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Pinball: Metallica
"Master of Puppets" edition shown

James: “Metal up your ass!”

Metallica is an arcade pinball game designed by John Borg, programmed by Lyman Sheats and Lonnie Ropp, and released by Stern Pinball in 2013.

Naturally, the game is centered on the world-famous Heavy Metal band Metallica and their music. Advance the Fuel Gauge to start Fuel mode for double scores, use the Hammer to smash pinballs into the Coffin underneath the playfield, then raise the Grave Marker and prove yourself the Master of Puppets. Get the band members' guitar picks, feed the Snake, then throw the switch on Sparky's electric chair to Ride the Lightning. Good players can spell METALLICA to bring Justice For All, great players will use prodigious reflexes to Seek and Destroy, but only the best will Crank It Up and reach the End of the Line, accompanied by over a dozen of the band's best songs and original quotes from Lars, James, Kirk, and Robert.

Both Metallica fans and pinball players regard the Metallica pin as a respectably balanced table, one that is both approachable and fun for casual players while having lots of depth for experts. The game is jammed with numerous references to the band and its lengthy legacy, the comic art by fan artist "Dirty" Donny Gillies is an eye-grabbing cornucopia, and the music and sound effects are as bombastic as one would expect. The band often brings a table with them on tours (Kirk Hammett is a longtime pinball enthusiast), and additional tables are kept near their studios and hangouts for games between sessions.


The Metallica pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Adjustable Censorship: Turning off "Adult Mode" causes the profanities to be beeped out.
  • Big Electric Switch: There are several of them around the playfield, and must be hit to start Electric Chair Multiball.
    Sparky: “Juice me up!”
  • Big "YES!": Used in some of the callouts.
    James: “Oh YEAH!”
  • Buried Alive: Of a sort — the Hammer hits captured pinballs into a coffin beneath the playfield.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The entire band, frequently and unabashedly.
    Kirk: “That crazy little bastard just gave you a shitload of points.”
  • Die Laughing/Electric Torture: Subverted by Sparky, who enjoys being strapped into the electric chair but doesn't actually die from it.
    Sparky: “Hehehehe! That was fucking cool!”
  • Hammered into the Ground: On the Premium and Limited Editions of the game, a giant hammer smashes captured pinballs through the table and into the coffin.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Sparky, who merrily bobs his head during Electric Chair Multiball.
  • Idiosyncratic Combo Levels
    Kirk: "Fast scoring... faster scoring... really fucking fast scoring!”
  • Incendiary Exponent: Nearly everything on the playfield is either on fire or surrounded by flames.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: In addition to the basic ("Pro") table, Metallica is available in two Premium Editions, "Monsters" and "Road Case", and a "Master of Puppets" Limited Edition. These add playfield spinners, LED lighting, a rising Grave Marker, the Hammer and Casket, an animated Snake head, more detailed metalwork, and a mirrored backglass.
  • Mascot: Not only is Sparky prominently seated in the playfield's electric chair, he also appears in many of the animated displays.
  • Match Sequence: The Snake gets an unpleasant expression, then vomits on the display, leaving the Match Number behind.
  • Medium Awareness:
    Robert: “We’re in a pinball game, maybe we’ll get a record deal now.”
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Sparky, who's clearly insane and played entirely for laughs.
    Sparky: “Hmmmm, smells like fried chicken!”
    Robert: “Smells like little crazy bastard to me.”
  • Nothing but Skulls: It wouldn't be Metallica without lots of scary-looking skulls all over the place.
  • Overly-Long Tongue: Sparky's tongue reaches from his mouth to his left wrist.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The game includes twelve songs for the player to choose from, including "Creeping Death," "One," "Master of Puppets," "Battery," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and "Fade To Black".
    • Expansion Pack: Nine months after the game was originally released, Stern Pinball conducted a fan poll for two more songs to be added via software update. The winners were "Ride the Lightning" and "Blackened".
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Snake isn't there just for decor.
    Snake: “I’m fucking hungry, hungry for your balls!”
  • Rule of Scary: Combined with a heavy dose of Black Humor.
  • Sigil Spam: The band's "throwing star" icon is peppered all around the playfield.
  • Skill Shot:
    • Plunge the ball into the flashing rollover lane to double the bonus multiplier; do it without moving the flashing light to quadruple it.
    • Holding down the left flipper button when plunging enables three separate Super Skill Shots.
      • Hitting the Piston target enables the Double Playfield Score.
      • Shooting a randomly-lit target enables the Coffin Hurry-Up.
      • Shooting the right eject hole lights Mystery.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: Used to sanitize the quotes when Adult Mode is disabled.
  • Spelling Bonus: Spelling F-U-E-L qualifies the Fuel target for temporary double scoring, and spelling M-E-T-A-L-L-I-C-A starts "And Justice for All..." for cumulative increasing scores.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Black spiders with red guitar silhouettes decorate the playfield.
  • Sssssnake Talk: The Snake talks like this.
    Snake: “That’ssss not niccce!”
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Sparky enjoys the electric chair too much.
    Sparky: "My eyeballs feel hot!"
  • Title Drop: There are many references to the group's songs and albums, especially in the callouts and game modes.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Electrocuting Sparky is needed to activate certain modes, and one of the end-of-ball bonuses is based on how many times you've electrocute him. Furthermore, electrocuting Sparky seven times during a single ball lights all shots for a Super Jackpot.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Snake vomits up the pinball to start Snake Multiball.
  • Wizard Mode: There are two sub-Wizard Modes and one final Wizard Mode.
    • The first sub-Wizard Mode is "Seek and Destroy", and is enabled by collecting all five Hurry Ups.note  During Seek and Destroy, a timer counts down and one lane will begin to strobe; shoot that lane to "Seek" it for a Jackpot and add to the timer, then shoot the Casket to "Destroy" it for a Super Jackpot. This repeats until the timer expires or the ball drains.
    • The second sub-Wizard Mode is "Crank It Up", which is started by scoring fifteen shots on each of the Grave Marker, Sparky, Snake, and Casket targets, then shooting the scoop. During Crank It Up, each ramp or loop adds a Jackpot, with a 15 million bonus for making enough shots. Hitting the four major shots and then the scoop allows you to either finish the mode and collect the points or keep going for more.
    • The final Wizard Mode is "End of the Line", and is enabled by performing Crank It Up five times. It begins with a two-ball multiball, and ends after you drain both balls or make all of the main shots. If one ball is drained, it can be recovered by shooting all of the flashing Spider shots before a timer runs out.

Lars: “The snake owes me money!”
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