the electric chair, the train wreck and the ball getting stuck between 5 bumpers and going absolutely friggin' berserk! I also gotta say the soundtrack and sound effects with this machine were top notch - really loud speakers which helped bring you deeper into the kooky world of the Addams Family. While it's not as hard to find one of these machines as the Freddy one, they do seem to be vanishing from more and more arcades. So if your nearby arcade happens to have the machine, make sure you get in a few games before it's too late!

Some other notable horror pinball machines are the "Twilight Zone," "Elvira and the Party Monsters" (which, I swear I'm not making this up, actually had those little plastic finger puppet monster party favors as features IN the game), "Monster Bash" (hands down, one of the most colorful Pinball machines you'll ever see) and the "Creature from the Black Lagoon" (which had a badass hologram of the creature in the center of the playfield).

Speaking of the Creature from the Black Lagoon and other monsters, I just put up my huge tribute to The Monster Squad - one of my favorite 80's flicks. Check it out and let me know what ya think! Also, for some insane reason, it's not out on DVD - but just like with Gymkata, I'm hoping we can help change that. At the end of my article, you'll find the contact info for Sony/Tri-Star so you can send them a letter and tell them to release it! Please take the time to send them a letter so maybe everybody can one day see Horace kick Wolfman straight in the nards!

Survey: So what are some your favorite pinball machines? And no, you don't have to only list horror-themed ones, although you should because it's October and the monsters living in your closet will be really pissed at you if you don't.



Angryhydralisk (Guest) on 10/16/2006 3:13 pm

Three pinball machines I remember playing the most were Terminator 2, Rescue 911, and the Super Mario Bros. pinball machine. The last one was particularily fun because it integrated actual video gameplay (and fighting king koopa & his kids) to a bizarre extent.

And that Monster Squad review was so awesome it makes me want to kick somebody in the nards.


deadpixels (Guest) on 10/16/2006 3:18 pm

the Super Mario Bros. pinball machine has always been my favorite, you could even progress through the worlds from Super Mario Bros.

you could go into the castle and everything, man that was a cool machine.


D’ (Guest) on 10/16/2006 3:19 pm

We've never really had any arcades around my town, but we did have a Billiard hall with a few old 80's games, and two pinball machines.

The two pinball machines happened to be my favorite ever, and still hold up to this day. One of them was the Addam's Family pinball machine mentioned in the blog post. The other was my absolute favorite pinball machine ..

Guns & Roses

"Welcome to the Jungle, baby!" would ring out when you put your quarter in, and they even had Slash's snake pit. It was so cheesy and good ..


Mackie (Guest) on 10/16/2006 4:43 pm

My favorite pinball machines are the jurrasic park machine and hercules:The worlds biggest pinball machine. havent seen the jurrasic park one in a while but i think the hercules on is still at the theme park where i work


Rynan (Guest) on 10/16/2006 4:52 pm

I have played that "Elvira and Party Monsters" machine. It's not a particularly good pinball machine(it's really easy to loose your ball), but then again, it doesn't detect tilts(I've lifted it ten inches on it's side without any results).

Also, it's great when you get those lil' monster things to dance. That meant I did something.


Ryan (Guest) on 10/16/2006 4:59 pm

Yeah, the Addams Family pinball game was in a industrial club that I used to frequent a while back- nothing like pinball with cocktails and stompy music in the background.


Adam (Guest) on 10/16/2006 5:19 pm

"The Addams Family," "Junk Yard," "The Shadow," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Twilight Zone," "Playboy," and "Champion Pub" are all big favorites of mine.

God, I want pinball machines of my own someday...


Debra (Guest) on 10/16/2006 6:01 pm

I've played the Adams Family one... hehe Thing is definately sehr cool!


Elmind (Guest) on 10/16/2006 6:04 pm

There's one of those Nightmare on Elm Street pinball in the arcade of my city... Unfortunately I live in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Valença... If any of you happen to come here, to Valença (which I highly doubt), sent me an e-mail, ok?


figment1988/stitchfan626 (Guest) on 10/16/2006 6:41 pm

despite the fact i like almost every pinball game, the ones i remember the most is back to the Future, Black Knight 2000, Terminator 2, South Park, and Banzai Run.


