Monday, August 1, 2016

Pinball: Flight 2000

Here's another great pinball table I've been playing on Pinball Arcade - Flight 2000. Released by Stern in 1980, it was one of the first "talking" pinball tables (Gorgar, in 1979, was the first). It was designed by Harry Williams, who'd been working in the industry since the 1940s. He was mostly known not so much as a pin-table designer but for his pioneering work on early electronic video games, most notably Defender (which was, I think, the first popular side scrolling game). He also designed Joust, which I spent many quarters on at the old Price Chopper on 23rd St. in Independence, MO.

Flight 2000 first drew me in with the art, which is by Geraldine Simkus (Star Gazer, Split Second) and Doug Watson (Swords of Fury, Grand Slam). Usually I'm mostly attracted to pictures of people, but this one has a nice retro sci-fi vibe, with a great discolored Saturnesque world in the center, and a spaceship on the back glass that looks like it walked straight out of the Traveler RPG's famous "little black books."

Of course, Flight 2000 is considered one of Stern's most classic games, which is why it's included in Pinball Arcade at all. 

The theme is a space flight in the amazing far future (that is, the year 2000). Different "missions" or goals are tied to the idea that you're traveling to a specific world in our solar system. There are two slingshots on the table that whip the balls around very fast. This would be pure hell on a standard sized table, but this is a big wide-body. The main "wow" factor for the time probably came from the multi-ball effect. If you shoot the ball into a maze on the upper left, it will lock the ball in place and say "first stage" or something to that effect. Hit another ball in there and it's "second stage." When you get all three balls in, they all unlock and you get some amazing fast-play multi-ball action. It's pretty tough for me to pull this off but I've managed it a few times, and it's inordinately satisfying.

Here's a cool video of the real (that is, not Pinball Arcade's digital version) table in play.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. I know this game and "gravitate" to it. When I go to the Pinball shows I find it and settle in. Noone pays it much attention as they are all crowding around the usual early 90's games and newer games. For me this game as a few others, (more notably, El Dorado) have a certain something which satisfies my curiosity,keeps my interest and just has that intangible magic that alot of games dont. Alot of times I put one ball in play and just walk away after the first drain. Another few favorites are High speed, Earth shaker, Eightball, and Eightball deluxe.