Pinball: Cue Ball Wizard
Cue Ball Wizard is a 1992 Physical Pinball Table designed by Jon Norris for Gottlieb (under the Premiere label), with illustrations by David Moore and Jeanine and Constantino Mitchell.Unsurprisingly, a game called Cue Ball Wizard has a cue ball prominently featured on the table, along with an eight ball in an oscillating kicker on an upper playfield. If the player shoots the cue ball correctly, it hits a target on the kicker, which knocks the eight ball into an upper set of targets. This is used during 8-Ball Multiball; hit one set of targets (solids or stripes), sink the eight ball, then use the kicker during multiball to hit the upper targets for a Super Jackpot. Alternately, complete the six game modes on the Wagon Wheel for Pool Ball Mania, then finish it with a quick round of 9-Ball for a 500 million bonus.Among pinball buffs, Cue Ball Wizard is well-regarded for its innovative playfield, tricky shots, numerous hidden bonuses, and smooth flow, a game that's not too difficult for beginners but fairly challenging for experts. If there is a downside, it's in the cartoonish sound effects and voice clips, which are too lighthearted to sell the game's "Urban Cowboy" motif. Regardless, Cue Ball Wizard became one of Premiere's best-selling tables of The Nineties, a record it held until the company closed its doors.Digital versions of Cue Ball Wizard appear in Microsoft Pinball Arcade (PC version only) and The Pinball Arcade.
Cue Ball Wizard demonstrates the following tropes:
- Cowboy: Everyone in the game is a cowboy or cowgirl, with over-the-top dialog to match.
- Expy: The Shooter is clearly meant to be one for Clint Eastwood.Shooter: "Make my day."
- Golden Snitch: Completing 9-Ball rewards an overwhelming 500 million points, which becomes more lopsided if DOUBLE is enabled at the time.
- Medium Awareness: If you drain the ball down the outlanes, the Shooter comments, "I hate these outlanes."
- Off-the-Shelf FX: The cue ball and eight ball on the playfield are genuine pool balls. Operators can also remove the cue ball to make the game easier for players.
- Score Multiplier: DOUBLE doubles all points on the current ball. Having it on turns the 500 million points for winning "9-Ball" into a 1 Billion bonus.
- Shout-Out/Spiritual Successor: This game has so many references to Bally's Eight Ball Deluxe, design Jon Norris' favorite pinball game, that it could be considered a Spiritual Successor. The game's theme and white-hat opponent aren't coincidences.Shooter: "Quit talkin' and start chalkin'."
- Skill Shot: Time the launch so the rotating shooter strikes the eight ball into the center (blue) targets.
- Spelling Bonus: P-O-O-L enables the Video Modes and the Sweet Spot, W-I-Z-A-R-D lights the No Way target for 10 million points per hit, and D-O-U-B-L-E doubles all subsequent scores for the current ball.
- Take That Player: A weak ramp shot will result in the Shooter asking, "What kind of cow pie shot was that?"
- Timed Mission: 9-Ball, which gives the player 90 seconds to shoot down the 1 through 7 targets, hit the 8-Ball saucer, then shoot the 9 ball.
- Video Mode: Two of them.
- "Catch the Pool Balls" is a simple version of Avalanche or Kaboom!, where you move a pocket to catch cue balls as they fall from the top of the screen.
- "Where's the King?" is a simpler guessing game, where you try to find Elvis behind one of three sets of curtains.Elvis: "You found the King, darlin'."
- Welcome to Corneria: The game's instructional callouts quickly get repetitive."You sure need that ramp shot."
- World of Ham: The dialog is a nonstop cavalcade of Western clichés."Yeeeee-hah! Multiball, awayyyyyyyyyy..."
- Zonk: One of the possible results in "Find the King" is a cow pie, which is worth nothing.
- "You ain't thinkin' of leavin' now, are ya?"