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Pinball

The Princess Bride Pinball Project

 

I thought it would be fun to build my own pinball machine, with my kids. They like playing pinball, to an extent, and I imagined that being able to create and play a machine would be a good project for us to work on. It's my obsession, so I expect that I'll wind up doing a lot of the work, but that's OK with me.

 

Here are my goals:

We'll see if we are successful.

 

I was trying to think of a good theme. One day the book "The Princess Bride" came to mind, which I think will be a good one - we all like the book/movie, and the story is rich with ideas for game features. I don't think anyone says, "Extra Ball" or "Jackpot!" so we'll have to be creative. As long as it says, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." we should be happy.

 

The game will be based on the book, not on the movie (which was also based on the book). The book cut out a lot of things that would be fun (Sandy Sterling, the bald princess, Buttercup becoming the most beautiful woman in Florin, the silent sharks, the zoo of death), and while I know there are more fans of the movie than of the book, this game is not for them. Kind of like the Judge Dread game, based on the comic rather than the movie.

 

Update Dec 2020:

 

Well, it's been about a decade so far. Here's the current state of the machine:

 

game in progress

 

I've made progress, but not too much. I had selected the P-ROC controller in 2009 and have been very happy with that choice. I've made a flipping whitewood but haven't gotten the CAD skills yet to be able to cut the playfield on the CNC. I had an artist make a backglass image, using my kids (they were much younger at the time) as models. I came up with some ideas for the playfield layout but haven't completed that.

 

Not completing things on this project is a common theme. Because the project requires a lot of different components, I've gone off into different drections and haven't gotten too far with any of them. I've built three CNC machines to use to cut the playfield. I picked up a laser cutter to be able to cut plastics. I picked up a welder to use for fabricating metal parts. I've bought lots of parts but most of them are still in boxes, unused. Basically, I've learned a lot but haven't really accomplished my goal.

 

No one else cares too much about the project. My kids have moved on. My father, who was interested in suggesting ways to do things (mostly printing - he was pushing for screenprinting the playfield) passed away years ago. No one is pushing me to complete the game, so I'm happy to continue the learning exercise. Still, it would be great to finish the thing at some point just to get it off my to-do list.

 

Animation files for P-ROC

 

Here are the files I used to create a short animated sequence for the DMD:

Copyright © Steve Shoyer