Jesse B (Guest) on 10/16/2006 7:05 pm

No Twilight Zone?

For shame, -RoG- FOR SHAME!


richard (Guest) on 10/16/2006 7:06 pm

I played a really crazy awesome pinball machine that I THINK was Rock Horror, but i cant remember, all i can remember is that it was covered in dust, and i kept getting free games even though i didnt really know what I was doing, P.S., That Evil Dead shirt? I've been wearing it for 4 days, i refuse to take it off, unless its for putting on my ash costume, The Apocalypse ending for Army of Darkness blew nuts :(. P.P.S When you said i was the only person with an evil dead shirt, was that true? or sarcasm? I've only seen one person with them in canada. Me. :D


-RoG- (Guest) on 10/16/2006 7:18 pm

Angryhydralisk, thanks man, I worked really hard on that piece because it deserved a fitting tribute worthy of the mighty Horace. Let's just hope that it helps get The Monster Squad released on DVD eventually!

D', haha I forgot about that Guns 'n Roses pinball machine... definitely a classic. It almost ranks right up there with the "Journey" arcade game.

Jesse B, did you not read the entire post? I mentioned Twilight Zone along with several other noteworthy horror-themed pinball machines.


Rev. Dr. M. (Guest) on 10/16/2006 7:55 pm

I've played the Adams Family one. I remember it because the one I played flashed DON'T DO DRUGS! every 10 minutes when it was idling. Very amusing to a troupe of 10 improvisers. My all time favourite is some alien-themed one (I cannot remember the name now) that was in a bowling alley in Mar Vista, CA. I played that thing for hours on end thanks to a kind parent and a $10 bill.


Jeff Rynaski (Guest) on 10/16/2006 9:37 pm

Definately The Creature from the Black Lagoon pinball machine! The Creature (Or Lagoony, as you call him) has always been my favorite horror movie monster. And come on, that machine has some great detail!


Paranoid pirate (Guest) on 10/16/2006 10:33 pm

I never commented a rog blog before but, I love pinball machines. I really really do. But by far, my favorite is Mar's revenge! ( or something like that). It's half pinball machine have video game. It has a TV screen with different missions, such as hitting certain bumpers to make the licoln statue fight a giant alien! Oh, how I love the arcades.


Aks (Guest) on 10/16/2006 11:22 pm

Definitely The Simpsons one. Its so hilarious when you loose a ball because once in a blue moon Homer yells "DOH!" and it just cracks everyone up. Ive SEEN the Super Mario one but Ive never played it. I was SO DAMN CLOSE to playing it too except it was out of order. :( But still I love the living crap out of The Simpsons one. If your ever in the St. Louis area (which I doubt becase you just friggin moved) send me an e-mail and Ill show it to you. Ill buy. :)


X (Guest) on 10/17/2006 12:03 am

I think the Addam's Family machine is the only pinball machine I actually remember. I've played many forgettable ones.

Also, I was aware that "dork" originally a slang term for penis. Gary Larson tried to use "dork" in one of his strips but it was denied by his editor for it's orginal meaning.


Kenny/Riot.EXE (Guest) on 10/17/2006 12:54 am

yeah...I have the Addams Family Pinball game at my job (I work in an arcade) and its actually up for sale (for 2,000.00?) although I never sat down and played the thing ever...even when it was new...

although...another notable one(and I only know because its the second of 3 we have at my job) is the "The Machine: Bride of Pin-Bot" pinball game...if only for its so-close-to-porn-its-ridiculous artwork...and my co worker, Billy, got it to say "All your base are belong to us" on its attract mode...


Jesse B (Guest) on 10/17/2006 1:25 am




NotDavid (Guest) on 10/17/2006 1:27 am

I played a soccer pinball machine in my arcade for like 2 hours straight. It was pretty scary, so it counts.


Shane Skekel (Guest) on 10/17/2006 2:27 pm

My favorites are Super Mario World, Fire Queen (I know one guy that owned that pin in his garage) and Robocop.

