Story dated 1st August 2002
Visitors to London's Science Museum have to opportunity play pinball and have a gas.
This museum is presently playing host to the Grossology travelling exhibition - a series of displays and interactive tools to educate visitor on the inner workings of the human body.
Covering such diverse and tasteful subjects as "boogers", "barf" and "poop", this show comes from the USA and is clearly aimed at younger children.
All very well, but what's this got to do with pinball? For the answer take a look at this:
The game is called Gas Attack and is a modified Capcom Breakshot. Players score points by hitting targets which relate to various food groups which produce varying degrees of digestive gas. The more gas they produce, the higher they score.
The top rollovers (bread) score 1000 points, the pop bumpers (potatoes) 100, the right drop targets (milk) 2000, the captive ball (Brussels sprouts) 1500, the three centre holes (beans) all score 4500, the left drop targets (cabbage) 1500, centre standups (onions) 1500, left slingshot (meat) 100, right slingshot (fats) 100, and finally the right sink hole (cheese) 3000.
There are two identical games at the Science Museum. Both are set on free play and you get two balls rather than the usual three or five but with the number of visitors wanting to play, it helps reduce the game time to sensible levels.
The modifications completely transform this from the original. If you remember the Capcom Breakshot from which this game originates, you'll see how simplified the rules have become. The game software has been completely rewritten (although the display fonts are unchanged) and the playfield has (what looks like) a full overlay, cut to reveal the lamp inserts, switches and sinkholes.
No credits are given for the conversion work. They might be on the display but the games are never left unplayed for long enough to find out.
The rules for Gas Attack read:
1. The steel ball is bacteria, the bumpers are different foods in your colon.
2. Bounce the bacteria off the foods.
3. Foods producing more gas score higher.
And for you pinball trivia fans, this is another game to feature a toilet after JunkYard, South Park and Austin Powers. This one's on the backglass though.
The Grossology exhibit runs until 6th September 2002. Although entry to the Science Museum is free*, there is an entry fee to see Grossology.
*Almost all Central London's museums are free but voluntary donations are welcome.
© Pinball News 2002