Pinball: Haunted House

Triple Playfields Mean Triple Fun!

Haunted House is a Physical Pinball Table released by Gottlieb in 1982. Designed by John Osborne and illustrated by Terry Doerzaph, it is considered to be one of Pinball's iconic tables, the first game to take place across three interconnected playfields.

As the title suggests, this game takes place above, below, inside, and around a Haunted House, with the player thoroughly exploring it for points while avoiding the various traps and spirits. While lightning flashes on the backglass, start on the main floor, then take the ramp or the up-kicker into the Attic with its occupied coffin. Alternately, use the Secret Passage or the Trap Door to enter the Cellar, where the reversed playfield is filled with rats, a shackled skeleton, and grabbing ghouls. Return to the main table, knock down the cobwebs for double scoring, then tap the five targets for an Extra Ball or a Special.

Haunted House is highly praised by pinball enthusiasts, who laud its fast action, unorthodox layout, and frightfully attractive art; many consider it Gottlieb's best table ever, with some even calling it the best pinball from any manufacturer. If there are any complaints, it's in the lack of speech or multiball, which were omitted to reduce costs. The game can also be a maintenance nightmare, as its numerous components and complex design means there are more things that could go wrong.

Digital versions of Haunted House are available for Microsoft Pinball Arcade and The Pinball Arcade. A trial version of Microsoft Pinball Arcade has this as the sole table.

Haunted House demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Alliterative Title: Haunted House
  • Big Fancy House: Big enough to have three levels, at least.
  • Bookcase Passage: The Secret Passage, which looks like a regular pinball target, but folds over to allow the ball to drop into the Cellar.
  • Building of Adventure
  • Buried Alive: While it isn't buried, the Coffin in the Attic has a person (or a ghost?) sleeping inside, stretching awake.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: Just about every corner of the house is covered with cobwebs. There's even one over the window looking into the Cellar playfield.
  • Creepy Crows/Ominous Owl: There's one of each hanging outside the haunted house.
  • Defanged Horrors: There are no truly frightening aspects to the game, and the horrors are downplayed to a family-friendly level.
  • Ghostly Gape: Many of the ghosts — and even some of the objects in the house — have jagged black eyes and mouths.
  • Monochrome Apparition: The ghosts are all various shades of spectral blue.
  • Nothing but Skulls: Aside from a few fully intact skeletons, the only remains seen are various assortments of skulls.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • On the backglass, one of the windows of the house shows a ghost holding his head under his left arm.
    • A dapper-looking ghost in the Attic has his head under his right arm.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Segments of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor are played throughout the game.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Black Hole, though Haunted House traded away multiball for an upper-level playfield.
  • Stripped to the Bone: The Cellar has the skeletal remains of someone shackled to a gate.
  • Swarm of Rats: There are large black rats all over the place, naturally.
  • Trap Door: There's one beneath the ramp that can send pinballs into the Cellar.

Stanz: "Venkman, I saw it I saw it I saw it!"

In 2014, FarSight Studios released Ghostbusters Pinball, a Freemium Digital Pinball Table for the iOS and Android platforms.

The game is essentially a rethemed version of Haunted House, replacing the manor of the original with the New York City from the first two Ghostbusters movies. As part of the crew, players must use the tubes, ramps, and manhole to travel between the City, the Subway, and the Rooftop while building up the Ghost Bonus. Raise the Slimer Bumper to reveal the ball lock, start two-ball multiball, then head for the roof to Cross the Streams and destroy the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Players tend to be divided over the game; some pinheads enjoy it even more than the original, thrilled for a way to finally play Haunted House with multiball across all three playfields. Others find the execution lacking, citing that the slapdash use of the Ghostbusters license and repetitive music makes it too distracting to be fun.

Ghostbusters Pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Adapted Out: Vigo the Carpathian is nowhere to be seen.
  • Billing Displacement: The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man is the most prominently featured character in the game, even displacing the Ghostbusters themselves.
  • Cool Car: ECTO-1, parked on the right side of the playfield.
  • Dolled-Up Installment
  • Forbidden Chekhov's Gun: Crossing the Streams, which must be done before destroying the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
  • Freemium: The game is free to play, but requires virtual tokens for each game. Players get additional tokens every four hours, with more tokens awarded for owning The Pinball Arcade. Players can also pay for a 24-hour unlimited pass.
  • Mobile Phone Game
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Unsurprisingly, the Ghostbusters theme plays throughout the game. though the montage music from the first movie kicks in during multiball.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Aside from the artwork and sound differences, most of the changes from Haunted House to Ghostbusters Pinball were to make the game easier.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: On the backbox, the Ghostbusters themselves aren't seen, but are only shown as silhouettes in front of the logo.
  • Sinister Subway: The Subway lower level, complete with oozing red slime.
  • Video Game Remake
  • Welcome to Corneria: Some of the sound clips get very repetitive very quickly, most notably the railroad crossing bells whenever you enter the Subway.

Mayor: "I'm going down as the mayor who let New York get sucked down into the Tenth Level of Hell!"

Alternative Title(s):

Ghostbusters Pinball