Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Roller Coaster Tycoon at The Ballroom

Hello all! Our first review will be on Stern's Roller Coaster Tycoon!

The machine, based on the top-selling PC-CD game, was released in 2002, the same year in which Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 was released. I have fond memories of playing the PC game so I was excited to find a RCT machine, based on the top-selling PC-CD game, last year in Windsor. At first, I was not a big fan of the machine but when I found it recently at The Ballroom, a fancy bowling alley and bar, I really started to enjoy RCT.

Roller Coaster Tycoon, based on the top-selling PC-CD game, was designed by Pat Lawlor. For those who are not in the know, Lawlor designed machines such as Addams Family and Twilight Zone as well as Ripley's Believe It or Not!. RCT features the Lawlor trademark multiple flippers as well as some wild ramps that travel all over the playfield. The yellow ramp in particular is pretty far-out; reminiscent of roller coaster tracks, the ramp sends the ball down a big drop and across the entire playfield and just above the flippers into the ball lock.

The artwork is isn't the best though it is fitting for the license. Lots of simple colours and graphics on the playfield with bright red, blue and yellow ramps. There's a mini-display over one of the ramps that displays how many guests you have, when Extra Ball/Multiball is lit and what have you. There's also a big ol' ugly troll for Dunk the Dummy!

The lights aren't anything to write home about but they sure do look pretty at night since The Ballroom has the "mood lighting" going on.

nice work, Shane!

The Roller Coaster Tycoon machine, base on the top-selling PC-CD game, at the Ballroom is a blast to play. The Ballroom is a pretty swank bowling alley, nothing like the alleys in the good ol' days that still hold black light Rock 'N' Bowl nights (not to say there is anything wrong with that). Bowling and pool are available as well as food and drinks. You can still enjoy the sounds of the bowling pins getting hit while you play pinball! Speaking of which, the RCT machine is pretty worn but still chugs along quite well. The playfield is dirty and the artwork around the flipper buttons is worn out.

The table is starting to feel the wear and tear though. There are several spots where the ball can get stuck and the flippers have been losing a bit of power. The Extra Ball and Replay scores are pretty low so they're very simple to get and impress your friends! In order to light Extra Ball, you have to get around 1500 guests into your park by shooting certain ramps. The rules are pretty simple for this machine. Light TYCOON by completing 6 modes.

The TILT on the machine is pretty forgiving but stern. You can get away with a lot of slides but pushing it or nudging back'n'forth gets the machine riled up. Keep in mind, on this machine, the TILT warnings are BASEBALL STYLE: 3 Strikes, 3 Outs. Each ball gets 3 "strikes"; each time you get a warning from nudging, that will add up and if you set off the machine a third time during a ball, you TILT, you dummy!

As with any other Lawlor machine, Roller Coaster Tycoon, based on the top selling PC-CD game, can be a pretty fair game or it can be a real drain monster. Both kick-out holes are located on the lower playfield and directed right at each flipper. Sometimes the speed the ball travels out of the holes throws off inexperienced players so keep an eye out! The ramps are pretty high up on the playfield and are thus quite steep.

If the ball doesn't have enough momentum going up, it's going to come right back down and between the flippers. Be prepared to nudge but not too much.

Something I noticed about a month ago when I last played it, the right flipper was getting stuck in an upright position. It can be a bit of a pain but the flipper usually corrects itself when the ball hits it.

Sometimes the balls can also find their way into the ball lock when it isn't lit.

That's what happened here and it's a time-wasting pain. If the ball gets caught in there, you must wait until the table recognizes there are no balls on the playfield. After a couple of minutes, the machine will activate the missing ball count down and sometimes launch both balls from the lock. You then gotta play Russian Roulette Multiball where if one ball drains, you lose.

A neat anecdote about The Ballroom! There's this huge mirror on the wall between the bar and bathroom. I thought nothing of it until one day... I was there and two employees climbed up to the mirror and opened it to a secret hallway! :O I didn't know what was in there but I can safely assume something golden, like bowling balls or pins.

Last but not least, I can't forget to post pictures of stuck balls on Roller Coaster Tycoon, based on the top selling PC-CD game!

Caught on the R&D drop targets
Ball caught on the upper flipper by my BRO A.K.
My real bro Shane managed to stick the ball as well!
This is a common event. Note how the drop target does not go flush with the playfield. All it needs is a slight shove to get the ball loose.

Stay Tuned! I'll be posting my Michigan Pinball Expo Trip report soon... with pictures!!

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