"You unlock this door with the key of imagination."
—Rod Serling, at the start of the game
The Twilight Zone is a Pinball game designed by Pat Lawlor and illustrated by John Youssi. Released in 1993 by Williams Electronics under their Bally label, it is based on the original The Twilight Zone television series, with dozens of cameos, shout outs, and references to various episodes.Taking place in a curio shop, the player must explore various Twilight Zone artifacts to gather fourteen door panels. Tasks include surviving a riot in Town Square, collecting the Powerball from the Gumball Machine, Battle the Power, taking photos with the fortune-telling Camera, and collecting the Spirals around the playfield. Reassembling all fourteen panels opens a door to another dimension, sending the player Lost In The Zone...Pat Lawlor was given free rein in the game's design; the result is arguably one of the most complex pinballs ever, with more patent-pending features than any other table ever made and an impressively deep ruleset. It has been rated "Best Electronic Pinball Machine of All Time" on the Internet Pinball Machine Database. Despite this, in its initial release it didn't sell well — the huge success of The Addams Family was tough to follow, though Zone has since been Vindicated by History.A digital version of the game is available as part of FarSight Studios' The Pinball Arcade collection.
This pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
Auteur License: After The Addams Family became the best-selling pinball of all-time, Pat Lawlor was given creative control over the game, and the end result, by Lawlor's own admission, was one of the most complex designs ever.
Similarly, hitting the clock enough times during "Clock Chaos" will play a clip of Rudy (from Funhouse) yelling, "Quit playing with the clock!" Also, when a player goes for the buy-in (i.e. puts in additional coins for an extra ball), a clip from The Addams Family of Raul Julia's Gomez Addams saying "Grrreeeeeeed" will play. (Oddly, it's not heard when the mode named "Greed" is active.)
Not Quite Starring: Tim Kizrow, who does Rod Serling's voice, as the real Rod Serling had died in 1975.
Power-Up: The Powerball, a ceramic sphere that's the same size as a pinball, but whose lighter mass makes it go faster and move somewhat more erratically as a result. It's also immune to the game's magnets. When it appears in-game, scores are doubled, additional targets are lit, and returning it to the gumball machine starts Powerball Mania mode.
Robot Buddy: Gather enough robots to light the Extra Ball or the Camera shot.
Signature Style: A "bumper shot" through Town Square, magnets to Battle The Power, more than two flippers, a "soft plunge" Skill Shot, and an eye-grabbing gumball machine — yep, it's a Pat Lawlor pin all right.
Skill Shot: A soft launch will send the ball into a colored zone (red, orange, or yellow), which lights one to three of the jet bumpers.
The "Super Skill Shot" mode does something similar, except the awards are either lighting "Battle the Power", lighting the outlanes, or lighting the extra ball shot.
Spinning Clock Hands: Used throughout the game to indicate the amount of time remaining for a particular mode. In some modes, the clock hands can travel backwards, switch directions, and/or determine the points awarded for hitting a target.
Swirly Energy Thingy: The playfield spirals. Aside from being decorative, they can also temporarily trap a pinball, which is helpful for making some of the shots.
Title Drop: True to the series, many of Serling's voice clips refer to "the Twilight Zone".
Wizard Mode: "Lost In The Zone", which is reached after collecting all of the door panels. In this mode, all six balls are launched onto the playfield, and the player has 45 seconds to make as many shots as possible.