Date: 12th March, 2011

Article by Todd Andersen of Pinball Renaissance
Additional pictures by Roger of Crow River Trading, Mark Valentine & Tom Callahan

Pinball Renaissance is not just a repair/tech service for pinball. We appreciate every aspect of pinball. That admiration also embraces both the artistic and the historical perspectives of pinball; including pop-culture. We believe that it is this public pop-nostalgia which largely keeps pinball alive.

As with modern digital movies, we at PinRen reminisce about the many remakes of modern solid state pinball machines. The following is a listing of those games we decided could be grouped together as originals and their directly associated remakes.

Even though two or more pinball machines may share more than one similarity, we haven't necessarily directly compared them. We tried to be specific without likening every pinball machine to every other for any reason of which we could think. For instance, we did not directly compare the WMS Whirlwind to the Sega Twister.

We have, however, listed some other more closely-considered likened games. Our ideas are more specific and less general. So we can talk specifically about Michael Jordan as opposed to generally referring to basketball.

Michael is featured in two pinball machines: his namesake game by Data East, Michael Jordan, and Space Jam made by Sega.

Space Jam, of course, features members of the cast from Warner Bros'. Looney Tunes cartoons, including one Bugs Bunny who turns up with his pals in his own game from Bally.

Mel Gibson is also featured in two pinball machines: Lethal Weapon 3 by Data East, and Maverick which was made under both the Data East and Sega brands.

Lethal Weapon 3 and Maverick are two different games featuring the same actor.  But our next two exhibits are the same game with different celebrities attached.

Only a few Golden Cue machines were produced by Sega before poor Kelly Packard was left at the pinball altar for Jeanette Lee and her Sharkey’s Shootout, made by Stern.

Speaking of billiards and being left behind, let’s not forget IPB’s Pool Player debacle; even though they had a great start from Capcom’s Breakshot.

Sylvester Stallone is associated with three pinball machines: Gottlieb’s Rocky, unofficially (but through a later movie tie-in) in Bally’s Judge Dredd, and again - this time officially - by WMS in their Demolition Man.

Both Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Terminator franchise were represented in two pinball machines: first by WMS and later by Stern.

And Arnie wasn't happy to leave it there.  Between the two Terminators he added Last Action Hero to his portfolio of pinball games.

Unlike the copy, Indiana Jones was so popular it was made by two manufacturers: originally by WMS, followed by the version from Stern. This also marks two pinball references for Harrison Ford.

We'll be seeing more from Mr Ford a little later.

Firepower, one of our favorite solid state games, was made thrice: the original by WMS, the WMS follow-up Firepower II, and a third (but solitary) Firepower Three was made by Tom Callahan, who also supplied the picture of it below.

Not including copies or conversion kits, Playboy was produced in pinball form three times by three different manufacturers: first by Bally, then by Data East, and lastly by Stern. Interesting fact - WMS twice started producing, but never finished, their versions of this theme.

Not including similar names or themes, Star Trek, was produced three times by three different manufacturers: starting off with Bally, moving on to Data East, and then finally ending with our favorite, but now gone, manufacturer WMS.

Let’s not forget that Harley Davidson was produced five times by three different manufacturers. Bally started off, Sega followed next, after that was the first version by Stern, followed by Stern's second version, and lastly Stern's final version of the same game. While listing these Harley machines, we wondered if perhaps all of the copies from Stern should have counted as one game.

Perhaps the most universally copied of all pinball themes - Star Wars - was also produced an incredible five times - but by five different manufacturers: Hanken & Co started off with The Empire Strikes Back, Sonic followed with Star Wars, next was the version by Data East, followed by the Trilogy offering from Sega, lastly and poetically coincidentally listed as the final WMS pinball machines ever built, Star Wars Episode I. Just this section alone made us recall that maybe the old saying is true, “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.” - CCC.

Data East's Star Wars and Sega's Star Wars Trilogy both feature Han Solo, and so see the return of Harrison Ford in a second franchise following his Indy success.

Writing this article not only forced us to group specific games together, doing so also caused us to bring to mind how seemingly countless playfields were modeled one from another.

Surly this article gives incomplete coverage, or even completely missed some: actor, character, game, movie, or theme.

So, Pinball News wants to know what your favorite reoccurring pinball pop-culture icons and/or pinball machine repeats are.  Perhaps you can even make a chain linking numerous related games together?

Chime in and send us your ideas, and we'll publish the best of them here.

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Your comments:

The Who's Tommy - album, film and musical has led to 3 different pinball machines.

Bally were inspired twice by the film and gave us 'Wizard' in 1975, and then in 1976 'Capt.Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy' which concentrated on Elton John's character.

Then in 1994 Data East came up with one of their best titles 'The Who's Tommy Pinball Wizard'. A direct licence from the Broadway rock musical.

Jonathan Joosten:
Well, there is Rolling Stones (Bally) and Sterns latest title (The Rolling Stones).

Many associate Funhouse and Roadshow.

There is ofcourse Centaur and Centaur II, as well as Eightball Deluxe and the LE version of that game. Then abviously TAF and TAF Gold. The Simpsons and The Simpsons Pinball Party, High Speed and The Getaway,not to mention all the Batman games produced by Data East/Sega/Stern, Jurassic Parc and JP The Lost World, Sterns Elvis and the much earlier home game Alive, Grand Prix and Nascar, Family Guy and Shrek, The Amazing Spiderman (Gottlieb) and Spiderman by Stern, Game Show and Wheel of Fortune, Barb Wire and Baywatch both feature Pamela Anderson, there are plenty of EM games that came out with different names but used the same playfield but had a difference in the maximum number of players.

You can also group together the 4 two level pinballs from Williams, starting with Black Knight, Jungle Lord, Pharao and another one. Plus Black Knight got a follow up with BK 2000. Dr Dude and Party Animal also seem to associate well as well Party Zone and Elvira and the Party Monsters. Which brings to mind: Scared Stiff. Attack and Revenge from Mars... Pinbot, The Machine: Bride of Pinbot and Jackpot form a nice threesome , Creature From the black lagoon and Monster Bash both feature Universal monsters. Dracula is featured on even more games.

And didn't harrison Ford appear on another game as well?

Oops, forgot to mention James Bond (Gottlieb) and Goldeneye (Sega).


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