In the beginning, it was just pinball...Silverball Mania
is a Physical Pinball Table
designed by Jim Patla
and illustrated by Kevin O'Connor. It was released in 1980 by Bally
In the annals of pinball, Silverball Mania
stands out for its mesmerizing art; the mirrored backglass is a stunning combination of black and silver, an eye-catching attraction in any sort of light. The playfield itself depicts an abstract mercurial landscape of chrome, where muscular men and lithe women spring forth from a gigantic silver ball under the watchful tutelage of a silver wizard. Among all this activity, the player's goal is to hit the various targets and spell SILVERBALL MANIA; loop the central horseshoe to raise the Disappearing Kicker, then let it kick drained balls back onto the table and try for the Carry-Over Special.
The game was originally an unthemed "whitewood" from Jim Patla. The imagery came to O'Connor from an idea in a Comic Book
about an artist who drew everything in chrome. While Silverball Mania
is not a particularly difficult game, it's definitely a memorable one.
Silverball Mania depicts the following tropes:
- Acid Trip Dimension: The playfield depicts a mild version of this, with mercurial fountains spewing pinballs and glowing gradients of blue, yellow, and orange everywhere.
- Anti-Frustration Feature: The Disappearing Kicker, which shoots drained balls back onto the playfield.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Even though almost everyone in the game is naked, there are no genitals to be seen.
- Chrome Champion: Everyone in the game, without exception.
- Chrome Makes Everything Shiny: And we mean EVERYTHING.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: One of the people shown on the backglass is a man who is... "playing" a pinball machine rather enthusiastically.
- Metallic Motifs: Guess.
- No Plot? No Problem!
- Power Glows: The giant silver ball in the center of the table glows as people arise from its surface.
- Scenery Porn: The main purpose of the game, really.
- Silver Has Mystic Powers: Invoked with the Silver Wizard, who's implied to be the cause of the game's activities.
- Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Hammers the needle deep into the "Shiny" end of the spectrum.
- Shout-Out: A chrome version of Kevin O'Connor's Jeep Grand Cherokee appears on the playfield.
- Skill Shot: Plunge the ball down the top center rollover to raise the Kicker and score 5,000 points.
- Spelling Bonus: Spelling S-I-L-V-E-R-B-A-L-L-M-A-N-I-A enables the Wizard Bonus, Supreme Wizard Bonus, and then a Special. Also, each time it's spelled lights one letter in "SILVERBALL" on the backglass; completing it earns four free games.
- Visual Pun: The wizard is shown holding a pair of pinballs in his outstretched hands, making him a Pinball Wizard.
- Wizard Classic: The silverball wizard, complete with (chrome) pointed hat, (chrome) beard, and (chrome) robes.