the backglass for the pinball game Skateball as described in the post

Skateball, Bally, 1980

Hoo is this thing 1980.

Let’s start with the man in the middle of the backglass. He takes up easily a third of the image in both directions. Starting at the bottom, he’s riding a blue skateboard with orange wheels, crouched so low that he’s almost touching his chest to his knees. His board shoes are white with an orange stripe, and are cut as high tops. White crew socks then blue knee pads that look like they’re made of blue taffeta. His shorts are 1980s basketball shorts which is to say another quarter of an inch and this man would be showing us ass cheek.

But it must be windy skateboarding in 1980 because he’s wearing what looks like a fuzzy and thick orange sweater with long sleeves. His elbow pads are blue and look so plush they could be inflatable, He’s wearing orange gloves that match his orange sweater and appear to hide frighteningly wide fingers.

To the left of him, another picture of him only shirtless and sporting a six pack and jean shorts has his arms around the waist of a blonde who desperately needs a bra but has never met one. She’s wearing a white shirt and red bikini bottoms, and holding up a blue and yellow surf board. They managed to get visible nipples through the shirt on this one.

Above them is a sailboat matching the same colors because color palettes for printing were expensive in the 80s.

To the right of skateboard guy is the most 80s purple striped drug-user van you ever saw in an after school special. Behind it is a silhouette of palm trees.


Bad Cats

The backglass to the pinball game Bad Cats as described in the post

Bad Cats, Williams, 1989.

I don’t know what was going in at Williams in 1989 but it seemed to have a lot of imagination, I’ll give it that. And when you figure that most of the current century has been dominated by Stern and licensed properties, there is something positive to be said about games that were just… out there.

And out there this one is. The backglass is a scene taking place between a house with orange siding and a red brick house. There’s a patio stretching between the two buildings with what appear to be cement pavers. Behind the outbuilding is a pine colored picket fence, and on the left we can see a white cat in a tree on the other side of the fence trying to get to some eggs in a bird’s nest. The bird is displeased and attacking.

On the roof of the left building a striped cat is lying on a blanket as if at the beach, with a blue, red and yellow striped umbrella over its head. Its tail is being levitated by two balloons.

In the leftmost window of the left house, we can see a Doberman-like dog trying to pull a cat off the drapes by the tail. For some reason the doberman is blue.

Next to that window is another window.  A boy in a yellow and red striped sweatshirt and a Mario from Super Mario style red hat is half out the window, aiming a slingshot at a cat on top of the dog house.

The dog house has a red roof and orange walls and contains a huge bulldog wearing a spiked collar. Think Loony Tunes or Tom and Jerry tropes. The dog has his paws on the back of a white cat who is pinned down to the ground. Another cat, as mentioned, is on the roof, holding a fishing pole that has a bone tied to the end of the line. It’s unclear whether the cat is trying to catch the dog with the bone as a lure or whether the cat is trying to steal the bone, because the bone is hovering over a blue dog bowl. Could go either way.

A little further forward in the scene a grey cat has jumped onto a 50’s red round barbecue grill, and is midair with its fur all sticking out indicating displeasure with the coals. We have no idea how the cat got there.

At the foot of the grill three mice are standing around on their back feet pointing at some cats further to the right as if in discussion. The three cats, orange, black and white spots, and brown stripes, are watching a circular mouse hole in the cement. The mice have clearly left that mouse house via the back door, which is another hole near them.

To the right of that a little girl in a short red dress is pushing a toy baby carriage that has a cat tucked into it like a baby. She’s offering the cat a mouse. To the right of that is a kids’ wading pool, maybe a foot deep, that two cats are fishing from. One has hooked a foot-long goldfish and the other cat is holding a net out to land the catch. A second goldfish head the size of a dinner platter is also surfacing in the pool. I don’t know who put those fish there but I wouldn’t let the kid anywhere near it.

Behind the kid and the pool is our aforementioned outbuilding. We can see through the wall to a woman in a red dress, white apron, makeup, heels, and a hair ribbon. She is well-endowed and unnaturally perky in the top region, with a four inch waist. She’s also wielding a broom like an ice hockey player about to commit a serious penalty.

The woman is aiming the broom toward a workbench covered in tools. Below the workbench we see a cat screaming, an empty birdcage, and an empty bird chiding the cat like Tweety Bird would be if a license had been purchased somewhere  in here. One of the features of this table is that during certain parts of the game play the woman beats the cat with the broom and the cat spins in circles. Good wholesome entertainment.

