Pat Lawlor is a foremost designer of arcade Pinball
machines. Though he got started in the industry working on video games, he is most famous for his attention-grabbing pinball designs.
A list of Pat Lawlor pinballs reads like a Who's Who of Popular Pinballs: Banzai Run
, Whirlwind, FunHouse
, Red & Ted's Road Show
, and No Good Gofers
for Williams Electronics
; The Addams Family
, The Twilight Zone
, and Safe Cracker
under the Bally
label; and (as Pat Lawlor Design) Monopoly
, Rollercoaster Tycoon
, Ripley's Believe It or Not!
, and Family Guy
for Stern. Lawlor's last Physical Pinball Table
was 2008's CSI
. He had previously predicted the complete demise of pinball manufacturing, but in 2014 joined Jersey Jack Pinball
to work on a new as-yet-unannounced table.
Lawlor's games typically introduce gameplay-altering features that are related to the game's theme, such as the spinning discs in Whirlwind
that tossed balls off-course. His pins also have a mix of "vertical" shots (from the bottom of the playfield to the top) and "horizontal" ones (side-to-side, typically with the aid of additional flippers).His website is here.
Pat Lawlor's games include:
- The Adventures of Robbie Roto (Bally/Midway, 1981)
- Demons and Dragons (Bally/Midway, 1982; unreleased)
- Ten Pin Deluxe (Bally/Midway, 1984)
- Banzai Run (Williams, 1988)
- Earthshaker! (Williams, 1989)
- Whirlwind (Williams, 1990)
- FunHouse (Williams, 1990)
- The Addams Family (Bally, 1992)
- The Twilight Zone (Bally, 1993)
- Red & Ted's Road Show (Williams, 1994)
- Safe Cracker (Bally, 1996)
- No Good Gofers (Williams, 1997 - his final table for the company)
- Monopoly (Stern, 2001)
- Rollercoaster Tycoon (Stern, 2002)
- Ripley's Believe it or Not! (Stern, 2004)
- NASCAR (Stern, 2004)
- Family Guy (Stern, 2007)
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Stern, 2008)
Tropes frequently appearing in Pat Lawlor's pinballs include:
- Breakthrough Hit: Arguably FunHouse, though some players prefer to choose one of Pat Lawlor's earlier games instead.
- Creator Thumbprint: Nearly all of Pat Lawlor's pins have some reference to "The Power", either as part of a quote or a playfield element.
- The artwork for Lawlor's games include a joystick with a thumb button. It became the company logo for Pat Lawlor Design.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Usually lampshaded with a smart remark.
- Dialog During Gameplay: Whether it's a single Deadpan Snarker (Rudy from FunHouse), a pair of characters (Red & Ted from Road Show), or an entire cast of commentators, expect lots of chatter during a Lawlor pin.
- Fetch Quest: Certain bonuses are available only after making a certain number of shots or hitting a target a number of times.
- Signature Style
- The "Bumper Shot", requiring the player to shoot a ball between a set of pop bumpers to hit a crucial target.
- There are at least three flippers on a table, with flippers high on the board positioned to hit high-scoring shots.
- "Soft plunge" Skill Shots.
- Dual inlanes on either side of the playfield, usually located above the lower pop bumpers.
- Spinning discs or magnets beneath the board that throw off the ball's trajectory.
- Thematically-related gimmicks, such as the shaker motor in Earthshaker! that made the entire cabinet shake during the game, and Rudy, the talking doll head in FunHouse.
- Something Completely Different: 2003's NASCAR was a break from Lawlor's designs, with a more conventional two-flipper "fan layout."