Pinball / Indianapolis 500

Pedal to the Metal... and NEVER LIFT!

Paul Page: "Welcome to Bally's Indianapolis 500, the greatest spectacle in pinball. Paul Page here, along with Bobby Unser. Bobby?"
Bobby Unser: "That's right, Paul. It's a great day for racing — and a great day for pinball!"

Indianapolis 500 is a 1995 Licensed Pinball Table released by Williams Electronics under the Bally label. It was designed by Dennis Nordman, illustrated by Dan Hughes and Paul Barker, and features original voicework by motorsports broadcaster Paul Page, retired racer Bobby Unser, and legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway track announcer Tom Carnegie.

Naturally, the game is a nonstop frenzy of speed as thirty-three racers compete to win the world-famous Indianapolis 500 auto race. As the table rumbles with the action, endure all two hundred laps, make your way past the other racers, and go for the Checkered Flag and the Victory Lap. Along the way, you'll collect spanners, complete waves, and pick up some souvenirs to boost your score. Complete the ten Speedway modes, Pass opponents to advance your Position, but watch out for Dueling Drivers or else you'll Hit The Wall. Go for the Speed Ramp and lock balls into the Turbo Boost, then make a quick in-and-out in the Pit to start two-ball multiball.

Indianapolis 500 was released during the decline of arcade pinball in The '90s, and has the ignoble distinction of being Bally's worst-selling game of 1995, selling just short of 2,250 tables. Pinheads consider this a tragedy, as the consensus is that Indy is a terrific table and arguably Dennis Nordman's best — the addictive action is fast and furious, the lighthearted humor, commentary, and animation are spot-on, and the artwork and music compliment the game perfectly, making it an overlooked gem of the era.

The Indianapolis 500 pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: As requested by distributors, some European games had the playfield and cabinet colors changed to use more primary hues in order to make the game more manly and appealing in certain countries.
  • Announcer Chatter
    Paul Page: "Driver 1 has a ball in the Turbo, Bobby."
    Bobby Unser: "That's right, Paul, another one means a guaranteed multiball."
  • The Big Race: The whole theme of the game.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Game modes are "Speedways".
  • The Cameo: A Goodyear Blimp can be seen on the playfield.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The four main ramps are color-coded with orange, yellow, blue, and green cars and corresponding Speedway flags.
    Bobby Unser: "Hit the green car!"
  • Drives Like Crazy: "Wrong Turn", where a driver takes a wrong turn and ends up taking his Indy Car onto the streets.
    Farmer: "You go about half a mile past the barn, and take a left!"
  • Everything's Better with Cows
    • A cow appears with the farmer in the first animation of "Wrong Turn".
    • The "Pit Stop" animation sometimes shows the player passing a cow being milked in the Pit.
    • The final Indianapolis Raceway Souvenir is a Race Cow, worth 50 million points.
    • The last Spanner word is COWS.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The top center of the playfield has a toy Indy racer on a circular platform; its sole purpose is to spin when the cabinet shakes.
  • Golden Snitch: The 3X Playfield Speedway multiplies Victory Laps...
  • Indy Car
  • Kitsch Collection: Collecting Indianapolis Speedway souvenirs not only awards points, but also unlocks extra bonuses if other conditions are met.
  • Match Sequence: Assorted Indy race cars past and present flash on the display, each sporting a different number. The final car's number forms the match.
  • Score Multiplier: The "3X Playfield" Speedway, which temporarily triples all scores.
    Tom Carnegie: "Triple Playfield Scoring!"
  • Shout-Out: During "Wrong Turn," when the Indy car is stuck in a traffic jam, someone shouts, "Move your car!"
  • Signature Line: "It's a great day for racing — and a great day for pinball!"
  • Signature Style: As a Dennis Nordman game, Indianapolis 500 features wiggling ramps, two vertical up-kickers, and two spinning playfield toys.
  • Skill Shot: Immediately after launching the ball, shoot the left ramp.
  • Spelling Bonus
    • Spelling P-I-T increases the bonus multiplier and lights the Pit Stop.
    • Spell I-N-D-Y to collect letters for S-O-U-V-E-N-I-R.
    • For "Go for the Pole", spell P-O-L-E for the Pole Jackpot.
    • Hit the spanner targets to spell various four-letter words (INDY, RACE, CARS, FAST, LAPS, TIRE, etc.) for an ever-increasing Spanner bonus.
  • Spiritual Successor: In terms of table layout, this game is a successor to Elvira and the Party Monsters.
  • Take That Player: The game does this on occasion, usually after a particularly bad play.
    Pit Crew: "Shoot the blinking light, you wanker!"
  • Timed Mission: In addition to the time limits on some of the Speedway modes, there's Pit Stop Multiball, where the first ball is locked, then the player must shoot the second one into the lock to exit the Pit. Faster exit times enables more shots for the Multiball Jackpot, and the game keeps track of who exits the pit the quickest.
  • Video Mode: "Caution", where you drive down the track and move the car left and right with the flippers. Collect point values and Extra Balls on the track while avoiding obstacles. Crashing ends the mode, but it's possible to graze obstacles and continue.
  • Wizard Mode: Subverted; instead of a true Wizard Mode, there is rather a stacking of Jackpots called "Victory Laps". After completing one of four tasks, a Victory Lap will light, but if you have one lit and then light another Victory Lap, the value increases up to a maximum of 1 billion for four completed tasks. The values can also be multiplied by 3x Playfield.