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Pinball / Airborne Avenger

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Airborne Avenger is a Physical Pinball Table released by Atari in 1977. Illustrated by George Opperman, it is notable for being the first pinball game created by famed designer Steve Ritchie.

The implied premise for the game reads like a pitch for a Summer Blockbuster movie: the Airborne Avenger takes to the skies in his flying one-man jet-sled to challenge his evil nemesis and stop his schemes. Battle an army of hang-gliding minions and dodge anti-aircraft fire, then hit the captive ball target on the table to continue the battle.

As interesting as it might seem, for most players Airborne Avenger is a slow, plodding game — what little speed the game has is quickly killed by the captive ball trough in the middle of the table, and many shots end up just bouncing around only to drain down the outlanes. The catchy artwork and 70s-era sound effects are not enough to elevate the game's fundamental problems. Only 350 units were made, but the only market for this game are die-hard collectors looking for a piece of pinball history.


Airborne Avenger demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Airborne Mook: The antagonist's minions, who travel around in hang gliders.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Hitting the yellow targets opens the rightmost outlane gate to rescue any drains there.
  • Cool Plane: The Avenger's flying vehicle, a one-man jet that he flies while standing on its back.
  • Cool Shades: Worn by the hero, of course.
  • Fanservice Extra: Both the Airborne Avenger and the unnamed villain are accompanied by nameless sexy women wearing form-fitting dresses who do nothing.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: The villain sports a classic pencil mustache.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Implied by the Avenger himself, the villain's army of hang-gliding mooks, the numerous anti-aircraft missiles, and the explosions on the playfield.
  • Spelling Bonus: Spelling A-I-R-B-O-R-N-E-A-V-E-N-G-E-R awards an extra ball, while A-B-C doubles the end-of-ball bonus.
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  • Stuff Blowing Up: The playfield is dotted with various explosions.

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