Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Walking Dead Pinball Release Party

It's Halloween here on Bright Lights Bumper City! We kicked off the frightening festivities by getting Scared Stiff with Elvira then we had a Nightmare ... on Elm Street to follow up. We took a peek at The Addams Family out in Sauble Beach as well as Attack From Mars for our second half of my Michigan Pinball Expo review for October. Now it's time to walk with the dead!
AMC's The Walking Dead is the latest release from Stern and there couldn't be a more appropriate time to review this table than now! I finally, finally had the chance to make it out to one of the release parties that happen around the world with each new table release by Stern.
I've been trying to go to one of these release parties ever since Transformers but due to circumstances, money, lack of a ride, the location actually being in Mississauga, what-have-you, I have never been able to make it out to a release party. This time around, I had some folks from the Toronto Pinball Crew (click the link and join the gang!) all going and so we hopped in a car and made our way out to Wacky Wings for the release party of The Walking Dead!
The Walking Dead pinball is based on the TV show that is based on the comic series, The Walking Dead. Stern's latest table uses the license in some interesting ways.  The table pays homage to the TV series by referencing certain locales, characters, and events. One of the big toys on the table is the Well Walker which is from the Cherokee Rose episode (Season 2, Episode 4). It's a big, ugly and I mean, UGLY, zombie that got caught in a well and got all bloated up as corpses tend to do when waterlogged (not speaking from experience, mind you).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MIchigan Pinball Expo Part 3.5

Time for Part 3 and a half of my Michigan Pinball Expo 2014 report! Elvira's Scared Stiff was the table of the first half and kicked off our little Halloween Hootenanny here on Bumper City! Now I know that martians are moreso based in the science fiction genre but I already did a sci-fi theme for my MPE trip reports and I figured that aliens would work well for Halloween despite not being a part of the horror genre. HEY people like to dress up as martians for Halloween right? RIGHT! So let's take a look at Attack From Mars!
Attack From Mars is basically pinball distilled. Tables of the 90's, like Twilight Zone, were revolutionizing pinball, though they were not without their faults, what with clunky playfields or complicated rulesets. Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, designer Brian Eddy, opted for a more basic design on AFM.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Addams Family at Giggles Arcade in Sauble Beach

I am always in the pursuit of pinball, no matter where I am. Back during May long weekend (a long, long time ago), I found myself up in Port Elgin for a little getaway and so I consulted the pinball map on Pinside to see if there was anything nearby to hunt down. I found out about Giggles Arcade in Sauble Beach and so my friends and I ventured out to the little beach town in search of pinball!

We arrived at Giggles Arcade to the sounds of redemption games and the scent of Subway. There was a Subway attached to the arcade and if you are familiar at all with Subway, you know the smell that penetrates anything and everything. Anyways, we made our way over to the pinball tables...
Not bad! Wizard of Oz and The Addams Family! The website had indicated that Iron Man and Family Guy made up the pinball section along with TAF but it looks like that got switched up somewhere along the line. Nonetheless, it was a pleasure to see Wizard of Oz up against The Addams Family.
I talk a lot about The Addams Family here on Bright Lights Bumper City; I have mentioned its influence, popularity, layout and designer, Pat Lawlor. There is good reason to mention The Addams Family so much, though; it is one of the ultimate pinball tables. The Addams Family was THE most popular pinball table. When people think of pinball, they think about The Addams Family, whether they have been playing all their lives or stopped by an arcade when they were young. The theme was known by everyone, whether you knew The Addams Family as a comic strip, cartoon, or a movie. The table itself is considered to be a masterpiece of pinball. The sound and music, the artwork, and the layout all work together to create one of the best tables around.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Nightmare on Elm Street

Back in the Winter, I headed up to the Bathurst and Glencairn area in search of some pinball at Bathurst Bowlerama. My search was not in vain and I found that Bowlerama has a pretty cool arcade.
C'mon, you have two pinball machines, Offroad Challenge AND Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time! Ya can't go wrong with that line-up!
The particular table we will be looking at is Premier-Gottlieb's Nightmare on Elm Street! Yeah, I know that I last played this machine all the way back in the Winter but I thought it would be appropriate to save the review for Halloween, seeing as Nightmare on Elm Street is a horror movie and all! (plus I took notes when I played it)

Nightmare on Elm Street has to be one of Premier's weirdest tables and that's saying a lot! Premier had some hard times back in the 90's, having been left in the dust by Bally and Williams. Many Premier tables could just not complete with the quality and playability of the tables from the Big Two. Premier did have some shining stars in their line-ups like Wipeout and Stargate SG-1 but much of their output is considered sub-par.  Many of their releases in the 90's had some pretty far-out gimmicks; some worked well but others like Shaq Attaq's basketball shot were cool in theory... but not so much in practice.

Shooting the ball into a moving basketball net is a pretty cool gimmick but is hindered by Premier's weak flippers and the protective dome obscuring much of the upper playfield. Though the gimmicks sometimes didn't work too well in execution, you have to give credit to Premier for trying new and strange ideas on their tables.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Michigan Pinball Expo PT III - HALLOWEEN

It's that time of year again! It's October and the weather is getting a bit colder. It's also time for Halloween! Around the same time last year, I reviewed a pretty spooky table from the Ottawa Pinball Expo.
Elvira is quite a strange individual to base a pinball table off of but nothing is TOO strange in pinball. There are all sorts of weird tables with some odd themes throughout the years. Who would have thought that a golf-themed table would be good?
Things get even more weird with Elvira; there is not only one but TWO pinball machines based on the Mistress of The Dark. Elvira and The Party Monsters, released in October 1989, was the first table to bear Elvira's likeness. If you want a closer look at Elvira and The Party Monsters, check out my review from Ottawa Pinball Expo '13.
The successor to Party Monsters is Elvira's Scared Stiff, released in September 1996. Seeing as Party Monsters was at the Ottawa Pinball Expo, it's only fitting that I review Scared Stiff from Michigan Pinball Expo!
Party Monsters had wicked visual appeal but the gameplay left a bit to be desired. A couple of years later and a few advances in technology later, the Elvira license gets a much more fleshed-out table.