Archive for the 'Pinball' Category

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Pinball Machine (Gottlieb, 1978)

CE 1978-1



CE 1978-5

CE 1978-6

CE 1978-7

Designed by Ed Krynski with art by Gordon Morison, both of whom worked on the psychedelic 2001 and Dimension machines, as well as Astro and Orbit, all of them released by Gottlieb in 1971.

All images are via the Internet Pinball Database.

Pinball Machines: Gorgar (Williams, 1979)








It was fun when the devil was in style. Before Satan’s Hollow (Bally Midway, 1982), there was Gorgar. Designed by Barry Oursler, who designed the Joust and Defender pinball machines, with art by Constantino and Janine Mitchell, Gorgar was the first commercially released pinball machine to feature synthesized speech (I believe the first video game to do the same was 1980’s Berserk). There were seven words total—Gorgar, Speaks, Beat, You, Me, Hurt, Got—used in a number of different variations: “Gorgar Speaks,” “Me Gorgar,” “Me got/hurt you,” “You Beat Me,” and so on. See a demo, including speech, here.

Images are from The Internet Pinball Database, where you can see a lot more. Below is the last page of the flyer and a promo poster. Because nothing makes a dude want to play with metal balls and flippers like an attractive young woman scantily clad in bearskin.



Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Pinball Games (Larami, 1983): ‘Castle Maze’, ‘Myths & Magic’, and ‘The Quest’

AD&D Pinball 1983

AD&D Pinball Castle 1983

AD&D Pinball Castle 1983-2

AD&D Pinball Myths 1983

AD&D Pinball Quest 1983

AD&D Pinball Quest 1983-2

With Dragon Duel, we now have four AD&D handheld pinball games, all of them made by Larami. The packaging is different on these (cards instead of a box), and they appear to be smaller. Tome of Treasures suggests that there are at least five of the pinball handhelds. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more.

All of the art is by Larry Elmore. The card art, as well as the game art for Castle Maze, are from the 1983 Basic Set cover. The game art for Myths and Magic is from the Mountain of Mirrors (Endless Quest series) cover. I’d be much obliged if someone can identify the original source used for The Quest. I know I’ve seen it before, and I’m nearly positive it’s Elmore, but I can’t dig up a match.

The regulation D&D pinball machine, also featuring the Elmore painting from the Basic Set, didn’t come out until 1987.

D&D Pinball Flyer

Star Wars ‘Baby Flippers’ Pinball Game (Arcofalc, 1977)

Star Wars Pinball 1977

Star Wars Pinball 1977-2

The game was made in Italy and sold in select European markets, including the UK. The art, really nice, is original and uncredited.

Pool Hall with Pong Cabinet, 1973

Pool Pong 1973

SS Billiards in Hopkins, Minnesota. The gentleman on the right is playing Gottlieb’s 2001, released in 1971. Like Atari’s Middle Earth, the title cashes in on a popular cultural event, but the game itself slyly avoids any direct allusion to that event—and any resulting copyright infringement.

The 2001 artist is prolific Gordon Morison, who also worked on the Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1978) machine, Orbit (1971), and The Incredible Hulk (1979), among many others.

UPDATE: I’m pretty sure the sign on the wall reads: “Any games on machines at closing time will be forfeited”.

2001 BG 1971

2001 PF 1971-3

2001 PF 1971-2

(Original photo via; 2001 photos via and The Internet Pinball Database)

Atari’s Middle Earth Pinball (1978)

Atari ME BG 1978

Atari ME Playfield 1978

Atari ME Pinball 1978

Atari ME Flyer 1978

Middle Earth was released in February of 1978. I’m not sure how early in development it was named, but I bet Atari was banking on the fanfare surrounding the upcoming LOTR animated feature. The Rankin-Bass Hobbit TV special had aired the previous year.

The theme has nothing to do with Tolkien, obviously. What we’re seeing is a futuristic Lost World scenario, which is why Atari could get away with using `Middle Earth’ without any copyright issues. The concept also plays off of Dino De Laurentiis’ King Kong (December 1976) and the Godzilla-mania of the late ’70s.

The spectacular art is by George Opperman, who created the Atari logo.

(Images via the Internet Pinball Machine Database, where you can find more views of the game, and The Arcade Flyer Archive)




Donate Button

Join 1,103 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: