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Video Mode

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"Video Mode - activated."
The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day

In Pinball games, a Video Mode is a Mini-Game that temporarily stops the playfield action and switches to a video screen. There, things continue with a simple Video Game that can be played with the left and right flipper buttons. After the Video Mode is over, the pinball is returned to the playfield to resume the game. The ease or difficulty of reaching the Video Mode will depend on the specific pinball machine.

The Trope Maker is Williams' Terminator 2: Judgment Day pinball machine, although technically it was not the first pinball game to include a video game; that would be Caveman by Gottlieb.


  • As mentioned above, the Trope Maker is Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Its Video Mode consisted of a simplified Light Gun Game, where the player moves an onscreen cursor left or right to fight off advancing Terminator robots and HK drones. The video game is over when either all of the Terminators are defeated, or the player is shot three times.
    • Appropriately enough, this is revisited in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, where the player uses the flipper buttons to move the crosshairs and pull the launch trigger to shoot.
  • Technically, the first pinball with a Video Mode is Gottlieb's Caveman, a pinball/video game hybrid and the Ur-Example. A video screen was embedded at the top of the pinball playfield. When the player shot a ball into either side of the screen, he could use a joystick to move the Caveman around a maze, hunting down dinosaurs and collecting extra balls while avoiding the tyrannosaurus rex. Exiting the maze would resume the pinball game.
  • A month after Caveman came out, Bally released Baby Pac-Man, another pinball/video game hybrid. The player starts by moving Baby Pac-Man through a maze, but entering a vertical chute suspends video play and transfers the game to the pinball table underneath. The video game resumed when the ball drained.
  • Theatre of Magic has Video Pinball, available as a random option in the Secret Basement. Yes, a pinball game inside a pinball game.
  • Medieval Madness: After spelling out the F-I-R-E rollover eight times, visit Merlin to start Video Mode. A flock of falcons attacks a group of children, and you must move your character left and right to fend them off. There are 30 falcons all together, and beating 20 falcons yields an Extra Ball. Getting the cow three times in the Catapult Slam unlocks an alternate version of Video Mode, where the children the farmer is protecting are replaced by calves.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has the player perform a shuttle simulation in the holodeck, flying through a series of caverns without colliding. Players could opt to skip the Video Mode entirely, but completing it yields an artifact.
    • An Easter Egg replaces the shuttle simulation with a game of Five-Card Draw Poker against William Riker.
    • 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 unknown, however, and it's unclear if the mode was disabled in the final game. It can sometimes be seen during the attract mode, however.
  • Doctor Who makes this mandatory. After lighting a Doctor, you obtain him through a video mode where he runs to the right endlessly, chased by a Dalek. You must make him jump over objects with either a light jump or a higher jump, dictated to the two flipper buttons. Making it to the TARDIS ends the level, and doing this three times unlocks the selected Doctor's playfield bonus.
  • Available in The Getaway: High Speed II after reaching 3rd Gear. Drive your car along a three-lane highway and dodge slow-moving Volkswagens; change gears to go faster and earn more points.
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon has the player beating up a peeping tom.
  • Appropriately enough, Gottlieb's Super Mario Bros. has a Video Mode where you play Super Mario Bros.. Mario moves automatically, and the player uses the flipper buttons to either jump or run faster.
    • Super Mario Bros. Mushroom World adds a swimming game, where Frog Mario automatically swims through the water, and the player uses the flipper buttons to make him move up and down to avoid enemies.
  • Star Wars (Data East) requires the player to pull the launcher trigger to shoot Stormtroopers while the ball is in play.
  • Data East's Guns N' Roses has "Gilby Rides", where Gilby Clarke rides his motorcycle down a three-lane road, and the player steers him to hit pedestrians and avoid cars. The same mode was later reskinned for Sega Pinball's Star Wars Trilogy and Stern Pinball's Harley Davidson, down to using the same patterns.
  • Pro Pinball: Timeshock! has you maneuvering a craft down a circular pipe, dodging mines and collecting awards. Achieving a perfect run doubles the score.
  • South Park originally had a "Carpet Munching Race" Video Mode. As Stan, the player 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, but ROMs with it enabled are available from private sellers.
  • Metroid Prime Pinball has a mode where Samus must Wall Jump in order to reach an artifact.
