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Executive Meddling / Pinball

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  • This is the reason why Williams Electronics closed its pinball division and exited Arcade Games entirely. The company entered the gambling and video lottery markets in 1991, and the profitability of that division soon overwhelmed all other decisions by company executives. In 1998, even though the arcade Video Game division was still doing well, unsatisfied shareholders pressured Williams to spin off the arcade division as Midway Games. The pinball business fared even worse; even though the company just finished the groundbreaking new "Pinball 2000" platform, executives rushed the release of Star Wars Episode I, then forced the closure of the pinball division merely because the game broke even.
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  • Sega Pinball's South Park table was originally designed with a Video Mode — a "Carpet Munching Race" where Stan competed against Cartman to see who could munch carpet faster and impress Ms. Ellen as the bigger Lesbian. It was disabled soon after the game's release at the insistence of Comedy Central.
  • According to designer John Trudeau, the Judge Dredd game was supposed to store locked pinballs in a ring rotating around Deadworld, then use a magnetic arm to release them at the start of multiball. Unfortunately, Williams' German distributor refused to carry the game due to fears that the mechanism would fail. The game was therefore redesigned so the first two locks are registered, and the third/last ball gets diverted to Deadworld at the start of multiball, although the Deadworld ring was still manufactured and sold online.
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  • Slash took his design proposals to Data East over the larger Williams Electronics specifically because he felt that the latter would meddle with them.
  • The playfield for Maverick The Movie was originally drawn with Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson) and Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster) seated at the poker table, with Zane Cooper (James Garner) down between the flippers. Warner Bros. insisted that the art be redrawn to have Cooper seated with the others.
  • WWF Royal Rumble was in development when Vince McMahon was indicted in federal court with a steroid controversy. As a result, the original translite was redrawn to tone down the muscular appearance of the wrestlers.
  • This is the main source for the delays with The Hobbit (though some fans are understandably skeptical of that, considering Jersey Jack Pinball's previous game, The Wizard of Oz, was delayed without any such reasons): Warner Bros. kept rejecting the artwork for the machine, then eventually required Jersey Jack's art team use artwork Warner Bros. sent. However, Warner Bros. continued to disapprove of how the artwork was used. That being said, the consensus is that the finalized, WB-approved material looks miles better than before.
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  • According to Larry DeMar, he got into an argument with Williams's General Manager Ken Fedesna over the inclusion of alphanumeric displays for High Speed, due to its then-high cost. As a compromise, only the first and second players' displays were alphanumeric.
  • Fish Tales was originally designed with regular-length flippers, but according to Mark Ritchie, the shorter "lightning" flippers were installed based on a request from their European distributors, who wanted shorter playtimes between games.
  • The lack of this is why we have Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons. Its raunchy, B-Movie-esque artwork was only possible because the company that created it consists of two people. To quote artist Greg Freres:
    "Since we are industry guys first, we looked at this as an opportunity to make a game with a theme that we could never do in a commercial environment."
  • Zen Studios, a renowned virtual pinball developer, has churned out a great variety of licensed tables, but when it comes to adapting adult-oriented franchises, whether it may be adult animated Fox sitcoms like Family Guy and Archer, gory M-rated Bethesda video games or the R-rated film Aliens, into pinball tables, they get heavily censored to fit the E10+ rating. As an example, their South Park table rather narrowly bases itself on various relatively child-friendly parts of the original series.
  • A relatively minor example: according to programmer Dwight Sullivan on this episode of the Loser Kids Pinball Podcast, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Stern) was originally planned to use the original theme song from the cartoon it's based on. Nickelodeon, which owns the license, insisted that they use a cover version instead.
  • Joe Kaminkow told the Internet Pinball Database that The Simpsons was supposed to be the first Data East game to have a dot matrix display. President Joe Keenan was worried that it wouldn't be ready in time for release (and that rushing it out would spell disaster for the company), so it was held off until Checkpoint, their next game.


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