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Pinball / El Dorado

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For the 1966 Western starring John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, click here.

El Dorado is a single-player electro-mechanical pinball machine, designed by Ed Krynski with artwork by Gordon Morison. It was produced by Gottlieb and released in 1975.

The name refers to a mythical lost city of gold, with the backglass depicting a group of cowboys who've just found an (unseen) fortune. The game itself is deceptively simple; use the four flippers to knock down all fifteen drop targets, then hit the single lit target for a Special. However, hitting all the targets and rollovers requires skillful nudging and flipper control, and moving the lit spot and hitting it on the same ball is a challenge for most players.

Pinball connoisseurs consider El Dorado a classic Gottlieb "wedgehead" game, and it is frequently rated highly among all electro-mechanical tables. Gottlieb must have agreed, as the game was remade and re-released several times:

  • An add-a-ball version called Gold Strike (1975)
  • An Italian version called Lucky Strikenote  (1975)
  • A four-player science-fiction game called Target Alpha (1976)
  • A two-player replay game called Solar City (1977)
  • A promotional game for Canada Dry (1977), released in France for a contest.
  • An updated remake, El Dorado: City of Gold (1984)

Digital versions of El Dorado: City of Gold are available for FarSight Studios' select versions of Gottlieb Pinball Classics, Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection, and fully on The Pinball Arcade, with the original table also digitally-recreated for The Pinball Arcade.

Not to be confused with an identically named digital pinball table from Zen Studios.

The El Dorado pinball and its variations demonstrate the following tropes:

  • Cool Helmet:
    • The aliens in Solar City wear ornately colorful winged helmets.
    • Some of the people in Target Alpha wear brightly-colored helmets with large fins.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Solar City depicts a group of aliens meant to be a knock to Native Americans, complete with braids, buckskins, and bows.
  • Sigil Spam: Unsurprisingly, the backglass and playfield for Canada Dry is heavily decorated with the drink's logo.
  • Space Clothes: Target Alpha shows people in the future wearing garishly-colored jumpsuits and helmets with large fins.
  • Spelling Bonus:
    • Canada Dry uses D-R-I-N-K and C-A-N-A-D-A-[space]-D-R-Y for its drop target banks.
    • El Dorado: City of Gold has C-I-T-Y-O-F-G-O-L-D for the top set of drop targets.
  • Stock Footage: Some of the art for Target Alpha is reused in Solar City, such as the smiling man and woman on the playfield plastics.
  • Winged Humanoid: Solar City features humanoid aliens with large feathered wings.

Alternative Title(s): El Dorado City Of Gold