Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Data East's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Since all this week on YouTube is Geek Week I thought I'd do two pinball videos that have a strong geek following, both from Data East Pinball. First up is 1991's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is also the very last video from Pinfest. There were a few nice Data East tables at Pinfest, I had wanted to get a video of the Back to The Future pinball machine but sadly it was sold and the new owner didn't keep the game there on Sunday so I was able to get the TMNT on tape. I had wanted to take another video of it since I didn't really do anything but there was a little kid waiting to play.

Now back in the late 80's and 90's Gary Stern was running Data East Pinball, which then became Sega Pinball and finally in the early 2000's Gary bought the company back and re-named it Stern Pinball. The one thing that Data East did good was they we're able to get just about every license they could think of. So while Bally/Williams was making original games like, High Speed, Funhouse and Pinbot, Data East was making games based off of movies, television shows and cartoon characters. The problem is they didn't spend as much time on the design and rules of the games as Bally/Williams did. I had heard somewhere that Data East spent almost a month less then Bally/Williams did, but don't quote me on that.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a lot like Back to The Future, for good reason. Both designers worked on both games so they share a lot of things in common. Almost every game Data East made at this time had one main ramp and the way to score is to just keep shooting the ramp over and over again to spell out "TURTLES" (or in BTTF DeLorean) so that pretty much breaks the games for most people since one shot on the whole game rules out everything else to score big points. The other thing to do in the game is hit the four 3-Bank of drop targets to collect each turtle for Multiball. Sadly the game's Multiball is only a 3-Ball and not a 4 Ball which would have been cool for each turtle. The other two features this game has is the little manhole cover that will flip open that will shoot the ball out and of course, the giant spinning pizza disk that can send your ball going out of control on a missed ramp shot.

The backglass was also an issue with the game when this came out. Since they didn't want a game to just attract little kids they had to of course, put in something for the fellas. So the picture of April has her shirt wide open showing off her cleavage. I've actually seen people try to cover her up, kind of like how Bally had a sticker kit to cover up Elvira on Party Monsters. My favorite story about this recently happened a few years ago. Our good friend Brian that runs Substance-TV/Boomzies was able to find TMNT for a good price and when his wife saw it in the basement for the first time she said, "What the hell is that?"

So that there is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Not much else to talk about. It's got a double ramp shot you can hit over and over again and not have to do anything else. Parents don't like the backglass and it's got a little bit of the Vanilla Ice "Ninja Rap" in it.

Check back in on Friday for a look at Data East's Star Wars with the newly added 20th Anniversary ROM Update!

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