Pinball: AC/DC

Let There Be Rocknote 

AC/DC is a 2012 pinball game designed by Steve Ritchie, programmed by Lyman F. Sheats, artwork by John Youssi, and released by Stern Pinball. It is based on the legendary Australian rock band, AC/DC.

As a celebration of the band's musical legacy, the game tasks players to play through twelve of their most memorable songs, including "Highway to Hell," "Thunderstruck," and "For Those About to Rock". Cycle through the jukebox, fire the rotating Cannon, ring the Hells Bell, then ride the Rock 'n Roll Train. Run through the Jam, Album, and Tour multiballs either individually or simultaneously, make a Request and Change the song, then use your VIP Passes to advance further. Complete all twelve songs, then start the Encore and play them all over again.

Among enthusiasts, AC/DC is regarded as one of the best games from both Steve Ritchie and Stern Pinball the game is fast and unforgiving, with enough speed and complexity to challenge top players, all wrapped up in a spectacular audio-visual package. The appeal is not limited to pinball fans, as the game was cited for sparking a major pinball renaissance in Australia.

As with many other Stern titles, it was initially released in both a standard ("Pro") version and several deluxe versions, though the "Pro" edition feels like an incomplete version of the game. In December 2013, a "Luci" Premium Edition was announced, featuring new cabinet and backglass art centered on the Horny Devil girl Luci. In August 2014, an updated "Pro" edition was announced, with a swinging bell and LED lighting.


The AC/DC pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • BFG: The cannon.
    Announcer: Prepare to fire the cannon. FIRE!
  • Billing Displacement: The "Luci" version prominently features the Horny Devil herself on the backglass, reducing the band members to background silhouettes.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: In addition to the titular redhead, the "Luci" version of the game also includes a blonde and brunette on the Underworld lower playfield.
  • Celebrity Star
  • Combos: Shoot a ramp and then the opposite ramp or loop for a Combo. Chain longer combos for bigger bonuses.
  • Cool Train: There's one in the Premium and Limited Edition tables, complete with working headlight and devil horns.
  • Creator Cameo: Steve Ritchie provided the voice of the demonic announcer.
  • Dummied Out: In the "Pro" (basic) edition of the game, the Underworld lower playfield is replaced with a large caricature of Angus' face.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Hells Bell on the upper-right playfield, which is movable in the Premium and LED Pro Editions.
  • Genius Bonus: Invoked during the Album and Tour Multiball modes, where scoring a jackpot shows either an album or a tour ticket, in chronological order. If the current song first appeared on that album or was first played live on that tour, the player also gets the Song Jackpot as a bonus. Players who know their AC/DC history have used this to strategically boost their scores.
  • Glowing Eyes: Sported by the fiery head in the Underworld.
    • The eyes on the large Angus portrait on the Pro version can also light up. (As well as his mouth...and his nose.)
  • Horned Humanoid:
    • The Underworld playfield looks like a fiery head topped with small curved red horns. In the basic version of the table (without the lower playfield), the horns appear on Angus' head instead.
    • On the "Luci" Premium Edition table, the three female characters (Luci on the backglass, and a blonde and a brunette in the Underworld) all have small horns.
  • Hot as Hell/Louis Cypher: Luci from the "Luci" Premium Edition is heavily implied to be Satan.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Nearly ever aspect of the playfield is on fire.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition:
    • Along with the basic game, AC/DC was initially available in a Premium Edition, a "Back In Black" Limited Edition, and a "Let There Be Rock" LE. These added an "Underworld" mini-playfield below the main table, LED lights, a moving bell, animated band members in the backbox, and a premium sound system.
    • The Limited Editions also include a shaker motor, custom mirrored backglass art, and laser-cut metalwork. Only 200 "Let There Be Rock" and 300 "Back In Black" machines were produced.
    • And then there's the 2014 "Luci" Preimum Edition, an updated release with new backglass and cabinet art.
  • Match Sequence/Mooning: A video of Angus Young plays, saluting the audience and then dropping his pants, mooning them. The match number is on Angus's butt.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Luci, who left longtime AC/DC fans wondering what connection the character had to the band.
  • New Rules as the Plot Demands: The rules change according to what song is being played.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: This machine doesn't even have a premise, just a theme. There is no explanation whatsoever about what's going on, what the things you're shooting for mean, or what role the player has. The player is simply asked to pick a song when the game begins, then shoot for whatever the machine asks him or her to. Since this goes for the Luci edition too, there is, of course, no context for who Luci is or what she pertains to the band or the game.
  • Plunger Detonator: Appears on the playfield, and it plunges itself.
  • Progressive Jackpot: The Encore Jackpot.
  • Rated M for Manly: Predominately red artwork, a heavy metal soundtrack by AC/DC; it's a Steve Ritchie game, after all.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: AC/DC features twelve AC/DC songs.
  • Score Multiplier: Hitting the Bell three times doubles all scores for 20 seconds; hit it three more times during that interval to triple all scores, including jackpots!
  • Sex Sells: The "Luci" version.
  • Shout-Out: The announcer would sometimes say quotes from Steve Ritchie's previous games, including:
  • Skill Shot:
    • After plunging the ball, letting the ball roll over a flashing A-X-E multiplier lane awards 250,000 points (increasing by 25k each time), increases the bonus multiplier, and awards a VIP Pass (a song item in earlier software revisions).
    • There's a Super Skill Shot, which awards 350,000 points (also increasing by 25k each time), increases the bonus multiplier by 5x, and awards 2 VIP Passes. It is enabled by first plunging the ball into the Jukebox, and then holding the right flipper button; the ball is ejected to the right flipper, and quickly shoot any loop, ramp, or the Bell to collect the Super Skill Shot.
  • Smart Bomb: The VIP Pass, introduced in software revision 1.6.
  • Spelling Bonus: A few examples include the following: A-X-E increases the bonus multiplier, and F-I-R-E lights the cannon. There's also R-O-C-K, A-C-[lightning bolt]-D-C, and T-N-T.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Wizard Mode: Encore, which is reached after playing all twelve songs. You must play through all of the songs again in the order you did them originally. Complete a task for each song to collect your earlier score for that song and advance to the next. Finish all twelve songs in Encore, then ring the Bell for the Encore Super Jackpot.
    • Anti-Frustration Feature: You get three balls to complete the Encore, and they don't count against your actual ball count.
  • Wreathed in Flames: The Underworld mini-table, which resembles a humanoid head covered in fire.