Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Majorettes is ready

Our Gottlieb Majorettes wedgehead pinball machine is restored and in our house !

Henk De Jager had completed it already a few weeks ago (just before the Rosmalen jukebox show), but we didn't have room in our house as we were renovating the living room.. then our car broke down just the day before Nikky had planned to pick up the game. :-( (luckily the car was fixed a day later, but our meeting with Henk was delayed for a week)

Last week Nikky was finally able to drive all the way to Amsterdam to meet Henk and pick up the game. Nothing was going to stop her, even not a snow storm !
A few days before it had started to snow in Belgium and the Netherlands, road were blocked, traffic jams everywhere,.. but Nikky was going to retrieve that game and not delay it for another week. She drove over 5 hours in total.

Was it worth it ? Definitely !
Henk did a beautiful job restoring the wiring on the game back to original condition. Everything now works like it should.
Majorettes got a nice place in our new living room, it's the center piece of attention and I often play it..

Henk put in a 5 cents coin mechanism (the game isn't on free play) so I'm saving up all my small change :-) This week at the bakery I deliberately paid with coins so I would get a 5 euro cent piece in return (which I used to play a game with).

A friend came over yesterday and also had to play a few games..
The first days when I set the game up, I had put black rubber cups underneath the leg levellers, so it wouldn't scratch our tile floor. However this makes the game really stick in position, it's difficult to nudge. And nudging is really necessary when you want to play an electro-mechanical pinball machine like this ! Most of the skill involved when playing these old games is less about aiming with flippers, but controlling the ball and nudging it.
So therefor I now put some sticky felt patches underneath the rubber cups. That way it's a bit easier to nudge and move the game around.

On Majorettes nudging the game is even more required than with other electro-mechanical pinball machines. To earn an extra ball (the game is add-a-ball: you start with 5 pinballs but can earn more) you need to hit each of the 5 yellow or red popbumpers in sequence. The 5th bumper on each side however is positioned below the flippers ! So either you lose the pinball when trying to light it, but the 'outlanes' (not really outlanes like on a modern pinball machine as there's no metal divider) are really big with a large rubber ring at the bottom, and there's a hole between the flippers which will kick the pinball back onto the playfield.
Part of the gameplay is to try and get the pinball below the flippers, have it hit the 5th popbumper, and shake it back into the game by either bouncing the pinball off the rubber bands above the flipper bats, or into the hole.

I love it.

Gameplay and rules are pretty simple. I'll describe the whole rules/layout:
at the top of the playfield there are 3 rollovers at each side. The outer lanes score 50 points, the two others put out a letter (ABCD) and only 10 points. But get all letters and you earn an extra ball. Decisions, decisions..

At the top of the playfield there's a target that scores 100 points, and may be lit for extra balls by each row of popbumpers. Great ! So if you're good you can light both rows of popbumpers, hit this target and not only score 100 points but add 2 extra balls at the same time !

Below this target there's a hole that scores 50 points, and will kickout the ball against the 100 points target above it. Wow !! 150 points in one go - and if you're lucky the pinball will bounce back into the hole and this will repeat one or two times..
but if you're unlucky the pinball will miss the hole, come down roll down the playfield with a lot of speed, go between the flippers and jump right over the hole between the flippers and drain....

At the left and right are 5 bumpers in a straight line below each other, you have to light them in sequence. On the sides is a little lane which scores 30 points, and can be lit for an extra ball when you've lit all popbumpers of the opposite side.
As said, the 5th bumper is positioned below the flippers, and between the flippers there's another hole that will kick the pinball back onto the playfield.
That's it. No other mechanisms, no bonus to earn, ...
Just a plain add-a-ball pinball machine.

Playing this game does require some strategy - do you go for high points ? Then you're better off trying to get the ball through the outer lanes when it enters the playfield (getting 50 points instead of 10, but not getting a letter for an extra ball). And you try to get the pinball into the hole and hit the target for 100 points.
Or do you want to play for extra balls and play a long time ? Then you mainly try to get the popbumpers lit in sequence and earn letters, and concentrate less on the high scoring target..
This strategy can be dangerous however - it happened to me a few times that on my first pinball played I was able to light both yellow and red bumpers up to number 4.
But with the next pinball played you have to let it roll down quickly towards the bottom of the playfield trying to light popbumpers number 5.. with a high risk of draining - and either all of the next pinballs drained without lighting the 5th bumper, or I could light it but was not being able to earn the lit extra ball higher on the playfield.. so what looks like a simple and easy playfield layout is actually deceiving.

No comments:

Post a Comment