There’s an orange cat on the roof of the outbuilding leaning over the edge to watch the woman.

There’s also a sign in the outbuilding that says “There are crazy cats and there are copy cats!”

To the right of the outbuilding we find a full sized orange tiger leaning over the fence with fangs bared. Below him an orange cat is peeking out of a lime green trash can.

A large pole of blocks used to light the jackpot progress stands next to the brick house, with a fish bowl on the top labeled Jackpot. A large goldfish is inside. Four cats are standing in a tower, each on the other’s head, to try to get into the fish bowl.

A white striped cat is riding a skateboard off the red brick building’s roof.

In the window of that building we see a grey striped cat hiding in a hanging plant, and a white cat who has impaled a mouse from stomach to butt on a stick roasting the mouse over a candle flame.

To top it all off, there’s a creature best described as a snake with a human’s head in the front right corner. Instead of a rattle like a rattlesnake it has a pinball flipper on its tail. Its body is grey blotches on a yellow and brown background except where the words “pinball python” are written near the tail. Its head… well, imagine if you cut off a snake’s head, left the “neck” straight up like a human neck, and attached the head of Mick Jagger with purple hair.

Are you having nightmares yet? Because I think I will be.

Below the scoreboard two large grey cats are both stalking a mouse standing on its hind feet on a step stool.

As you may guess by the fact that it took 1,000 words to describe this one, it’s a bit of a doozy.


Photo of the Wizard backglass as described in the post.

Wizard, Bally, 1975.

There is a LOT going on here.

The setting: a pinball playfield which appears to be on fire at its back edge. Jets fly overhead. There are a few mushroom clouds on the horizon.

In the center, a man with a perm sits on a giant pinball bumper. It’s lit. The man has reflective sunglasses on, and they appear to be reflecting a very bright window. He wears a necklace with a pinball on it. He also has neck bolts (think Frankenstein) with lightning coming out of them.

He’s wearing a sleeveless white teeshirt with a giant pinball on it, labeled “Bally Pinball Wizard”.

His belt is a green and white diamondback. Said snake appears to be coming out of his jeans, so this both is and is not a euphemism.

A blonde woman with unrealistic breasts has her right arm around him. She’s wearing a light blue negligee and has a light blue feather on her collarbone. On her left finger she wears an octopus ring. On her left leg, a shackle leads to a bowling ball sized pinball that has Tommy written on it.

Behind them, to the left, a gobble hole labeled “love” has a woman standing in it. She is wearing a green turban, green bikini covered in red hearts, and red and green stockings that go up to her thighs.

To the right, a gobble hole labeled “evil” has a woman sitting on the edge. She’s wearing a white turban, a red and white half jacket that has “memento mori” written on the cuff. Her breasts are also unrealistic and barely contained. Her bikini bottoms have a center decoration consisting of black wings, a skull, and an hourglass on it.

In the foreground are two more gobble holes labeled “1-4 can play” and “ball in play”.

My understanding is that Bally created this wizard game because they couldn’t /before they could license the actual musical.

This thing is nightmare fuel.


Photo of the Viking backglass as described in the post

Viking, Bally, 1979. Beefcake. We’re in a Viking longhouse and two are battling.

The one closest to us has thrust his fur-covered hip toward us. The fur is… shorts? Plus fur boots to the top of the calf, a wide belt, and heavens know what the top is because it’s blocked by his incredibly muscular arms. Oh, and a horned helmet which we all know is not historic.

The other fighter is in calf-high boots, chain mail boy shorts, and a chain mail wife beater that looks ridiculous because his pecs are so large the straps are covering his nipples and the shirt is covering not much more than his midriff.

If I were the fighter closer to the camera, I’d whack the other guy in the pec or the shoulder so that he can’t use his sword arm anymore.

An overly breasted blonde woman stands behind the fighters looking distressed, probably because there’s no way that bodice is supporting that rack or they wouldn’t be so round (I speak from experience).

The rest of the crowd sitting at the tables looking on are fur-covered Vikings that are more likely to be comfortable in their outfits.

Joker Poker (Solid State)

Photo of the Joker Poker backglass as described in the post

Joker Poker. Gottleib. 1978. Three busty ladies with tiny waists dressed in body suits that are supposed to be joker costumes magic an unending trail of cards to dance around the backglass while purple and red clouds billow in a yellow sky. Trippy. There is no way those outfits are supportive enough for those DDD cups though and your body suit should fold under your breasts.