Glamorous eye appeal! Sizzling action!Mata Hari is a Physical Pinball Table designed by Jim Patla with artwork by Dave Christensen. it was released by Bally in 1978, just as the company was switching over from electro-mechanical pinballs to solid state.Inspired by... the Real Life Mata Hari, the game depicts the exotic dancer and spy performing her duties. The pinball backglass shows her lounging in her chambers, handing a small folded map to a gentleman identified only as The Baron. On the playfield, Mata Hari is passing off documents stamped Top Secret, and is featured stepping out from behind a gigantic knife while framed by oversized feathers and snakes. The sides of the cabinet eschew all subtlety, with Hari pointing at a silhouette of the skull and crossbones while preparing to strike with her dagger.The elegant and seductive artwork coupled with the uncluttered layout made this one of Bally's best-selling pinball tables of the year. Like many fictionalized depictions of the character, the Mata Hari pinball is admired by expert players for being deceptively dangerous — while the sparse playfield only has a few elements to shoot for, a misplaced shot can instantly send the pinball between the flippers or down the outlanes. Doing well at the game requires constant vigilance and a willingness to get physical, as heavily nudging the machine is essential for high scores.
The Mata Hari pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- All Germans Are Nazis: Played with; though no Nazis are depicted, some versions of the backglass art include an inscription on the dagger reading "Meine Ehre heißt Treue",note the motto of the Waffen SS troops from World War II.
- Bare Your Midriff
- Belly Dancer
- Character Title
- Diamonds in the Buff/Gem-Encrusted: Mata Hari's primary outfit is a gold-plated Chainmail Bikini covered with rubies. Possibly justified as part of her exotic dancer ensemble.
- Evil is Sexy: Invoked by combining Mata Hari's sexy appearance with her acts of espionage.
- Evil Redhead
- Femme Fatale Spy: Mata Hari has a small dagger discretely clutched in her right hand on the backglass, and is shown holding it on the cabinet sides.
- Fluffy Fashion Feathers
- Honey Trap
- No Plot? No Problem!
- Public-Domain Character
- Reclining Reigner: The backglass depicts Mata Hari reclining in her chamber, atop a tiger-skin rug.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent /Snakes Are Sexy: Several gratuitous snakes lurk around the edges of the scenes on the backglass and the playfield.
- The Theme Park Version: Compared to the real-life figure.
- Tuxedo and Martini: The Baron on the backglass.
- Weapon of Choice: Mata Hari and her daggers are a recurring motif in the game's artwork.