The Master of Flownote
Steve Ritchie is an American arcade game designer, an industry veteran who is most reknown for his Pinball
Ritchie joined Atari
in 1974 as an electro-mechanical technician, but soon advanced to their fledgling pinball division and worked with Eugene Jarvis
on Airborne Avenger
. Before the latter was released, however, Ritchie moved to Chicago and joined the prominent pinball company Williams Electronics
. There, he developed an extensive list of renown pinball machines
, including Flash, Firepower, Black Knight, High Speed, Terminator 2: Judgement Day,
and Star Trek: The Next Generation
Ritchie has also helped in the development of many video games for Bally and Midway
, and provided the voice of Shao Khan in Mortal Kombat II
and Mortal Kombat 3
. Today, Ritchie is the lead of Steve Ritchie Productions (SRP)
, where he develops pinball machines for Stern Pinball
, such as Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Steve Ritchie is known as "The Master of Flow" by pinball enthusiasts, as his pinball designs heavily favor fast ball speeds, large loops, and associated combos. He is an avid fan of PC gaming, motocross racing, and street motorcycles. He is married to Dianne Ritchie, and is the older brother of fellow pinball designer Mark Ritchie
Steve Ritchie's games include:
- Airborne Avenger (Atari, 1977)
- Superman (Atari, 1979)
- Stellar Wars (Williams, 1979)
- Flash (Williams, 1979)
- Firepower (Williams, 1980)
- Black Knight (Williams, 1980)
- Hyperball (Williams, 1981)
- High Speed (Williams, 1986)
- F-14 Tomcat (Williams, 1987)
- Black Knight 2000 (Williams, 1989)
- Rollergames (Williams, 1990)
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Williams, 1991)
- The Getaway: High Speed II (Williams, 1992)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (Williams, 1993)
- No Fear: Dangerous Sports (Williams, 1995)
- California Speed (Atari Games, 1996)
- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Stern, 2003)
- Elvis (Stern, 2004)
- Spider-Man (Stern, 2007)
- AC/DC (Stern, 2012)
- Star Trek (Stern, 2013)
Tropes frequently appearing in Steve Ritchie's works include:
- Author Appeal: High Speed, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and No Fear: Dangerous Sports are but a few examples.
- Breakthrough Hit: Flash is widely regarded as this for Steve.
- Creator Backlash
- Ritchie is not pleased with his work on Stellar Wars, feeling it was rushed to production.
- He also admits in hindsight that spelling A-I-R-B-O-R-N-E-A-V-E-N-G-E-R in Airborne Avenger was not a great idea.
- Creator Cameo: Ritchie provided his own speech in his games, like the Black Knight in Black Knight and Black Knight 2000, Car 504 in High Speed and The Getaway: High Speed II, General Yagov in F-14 Tomcat, and Skull the Bone Head in No Fear.
- One of Us: Ritchie is a huge Star Trek and Terminator fan, and is an avid PC gamer.
- Promoted Fanboy: Steve Ritchie became a pinball designer after creating Airborne Avenger in his off-hours for a year, then showing his design to Atari president Nolan Bushnell.
- Rated M for Manly:
- Signature Style: Ritchie's tables tend to have the following:
- An emphasis on combos and non-stop flowing shots.
- A Combo shot: outer left loop shot to the upper right flipper, for a shot to an upper loop or side ramp.note
- A wide left outlane, with a kickback to shoot the ball back into play.
- Two sets of three targets, just above the triangle bumpers.
- A preference for adversarial themes, where it's the player vs. the Big Bad (Black Knight, F-14 Tomcat, Terminator 3). Star Trek: The Next Generation pits the player against three adversaries, and Spider-Man pits the player against four adversaries.
- Trope Maker: First rollover lane change? Firepower. First progressive jackpot? High Speed. First autosave? F-14 Tomcat. First Wizard Mode? Black Knight 2000. First Video Mode? Terminator 2: Judgment Day. And that's just the gameplay tropes.