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Joined: Dec 22, 2009
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April 20th, 2021 at 3:46:18 PM permalink
I just got my newest addition to my collection.

HyperBall. The pinball machine that's not a pinball machine. At least it's generated this argument which is still ongoing.

I will let you guys decide.

It was Williams 100th game release so they decided to go high concept.


The game cabinet is certainly a pinball machine.

However there are distinct differences.

Firstly there are no flippers and no flipper buttons on the sides. In fact there are no traditional obstacles or ramps, bumpers dropsdowns, chutes etc. The play field is one great expanse of flatness

What you do have are two gun grips on the corners.

The gun grips control the ball cannon and allow you to shoot directionally left right or center. They work in tandem unlike traditional flippers where each side is independent so technically you could play single handed however double handed allows for quicker shooting once you get into alternate AC DC style trigger pulling. It feels easier to aim double handed as well as the angle of movement isn't comfortable with just one hand. The ease of letting one hand cooperate with the other in aiming the gun seemed intuitive.

It's really hard to see as it's under a plastic shield but here is the gun. Notice the balls above in a loaded position


Just about all pinball machines in the last couple decades have a MULTI-BALL feature. Two seems a bit low, most have three balls in play at once and a few have four.

HyperBall has fifty-five balls in play!

At all times so technically the entire game play is MULTI-BALL mode. The cannon shoots them out as fast as you can depress the trigger Gatling gun style and an Augur invisible in the backboard raises the balls back into a trough as a reloading mechanism.

Here are a few pix in succession as the trough is reloading


Pretty much all pinball is easy and intuitive to understand. A ball is rolling down a ramp while you try to keep it on the ramp by repelling it with flippers.

Targets on the playfield offer challenges(shoot ramp when lit, etc) but an unskilled player can just (and usually just) ignores them as they fight gravity.

HyperBall isn't intuitive and I have read of players unimpressed at first. But once you understand the dynamics it's quite addictive and manic. Hyper!

Obviously keeping balls in play against gravity is NOT the objective. You don't even "lose a ball" since every ball is collected and recycled.

The game has a defensive and an offensive strategy. You can ignore the offense if you wish but you must master the defense or your game will be over quickly. It's the defense that is not intuitive but also which makes the game unique and exciting.

So let's start with the easier to understand offense.


The otherwise barren playfield has targets with corresponding letters. These targets are twenty three in total representing each letter of the alphabet (three letters are not represented-Q, X, and Z)

The targets are arranged in banks or "batteries" of three or four each arranged up the right, left sides and the back top of the game.

Here are the targets so you get an idea

The left side, first battery (bank of four, A, B, C, D)

Left side, second battery (bank of three, E, F, G)

Center left, third battery (bank of three, H, I, J)
Center, fourth battery (bank of three K, L, M)
Center right, fifth battery (bank of three N, O, P)

Right side, sixth battery (bank of three, R, S, T)

Right side, seventh battery (bank of four, U, V, W, Y)

Note the three center batteries are much easier targets while the right and left are harder. The two lower batteries are extreme angles to the gun cannon and the two mid-batteries have difficult tunnels to aim through.

I know I said the offense is intuitive and it may not seem like it yet but just hang on. It is. I just had to explain the layout first.

In the center of the playfield is a digital readout which gives you challenges. Read the challenge and perform it.

It's as simple as that.

Here is an example:

Hit the letter T. Earn 14,000 points.

Here is another.

Spell the word H-Y-P-E-R and yes in that order and get 90000 points.

One more

Note the letter in "A" in Alien looks slightly darker. The letter flashing tells you where in the spelling you have achieved so far

Obviously there are no words with the missing Q, X or Z letters.

As I said the offense is pretty intuitive. Technically not too difficult.

The challenge is even paying attention to your offense while dealing with defense. You must pay attention to defense or your game will be maddeningly quick.

Defense not being intuitive will take some explaining so here goes.


Okay, you got the layout of the targets. Beginning randomly from either side light bolts run up the targets one by one.

For example starting on the left, A target, B target, C target, etc. If you can strike the target as the light is progressing up through the alphabet to stop it from progressing further. (Or if it's starting on the right side moving backwards through the alphabet.

Remember those three batteries of center targets that are much easier to hit? Well if the light bolts reach those then they "walk" or progress across until they randomly decide to start coming towards your defensive position on the playfield.

Your position which you are defending is this.

Your energy center is your life or "man". Five light strikes and you lose your life. You have three lives per game.

If this is difficult to understand here is a light strike in motion from the center targets trying to reach my energy center.

Each picture shows the lights progression.

Note the light is progressing from the letter O.

EDIT: (The third pic it's coming from the letter N. This game is fast and it wasn't easy catching the action but the light always comes down straight from the initiating letter)

If you haven't already stopped the light from traveling to the center batteries you must stop them from making it to your energy by shooting the corresponding target.

If you lose control and feel overwhelmed you also have a limited option backup which I left out until now.

Although there are no side buttons for flippers there is a single "Bomb" button in the center between the gun grips.

Anyone familiar with the game "Defender" will understand this button. You have three bombs and they clear all enemies on the playfield at once. It's a nice ex machina but limited to three uses.

The game has levels so after a bit of manic fighting you get a breather (I'm certain it's to allow the ball auger time to catch up too as gameplay resumes once the balls have all been reloaded. Or to allow the auger to cool. It apparently has a fan that is keeping it from overheating which unfortunately makes this game, combined with balls clacking and augers reloading notorious for a very loud game. And that's without all the games actual bells and digital sounds).

Similar to games like Galaga, every fourth level or so you have a "reflex" round where you try to amass points by hitting lit targets and don't have to worry about losing a life.


Well, there you have it.

This game is so fast I couldn't even get proper pictures of the balls in play. They just shoot so fast across the screen my camera phone kept coming up near invisible blurs for balls.

But it's really exciting once you get the high concept and I can see this taking months to truly master.

Lucky for me it's set to free play.


Pinball or not pinball?
For Whom the bus tolls; The bus tolls for thee
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
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April 20th, 2021 at 5:28:00 PM permalink
Looks like you池e making good use of the new photo feature. 👍

It痴 different. That痴 for sure. It makes me hope the have one at the Pinball Hall of Fame.

But to answer your question: It's definitely pinball. 😁
I invented a few casino games. Info: 覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
Joined: Sep 29, 2010
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April 20th, 2021 at 6:28:14 PM permalink
Agree with DJ, it's pinball and hope the PHOF has one
Joined: Oct 10, 2012
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April 21st, 2021 at 12:32:10 AM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

Looks like you池e making good use of the new photo feature. 👍

♪♪Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand♪♪ Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able In the land of casinos and money You must put them on the table♪♪ You go back Jack do it again roulette wheels turinin' 'round and 'round♪♪ You go back Jack do it again♪♪

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