Episode Summary

Dwight is one of pinball programming’s most important figures. Throughout the 1990’s Dwight worked on some of the best-selling games of all time, added a level of polish not seen before, brought a new level of fun and uniqueness that continue to influence programmers today.

Have fun this month where we chat ‘Dwight Speak’, Riverboat Gambler, taking pride in your work, the Star Trek Door, the final years of Williams and Dwight’s transition to Stern Pinball.

Episode Summary
By the Early 1980’s Pinball was dying. Sales in Pinball fell from peaks of 9-10,000 units to 900 units in 2 years. Video was on an upward trend and that is where the coin op industry began to focus. Only 1 full time designer remained at Williams by 1982, Barry Oursler. To help fill in the production line some of the designers from the late 70’s reappeared.

Join us this month as we discuss Barry Oursler, Paul Dassault, the battle of the Bi-Levels, the ‘Gar Family, Tony Kraemer, hidden back glass art and whatever the heck Time Fantasy was!

Episode Summary
Pat Lawlor has a demeanor which has rubbed some the wrong way over the years. Let’s face it, as a designer you need to get strong personalities in line, meet corporate deadlines, push your creative vision to the edge and have the confidence in yourself that your product design will sell. Maybe part of that reputation was created in his early career in the Williams Pinball Shark Tank.

Join us this month as we discuss Pat Lawlor joining William Pinball, Larry DeMar’s double dippin’, fun child-like pinball designs, Whirlwind, that creepy shutter mech, what Python Anghelo thinks of Pat, proving the naysayers wrong, and yes, the record breaking Addams Family.

Episode Summary
George Gomez has created some of the most well received pinball machines our hobby has ever seen. He got his big break with Williams Pinball, but the current Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Stern Pinball had a big career before the silverball. His mixture of experience prior to pinball built his unique style of pinball creativity. In fact, one of the toughest critics around, Python Anghelo called George a “good guy and very passionate,” Woah!

Join Ron and Dave this month as they follow George Gomez from the Cuban Revolution to Midway making games like Satan’s Hollow, Tron, and Spy Hunter. Then in a shift to toy company Marvin Glass and eventually Bally-Williams where he made a splash right away in the shark pool! Look out, this episode has an hour of arcade talk…    

Episode Summary

Barry Oursler is a William institution. As a designer he kept the line going at Williams during the massive decline that the coin op industry experienced in the early 1980s. He designed 35 games including Space Shuttle, which ‘saved pinball.’ During the decade after Space Shuttle, Barry continued to design and collectively sold over 135,000 pinball games for Williams during his tenure. Barry WAS Williams in this era.

Join Ron and Dave as they talk about Barry saving pinball… or did he? Hit pins such as Space Station, FIRE!, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dirty Harry, Junkyard, amazing mechanical wonders, the controversies around Popeye Saves the Earth and Jack*Bot, and Barry’s legacy to the hobby we all love.

Episode Summary

Pinball was suffering in the late 1990’s. Home gaming consoles dominated households. In the decades that preceded the 90’s, people ate at home and went out for entertainment; society was changing. As a result, arcades suffered. Pinball needed something to jump-start sales. They needed to draw in a new video game that would engage youth. Pinball 2000 was the answer to that call.

Join Ron and Dave this month as they talk about how Pinball 2000 was created, Pat Lawlor and George Gomez vs. JPop, Pepper’s Ghost, Adam Rhine and animations, Neil NiCastro-Unmotivational Speaker, Lucas Films’ NDAs, Dave’s hatred for Jar Jar Binks, and how Jar Jar tanked, nearly killing pinball.

Episode Summary 

When we last left Steve Ritchie, pinball was dead. It was done. Williams, gone. Bally, gone. Gottlieb/Premier, gone. The last manufacturer standing was Sega which ended up being sold to one Gary Stern and became today’s Stern Pinball Inc. Steve Ritchie was ready to make a return to pinball after a hiatus, but the pinball landscape was different than when he left. He soon showed everyone he still has the touch. 

Join us this month for a super-packed episode as Ron and David talk about Terminator 3, that strange Elvis mech, the epic Spiderman game, everyone getting let go in 2008, the perfect version of Terminator 2, aka AC/DC, a section about Star Trek that goes on far too long, what the hell happened to Star Wars, the underrated Black Knight toy, the barren Led Zeppelin, and the recent Jersey Jack coup! 

The Bally-Williams Era has often been considered on of the most mechanically exciting times in the Pinball Hobby. In fact, many of the games of this era still carry a hefty resale price on the secondary market. The magic of pinball and the world under glass was brought to life by Bally-Williams.

Many pinball personalities who purchased assets from the major manufacturers spent years trying to finish incomplete games or bring back a ‘new Bally-Williams’. They all failed because Bally-Williams was unique, it was an industry powerhouse where creativity, competition and magic were created.

This month we cover, our favourite 90’s mechs, Dr. Who’s Meat Slicer, Pat Lawlor’s Magnum Opus, Rod Serling (or Ron Sterling), Code going too far, Gofers, Jpop and Williams dying again.  

Silverball Chronicle with Ron and David

Episode 19: 80s Cheese Done Right – Gottlieb 80b

Episode Summary 

The early 1980s were a boon for pinball manufacturing. Bally and Williams had transitioned to Solid State early and evolved their platform. Gottlieb struggled with System 1, and as soon as they found their stride with the new System 80 board set, pinball was dying in the early 80s.  By the mid-80s pinball was clawing its way back, but Gottlieb never regained it’s industry dominance, however it did give them more creative freedom. 

Join Ron and the better co-host Dave as they talk photo translites, horrible synth music, Jon Norris’ 8-Ball Deluxe, releasing games at warp-speed, shallow code, ripping off established licenses, Don Johnson jackets, and which System 80b games are the most underrated.    

The 90s saw the biggest leap in pinball mechanics and technology that the hobby had ever seen. The Dot Matrix Display and how Bally/Williams leveraged it, made the pins from the previous decade look like a horse and buggy. The purchase of Bally by Williams created a competitive shark tank, forcing designers and engineers to continuously one-up each other.

But as the 90’s marched on, the industry contracted. Designers exited or moved on to other areas, junior designers took their place and built some of the best machines Bally/Williams had produce, but sadly the sales numbers didn’t reflect that.

Ron and Dave chat all about the final years of Bally/Williams including Adam Rhine’s Dot Animation, Congo’s amazing shot layout, J-Pop, Attack From Mars, Dave saying ‘spider’ correctly after listening while editing, George Gomez giving a poetic definition of ‘Flow’, Chicago Gaming Company Remakes, and can the magic of Bally/Williams be replicated?