Date: 14th December 2007.

Pinball fans have long been asking about the possibility of a SpongeBob Squarepants game and now, one company has brought the undersea character into the pinball world with the forthcoming Soccer Shot Pinball from 21st Century Entertainment.

A closer look reveals this is not a traditional mechanical pinball machine at all but more in the style of the Ultrapin game, with a flat screen monitor displaying a virtual pinball playfield and computer simulation created by Wildsnake Software.

The machine is smaller that a regular pinball, measuring 68 inches high by 26 inches wide by 46 inches deep, weighing in at 250 pounds. It is clearly aimed at kids, so the machine's legs can be adjusted to make it lower than a regular pinball machine.

Unlike Ultrapin, there is only one display so all scoring is shown on the playfield.

The playfield design is a fairly simple one with 2 kick-out saucers, 4 flippers and a bank of 10 drop targets, and it is apparently licensed from D. Gottlieb, based on their 1975 game Pin-Up.

But although this may make a good home machine, it is definitely aimed at family entertainment centres too as a fully functional coin-operated game, and can be operated either in amusement mode or as a redemption game paying out tickets.

Once the initial version has been released - which is expected fairly soon - the creators plan a second version with new characters to extend the product's interest and life span.

The new machine will be available on-line exclusively from BMI Gaming and Pinball Sales at a retail price of $4495 with availability expected at the end of January 2008.

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© Pinball News 2007