Story dated August 23, 2004

Incredible Technologies has been incredibly successful in getting their Golden Tee golf games into street locations. In fact, some of the spaces previously occupied by pinball games have been filled with Golden Tee machines.

It's faintly ironic, therefore, that they have now brought out a pinball game.

OK, it's not a real pinball game. It's a video version, but if successful it should help get pinball of some description back into bars, pubs and clubs.

It is important to note that this is only a development version on a test location. The final product isn't expected to reach production until the first quarter of 2005, so lots of things could change before it hits the streets.

Incredible Technologies' Video Pinball System is built in an upright cabinet around the same size as a standard Golden Tee unit and features a portrait-shaped screen for the playfield. The brightness and crispness suggests a plasma screen is being used but that is not yet confirmed.

The game is called Orange County Choppers and is all about collecting various motorbike parts to build your dream machine.

There are a number of different playfield layouts and they change as you progress through the game. There is a considerable wait while the different playfields load, this can be 20 to 30 seconds. When you make certain shots the view zooms in to the relevant area to show you a close up of the action. This is similar to TAB's virtual pinball game which also zooms into areas of interest.

Also like Virtual Pinball, Incredible Technologies' system includes the ability to nudge the game. It has an unusual game grip which emulates a real pinball lock down bar and this moves up, down, left and right to simulate nudging the machine. In addition there is a visual feedback of nudges on the tilt-o-meter on the display.

The controls also include extra green buttons that activate kickbacks on either outlane.

But what do IT really know about pinball anyway? Quite a bit actually. Not only did they team up with Sega Pinball for the aborted Kelly Packard's Golden Cue but they also have some ex-Williams staff working for them.

Indeed, the playfields for this game are designed by Mark Ritchie, the well known pinball designer, famous for games such as Williams' Fish Tales and Indiana Jones together with Capcom's unreleased Kingpin.

The game does have multiball, but it is limited to two balls and there are no extra balls, credits or matches. This lack of free games should help the platform succeed in geographic areas where credits are seen as a monetary reward and legislated accordingly.

So will the game be a winner? Incredible Technologies has a good track record and considerable promotional experience. They have already tied it into their Golden Tee Golf events such as this fund-raiser. The use of video technology (the game credits nVidia with display hardware) obviously eliminates maintenance issues and IT's experience with tournaments suggests the possibility of true global pinball competitions.

The cabinet is of a generic IT design so it should be simple to change games or even regionalize it for the local market with a software install and a new translite.

Perhaps Stern now have some serious competition for pinball in street locations with the two Ritchie brothers competing head-to-head.


The game is currently on test in the Chicago suburbs.




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