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Pinball / Black Knight
aka: Black Knight 2000

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"The Black Knight will slay you!"

Black Knight: "I will slay you, my enemy."

Black Knight is a 1980 Pinball game designed by Steve Ritchie, with software by Larry DeMar and artwork by Tony Ramunni, and released by Williams Electronics. The table itself represents the Black Knight, an evil foe in combat against the heroic player; it taunts and mocks the player at every turn.

This game is known for being the first solid-state pinball with a two-level playfield, and also introduced the "Magna-Save", where a player-controlled magnet could be used to prevent drains. It became a blockbuster for Williams, with over 13,000 tables sold.

The game was copied for Brøderbund Software's video pinball game David's Midnight Magic.

It is one of the tables in Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection, and was formerly available as part of FarSight Studios' The Pinball Arcade before the WMS license expired on July 1, 2018.


In March 2019, Stern Pinball announced Black Knight: Sword of Rage, a sequel to both Black Knight and Black Knight 2000. Designed by Steve Ritchie, with music by Scott Ian and voices by Ed Robertson, it is scheduled to release in late 2019. See the trailer here.

The original Black Knight features the following tropes:

  • Antagonist Title
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Two of them:
    • Last Chance, which will start if there are two balls locked and the final remaining ball leaves play through either outline.
    • Bonus Ball, which is only available at the end of a multiplayer game, and is reached by the player with the highest score. It's a three-ball multiball where the player has 30 seconds to make as many shots as possible.
  • Attract Mode: With the titular Black Knight taunting you via an audio clip.
    Black Knight: You can't win! Ha Ha Ha!
  • Black Knight
  • Advertisement:
  • Boss Banter
  • Cool Horse
  • Cool Sword: The player's weapon, prominently featured on the playfield. It lights up as more points are scored.
  • Creator Cameo: Steve Ritchie provides the Knight's voice.
  • Duel to the Death:
    Black Knight: Fight against... two/three enemies.
  • Evil Laugh/Have a Nice Death: The knight laughs at you if you engage the Magna-Save but fails to save the ball.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: They're all over the place as playfield decorations, but have nothing to do with the game.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: After the initial run, Williams released another 600 games in a "Limited Edition". The only differences were a sticker on the apron and various changes to the wiring and mechanics.
  • Machine Monotone
  • Score Multiplier: During multiball, the player can score two or three times the amount, depending on the number of balls remaining on the playfield.
  • Timed Mission: Lots, most notably the timed drop targets and the Mystery Timer.
  • Updated Re-release: Made available alongside Firepower II's debut on The Pinball Arcade, complete with ROM emulation and fixes to many issues from the original release of the game.
"Get ready for battle! Beat the Black Knight!" (chorus)

Black Knight 2000, a sequel to Black Knight, was designed by Steve Ritchie, with software by Ed Boon and artwork by Doug Watson, and released in 1989. In the distant future, the Black Knight returns again; the player must storm the Knight's castle and battle him in a techno-feudal landscape, while the Choir of Angels provide moral support for the player.

It was the first pinball game to offer a Wizard Mode, and featured a truly memorable soundtrack with Chicago singers Stephanie Rogers and Glo Van Vlack.

A digital version was formerly available for The Pinball Arcade until their license to all Bally and Williams tables expired on July 1, 2018.

Black Knight 2000 demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Antagonist Title
  • Anti-Frustration Features: "Last Chance", which will start if there are two balls locked and the final remaining ball leaves play through either outline. This will allow the player to try and achieve multiball or the King's Ransom as normal, but Last Chance will only be lit once per ball.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Composed by Brian Schmidt and Dan Forden, and renown to the point of being Awesome Music. Listen to it here.
  • Big "YES!": The choir sings "YEAH!" when you get an extra ball, or when you win a Match Sequence.
  • Black Knight
  • Cap:
    • 1,500,000 is the highest possible score awarded for a Hurry-Up shot.
    • The bonus multiplier tops out at 5x.
    • Once a player makes 99 loops and/or 99 U-turns, no more will counted toward the end-of-ball bonus.
    • The highest possible base bonus is 594,000, making the highest possible bonus worth 2,970,000 after being multiplied.
  • Cherubic Choir: Without the children, but otherwise fits.
  • Combos: The "Ramp-Loop Combo", a variant of Steve Ritchie's signature combo shot.
    • Enough consecutive shots to the loop on the upper playfield will temporarily light an extra ball, with how long it is lit based on the number of consecutive shots made.
  • Cool Sword: Is he wielding a flaming double-bladed sword?
  • Creator Cameo: Steve Ritchie provides the voice of the Knight.
  • Duel to the Death: "STAND UP AND FIGHT!"
  • Evil Laugh/Have a Nice Death: The knight laughs at you if you engage the Magna-Save but fails to save the ball.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Guess who.
  • Feudal Future: Type 1.
  • Golden Snitch: The King's Ransom can turn into this in a multi-player game if it is close to being started.
  • Hellish Horse
  • Kirby Dots
  • Match Sequence: Two lightning bolts strike each other, and the digits roll, and stops at the matching digit. The Choir of Angels sing "YEAH!" if any of the digits match.
  • Progressive Jackpot: As with many games during this era. Also, "R-A-N-S-O-M" (see below) is carried over from game to game.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The music intensifies if the player is down to one active ball and the multiball jackpot hasn't been collected yet.
  • Spelling Bonus:
    • W-I-N increases the bonus multiplier and lights "Advance Ransom" at the drawbridge.
    • W-A-R either starts Hurry-Upnote  during main play, which is collected by shooting the Skyway Ramp in a limited amount of time, or awards one million points during either Double Knights Challenge or the King's Ransom.
    • Hitting the K-N-I-G-H-T drop targets advances B-L-A-C-K, and relights the kickback and Magna-Save.
    • B-L-A-C-K lights the Skyway Ramp for 1 million points.
    • R-A-N-S-O-M starts The King's Ransom, and is carried over from game-to-game.
  • Spiritual Successor: Black Knight 2000 is Black Knight meets Ritchie's 1979 classic game, Flash, in the following ways:
    • They use lightning motifs.
    • Black Knight 2000's layout is almost similar to Flash's.
    • Programmer Ed Boon released pictures of one of the whitewoods for this game, which showed that "B-L-A-C-K" was "F-L-A-S-H" at one point.
    • Prior to making High Speed, Steve Ritchie hinted at making a sequel to Flash, tentatively called Super Flash.
  • Storming the Castle: Batter down the door and storm the Drawbridge to the Black Knight's castle.
  • Trope 2000
  • Wheel of Decisions: The Lightning Wheel, which gives out a random award, and is a prominent part of the playfield.
  • Wizard Mode: The Trope Maker, Black Knight 2000 featured "The King's Ransom", where all targets are activated and all balls are in play for 20-30 seconds (depending on the machine's settings).
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning

Black Knight: Will you challenge the Black Knight again?

Alternative Title(s): Black Knight 2000


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