  • Judge Dredd has a variation centered around a police chase — the player must stop a swerving, runaway car on the display. This is done with the playfield itself, as shooting the ramps will fire a missile at the car, so good timing is needed to hit it.
  • Fish Tales has you shooting torpedoes at waterskiiers.
  • Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure features three video modes, called "Gunfight at the Raven Bar", "Escape in the Mine Cart", and "Choose Wisely".
  • Pat Lawlor's first Video Mode was "Chicken Fight" in Family Guy, where Peter fights a man in a chicken suit. The player helps Peter land punches by making important shots on the playfield.
    • This was originally in older software was an pure Video Mode, with the ball kept in the TV scoop and the flipper buttons enabling Peter to dodge and attack a la Punch-Out!!, but it was deemed either too easy or too disconnected from the rest of the game (it is unclear which) and was replaced by the more conventional mode seen later software releases.
  • There are no less than three of these in Junk Yard, two of which are accessed by spelling D-O-G and get harder every time you complete them:
    • If you don't have the toaster gun, you play "Run From Spike", where you mash the flipper buttons to escape Spike's wrath. (According to Word of God, running fast enough creates "sparks of speed" and plays the famous Six Million Dollar Man sound effect.)
    • If you do have the toaster gun, the game is instead "Save the Girl", where you press the flipper buttons to launch toast into either a left or right opening and try to shoot Spike three times.
    • The last Video Mode is accessed through the Time Machine mode, which may randomly activate the "Saucer Attack" mode from Attack from Mars. (It may randomly become "Cow Attack" mode, just like in the original.)
  • At random times during Jurassic Park (Data East), a dinosaur will walk across the screen. Fire the launcher gun rapidly to stun the dinosaur for 3 million points.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park has a small one, where you must swing on two ropes and avoid a looming T. rex. Winning nets you 350,000 points, losing gives 100,000, and a failed run where you manage to get to the first rope awards 150,000.
  • The Shadow has "Duel of Wills" — help The Shadow dodge the Phurbas that are being thrown at him.
  • Cirqus Voltaire features "The Amazing Roonie", where the player must help Roonie the kangaroo jump over various obstacles.
    • The 2.0H software adds a second video mode, called "Copy-Cat", which is similar to Simon Says.
  • Black Rose has three of them, depicting a crewmate throwing a knife at a target, swinging from riggings, and outswimming a Threatening Shark after walking the plank.
  • No Fear: Dangerous Sports has the player race a motocross bike around the track, collecting as many points as possible before reaching the finish line.
  • Sega Pinball's Batman Forever has the player drive the Batmobie up a wall and over Gotham's rooftops, dodging obstacles along the way.
  • Johnny Mnemonic has one as a Matrix Award: you must use all four buttons to move your square (a "predator") around the display and catch all the dots ("prey") before time runs out.
  • Apollo 13 has one that's rather similar to Lunar Lander: carefully land the Landing Module on the moon for bonus points.
  • The Who's Tommy lets the player control Captain Walker's bomber to make it shoot various obstacles on the screen.
  • The Champion Pub has two:
    • In "Spittin' Gallery", you must move a spittoon around with the flippers to catch some men's spit.
    • In "Poker Night", the player is given 15 seconds to decide which cards they want to keep and discard.
  • Cue Ball Wizard has two simplistic ones:
    • "Catch the Pool Balls" is a version of Kaboom!, where you move a pocket to catch cue balls as they fall from the top of the screen.
    • "Where's the King?" is a guessing game, where you try to find Elvis behind one of three set of curtains.
  • Tales from the Crypt has "Door Prize", where three closed doors are shown. Choose one with the flippers and open it for points. The mode ends when you open a door that reveals a hanged man instead.
  • Lethal Weapon 3 has a simple shooting gallery game. When an enemy appears on the display, pull the plunger trigger, but don't hit the bystanders.
  • Indianapolis 500 has "Caution", where you drive down the track and move the car left and right with the flippers. Collect point values and Extra Balls on the track while avoiding obstacles. Crashing ends the mode, but it's possible to graze obstacles and continue.
  • Corvette has "Race Today", a video drag race game. Rapidly tap the left flipper to accelerate, and the right to shift up a gear. Winning it starts a two-ball multiball mode with every ramp worth 15 million.
  • Super Pinball II: The Amazing Odyssey:
    • One of the random rewards in "Show Time" is "Pie Attack", where you throw pies at incoming clowns.
