Twilight Zone (pinball)

Twilight Zone (pinball)

Infobox Pinball | title = Twilight Zone

manufacturer = Midway
system = Midway WPC (Fliptronics II)
Players = 4
designer = Pat Lawlor, Larry DeMar, Ted Estes
programmer = Larry DeMar, Ted Estes
artwork = John Youssi
mechanics = John Krutsch
music = Chris Granner
sound = Chris Granner, Rich Karstens
release = April 1993
voices=Rod Serling
production = 15,235

Twilight Zone (often abbreviated TZ) is a 1993 widebody pinball game, designed by Pat Lawlor and released by Midway (under the "Bally" label). It is based on the classic TV series. This game is part of WMS' "SuperPin" line of widebody games (see also ' and ').

Following the huge success of The Addams Family pinball game, Midway gave Lawlor full creative control over the design of his next game, and the result is what many pinball enthusiasts consider to be "the most complex pinball game ever designed". Among its noted features include a working Gum ball machine (which deposits balls), a working analog clock (used as a timer for various modes), the Powerfield (a small separate play field where the ball is propelled by magnets rather than flippers), and the "Powerball", a white ceramic ball which is lighter than a regular steel ball and is non-magnetic.

In addition to adapting the theme music from the original TV show, the game's main background music is a remix of the 1982 hit "Twilight Zone", by Golden Earring.

This game was originally supposed to be the first game to use Williams / Midway's DCS Sound System, but because the DCS board was still in development when the game was released, it instead used the Yamaha YM2151 / Harris CVSD sound board.

Connections to the TV series

The "Twilight Zone" pinball machine is, naturally, filled with references to its namesake TV show. These references include:

*The door from the opening credits takes up most of the center of the playfield, and its sections are labelled with each of the game's modes.
*The blond-haired artists mannequin from the opening credits appears on the left slingshot.
*The zodiac clock from the opening credits appears as an actual, functioning clock on the playfield.
*An image of Henry Bemis from the episode Time Enough at Last, appears next to the "slot machine" cellar hole.
*The hitch-hiker from the episode of the same name appears on the playfield, and as a collectible bonus.
*The slot machine from The Fever appears on the playfield labelling a cellar hole that triggers a slot machine animation on the DMD.
*The camera from A Most Unusual Camera labels a target that starts the next mode.
*The tiny spacemen from The Invaders make several appearances in DMD animations.
*The radio from Static plays during a multiball mode.
*The piano from A Piano in the House labels a cellar hole.
*Talking Tina from the episode Living Doll appears in one of the DMD animations that play when the player wins an extra ball.
*Robby the Robot, who appeared in the episodes Uncle Simon and The Brain Center at Whipple's is featured on the playfield."This list is incomplete"

Additionally, many more "The Twilight Zone" references appear in the translite artwork.

Oddly, two of the most prominent features of the game -- the gumball machine and "The Power" -- don't appear in the TV series at all.

Single-ball modes

"Twilight Zone" features fifteen single-ball "modes", most of which can be stacked (one mode can be started while any number of other modes are in progress). Fourteen of these modes are presented as door panels in the center of the play field. The ultimate goal of the game is to light all of the door panels and start "Lost in the Zone", the game's wizard multi ball mode which comprises the doorknob.

The game provides several ways to light door panels: Shoot the Slot Machine when lit, shoot the Player Piano when lit, or defeat the Power in the mini-play field. Shooting the Slot Machine starts a random unlit door panel mode, while the other two methods start the door panel that is currently flashing.

The door panels are as follows:

