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Pinball: Banzai Run
You've Never Seen Anything Like This!
Announcer: "Go for the Hill!"

Banzai Run is a Physical Pinball Table designed by Pat Lawlor and Larry DeMar, with artwork by Mark Sprenger. It was released in 1988 by Williams Electronics, and is notable for its continuous playfield, which extends vertically into the backbox.

The game itself is centered on the 1988 Banzai Run Supercross race on the notorious Banzai Hill track. As an up-and-coming racer, you are up against four rivals: Green Machine, Yellow Belly, Blue Beard, and Red Hot. Build up laps on the lower playfield, then hit the twelve color-coded targets to challenge each racer and access the hill. Once that's done, ride the Ball Lifter to the vertical playfield to defeat the challengers, then take on the King of the Hill in a light-and-sound spectacular.

Although some earlier pinball games included bagatelle-style minigames in the backbox, Banzai Run was the first to have a fully-featured vertical playfield with flippers, kickers, and sinkholes. Besides its novel design, Banzai Run was the first pinball game designed by Pat Lawlor, and established many of his preferred gameplay elements that would appear in later pins.


Banzai Run demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Appeal To Novelty
  • Big Word Shout: The racer shouts "BAANZAIIIII!" when you shoot the Cycle Jump on the vertical playfield.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The rival's targets match their primary colors and names.
  • Colourful Theme Naming: The rivals.
  • Delinquent Hair: Blue Beard has a short-trimmed mohawk.
  • Difficulty Spike: The transition from the horizontal playfield to the vertical is this for many players.
  • Faceless Goons: The lower playfield features additional racers (in addition to the player's four rivals), all of whom are completely covered in motocross gear and have no influence on the game.
    • Creator Cameo: These racers' names (each of them are named after the design team) are as follows, in order of rank (starting with Rank 2): (John) Krutsch, Lawlor, (Ed) Boon, Sprenger, and (Brian) Schmidt.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The only identifying characteristic for the player's character is his gender.
  • Fiery Redhead: Red Hot.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: The announcer speaks like this:
    Announcer: "He's going after (rival's name)!"/"He's challenged (rival's name)!" — upon lighting a rival
    Announcer: "What a move on (rival's name)!" — upon defeating a rival
  • Mini-Game: "Freestyle", a separate miniature pachinko-style playfield in the backbox.
  • Porn Stache: Green Machine has one.
  • Ramp Jump: The "Cliff Jump", a vertical ramp in the backbox.
  • Signature Style: Banzai Run features what would become Lawlor's trademarks, including the Bumper Shot, horizontal shots, dual-left inlanes (though in this case, it's a kicker), and game-changing gimmicks (the vertical playfield).
  • Skill Shot: Gently plunge the ball into the Banzai Hill saucer to score the "Super Cycle Stunt" bonus and send the ball up Banzai Hill.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If the player challenges or defeats a single opponent, the announcer will address each one individually. However, if a second competitor is challenged or defeated very quickly after the first, the announcer will name them both within one complete sentence.
    He's challenged (opponent 1) and (opponent 2)!
    What a move on (opponent 1) and (opponent 2)!
  • The Smurfette Principle: Red Hot, the only female racer in the game.
  • The Place
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Played with; Blue Beard's hair is a very light electric blue.

"BAANZAIIIII!"
Baby Pac-ManThe EightiesBarracora
    Creator/Williams ElectronicsBarracora
Baffle BallPhysical Pinball TablesBarracora

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