The Party Zone
"You are about to enter another dimension, with your Host, Pilot and DJ — Captain B. Zarr. Fasten your seatbelts and escape to a parallel Universe, that's way beyond Wisconsin! Meet & greet pinball's greatest partiers at the most electro-flying club... 'The Cosmic Cottage' where they really pump-it-up! During 'Happy Hour' fill up with 'Rock-It' Fuel, Blast Off, and 'Rock-It' through the 'O-Zone' for some major scoring. You may even experience the 'Big Bang'! (It's not just a theory anymore!) So become a frequent flyer on a fantasy excursion that will take you way, way, way out there to ... The Party Zone!"
is a Physical Pinball Table
designed by Dennis Nordman
, with artwork by Greg Freres
and music and sound effects by Dan Forden. It was released in 1991 by Williams Electronics
under the Bally label.
As indicated by the introductory text on the backglass, The Party Zone
is centered on an interdimensional party under the watchful eyes of the wildly enigmatic Captain B. Zarr. Win the Door Prize, enter the Dance Contest with the Dancing Dummy, shoot the Rocket Ramp for the Ozone Bonus, and make sure to Eat, Drink, & B. Merry. Start up the Super Sonic Robotic Comic for a Laff Attack, and don't hesitate to Make a Request from the DJ. After all that, get the Party Animals, Party Monsters, and Party Dudes into the Cosmic Cottage, then start Happy Hour Multiball and try to collect enough Rock-It Fuel for the Big Bang jackpot — or get booted into the End Zone and out of the Party.
Players' opinions tend to be sharply divided for The Party Zone
: detractors bemoan the sparse number of shots and the confusing playfield artwork, while fans love the screwball humor and its hidden strategic depths. One thing everyone agrees, though, is that the weak sound system makes the music tinny and unappealing.
Trivia buffs will note that this was the second pinball table released under the Bally label to feature a dot-matrix display (after Gilligan's Island
). There are also unconfirmed rumors that this was originally intended to be a Ghostbusters Licensed Pinball Table
, only to be changed when the deal fell through.
The Party Zone demonstrates the following tropes:
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: EDBM ("Eat, Drink, & B. Merry") and WOOC (Way Out Of Control)
- Amusing Alien: Played with by the Super Sonic Robotic Comic; his lines are unintelligible gibberish, but everyone else reacts with uproarious laughter.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: In the Match Sequence, Captain B. Zarr is flying through outer space in his rocket, with the cockpit open and exposing him to vacuum with no ill effects.
- The Cameo: Some of the partygoers include George Washington, The Grim Reaper, a T-rex (with party hat), and the Moon.
- Creator Cameo: Dennis Nordman appears on the sides of the cabinet.
- Canon Welding
- Cool Shades: Captain B. Zarr wears a pair of retro-cool aviator goggles.
- Dumb Jock: A wayward football player appears on the playfield, and shows up periodically in the animations.
- Exiled from Continuity: Due to licensing issues, Elvira is absent from the rest of the Party Monsters' escapades.
- Exorcist Head: The Captain will do this during Happy Hour multiball mode.
- Fanservice Extra: The Captain is accompanied by a number of attractive young ladies wearing skin-tight outfits.
- Goggles Do Nothing: Captain B. Zarr wears an old-fashioned WWI aviator goggles and helmet (with beanie) for no known practical reason.
- Global Warming: Played for laughs; the ozone is shown as a translucent blue layer with cracks in it, and is one of the ramp targets the player must shoot for.
"Enter the Ozone through this man-made hole!"
- Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: The "Rock-It Meter" indicates how much fuel the player has by how far the Rocket will go — from the "Wisconsin State Line", past "The Edge of Reality", and up to "The NEW Frontier!"
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Worn by the Captain and his entourage — the Captain has a black flight jacket, aviator goggles, and white cowboy gloves, while his accompanying ladies wear tube tops, Painted-On Pants, go-go boots, and jet packs.
- Inexplicably Awesome/The Wonka: Guess who?
- Intercontinuity Crossover: The three groups of partygoers are from earlier Dennis Nordman games — Party Animal, Elvira and the Party Monsters , and Dr. Dude.
- Jet Pack: Worn by many of the Captain's friends.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Captain B. Zarr has one, complete with manly cleft.
- Life of the Party: Captain B. Zarr, of course.
- Match Sequence: The Captain flies through space in his rocket, and the exhaust smoke forms the match number. Your score can potentially end in a 9 if the Big Bang is collected at its maximum value. It is still counted as a match if the tens digits of your score and the match number are the same.
- Not on the List: On higher levels, the player must Make a Request before entering the Cosmic Cottage; failure to do so causes Da Bouncer to kick him out.
- Painted-On Pants: The Captain's female friends wear zebra-striped tight pants to go with their go-go boots.
- Progressive Jackpot: The Big Bang is worth from 10 million to 99,999,999 points carrying over from game to game. Your score will actually end in a 9 if you score the Big Bang at its maximum value. Tournament Mode sets the value at a constant 20 million.
- Punny Name: Used all over the place.
- Raygun Gothic: Many of the game's characters and props use this style, such as the fifties-style retro-rocket and the fishbowl space helmets worn by the Captain's companions.
- Real Song Theme Tune: The game plays various Real Life songs during the game, including "Pinball Wizard" by The Who, "De'funkt" by Defunkt, "Feelings" by Morris Albert, and "Come Fly with Me" by Frank Sinatra. If the player scores the Big Bang, the game will play "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix.
- Red Alert: When the "Big Bang" jackpot is lit, every light on the playfield turns red.
- Retro Rocket: The playfield Rock-It, complete with bulbous nose and engine fins in the rear.
- Rule of Three: The "Eat, Drink, and B. Merry"
- Rummage Sale Reject: The Captain can be seen as this.
- Score Multiplier: If you drain down to single-ball play after multiball, the playfield values are 2x for the rest of the ball. The third Way Out Of Control award will multiply the playfield by 10x for 10 seconds.
- Skill Shot: Shoot the flashing BOP lane to collect the Door Prize.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: A gameplay mechanic; at times in the game, the Captain will play a "personal favorite" tune, such as Morris Albert's "Feelings". The player must then hit "Make a Request" to change it to a more party-appropriate song.
Captain B. Zarr: "Pick a song, not your nose!"
- Spelling Bonus: B-O-P increases the bonus multiplier, while W-O-O-C enables the "Way Out Of Control" bonus.
- Spiritual Successor: To Dennis Nordman's earlier "Party" games (especially Party Animal), using a Cross Over to boot.
- The Place
- Thing-O-Meter: The "Rock-It Meter".
- The Unintelligible: The Super Sonic Robotic Comic.
"He's not funny, he's FAST!"
- Wingding Eyes: Several of the partygoers have spirals in their eyes.
Captain B. Zarr: "Let's party again, dude!"