* 10 Million Points — Awards 10 million points.
* Lite Gum ball — Lights the Gum ball machine. Player must shoot the right orbit to load the current ball in play into the Gum ball machine. (This is the main method for getting the Power ball onto the play field. The other methods are: If it was drained, it will be kicked-out to the plunger—or auto-plunger—in turn; or, if it was shot into the lock, while the lock was lit, it will be released when any multi ball mode is started, or when 1-2 more balls are shot into the lock, while it is not lit.)
* Town Square Madness — Timed mode. All targets accumulate a set point value, while the pop bumpers in Town Square increase the value for each target and cause townspeople to panic.
* Fast Lock — An AM radio plays clips from Pat Lawlor's previous pinball games, counting down a jackpot value as its "frequency". Shooting the Lock awards the jackpot and starts a three-ball multi ball mode, where shooting the Lock awards the jackpot again. The background music played during this multi ball is the main multi ball music from the game whose clip was most recently played in single-ball mode. The games referenced are, in order, "The Addams Family", "FunHouse", "Whirlwind", "Earthshaker!", and "Banzai Run".
* Super Skill Shot — Lights the Super Skill Shot. Shooting the left ramp causes the ball to return to the plunger, where the player must then make a skill shot to score special bonuses: Red lights "Battle the Power", Orange lights the out lanes, and Yellow lights "Extra Ball". If the ball is shot past Yellow, into the hole, the player gets a consolation award of 10 million points.
* Super Slot — Timed mode. Shooting the Slot Machine awards random bonus points.
* Lite Extra Ball — Lights "Extra Ball". Shooting the Lock awards the extra ball.
* The Camera — Lights the Camera. Shooting the Camera (just underneath the top-left flipper) yields a rotating award. Awards are "20 Million Points", "Lite Out lanes", "Clock 10 Millions", "Collect Bonus", "3X Town Square", and "10 Hitchhikers".
* The Spiral — Timed mode. Shooting the orbits causes the ball to stop on the Spiral magnets for the first three shots (awarding points), then awards "Breakthrough" points for each subsequent shot.
* Clock Millions — Timed mode. Shooting the clock target (between the two ramps) awards 1 million points times the position of the hour hand on the clock. (A similar mode, "Clock 10 Millions", is started via the Camera and awards 10 million points per hit, regardless of the hour hand's position.)
* Battle The Power — Lights the "Battle the Power" shot on the right ramp. Shooting the right ramp when this is lit starts "Battle the Power" mode.
* Greed — Timed mode. All of the 5-million-point targets start lit.
* Hitch-Hiker — Awards 2 million points for each hitchhiker the player has picked up thus far in the game. Each additional hitchhiker picked up during the player's current ball scores another 2 million points.
* Clock Chaos — Timed mode. The clock starts at 6:00 and begins counting down, playing "Pop Goes the Weasel" throughout the mode. Hitting the clock target awards 1 million points times the position of the hour hand, and the clock reverses direction and starts counting faster. The mode ends when the clock reaches 12:00.

The one single-ball mode not accounted for by the door panels is "Battle the Power". The door panel by the same name merely lights the right ramp. To actually play the "Battle the Power" mode, the player must shoot the right ramp when the shot is lit. The ball moves to the raised mini-play field to the left of the main play field, and the player must then direct the ball into the top hole within a set time limit. The mini-play field utilizes two medium-power magnets that act as flippers (dubbed "Magna-Flips"). (Note: Since the Power ball isn't magnetic, when the game "knows" the Power ball is the only active ball, the "Battle the Power" mode becomes unavailable until a regular ball becomes active. However, the "Battle the Power" mode can be lit while the Power ball is active.) If the ball falls through the bottom hole or time runs out, the player is awarded whatever bonus points were accumulated during the mode. If the player succeeds in shooting the ball through the top hole, the award is doubled and the currently highlighted door panel mode is started. (This will start "Lost in the Zone" if all door panels have been started.)


In addition to the multitude of single-ball modes, "Twilight Zone" also offers four multi ball modes:

* Standard Multi ball (3-ball) — Started when the player locks two balls in the Lock, then either shoots the Lock a third time or (in some cases) shoots the left ramp. Jackpots are awarded for shooting the Player Piano when lit, and are re-lit by shooting the Camera. The player can increase the jackpot value by hitting the flashing 5-Million targets. When the jackpot is collected using the Power ball, the player is awarded double the current jackpot value, and the DMD display shows "Jackpot doubled by Power ball".
* Power ball Mania (3-ball) — Started when the player successfully loads the Power ball into the Gum ball Machine. The player may "Battle the Power" simultaneously while making other shots on the main play field, and is awarded a 50-million-point jackpot for successfully defeating the Power.
* Fast Lock Multi ball (3-ball) — See the description in single-ball modes.
* Lost in the Zone (6-ball) — The game's wizard mode, awarded for successfully lighting all of the door panels. The doorknob (bearing a question mark) becomes lit, and any of the normal mode-starting shots will start this mode. The player has approximately 45 seconds to make an unlimited number of shots to all targets - every playable single-ball mode is active during this period, and balls are immediately put back into play when they are lost. Once time runs out, the flippers are deactivated and all balls are allowed to drain. The total score is tallied while the machine refills the Gum ball Machine. Game play then returns to normal.

