Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Midway's The Pinball Circus

When I visited the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas this past October there was one game that I knew I had to play first. That of course was The Pinball Circus from Midway. Back in 1993 the folks at Bally/Midway/Williams wanted to do something new with pinball. They thought of making the machines large with multiple playfields and tons of custom made toys. They enlisted the one and only Python Anghelo to do the design. Python worked on a ton of classic games like Pinbot, Bad Cats and Police Force. This machine has four playfields. The main playfield has the acrobats. The second has Pinbo The Elephant, third is the Mechanical Giraffe and finally the top playfield is the clown that constantly taunts you throughout the game.

Sadly some features of the game weren't working or there when I took this video. On the first playfield the "Face Ramp" wasn't working. I was told you can keep hitting it over and over again to rack up millions. The first playfield was also missing the toy acrobat of "The Lovely Lolita" Lolita used to hang on a rope over the middle of the first playfield and would spin around while you played. You'll even hear the ringmaster shout out her name from time to time. Sadly when they were cleaning the game a little girl grabbed the toy off the table and she dropped it and the toy broke. They had sent out a notice if anybody could fix her, but sadly she wasn't fixed. Also for some reason the left hand on the clown's face was missing. Hopefully it was just taken off to be cleaned and didn't end up breaking like the toy of Lolita.

So why didn't you see this game in your local arcade during the 1990's? Well Midway took the game out on location test and it did very well. If you look online you may still be able to find some news stories that aired of a location getting the game with it being crowded with tons of people playing it. The second machine that was made was rumored to be sent to Europe for trade shows. One of the major European distributors in Germany named NOVA got wind that the machine would cost 1,000 dollars more then a normal standard pinball machine and they flat out said no and they wouldn't sell it. So since they were a major seller of their machines they decided to pull the plug on the project and the one machine was put into storage. According to the second machine is still in a private collection somewhere in Germany, but nobody knows for sure if that's true.

Thankfully they donated the one machine to the Hall of Fame when they opened a few years ago and it's proudly on display for all to play! If you ever make it to the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, be sure to check the machine out!

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