So, it’s hard for me to admit that I don’t think I’ll ever produce this machine, but that’s exactly what this post is. So now, I am going to put the idea out there, and if anyone thinks they can make it, I’d love to play it.
Basically, what is the idea?
The idea is to blend pinball and music in a way that hasn’t been done. For years, the only music in pinball is in the background, but I want music to be part of the gameplay. (Not choose a song and shoot that song’s shots–that’s a mode) Rather, play with the music (add instruments, speed it up, slow it down).
The layout would be a flow game layout - ramps, orbits, and [a horseshoe or 2 ball return mechs like Iron Man] in the center. I see it similar to the stern star trek or afm layout. Ramps would feed the inlanes and orbits could feed pops, continue back to the flipper they were shot from or return to the other flipper depending on the game situation.
Game Play Concept:
For licensing purposes, I had elected to go ‘classical’ with my music, but this idea isn’t limited to a classical. 3 Artists (composers) would feature in the game. I saw it as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. The player would choose an artist and the game would start with a simple version of one of that artist’s “songs.” A player would play through the song, adding instruments to the piece by completing combos, and speeding up or slowing down the song by hitting the horseshoe or the proper ball return feature. The song would play through decent speakers via a MIDI controller. These would be the major expenses, the speakers and the hardware/software necessary to play the music.
Multiballs: There are three two-ball multiballs but a player is only to achieve one per play-through. Two-ball Multiball starts when a player completes two artists. For example if a player chooses Mozart at the outset, completes Mozart’s song, the selects Beethoven and completes Beethoven’s song, a two-ball multiball begins:
Mozart V Beethoven: It is a mashup of the music of Mozart and Beethoven, and will feature one or the other more heavily depending on the shots the player focuses on. A player can speed up the tempo or slow it down with shots to the center.
Three-ball wizard mode: Similar to the two-ball multiball, but now we’ve got three artists in the mashup.
As for general layout and some very basic gameplay, that’s as far as I felt I needed to get to know I wanted to play the game. Other features:
Lighting-with LED’s a wide range of lighting is available to the designers, and I sort of saw the lighting going with the music – starting basic and ramping up as instruments were added and the tempo changed.
Feedback-depending on cost, the game might need a nice screen (if the additions I am about to propose were to be added), but in the form above it would be fine with a DMD.
Customization-originally I had intended allowing people to add midi music to their machine, and having a somewhat open source to the shot logic so that they could program their own combos for adding instruments. The people I spoke with about the game thought that might be too ambitious and proposed limiting the game to the Mozart/Beethoven/Bach theme. I am putting this idea in here because it was part of my concept for the game, and I think it might be a real selling point. Plus, if people wanted to they could share their midi program and shot logic with other owners making for a neat way to keep the game relevant.
Drawbacks: My view of the game doesn’t really stress points. It’s probably not a tourney game. I’m sure there is a way to make points fair and keep the game fun, but the music aspect of the game isn’t really something that features in a competitive setting, as the volume is likely to be turned down. (although bluetooth is an interesting option if you wanted to go that route) This game is probably for locations and homes, but not necessarily the tournament hall.
I’m not sure about costs, we never mocked one up and didn’t get very far. It might cost a lot to do the things I suggest even though I don’t see the costs being prohibitive.
I’m probably not explaining things very well and I’m purposely not sharing the long write up that I took to meetings, so I’ll happily answer any questions about my idea.
It goes without saying that since I shared it here, the idea can be taken by someone else. I’m fine with that, since I don’t think I’ll ever make a pinball machine (I lack all knowledge of the mechanics of a pinball machine). I still want to see it made, because the current pinball-music connection is superficial at best.