    • "Space Sister" has "Love Stops", where a heart floats around the display and the player must press a button to hit it when it enters a set of crosshairs.
  • The Sopranos offers the "Executive Game," a poker match. The display shows two hands of cards for yourself and the dealer, with five cards shared between them and three exposed initially. You can either bet points or fold on successive reveals.
  • In addition to the full-screen Mini Games, each table of Psycho Pinball has a Video Mode of its own:
    • In "Wild West," the player plays a simple game of blackjack.
    • "Trick Or Treat" has "Spook Shoot", where the player has to hit 20 ghosts which pop up in three pre-defined positions.
    • "The Abyss" has "Fast Fishing", where the player must time button presses to catch fish swimming by a hook.
    • "Psycho" has a shell game where the player must track the letter "P" under three moving cups.
  • Mac Attack has three separate Video Modes, played on the game's 9" color CRT screen.
    • The first game has the player use a Jet Pack to fly up the side of a building, dodging gunfire from enemies in the windows.
    • The second game requires running and climbing up a construction site to rescue a hostage.
    • The third game is a reaction test game, requiring the player to shoot at enemies while avoiding hitting civilians and fellow Mac Attack members.
  • 3-D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night has three different Video Modes:
    • On the Castle Table, whenever you complete all five challenges, you have to collect keys as new targets. Collecting 5 of the keys will open a door, shooting into it will launch the Video Mode, where you shoot every passing creature, from goblins to ghosts, for as many points as possible. Shooting a specific amount will add bonus points and extend the timer once.
    • The Tower Table follows a similar concept as the Castle Table, only here, the Video Mode consists of shooting Ghosts with an energy gun. Scoring a specific amount will extend the timer and has the ghosts replaced by bats.
    • The Dungeon Table is the odd one out as the video game is one of the five Challenges. Shooting into the door starts a 'Simon Says' type of game, where you must follow the song what the Goblins play using church/tower bells by clicking on them with the mouse.
  • Baywatch has two of them — a button-mashing "Ironman Competition" game, and a first-person jet ski race.
  • Starship Troopers has "Psychic Test". Use the flipper buttons to select a card, then see if it matches the one held by the examiner. Getting the correct card awards a Special (free game), with lesser awards for matching other attributes like the color or number.
  • America's Most Haunted has "Flippy Ghost," a copy of Flappy Bird. As the display scrolls from left to right, the player must repeatedly tap the flipper buttons to make a ghost move up and down, avoiding various obstacles in the way.
  • In Congo, the player must maneuver a boat down a river, avoiding rocks and hippos along the way.
  • Maverick The Movie has blackjack. Beat the dealer to receive 1 million points times the points in your hand.
  • Space Jam has the player move a basket to catch balls thrown by Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters.
  • Available in Game of Thrones as a Mystery award. The player engages in a sword duel with an axe-welding opponent, and must defeat him before running out of time or lives.
  • Ghostbusters has two different video modes that the player can select from:
    • "Negative Reinforcement on ESP Ability" is a 50/50 card guessing game from the movie's opening scene. Each guess is a "double-or-nothing" game that can be stopped at any time.
    • "Don't Cross the Streams" is a game where you control two proton streams to catch ghosts before time runs out — or the player crosses the streams. This was added to the 1.10 code update; prior to this, "Negative Reinforcement" was the only video mode.
  • Star Wars (Stern) is a rare example of a game with an LCD screen having a video mode. In it, the player steers the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid thicket with the flipper buttons (with the action button allowing for a speed boost).
  • "Liar's Dice" from Pirates of the Caribbean (Jersey Jack) is a fairly faithful translation of the dice game seen in Dead Man's Chest. The player must specify a wager (gold, souls, points, or tilt warnings) and a bid (up to six die with a specific face), whereupon they and the computer take turns raising or calling "liar!" on the previous bid. Calling "liar!" immediately reveals the dice, which will leave the better victorious if their claim was legitimate.
  • FunHouse: Rudy's Nightmare: "Haunted Roller Coaster" uses the display for a mini-game that relies on Action Commands. The player must move their coaster car in one of three directions by pressing one or both flipper buttons shortly after being prompted, or else the mode ends immediately.
  • Toy Story 4 (2022): Tiki Party Pinball is a virtual pinball table played on the smaller playfield screen. The player is given 30 seconds to try and light the three top lanes, at which point a multiball mode begins on the main playfield.