Note: In most commercially released machines, the Standard Multi ball mode starts with 3 balls being released sequentially from either the Lock or the auto plunger, depending on how many balls are physically contained in the Lock at the time. An alternative start to this mode is available in some versions of the ROM software, and requires that a third magnet be installed in the Spiral orbit (standard machines only have two magnets). This allows the machine to lock all three balls in the Spiral Magnets and then release them simultaneously.

Custom modifications

Customizing pinball machines is a controversial subject — many players disagree on whether customizations enhance the machine's presentation or detract from it. Many also disagree on which kinds of modifications are considered acceptable, based on whether the mods were part of the creator's original design.Fact|date=February 2007 Because "Twilight Zone" had a number of features cut before release to reduce manufacturing costs, and it is also such a complex machine, it is widely considered a prime candidate for customization. Some modifications restore features that were part of Pat Lawlor's original design, while others go beyond the original design to add an owner's personal touch to the machine.

Original design mods

* Third play field magnet - The official "Twilight Zone" play field has two magnets in the outer loop (the Spiral), which are used to instantly stop the ball(s) to assist the player with certain shots. The original design of the game had a third magnet above the right-hand magnet, but to reduce manufacturing costs, this magnet was removed before production. An owner can install this third magnet after drilling a hole in the play field, and support for this magnet is included in version 9.4H (the "home edition") of the ROM software. However, this mod is quite controversial due to the irrevocable modification of the play field, and some pinball purchasers will not consider such a modified machine. Future owners of this machine must either accept the change or install an unmodified play field at their own cost, while all other mods can be easily undone.
* Gum ball flashers - Included in the door panel are two inserts indicating when the player has shot the left ramp for "GUM" and the right ramp for "BALL", indicating time to shoot for the Gum ball machine. These were designed to have flasher bulbs underneath them, but for some reason were cut from the production run.
* Gum balls - The gum ball machine holds three pinballs in a vertical column at any one time, but the cavities to either side of this column are left empty in the official game. A common modification is to fill these vacuities with small colored balls, giving the gum ball machine a more authentic appearance. It is not known for certain if this was part of Lawlor's original design.

Independent mods

* Gum ball machine flashers - Many people criticize the fact that the gum ball machine is dark and since it is located in the far corner of the machine, is not very noticeable. The only light to indicate it is active is the blinking red lamp over the right orbit shot, far away from the machine. One modification is to put a set of lights underneath the gum ball cap tied in to the same blinking circuit so that the gum ball machine is lit up when active. Some of the newer versions of this mod use LEDs to avoid problems with heat.
* Clock - The clock is an integral part of the game, and thus is well lit up. However, the original manufacture of the machine used four incandescent light bulbs. These bulbs generate a lot of heat that over extended periods can damage the clock housing and PCBs. It is possible to modify the clock by drilling a series of small holes in the housing to allow the heat to dissipate or to reduce the intensity of the bulbs or to replace them altogether with LEDs. All of these modifications have proved effective in extending the life of the clock.
* Owners will often find plastic toys that match the images on the game and install them inside the machine. Common elements that are duplicated this way are the Robby the Robot, Camera, Piano, Slot Machine, Rocket Ship and Pyramid. LEDs are often added to the toys and wired into the circuitry for added impact.

* Pop-bumper cap colors - The pop-bumpers have different colors on each c

External links

* [ IPDB listing for: The Twilight Zone]
* [ "Twilight Zone" on]
* [ Pinpedia Database Entry: The Twilight Zone]
* [ Twilight Zone mods]
* [ Twilight Zone promo video]
* [ Twilight Zone Owners Community]
* [ Game Room Magazine: Romancing The Twilight Zone Pinball] , by Ted Estes

succession box
before = The Addams Family (pinball)
title = Pat Lawlor Pinball machines
after = "Red & Ted's Road Show"
years =


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