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Pinball / Dungeons & Dragons

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A pinball with a built-in saving throw!
"Mystical Million!"

Dungeons & Dragons is an arcade pinball game designed by Ward Pemberton with art by Larry Elmore, released in 1987 by Bally.

As one would expect, this game is based on the world-famous role-playing game from TSR. The player must lead a party of four adventurers — a Warrior, a Valkyrie, a Wizard, and a Dwarf — up a castle, where a fire-breathing red dragon awaits. Use the shield, sword, and magic dust to douse the flame, then enter the Dragon's Lair to claim the treasure. Ascend the dungeon's levels for more rewards, but beware of the Teleporters, which will magically move your pinballs across the table. Use the Magic Save to avert a draining ball, then use magic to summon backup for three-ball multiball.

Dungeons & Dragons was released during shaky times for Bally; this was an attempt to revitalize the company with a game that was both visually attractive and challenging to play. Unfortunately, while it is a challenging game that requires expert skills to master, some of the shots are too dependent on lucky random bounces, which detract somewhat from its appeal. It's rather popular among some collectors, but only 2,000 tables were manufactured, and the money-saving wood fiberboard cabinets made them more susceptible to aging.


The Dungeons & Dragons pinball game demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Barbarian Hero: Loin cloth? Check. Taut, rippling muscles? Check. Oiled back? Check. Impressive weapons? Check.
  • Breath Weapon: Of course the dragon breathes fire.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Played with; the Valkyrie's chainmail armor actually covers her well — except for her arms and upper chest area.
  • Dragon Hoard: Apparently the adventurers are after the dragon's hoard of gold coins.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: The game included a "Dragon Box" topper with two strobe lights. Operators could put it on top of the backbox to raise the game's profile and attract bystanders.
  • Just in Time: The "Magic Save", which (if the player presses a button fast enough) raises a block to deflect a draining ball back to the flippers.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The Valkyrie is the only female adventurer.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: The game has a "Teleport" mechanism that instantly whisks balls from one side of the table to the other.spoiler 
  • Wizard Classic: Played straight by the Wizard, complete with pointy hat and long beard.


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