The premise is simple enough — help revitalize a cryonically-suspended woman by raising her body temperature back to 37 degrees Centigrade (normal human body temperature, a.k.a. 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Roll over the switches on the playfield to raise the heat, and spell A-B-C-D to increase the saucer bonus. Knock down the four drop targets to activate Double Advance, then nudge the ball through the bagatelle lanes to speed up the process. Keep raising the backglass thermometer all the way to the top, then shoot the saucer and collect the Special.
As a game, Centigrade 37 is ranked high among Gottlieb's best, a moderately-difficult game with clear objectives from the waning era of electro-mechanical pinballs. As a piece of art, Centigrade 37 is a stunning beauty, with Morison's intricate illustrations invoking sci-fi works from the likes of Jack Kirby and EC Comics. Many players consider it a Cult Classic, and games for sale frequently fetch disproportionately high prices as a result.
A digital version of this table is available on The Pinball Arcade.
Centigrade 37 demonstrates the following tropes:
- All There in the Manual: The only hint of the game's plot is found on the flyer.
- Ambiguously Brown/Dark-Skinned Blond: Done unintentionally; depending on lighting conditions and the condition of the wood, the two blonde white women on the playfield might look like they have medium-brown skin and light blonde hair, as seen here.
- Expo Speak Gag: Done in the title to make the game sound more exotic.
- The Future: The game takes place at a time when suspended animation is relatively commonplace.
- Kirby Dots: The cryonics machine is adorned with dots all over.
- Minimalist Cast: The entire game contains only two characters.
- Ms. Fanservice: The two female characters, who wear form-fitting clothes.
- Power Glows: Not only does the artwork feature numerous glowing energy auras, but if the player advances the temperature to the top of the thermometer, the backglass bulb pulsates for the rest of the game.
- Plenty of Blondes: Everyone is a blonde in this game. (Which is, well, easy when there are only TWO characters).
- '70s Hair: The women have hair styles liberally borrowed from the likes of Barbara Bain and Farrah Fawcett.
- Space Clothes: The women wear multicolored jumpsuits, complete with boots and long gloves that leaves them almost completely covered.