Twilight Zone (pinball)

Twilight Zone is a widebodypinball machine, designed by Pat Lawlor and based on the TV series of the same name. It was first released in 1993 by Midway (under the Bally label). This game is part of WMS’ SuperPin line of widebody games alongside Star Trek: The Next Generation and Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure.[1]

Twilight Zone
Manufacturer Midway
Release date April 1993
System Midway WPC (Fliptronics II)
Design Pat Lawlor, Larry DeMar, Ted Estes
Programming Larry DeMar, Ted Estes
Artwork John Youssi
Mechanics John Krutsch
Music Chris Granner
Sound Chris Granner, Rich Karstens
Voices Tim Kitzrow (Rod Serling)
Production run 15,235

. . . Twilight Zone (pinball) . . .

Following the huge success of The Addams Family pinball game, Midway gave Lawlor full creative control over the design of his next game, and the result is an unusually complex machine. Among its special features are the following:

  • A working gumball machine, which holds three balls and can dispense them or receive others during play.
  • A working, 12-hour analog clock that can display the current time and function as a timer during certain rounds.
  • The Powerball, a white ceramic ball which is lighter than the other steel balls in the machine and unaffected by magnets.
  • The Powerfield, a triangular mini-playfield whose underside contains magnets that propel the ball.

In addition to adapting the theme music from the original TV show, the game’s main background music is an interpretation of the 1982 song “Twilight Zone“, by Golden Earring. Tim Kitzrow provided the voice of Rod Serling.[2]

This game was originally supposed to be the first game to use Williams / Midway’s DCS Sound System, but because the DCS board was still in development when the game was released, it instead used the Yamaha YM2151 / HarrisCVSD sound board.

In the center of the Twilight Zone playfield artwork is a door similar to the one shown in one of the TV show’s opening sequences. The door consists of 14 border panels indicating various awards that are available for the player to collect. Some of the panels start single-ball or multi-ball timed modes that can be “stacked” (started while other modes are in progress), while other panels simply light shots or award points. The ultimate goal of the game is to light all 14 panels and start “Lost in the Zone”, the game’s “wizard mode”, represented by the doorknob.

The game provides several ways to light door panels: Shoot the Slot Machine when lit, shoot the Player Piano when lit, or defeat the Power in the mini-play field. Shooting the Slot Machine awards a random unlit door panel, while the other two methods award the door panel that is currently flashing (rotated by the pop bumpers). The Slot Machine follows two rules in choosing the door panel to be awarded:

  1. The flashing panel will not be given unless it is the only one the player has yet to collect.
  2. “Lite Extra Ball” (see below” will not be given unless it is either the last or next-to-last panel remaining.

Shooting the Player Piano when it is unlit awards Odd Change, a random number of points between 10 and 10 million.

The door panels are as follows:

  • 10 Million – Awards 10 million points. Can also be collected if a player makes a yellow Skill Shot.
  • Lite Gumball – Lights the Gumball Machine; a shot to the right orbit will load the current ball into it and dispense the next one in line.
  • Town Square Madness – Starts a timed mode in which all targets on the playfield increase a point total by a set amount, while the pop bumpers in Town Square increase the value for each target and cause townspeople to panic.
    Door panels in attract mode
  • Fast Lock – An AM radio plays clips from Pat Lawlor’s previous pinball games, counting down a jackpot value as its “frequency”. Shooting the Lock awards the current jackpot value and starts a three-ball multiball mode, where shooting the Lock awards the jackpot again. The background music played during this multi ball is the main multi ball music from the game whose clip was most recently played in single-ball mode. The games referenced are, in order, The Addams Family, FunHouse, Whirlwind, Earthshaker!, and Banzai Run.
  • Super Skill Shot – Lights the Super Skill Shot on the left ramp. A successful shot will return the ball to the plunger, allowing the player to attempt a skill shot for one of three special bonuses: Red lights “Battle the Power”, Orange lights the outlanes (“Extra Ball” on the left, “Special” on the right), and Yellow lights “Extra Ball”. Attempting the shot awards 10 million points, whether the player earns an award or not.
  • Super Slot – Timed mode. Each shot to the Slot Machine awards a random point value (10-20 million), and gives a random door panel if lit as normal.
  • Lite Extra Ball – Lights “Extra Ball,” which must be collected by shooting the Lock. Under the default settings, receiving an extra ball by any means before earning this panel will automatically mark it as “collected”. If a player has earned five extra balls during the game, a score award is given for each one earned thereafter.
  • The Camera – Lights the Camera twice, accessible by raising the upper left flipper and shooting a ball into the sinkhole behind it. Doing so yields one of eight awards: “20 Million Points”, “Lite Outlanes”, “Clock 10 Millions”, “Collect Bonus”, “3X Town Square”, “Hold Town Square”, “10 Hitchhikers”, and “Greed Targets”. In normal play, the offered award remains the same from player to player, and from game to game, until it is collected. The Camera must go through all eight awards before it can offer any of them again; when the last award of the eight is collected, the Camera will not immediately offer it again.
  • The Spiral – Timed mode. Shooting the orbits causes the ball to stop on the Spiral magnets for the first three shots (10/10/15 million), then awards 15 million “Breakthrough” points for each subsequent shot as the ball goes through the loop. Spiral Awards and shots to the Gumball Machine can be collected as in normal play.
  • Clock Millions – Timed mode. Shooting the clock target (between the two ramps) awards 1 million points times the position of the hour hand on the clock. (A similar mode, “Clock 10 Millions”, is started via the Camera and awards 10 million points per hit, regardless of the hour hand’s position.)
  • Battle the Power – Lights the right ramp for access to the Powerfield and a chance to play the “Battle the Power” mode, if the player is not using the Powerball at the time.
  • Greed – Timed mode. All of the 5-million-point targets are initially lit; hitting one adds its value to the mode total and unlights it. After the last target is hit, all seven of them light up again.
  • Hitch-Hiker – Awards 2 million points for each hitchhiker the player has picked up thus far in the game, and another 2 million for every additional pickup earned until the end of the current ball.
  • Clock Chaos – Timed mode. The clock starts at 6:00 and begins running slowly backwards, playing “Pop Goes the Weasel” throughout. Hitting the clock target awards 1 million points times the position of the hour hand, and the clock reverses direction and speeds up. The mode ends when the clock reaches 12:00. If the target is hit enough times (somewhere around 7) Rudy (a character from FunHouse, voiced by Ed Boon) complains, “Quit playin’ with the clock!”

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