Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ottawa Pinball Expo 2013 Part II

Even though the Ottawa Pinball Expo was more than a month ago, there is still a lot I want to talk about and show you! You should catch up on if you haven't already!

In the last post, I gave a general view of the entire Ottawa Pinball Expo and talked a bit at length about Williams' System 11 tables, many of which were present there. There was one particular System 11 table that I omitted for a special reason. I figured since Halloween is coming up very soon, I could hold off on speaking about this table until the time was right. Well, I would say it is quite right so why don't we kick this off with an...

What better time of the season than Halloween to take a peek at ! Based off of the late-night TV character, , the table is packed to the gills with puns and sex appeal. If you're familiar with Elvira at all, you know that is her schtick...

And I gotta say, it makes for a helluva pinball table! The strongest point of this table has to be its art package. The artist, , has a comic-book influenced style, especially with the use of red and blue to highlight Elvira's hair as well as the bright and bold colours throughout the table. It just came to me that I often mention the "bright and bold" colours of pinball tables and that is true, I do that but pinball tables are meant to have eye-popping visuals and I tend to notice these tables moreso than others. For example, if you look at really any Bally or Williams table, they tend to have the bright colours and bold black outlines on many of their tables which really make them pop. Even some Data East tables have standout artwork like .

Freres' artwork is super clean and his use of colour is outta sight! Just take a look at any other table that he has done work for and you will see what I mean. Two good examples are ...Beautiful use of colour on both of these tables. I've been gushing about the artwork an awful lot but that's because I find the gameplay a bit lacking... The sounds and music are great but the playfield is kinda average. Dennis Nordman, the designer of the playfield, laid out plenty of targets throughout the table but made the two ramps as the main shots to make.

The scoring is a bit unbalanced and all you really have to do to rack up a big score is activate multiball and hit the ramps to get hella jackpots.

A neat feature is that a player can steal the locked balls of another player in order to activate multiball. Not many tables actually have this feature where you can pull a fast one on a opponent and screw them out of a ball lock. I'm a fan of griefing other players in games and I wish there were more opportunities do to that in pinball.

In 1996, Dennis Nordman, theand Freres came together once again for the successor to Party Monsters, that being which built upon PM's ramp and ball lock layout. Scared Stiff knocks it right out of the park... but I'll save that table for another day.

Elvira is a fine example of a one of the most important aspects of pinball, that being the licensed table. There are also sorts of licensed tables based on movies, TV shows, bands and what have you. The use of licensed tables first emerged in the 70's with , based on The Who's Tommy: The Movie. After The Wizard, there was a deluge of tables based on the likenesses of musicians, such as by Bally...

Another Bally release, ...

Stern's ...

and Dolly Parton by !

The early 90's are when licensed pinball tables really started picking up steam. Around that time there were about four pinball manufacturers: , , , and . Much of the output from these companies were licensed tables, especially Data East with releases like .

It's just about as forgettable as the movie. Data East did get a lot of pretty lucrative licenses like and s though.

Okay, maybe before The Simpsons got really popular... They also had a few really weird choices like which features C&C Music Factory.

That's not to say that Bally and Williams had any oddball licenses. The two companies both had their fair share of the obscure. For , I took a look at Williams' .

The table was outdated before it even came out! It was based on an old TV sports show, , which was cancelled around the same time the pinball was released.

Bally released a table based on , a British TV series with a cult following in North America, enough of one at least to warrant a pinball machine.

The designer, , really went all out on this thing. Taking a note from Pin*Bot, Doctor Who's ball lock requires you to shoot two pinballs into the pair of saucer holes to activate multiball.

However, it's taken to a whole different level... literally. Once you lock two balls in the Time Expander, the platform will rise up, exposing steel Dalek targets that you must hit in order to activate multiball.

It's a pretty extravagant method of activating multiball but it is mighty impressive to see the entire contraption in action.

There was a good mixture of original and licensed tables at the Expo with a lot of the more uncommon licensed tables making an appearance like one of my favorites, !

Honourable mention to this Rambo knock-off

Close but no cigar! It's .

That's enough for now. Keep your eyes peeled for part 3! I still have a few more tables to talk about like this HEAVY METAL table,

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