Made by Bally in September, 1977. This is a four player solid state
machine. Until recently, this machine held the all-time production record
for flipper pinball machines--20,230 were built. It was pushed to second
place a couple of years ago by The Addams Family. Eight Ball
was Bally's first successful solid state machine. The theme of this game is
obviously a pool game.
Pictures of this game are found in Pinball 1, by Bueschel, on page
244, in Pinball Machines, by Eiden, on page 44, in Arcade
Treasures, by Kurtz, on page 92, and in Slot
Machines and Coin-Op Games, by Kurtz, on page 58.
Backglass: Diner scene similar to the TV series Happy Days. In the
foreground is The Fonz shooting pool.
Playfield: Asymmetrical layout with three jet bumpers just below the top
rollover lanes. A lane on the left passes to the top lanes. The entrance
to the lane has a spinner. The right side has a turnaround at the
top. Hitting the
rollover button at the top of the turnaround advances the bonus multiplier
and then scores an extra ball, and then points. The left
outlane features a kickback. Most targets and lanes are labeled with
numbered balls, paired as the solid and striped balls. The player must get
all seven of a group and then hit the eight ball target. The eight ball
target also lights the kickback.
Cabinet: Colors are green, orange and black on a white background. The
stenciled shapes are a pool player and balls.
This machine plays fast when in good mechanical condition. It is even now
fondly remembered by many and is considered a collectible machine. Because
it is an early solid state machine it used chimes, like the
electro-mechanicals for scoring sounds, instead of the later electronic
beeps, whistles, and other noises similar to early video games.
The representation of Henry Winkler's Fonzie character in the artwork was
not licensed and caused a problem after it was released. The stir was
probably too late to do much about it. I am not aware of any settlement,
but doubtless one had to occur. Maybe Mr. Winkler got a free machine.
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