I live right around the corner from a well stocked Pinball Museum. Unfortunately, the only time I go to it is when Rabbit is in town =(
So, fresh off a whirlwind visit by the lucky footed one, I have been inspired to discuss characterisitcs of a good pinball machine.
I'll first start off by saying that I really enjoy the sound effects of a Williams made pinball machine. It struck me as odd because there is no rhyme or reason for these randomly combined eletronic tones to trigger a bit of euphoric accomplishment when I do something good.
The top of any machine is my favorite area. I am sure that many pinball machines are designed such that the flippers are just instruments to fling the pinball back up to dance around the top area to set off colors, bells and noises. One of the key mechanics in this area is the combination of the bumper layout and the "letter slots". My favorite refinement of the "letter slots" is the ability to use the bumpers to shift the lit slots left and right to get the bonus score awarded for lighting up all the letters. Its one of those mechanics that makes my heart sink when I come across a pinball machine that built before that era.
And then there is multiball. But it can't just be any multiball. It has to have a timer for balls to respawn. There is nothing worse than losing one of your precious multiballs either directly once you have triggered it or only a few seconds after. The best multiball mechanics are the ones where it will keep pushing out pinballs for a few seconds after one is lost down the sides or through the middle.
The last mechanic I am going to talk about are a layered ramp/tunnel system. This is especially my favorite when the twisting "tube" layered on top of the pinball board are made of the 4 metal wires in a circular array. I much prefer this to molded plastic. There is just something about the sound the metal ball makes when going through the metal tube that is one of those things you can't put a finger on as to why it is so satisfying.
What are your favorite pinball mechanics? You can even talk about things you loathe like magnetic areas that warp the trajectory of the pinball right above your flippers *shudders*