Bugs Bunny's Birthday Ball is a pinball machine released by Williams Electronics (under the Bally label) in 1991. Designed by John Trudeau and illustrated by Python Anghelo and John Youssi, this was the last pin from Bally to use an alphanumeric display, and the first of only two licensed pinball tables ever to feature the Looney Tunes characters (the second being Sega's Space Jam).
The game is a celebration of Bugs Bunny's 50th anniversary, accompanied with his various co-stars and lots of cake. Use the Skill Shot to help Wile E. Coyote chase the Road Runner, break some eggs in the reversed Chicken Coop playfield, then ride the Tweetie Slide to the main playfield. Hit Daffy Duck for a Big Score and light Speedy Gonzales' "Keekout", then shoot the center ramp so the Tasmanian Devil can go shopping. If you can help Bugs blow out the candles, Honey Bunny might reward him with a 50 million bonus — and maybe you'll get your opponents' best score for a Surprise Package.
Word of God from Python Anghelo is that the game was quickly rushed through development to fill a gap in the Bally production line. Unfortunately, it shows, as Bugs Bunny's Birthday Ball is often considered one of the weakest games from Williams and a disappointing waste of the license. The Chicken Coop crowds up the playfield for little value, there's a dearth of modes and satisfying shots, and the 50 Million shot and random score-switching "Surprise Package" makes it useless for competitive play. Only around 2,500 tables were manufactured, but there is little interest from either pinball collectors or animation buffs.
Bugs Bunny's Birthday Ball demonstrate the following tropes:
- Abhorrent Admirer/Anything That Moves: On the backglass, Pepe Le Pew is gazing lovingly at Honey Bunny... even as she sprays him in the face.
- Too Kinky to Torture: ...not that it slows him down one bit.
- Acme Products: Wile E. rides a rocket from the "Acme Rocket Co."
- Cartoon Bomb: They're scattered throughout the playfield.
- Distaff Counterpart: Honey Bunny to Bugs Bunny, and She-Devil to the Tasmanian Devil.
- Drugs Are Bad: During the attract mode, a message on the alphanumeric display reads "Drug Users Don't Get The Cake".
- Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Referenced on the sides of the cabinet with a sign reading "Pinball (Rabbit) Season Open".
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Zig-zagged; on the playfield, Yosemite Sam's pistols are replaced with fireworks. He still has his pistols on the backglass, but they're firing confetti instead.
- Finger in a Barrel: The barrels of Elmer Fudd's rifle are corked up with carrots.
- Golden Snitch: The 50 Million shot, which overwhelms everything else in the game. The fact that it's only randomly available on the player's last ball just makes it even more capricious.
- Human Cannonball: Wile E. Coyote launches himself out of a cannon to get the Road Runner.
- Jumping Out of a Cake: Honey Bunny is shown doing this on the playfield, jumping out of Bugs' birthday cake while holding a "50 Million" indicator.
- Painting the Medium: The lower flippers are formed from a pair of large carrots that Bugs Bunny holds.
- Random Number God: One of the reasons players dislike the game. The 50 Million shot and the "Surprise Package" make the game too random for serious play.
- Rocket Ride: On the table, Wile E. Coyote rides a rocket to chase the Road Runner.
- Shout-Out: A sign on the plunger cannon reads "Roger Sharpe fired this cannon."
- The Smurfette Principle: Barely averted; though Honey Bunny is the single most prominent female character, she's also accompanied by She-Devil on the playfield.
- Special Thanks: There's one on the apron, just below the drain:With special thanks to: Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Mel Blanc, and all of the Warner Bros. animators who have brought so much happiness and laughter to the world throughout the years.
- Spelling Bonus: P-O-P raises the bonus multiplier, while L-O-O-N-E-Y-T-U-N-E-S lights the saucer for a million points.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Sylvester Jr. to Sylvester J. Cat.
- Title Confusion: For some reason, many players refer to this game as "Bugs Bunny's Birthday Bash". Perhaps there's some repressed hostility towards the game?
- You Can't Make an Omelette...: Discussed; a sign above the Chicken Coop reads "You have to break a lot of eggs to make a birthday cake!!"