Evel Knievel was released when the pinball industry was transitioning from electro-mechanical games to solid state designs, and embodies aspects of both types. Go for the left drop targets to increase the Spinner values and enable the Extra Ball, or spell CYCLE to raise the value of the center bumper and try to score a Special. Daring players can try to spell SUPER for two free games, either by a long shot to the saucer at the top of the table, or risk a hit on the center target that can drain the ball in an instant. Most versions of this game were solid-state tables, though several hundred electro-mechanical versions were also made.
Pinball enthusiasts consider Evel Knievel a hallmark game of The '70s, a table that perfectly captures both the cultural and gaming atmosphere of the era. The game itself doesn't present any innovative new ideas, but simply offers enough shots and challenges to keep things interesting for all players. Gaming historians will note that Evel Knievel was the hottest Arcade Game of 1978, only to be knocked off its perch by a strange new thing called Space Invaders.
Bally released a home version of this pinball with a different layout, different artwork, and shorter legs to better accommodate children.
The Evel Knievel pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Burning Rubber: The playfield art depicts Evel leaving flames in his wake.
- Celebrity Star: Evel Knievel.
- Cool Bike: Knievel is shown riding his Harley Davidson XR-750.
- Fanservice Extra/Male Gaze: The game features several woman with large breasts wearing form-fitting T-shirts and denim shorts.
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: As noted above, the women are all shown wearing tight white "Evel Knievel" T-shirts that accentuate their busts. Real Life shirts were also available from Bally.
- Iconic Outfit: Knievel is depicted wearing his trademark jumpsuit.
- In Name Only: The home version, which has almost no resemblance to the original game.
- Incendiary Exponent: The playfield and backglass include assorted flames and fireballs for emphasis.
- Licensed Pinball Table
- No Plot? No Problem!
- Patriotic Fervor: Like Knievel himself, this game proudly wears its red, white, and blue stars and stripes.
- Ramp Jump: The backglass uses animated lights to depict Knievel's Real Life 1975 jump over fourteen double-decker busses at King's Island, Ohio.
- Spelling Bonus: Spell S-U-P-E-R for the double Specials, and C-Y-C-L-E to raise the value of the center bumper and light the outlane Specials.
- Vapor Wear: The women clearly aren't wearing bras beneath their form-fitting shirts.
- World of Buxom