Pinball: Pirates of the Caribbean

Yo ho yo ho, a pirate's life for me...

Pirates of the Caribbean is an arcade pinball game designed by Dennis Nordman and illustrated by Kevin O'Connor. It was released in 2006 by Stern Pinball, coinciding with the release of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Dead Man's Chest.

The game puts the player in the boots of Captain Jack Sparrow as he stumbles through various misadventures. Engage in sword fights, fire on Port Royal, collect your pirates, then play Liar's Dice and assemble a crew of 100 souls. Prove your mettle by shooting the pirate ship on the playfield and sinking it, then Fight Davy Jones, Destroy the Kraken, and use the Key to open the Dead Man's Chest. Along the way, you'll Catch the Wind and collect various bits of Treasure, but only the Pirate King will be able to complete the eight tasks and four points of the Compass to invoke Four Winds Multiball and come out on top of the Gauntlet of Pirates.

Most players consider Pirates to be a solidly enjoyable game, one that's fairly complex but not fantastically deep, with a a good spread of features to keep players engaged. The biggest downside is the sparse voicework, which consists of clips lifted from the movies, but lack any enthusiasm or game-specific callouts. As with other tables by Dennis Nordman, Pirates is a pin that's less about technical wizardry and more about simply having a fun time on the high seas.

Not to be confused with the Pirates of the Caribbean home pinball game by John Popadiuk and Zizzle Toys.


Pirates of the Caribbean demonstrate the following tropes:

  • Beat Still, My Heart: The heart inside the Dead Man's Chest does this.
  • Credits Gag: During the Attract Mode, entering a secret flipper button combinationnote  displays a secret credits sequence showing the development team as pirates.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: Referenced in the "All Pirates" mode, where the player must gather six named piratesnote  (the minimum number needed to sail the Black Pearl).
  • Eject The Loser: Sinking a ship causes it to collapse on itself and drop below the playfield in a comically-abrupt manner that resembles a Monty Python animated sequence. See it here.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Jack the Monkey, of course.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Shooting Port Royal drops the pinball onto a spinning compass that flings it about, hitting targets along the perimeter.
  • Flynning: Done for the "Sword Fight" mode.
  • Giant Squid: The Kraken, obviously.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Opening the Dead Man's Chest causes one to play, in time with the beating of the heart inside the chest.
  • Kick the Dog: The player completes "Jack the Monkey" by shooting said monkey.
  • Match Sequence: A flaming torch is waved back and forth, revealing the match number.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The pirate ship and Kraken on the playfield are surrounded by two large transparent plastic shields (dubbed "sneeze guards" by some players) to prevent airborne pinballs from landing in the mechanisms.
  • Pirate: Dur.
  • Pirate Booty: Shooting the left and right lanes collects treasure.
  • Spelling Bonus: P-A-R-L-A-Y enables the ball saver, J-A-C-K completes Jack the Monkey, and K-E-Y opens the Dead Man's Chest. With the chest open, H-E-A-R-T enables Heart Multiball and collects the Heart Jackpot.
  • Walk the Plank: One of the exits from the upper level is "Walk the Plank", which drops balls directly onto the main playfield.
  • Wizard Mode: Completing all twelve tasks for the Compass enables Four Winds Multiball. This starts as a four-ball multiball, where the goal is to freeze and collect the four Wind Jackpots. Do so without draining too many balls to begin the Gauntlet of Pirates; the player must repeatedly shoot the spinning disc at Port Royal to light one of the major shots, then shoot it to collect a Gauntlet Point. The player with the most Gauntlet Points is recognized as the Pirate King.