Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Guelph Pinball Club Trip Report Part II - EXTREME SPORTS

It's time for ROUND 2 of my Guelph Pinball Club Trip Report with a look at some EXTREEEEEEME SPORTS!! This time around we are going to take a look at Gottlieb-Premier's WIPEOUT and Williams' White Water.

Wipeout earned a soft spot with me back in 2011 during my first trip to the Michigan Pinball Expo. I came upon this old Gottlieb in one of the side rooms of the Expo and had a blast playing it. It caught my attention mostly because it has The Surfaris' Surf classic WIPEOUT as the main song.
If you follow my other ongoing project, The Surfphony of Derstruction 2000, you know how much I love surf music! On the other hand, Wipeout is not about surfing. Quite the opposite in fact; it's all about skiiing and snowboarding... in the 90's! This table is the embodiment of the 90's. All sorts of Day-Glo colours and fashions add visual flair while the callouts are all sorts of dated terms, like "TOTALLY BITCHIN' DUDE!" and"RIP THE CRUUUUD!". I'm surprised that Pauly Shore wasn't hired to do the callouts for this table. Nonetheless, the theme is totally gnarly and the playfield is wicked colourful.
 Not only that, but Wipeout is actually a decent table too. Keep in mind that Wipeout was released in October 1993, just in time for Winter! But I digress, 1993 was a BIG year for pinball; tables like Twilight Zone and Star Trek: The Next Generation were hitting the arcades and pushing the game to its absolute limits. it is unfair though to compare a table like Wipeout to a SUPERPIN like Star Trek. Gottlieb, once the paragons of pinball, had lost their lustre in the mid-80's and just could not keep up with the juggernaut that Bally/Williams had become later on but that isn't to say they tried their damnedest to release fun tables. Wipeout is a darn fun table and certainly is one of their better tables of the era.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stern's Harley Davidson

DERK'S NOTE: This is quite an old review that I wrote about a year ago and had to put on the sidelines because I didn't have enough pictures from when Harley-Davidson was at Euro Sports Bar. HOWEVER, May Cafe had recently switched out their TRON Legacy for an H-D table so I took advantage of the opportunity, got some pics and revived this review! BUT... Harley is already gone so this review had no chance.

A new machine has been spotted in Toronto at Lansdowne and College at Euro Sports Bar. It is...


And what a machine it is... or was... Needless to say, I was pleasently surprised by Harley-Davidson on my first go. This table is available through Farsight's Pinball Arcade but the virtual version of this table does not do it justice. This a SOLID table all around. Everything from the playfield design to the sound is top notch. I spoke in my last post about how I was getting tired of reviewing Stern tables but I may have to eat my words because Harley has changed my opinion.

Harley-Davidson is one of Stern's earliest entries into pinball, coming out in 1999 during their transition from Sega to Stern. In fact, it was the first table to be released under the Stern banner as well as their first licensed table. John Borg was the designer for Harley's playfield and became a Stern mainstay in the early 2000's, having designed the playfields for Austin Powers, High Roller Casino, and Sharkey's Shootout.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Michigan Pinball Expo 2014 - Part II

Michigan Pinball Expo is still going strong here on Bright Lights Bumper City! If you've been following my trip reports from Ottawa Pinball Expo, you would know that the event was back in September 2013 but I am still posting about it in the case of Part IV! It is said that pictures are worth a thousand words and in the case of Bumper City, they certainly are! Lately when I go to events like Ottawa Pinball Expo, Michigan Pinball Expo or Guelph Pinball Club, I make sure to bring my camera and take as many pictures as possible so I can show you everything that I saw and played. It also helps me recall the events a little better; I have a good memory but sometimes the pictures help fill in the gaps. Michigan Pinball Expo was a little over a month ago back in the early days of April 2014. During my last trip report, we did a little Motor City theme and took a look at all sorts of automotive pinball tables like Mustang, Corvette and Truck Stop.
I cracked a joke about doing a Science Fiction themed post and looking at all the Sci-Fi tables on offer. Well heck, why don't we do that?

First and foremost, I want to talk about Stargate. I mention this table a lot because it was one of Gottlieb-Premier's best tables during 90's, a time when they were losing the pinball battle against Bally/Williams. Stargate is considered Gottlieb's swan song, one of the last tables they put out before shuttering their doors.

Gottlieb pulled out all the stops on Stargate with all sorts of neat toys and tricks. The pyramid located in the centre of the playfield raises up and sends out a little glidercraft.
There are also the Horus Targets located throughout the table. During certain modes, these targets will raise up and reveal new shots! Pretty neat take on "drop" targets.
Stargate's playfield includes two tough-as-nail ramps to hit. They are really steep and so if the flippers aren't up to par, they become nearly impossible to hit. Luckily, the ruleset of Stargate is pretty deep and so there are plenty of other shots to make.
I like Gottlieb because they were always trying new things with their tables. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Stargate has a new take on Multiball in which it starts as 2-Ball Multiball but after scoring a few more jackpots, another ball or two is added to the playfield. It's a good way to keep a prolonged multiball even though you've drained a ball or two.