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Pinball: Star Trek: The Next Generation
"Send to Starfleet: We have engaged the Borg."
Picard: "All hands, prepare for multi-ball!"

Star Trek: The Next Generation is a 1993 Pinball machine, designed by Steve Ritchie with artwork by Greg Freres, and released by Williams Electronics. It is the third arcade pinball game based on the Star Trek franchise, and was based on the television series.

The pinball casts the player as a newly-arriving Ensign on the USS Enterprise. True to the series, the player and the crew travel the galaxy and have various encounters, such as a time rift, a visit from Q, encounters with the Ferengi, Romulans, and Cardassians, and an attack by the Borg. Other experiences include holodeck simulations, trips to the Neutral Zone, and chances to collect rare artifacts. Truly skilled players will be able to advance in rank, and ultimately reach the Final Frontier. For added appeal, the playfield features two rotating phaser cannons that shoot pinballs at various targets.

The game is considered one of Steve Ritchie's hardest tables, with demanding shots and dangerous outlanes to punish careless players. It includes original voice clips from the TNG cast, including Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, and Michael Dorn. As thanks for their participation, each of the stars received a pinball machine at the end of the project. Patrick Stewart says he still plays his, while Marina Sirtis placed hers in the basement where her kids can enjoy it.

A digital version is available for FarSight Studios' The Pinball Arcade.


This pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Drain the ball too soon after launch, and another one is launched automatically.
    Worf: "Don't move!"
  • Asteroid Thicket: The "Asteroid Threat" mission.
  • Author Appeal: Steve Ritchie is an unabashed fan of the Next Generation television series.
  • BFG: One mounted above each slingshot. When loaded with the ball, they swivel back and forth and fire when the trigger is pressed, used in some modes.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: In addition to the regular high score table, there is the "Q Continuum" for players who score over 10 billion points.
    • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: There is also an "Officers' Club" table for players who "buy in" additional balls during a game; the concept is that people who can afford to go to an Officers' Club can afford to buy-in multiple times.
  • Captain Obvious: Data can be this.
    • If your ball drains before you can even begin to play a mission, he'll often say, "Had you projected the ball on the proper trajectory, you would have been rewarded."
    • When you fail a probe launch, he'll state, "The probe has discovered nothing, sir." He's also sometimes cut off by an annoyed Captain Picard saying, "Thank you, Mr. Data."
  • Creator Cameo: Admiral Biagi (who informs the player about the Borg menace) is voiced by and modeled after Carl Biagi, who developed the mechanics for Steve Ritchie's pinball games (including this game).
  • Dummied Out: One of Troi's lines, "I believe they have evil intentions," is not used in the game at the request of Marina Sirtis. It is accessible in the sound test, however.
  • Easter Egg: Several.
    • Poker with Riker: See Video Mode, below.
    • Secret Mission: When the holodeck is lit on the right ramp and the display says "Holodeck 3 Ready", pull the phaser trigger three times. This starts a 20 second frenzy where every target is worth a weird number of points.
    • When the ball goes in the Advance Rank/Command Decision hole when nothing is lit, pull the trigger to see a limousine drive past some buildings.
    • Steve Ritchie's pinography: Pressing the flipper buttons in a specific order during the game will display the logos of all of Steve Ritchie's past games.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: The player can accelerate the Enterprise from Warp 1 to Warp 9. At that, "Warp 9 Mode" begins, and there's a Timed Mission where additional shots can be made to advance the ship to Warp 9.9.
  • The Final Frontier: The Wizard Mode of the game.
  • Licensed Pinball Table
  • Magikarp Power: The spinner awards a paltry 10.000 points per spin at the beginning. By raising your Warp Factor high enough and hitting certain targets enough times, it will end up returning several millions per spin.
  • Match Sequence: Surprisingly generic - the number is selected over a space background.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling:
    Troi: "I'm sensing a lit Extra Ball."
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Time Rift.
    Worf: "Sensors are picking up a distortion in the space-time continuum."
  • The Neutral Zone: The upper-left corner of the playfield, where Ferengi, Romulans, and Cardassians can be found.
  • Oh Crap: Q gets one if the player does well during the "Q's Challenge" mission.
    Q: "Okay, that's enough!"
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: One appears in the "Worm Hole" mission, and sends the Enterprise across the galaxy.
    Picard: "What is our exact location?"
    Data: "Unknown, sir."
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: Triggering the Warp 9 mode will deactivate the left ramp for warp increases for the rest of the game. The Warp Factor choice at the start of the ball will also be lowered from 4 to 2.
  • Pinball Scoring: Somewhat prevalent, with high scores being in the billions. There is also the Q Continuum high score table that keeps track of high scores of 10 billion or more.
  • Random Number God: This table is known for awarding extra balls at highly variable point tresholds after the first guaranteed scoring one. As well as not awarding them for certain shots. To ellaborate: the table may allow for a sixth shot in Battle Simulation which awards an extra ball, or may just end the mission upon landing the fifth shot. Also, the Extra Ball in the Shuttle Simulation is often replaced by a 10M pickup.
  • Rank Up: You start the game with the Ensign rank. Advancing the bonus multiplier lights the "Advance Rank" shot, and shooting it advances your rank to the following (in increasing order): Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, Commander, and Captain.
  • Real Song Theme Tune
  • Resistance Is Futile
  • Set Bonus: Each full set of four artifacts is worth 1 billion points when starting Final Frontier, in addition to the 100M that each individual artifact is worth.
  • Signature Style: Get the speed up to Warp 9, then make Steve Ritchie's signature shot (outer left loop to the upper-right flipper, then up the Delta Quadrant ramp), and Riker will compliment you.
    Riker: "The Picard Maneuver, nicely done!"
  • Skill Shot: One of the five launch choices available to the player, but Flipper Skill Shot and Launch Probe are considered to be the true skill shots.
  • Space Is Noisy
  • Stop Helping Me!: Invoked; if you flub a shot and drain the ball, Data will sometimes begin to comment. Interrupting him (by hitting the flipper buttons) yields a small bonus.
    Data: "Had you projected the ball on the proper trajectory, you would have been rewa—" *hit flipper buttons*
    Picard: "THANK YOU, Mr. Data."
  • Take That, Audience!: The game has several if you tilt.
    Q: "Someday you'll learn to play pinball."
  • Video Mode:
    • The player can participate in a shuttle simulation in the Holodeck, flying through a series of caverns without colliding. Players could choose to skip the Video Mode, but completing it yields an artifact.
    • An Easter Eggspoiler  replaces the simulation with a game of Five-Card Draw Poker against William Riker.
      Riker: "You feeling lucky?"
    • The operator's manual refers to a "secret video mode", which is believed to be a version of Breakout. The exact requirement for invoking it is a secret, however, and rumors are that it was disabled in the final game to avoid a possible lawsuit from Atari. It can sometimes be seen during the attract mode, however.
  • Virtual Training Simulation:
    • Inverted with the "Battle Simulation" mission, where the player shoots pinballs at playfield targets.
    • Played straight with the shuttle simulation Video Mode in the Holodeck.
  • Voice of the Legion: The Borg, of course.
  • Wizard Mode: After completing all seven missions, the "Final Frontier" becomes available. Upon starting it, the game first tallies the number of artifacts the player has collected. Then the Final Frontier begins; it is a six-ball multiball mode, where each target's value is determined by the number of artifacts.

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