Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ottawa Pinball Expo Part IV

Ottawa Pinball Expo was more than several months ago and has almost become a distant memory. Good thing that I have a good memory... and lots of pictures. I'm not quite done sharing all the great stuff I saw at Ottawa Pinball Expo so let's keep it going...
Quick recap! During Part 1, we looked at some System-11 tables like Atlantis...
Part 2 looked at a couple of the licensed tables, like Doctor Who...
Part 3 was all about going back in time to the days of alpha-numeric displays with a look at Swords of Fury and Time Machine.
Let's start where we left of on Part 3. I gave a sneak peek of Williams' Time Warp!
Notice anything strange about this psychedelic trip of a table? It has some odd looking flippers, doesn't it?
In the late 70's, Williams was experimenting with new ways to refresh the pinball game and so they developed banana flippers. Due to the curvature of the flippers, it's harder to aim shots and so adds a bit more random element into flipping. It wasn't the most successful of Williams' new experiments and only one other table bore the banana flippers, that being Disco Fever. Nonetheless, Time Warp is a real trip to play and the flippers add a lot of fun and frustration to the table.
One of Williams' other experiments from around that time was the split-level playfields, revolutionized by THE BLACK KNIGHT
Soon after, there was a multitude of tables with dual layer playfields, like Jungle Lord, which I recently had the opportunity to play during Kensington Brewing Company and 3030's Pinball Sundays.
There were a few tables at the show that had split-level playfields, like Bally's Flash Gordon.
Flash Gordon was the first table from Bally to have a split-level playfield as well as one of the first few to use Bally's "Squawk and Talk" soundboard.
The first table by Bally to feature speech was actually Xenon.
Though most of the speech from Xenon are just moans and groans.
While Williams was experimenting with new ways to revolutionize pinball, it seems Bally was experimenting with how far they could push the envelope in terms of sexuality in pinball. If you've ever heard Xenon, it sounds ... quite aroused with each and every hit. Prior to Xenon, Bally released a table with a hella hedonistic theme, that being Future Spa.
Though the theme is a Spa, I feel pretty dirty posting about this table...
Lots of scantily clad women all over it...
Future Spa was the precursor to Xenon in many aspects; It was a table with a sexy Sci-Fi theme and also the first Bally table to feature continuous sound. The one difference is that Future Spa was a widebody table. Widebody tables were another short-lived experiment by Bally, with only five widebody tables being produced by them.
It seemed Bally reserved the widebody style for Sci-Fi tables because their fifth and final widebody was Embryon.
Embryon is jammed to the gills with all sorts of trippy weirdness.
The artwork has a bio-mechanical theme, with a giant brain in the middle surrounded by all sorts of futuristic machine. Because of the space provided by being a widebody table, Embryon has a bunch of different features packed into it. There are multiple drop targets and captive balls, like the two captive balls on either side of the playfield. The brain sector of the playfield also has two captive balls to hit the standup targets within.
Embryon also bears a rare Bally experiment, the "Flip-Save", which is a small flipper in the right outlane that can be used to knock a drained ball back onto the playfield.

I've been talking a lot about the older tables at Ottawa Pinball Expo but for good reason as there were many older tables to see and play. Not often do you see tables from the 70's and 80's out in the wild;  I don't often get to post about them in Toronto because of that and so Ottawa Pinball Expo has given me the opportunity to post about these great tables! Next time I write about Ottawa Pinball Expo, maybe we should go a bit more modern...
A modern take on an old classic!

No comments :

Post a Comment