Pink Panther is a pinball game based on the popular comedy film series and cartoon character. It was designed by John Buras, illustrated by Jerry Simkus, and released by Gottlieb in 1981.The game's premise is a very loose adaptation of The Return of the Pink Panther; the Panther is pursuing an attractive female jewel thief through a dimly-lit mansion as she pilfers its collection of gems. Get the black diamonds to enable the Secret Passage, then light the flashlight and enter the Hidden Staircase. Lock two pinballs to explore them, then start three-ball multiball for a frantic chase to collect the blue diamonds scattered around the playfield. Players who can collect the most diamonds are rewarded with a free game.Pink Panther is noteworthy for being Gottlieb's first multi-ball pinball game. The rules are not too hard to grasp, yet the game is fast enough to tease players into one more try. Unfortunately, it wasn't profitable for Gottlieb, as fewer than 3,000 tables were produced, not enough to recoup the costs of the license. As such, used games for sale tend to fetch high prices from collectors.
The Pink Panther pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Ascended Extra: The thief, a supporting character from The Return of the Pink Panther, receives billing here equal to the Pink Panther himself.
- Billing Displacement: The jewel thief dominates the backglass, reducing the Pink Panther to a background character.
- Classy Cat-Burglar
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Spoils that the movie's jewel thief is a woman.
- Licensed Pinball Table
- Medium Blending: Done with the cartoonish Pink Panther and the more realistic-looking thief.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Of The Return of the Pink Panther, though the burglar is never identified as Lady Claudine Litton.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Unsurprisingly, Henry Mancini's popular Pink Panther music plays during multiball.
- Secret Underground Passage: The Hidden Staircase and the Secret Passage.
- Spelling Bonus: P-I-N-K enables the Extra Ball.
- Trail of Bread Crumbs: On the playfield, the Pink Panther pursues the jewel thief by a trail of small gems she drops behind her.