Houdini, American Pinball, 2016.
The Houdini pinball machine is themed around the idea of Houdini’s shows. In alignment with that theme, the word Houdini takes up the top third of the backglass, with the words “Master of Mystery” below it. Houdini looks like it’s forged out of iron or steel, with many small rivets around the edges of the letters. Both the title and subtitle float over a red stage curtain.
Houdini himself, from the bust up, faces the camera inside the curtained area. He’s played up to be creepy, with light emphasizing his eyes and his hands, which he holds up, fingers curled, like he was about to snatch you out of your seat. He is surrounded by chains and the occasional very large clockwork cog, because what’s creepier than steampunk?
Below the stage we see the audience in their seats, facing away from us.
The left edge also contains a big black bank safe wrapped in chains and emitting an eerie yellow glow, an elephant emitting an eerie orange glow, and a woman upside-down in a tank of water that resembles a telephone booth, with the tank emitting an eerie pink glow.
The right edge starts with Houdini swallowing a string of needles and emitting an eerie green glow, then a very large milk can wrapped in chains and emitting an eerie blue glow, then a wooden trunk emitting an eerie purple glow. Chains, pinballs, and an ouija planchette.
There are a few other tiny details such as a robot staring through the gaps between the D and the I in Houdini that give the whole thing a very consistent vibe.
Transporter: The Rescue, Bally, 1989.
If you were thinking Jason Statham, no. Very no.
This is another pin based on a science fiction theme, but what exactly that theme is I’m not sure. From left to right, we have:
- A woman in a space suit trapped in a reddish-yellow cone (possibly a pyramid). There’s a tentacle from a monster wrapped around the cone possessively.
- A monster. Quinti-laterally symmetrical? Five eyes, five mouths, a big scary opening at the top of its head that could be some other kind of mouth, tentacles, some kind of crab claws or maybe the end of one of the tentacles menacing the camera. The monster is the same orange-red as the cone with the woman in it.
- A man in a space suit coming in from offstage right, carrying a gun. The patch on his shoulder says UN Orion and has a bunch of patches on it indicating lots of service. The gun looks suspiciously like a Colt revolver, which, my dude, won’t fire if there’s no oxygen and you are wearing a space suit.
- The presumed-backpack the man is wearing has the Jackpot lights built into it.
The background has what is either a green dome or a very large green moon rising on what is otherwise a barren plane. Something ominous is glowing in the leftmost corner.
Yeah, absolutely no Jason Statham.
Xenon, Bally, 1980.
For as boring as the 2010s backglasses are, I live for the 80s whackadoo shit.
Dead center we see the torso and head of a giant female robot. Her eyeballs are hearts. Her neck collar has a very large X shining in the center of her throat. Metal bars appear to be running from the camera location to the collar.
The woman standing in front of the giant robot, almost at the position of the camera, faces away from us. She’s wearing a green sci-fi outfit. Based on how perspective works she’s about 1/10 the height of the giant robot.
Pipes encircle the robot as if she’s at the end of a Jeffries tube. One would be excused for missing the two women that appear to be flying/floating toward the robot since they blend in with the pipes.
In each corner a skeleton with a robot head (or conversely a robot with a skeleton body) is slumped against the corner or staring at the events.
Quicksilver, Stern, 1980.
Ah yes, here we go back to the “was the artist on coke?” era.
A woman with an extremely extended (squid-like) cranium, dressed in an orange jumpsuit that matches her orange skin tone, runs through a very large pile of animated-looking green blobs. Some basketball-sized pinballs appear to be caught in the blobs. The blobs appear to be trying to capture the woman.
Behind them all, the game title displays in illustration-style neon lighting.
The drugs must have been really good back then.
Embryon, Bally, 1980.
There is some wild shit going on here.
First, the background: we are in a hallway of metal walls and grates like something off the set of Alien.
Dead center is a big circular metal tunnel with two human brains in semicircular containers clamped to the outside.
On the left, organic spheres about the size of basketballs are pouring out of something conveyor-like.
On the right, a sphere that comes to about waist height has a decidedly humanoid shape growing in it.
In the center, a man in a tight metallic blue shirt, red suspenders, with pilot goggles perched on his forehead stands behind a sphere that comes to his waist. His right hand rests on it.
A semi-feminine (or possibly starving) humanoid with red skin, a green drape, sits some kind of yellow goo inside the sphere. This, we presume, is the embryon.
This is some kind of fucked up, y’all.