Pinball: El Dorado

Cowboys, yes. John Wayne, no.

For the 1966 Western starring John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, click here.

El Dorado is a single-player electro-mechanical pinball machine, designed by Ed Krynski with artwork by Gordon Morison. It was produced by Gottlieb and released in 1975.

The name refers to a mythical lost city of gold, with the backglass depicting a group of cowboys who've just found an (unseen) fortune. The game itself is deceptively simple; use the four flippers to knock down all fifteen drop targets, then hit the single lit target for a Special. However, hitting all the targets and rollovers requires skillful nudging and flipper control, and moving the lit spot and hitting it on the same ball is a challenge for most players.

Pinball connoisseurs consider El Dorado a classic Gottlieb "wedgehead" game, and it is frequently rated highly among all electro-mechanical tables. Gottlieb must have agreed, as the game was remade and re-released several times:

  • An add-a-ball version called Gold Strike (1975)
  • An Italian version called Lucky Strikenote  (1975)
  • A four-player science-fiction game called Target Alpha (1976)
  • A two-player replay game called Solar City (1977)
  • A promotional game for Canada Dry (1977), released in France for a contest.
  • An updated remake, El Dorado: City of Gold (1984)

Digital versions of El Dorado: City of Gold are available for FarSight Studios' select versions of Gottlieb Pinball Classics, Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection, and fully on The Pinball Arcade.

Not to be confused with an identically named digital pinball table from Zen Studios.

The El Dorado pinball and its variations demonstrate the following tropes:

  • City of Gold/Mayincatec: El Dorado: City of Gold, unsurprisingly.
  • Cool Helmet:
    • The aliens in Solar City wear ornately colorful winged helmets.
    • Some of the people in Target Alpha wear brightly-colored helmets with large fins.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Solar City depicts a group of alien Expys of Native Americans, complete with braids, buckskins, and bows.
  • Gold Fever: The theme of El Dorado, Gold Strike, and Lucky Strike.
  • Jungle Drums: Used in El Dorado: City of Gold as a constant background sound effect.
  • Licensed Pinball Table: Canada Dry, which was produced for a contest in France to promote the soda brand.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The title refers to the poem Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe, about a knight searching for the legendary city of gold.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The Canada Dry pinball.
  • The Mockbuster: El Dorado: City of Gold, which attempts to invoke Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone
    Advertisement: "Exciting graphic package with up-to-date romantic adventure theme!"
  • No Plot? No Problem!
  • The Remake: El Dorado: City of Gold
  • Recycled In Space: Target Alpha and Solar City, which reused the same layout in Science Fiction settings.
  • Sigil Spam: Unsurprisingly, the backglass and playfield for Canada Dry is heavily decorated with the drink's logo.
  • Space Clothes: Target Alpha shows people in the future wearing garishly-colored jumpsuits and helmets with large fins.
  • Spelling Bonus:
    • Canada Dry uses D-R-I-N-K and C-A-N-A-D-A-[space]-D-R-Y for its drop target banks.
    • El Dorado: City of Gold has C-I-T-Y-O-F-G-O-L-D for the top set of drop targets.
  • Stock Footage: Some of the art for Target Alpha is reused in Solar City, such as the smiling man and woman on the playfield plastics.
  • Updated Re-release: Some of the derivative games can be seen as this trope.
  • The Wild West: Seen in El Dorado, Gold Strike, and Lucky Strike.
  • Winged Humanoid: Solar City features humanoid aliens with large feathered wings.

Alternative Title(s):

El Dorado City Of Gold