Made by Williams in June, 1967. An extensive description of the play of
this machine, with a photo is in the book Pinball: The Lure of the Silver
Ball, by Gary Flower. It is considered one of the best Williams single
player machines of the 1960s. Its add-a-ball cousin is Blast-Off
Backglass: shows Saturn V series rocket lifting off launch pad at the
Playfield: Symmetrical layout with a row of 10 rollover buttons in the
middle. These cycle from one to the next in sequence when hit. They
represent the 'countdown'. A ball-save gate is on the right outlane, which
is opened by advancing the countdown past 1 and then hitting the top center
lit standup target. Doing so also advances other target values.
Cabinet: Colors are dark blue and orange-red on a white background. The
typical stenciled shapes are satellites and rockets, with a few stars.
This machine draws my play more than any other in my collection. One big
reason is that it seems to always work :^), but the biggest draw is its
play. It has several strategies that can be used, but it seems that no
matter how good I am, I am always challenged. For a time I will score well,
racking up replays and then a few games later I consistently cannot win any.
I have never been bored by this game.
The appeal of this game to collectors has been the presence of backbox
animation--a mini-pachinko linked with the space-theme and plenty of
long accurate shots. It even has an opening skill shot from the plunger.
Acquiring this game took a couple of years. An acquaintance at work had it
in his garage, but did not own it. It belonged to a friend of his. After
much prodding and persuasion he agreed to ask his friend about it--You see
he was eager to get it out of his garage. After many months of
reminding his friend and I connected and started negotiating. He didn't
want money! Finally we agreed on a trade and Apollo was mine.
It was pretty rough, and the cosmetics were damaged. Through much
patience the cosmetics were mostly repaired and the mechanics restored to
working condition. The backglass had the worst damage with heavy flaking
starting. The best I could do for now was arrest any further damage. I
guess the condition could have been worse. I'm glad it wasn't.
This is certainly one of my personal favorites. I've heard similar comments
from other owners of this machine.
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