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Pinball / Barracora

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Not your father's Little Mermaid

Barracora is a Physical Pinball Table released in 1982 by Williams Electronics. It was designed by Roger Sharpe, Steve Epstein, and Barry Oursler, with artwork by Doug Watson.

When pinball enthusiasts talk about "pinball art", Barracora is a name that frequently surfaces, as the eye-catching merwoman is the first and most memorable aspect of the game. Drawing inspiration from H. R. Giger's works (most notably the painting "Li I"), Doug Watson drew a model's facenote  morphing into a predatory fish against a landscape of teeth, then dubbed her "Barracuda". Williams' President Mike Stroll loved the artwork but thought the name was too harsh, so the woman (and the game) was quickly rechristened "Barracora".

Fortunately for players, Barracora is not just a pretty face, as the simple table layout hides a surprisingly complex ruleset. Casual players can have fun bouncing the ball around the forgiving playfield, but high scores are only available to players who can master the stringent rules and various tradeoffs. Should you lock a ball in the saucer to preserve game time, or keep it out to collect bonuses? Can you spell BARRACORA to build the Super Bonus, or will a misstep force you to start over? Are you fast enough to use the dual lane change rows to maximize rewards?


These are the decisions that must be made while the Barracora wait and watch...

The Barracora pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Alien Hair: The merwoman on the cover seems to have tentacles for hair, alongside other objects that look like horns and lizards.
  • Character Title: Barracora is the name of the character laid out under the pinball table.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: The fish-like Barracora appears to be wearing no clothing in the illustrations that adorn the game.
  • Futuristic Pyramid: The playfield features an underwater pyramid with barracuda and Barracora swimming around it.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Doug Watson did not get approval to make the Barracora on the playfield naked. However, they're shown in profile and have no visible nipples, so there isn't anything to scandalize.
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  • Half-Human Hybrid: Barracora appears to be some combination of fish alien and human woman.
  • My Nayme Is: That's "Barracora", not "Barracuda".
  • Nipple and Dimed: The Barracora have no visible nipples despite having exposed breasts.
  • Nonhumans Lack Attributes: Enforced Trope; Barracora does appear partially naked, but seeing as the table is meant to be played by all ages, she lacks any sort of nipples.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Even if Barracora lacks nipples, she still has a womanly figure unfamiliar to any species of fish.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Being a pinball table, there's no real connection between the Barracora character and the gameplay itself.
  • One-Gender Race: The only Barracora shown are the females... unless... the barracuda...
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: VERY different, seeing as Barracora is an alien creature with predatory fish coming out of her hair.
  • Progressive Jackpot: The Super Bonus gets bigger as the player spells out Barracora multiple times.
  • Protagonist Title: Barracora is the only character associated with the game, so her name took over as the title.
  • Spelling Bonus: B-A-RR-A-C-O-R-A note  must be spelled in order to receive the maximum bonus.
  • Under the Sea: All the tables played throughout the game have an aquatic theme to match the title character's fish-like qualities.
  • Word Purée Title: Barracora is a mutated form of barracuda that doesn't really mean anything, other than being a character name.


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