Speaking of Pinball, have any of you heard of the three pinball/videogame hybrids of the early-to-mid '80s such as
Granny and the Gators


Tim Capps (Guest) on 10/17/2006 5:19 pm

My favorite is the Demolition Man machine thats in my gameroom right now. Its the only one I own, and its my favorite because Sly actually owned the machine. Williams presented it to after the movie was released and for lending his lovely radio voice for the games sound. My friends Dad bought the machine from a auction Sly had awhile back for some charity, and my friends parents were moving into a smaller home. There was a choice either the pool table or Rocky's pinball machine. I got BOTH.
So Demolition Man is my favorite


Andrew (Guest) on 10/17/2006 11:38 pm

I really had lots of fun with Twilight Zone. God, I could play a single game for like 30 minutes on that baby!


the boy (Guest) on 10/18/2006 8:57 am

Here's a real man's pinball game.

And what the hell does "12/09/97 - NEVER FORGET" mean? Is Horace fucking dead? Don't tell me Horace is dead?

Holy shit... I just looked it up. Horace is dead. And he died when he was 22!? What the fuck? This is terrible. How could I not have known this!?

There is no justice.


J. Tithonus Pednaud (Guest) on 10/18/2006 9:43 am

Like a few others here, I have to give props to The Twilight Zone pinball marchine. I've played a lot of pinball in my time, but that one was so much damn fun! You could play it for an hour or more on a single run.


Keith (Guest) on 10/18/2006 1:31 pm

God bless my parents who bought a used "strange science" pinball machine and put it in our basement when I was a kid. A good machine and most importantly for kids-who-lack-income-sources, it was of course free... Except when my parents wanted to mess with us.


i-mock-you- (Guest) on 10/18/2006 1:37 pm

Oh man... I've played that Adams Family one. A recent find at a hotel this summer was ALIEN SPACE INVADERS!!!! (it was actually capitalized & punctuated like that.) The whole playing field looked like it was out of a cheesy Sci-Fi movie. It had a "black hole" which swallowed your ball never to be seen again, a UFO, and classic little green men alien figures standing on the bumpers!

Easily one of my favorite games ever.


Kenny/Riot.EXE (Guest) on 10/18/2006 5:02 pm

oh yeah...another cool one I remember WAY back in the day was this pac man pinball game...I can't remember if it was "Baby Pac Man" or "Pac Man Jr." but it was a fusion of pinball and an actual game of pac man...joystick and all...I remember having fun with it at this gas station I used to live near back when I lived in Houston...anyone else remember the game? (and/or the correct name for it at least?)


Richard (Guest) on 10/18/2006 6:03 pm

Oh fine -RoG- Ignore me like that :( I saw the robocop one too!


Rev. Dr. M. (Guest) on 10/18/2006 6:34 pm

Alien Space Inavders! That was the one in the bowling alley! i-mock-you, I can't believe somebody else has seen this one!


Sejanoz (Guest) on 10/18/2006 11:43 pm

My favourite non-horror pinball game: Rocky & Bullwinkle. What got me was that you could make Bullwinkle pull different animals out of a hat.

My favourite horror pinball game: The Addams Family, for obvious reasons.

RoG, you mentioned one called 'Monster Bash'. This wouldn't happen to be based on an certain Apogee PC game, would it?


-RoG- (Guest) on 10/19/2006 4:20 am

the boy, yep, Horace is actually dead, hence the date I included. I'm convinced that the world is lost without him.

Richard, it was obviously sarcasm.

Sejanoz, hrm, I don't think it's based on the Apogee one, here's a link to the Pinball machine. I'll definitely have to look into that Monster Bash Apogee game though. I loved their games such as Commander Keen 'n what not.


Sejanoz (Guest) on 10/19/2006 11:22 pm

*sigh* Sadly, it's not. The Apogee game is definately worth checking out, though.


Ryan (Guest) on 10/22/2006 11:20 am

Awesome list. I remember the Addams family one never seen the freddy one, anywhere. Though there is a mini golf place by me and I believe they still have the Elvira pinball machine.


Billy (Guest) on 10/22/2006 11:27 pm

Haunted House is another cool horror theme pinball. It had three different playfields in it. The main playfield, a lower cellar, and an upper level to the attic.


shekk (Guest) on 11/02/2006 1:35 pm

I cannot believe noone mentioned "funhouse"

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