Based on the popular animated show by Seth MacFarlane, the Family Guy pinball game takes players through the memorable misadventures of the dysfunctional Griffin family. Fight the crazy monkey in Chris' closet, help Stewie start a Sexy Party, hit Brian's beer can to bring about Happy Hour, and get Peter into a Chicken Fight over a coupon. As you progress, Stewie will get to play his own mini-pinball machine, all part of his plan to take over the world — starting with your table. The gameplay is accompanied by numerous voice clips from the show, supplemented with additional dialog by Seth MacFarlane.
A modified version of this game appeared on ABC Television's Good Morning America on January 18, 2008, as part of a segment commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Pinball.note The TV Modes were replaced with GMA segments, and the Griffins were swapped out with photos of the show's hosts. The "Good Morning America" pinball machine currently resides in the Green Room of ABC's New York City studio.
The Family Guy pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Adjustable Censorship: The game's content levels can be set from "Adult", "Moderate", and "Family." The setting affects the voice clips and animations featured, and alternate labels can be applied to the playfield elements to match. However, even the mildest "Family" level will include some fart jokes.
- Dialog During Gameplay: The game has an unusually large amount of voice clips by pinball standards.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Hitting the Death drop-down target shows The Grim Reaper getting hit in the face with a pinball.Death: "Great! Now the whole world is laughing at me."
- Farts on Fire: During "Fart Multiball", Peter shoots flames out of his rear.
- Freak Lab Accident: "Super Griffins", where the family gets super powers from toxic waste.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: On milder settings, the beer can is shown on the dot-matrix display as "Root Beer". The game includes a matching label for the beer can on the playfield.Peter: "I'd like to think of drinking as a talent."
- Gotta Catch Them All: Stewie must get (in more than one sense of the term) the other members of the Griffin family.
- Sex Comedy: "Sexy Party", where Stewie gets chased around the house by a gaggle of scantily-clad women.
- Signature Style: Many of Pat Lawlor's unique design quirks appear here - more than two flippers (five, if you count Stewie's table), a mini-playfield, and dual inlanes for the left flipper.
- Spelling Bonus: On the main playfield, spelling FART repeatedly starts Fart Multiball, while spelling PINBALL enables Stewie's pinball machine. Stewie's pinball has BRIAN, MEG, PETER, LOIS, and CHRIS.Stewie: "The fat man can spell faster than you!"
- Skill Shot: Shoot the "F" in F-A-R-T after launch. Alternately, immediately shoot the ball through the Super Jackpot tunnel for a Super Skill Shot.
- Take That, Audience!: Many voice clips insult the player directly. In just one example, if the player drains during Happy Hour:Peter: "Only a jackass would leave Happy Hour early."
- Wizard Mode
- The first sub-Wizard Mode is "TV Wizard", available after completing all five TV Modes. Hit the different Jackpot shots before the Jackpot runs out to score the current value.
- The second sub-Wizard Mode is "Stewie Multiball", which starts after Stewie gets all of the other family members in his pinball game. Play both pinball tables at the same time, collecting each character on both for a chance at the Super Jackpot.
- The Wizard Mode is "Sperm Attack", which can only be reached by playing well in six goals.note The attack starts on Stewie's mini-pinball, but soon migrates to the main playfield; there are four balls in play, and the player must shoot as many jackpot shots as possible. Truly exceptional players can even restart "Sperm Attack" when only two balls remain, further increasing their jackpot rewards.
A few months after Family Guy came out, Stern Pinball released Shrek, based on the first three films in the series. It was a rethemed version of Family Guy, allowing Stern to sell the same game to a wider audience, particularly in Europe (where Family Guy was not as popular).
In terms of gameplay, Shrek and Family Guy are exactly the same — the changes were to the artwork, sound effects, and jokes. Some owners have even installed Shrek game ROMs into their Family Guy machines to get two titles in the same cabinet (or to mess with unsuspecting players).
The Shrek pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Not Quite Starring: The game uses soundalikes for Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and the other voice actors from the original films.
- Rage Against the Reflection: The trope is alluded to with Prince Charming's playfield target, a mirror mounted on a pillar that the player hits with the ball.
- Secondary Adaptation: The game adapts elements from Shrek, Shrek 2, and Shrek the Third, all of which are based on the 1990 children's book Shrek.
- Spelling Bonus: On the main playfield, spelling BABY repeatedly starts Baby Multiball, while spelling PINBALL enables Donkey's pinball machine. Donkey's pinball has FIONA, (Gingerbread) MAN, SHREK, PUSS, and CHARM (Prince Charming).
- Villain Decay: Prince Charming, who was already a pretty ineffectual villain in the movies, is counted alongside the protagonists of the series here.
- Wizard Mode: Aside from name changes, all of the Wizard Modes are the same as those of Family Guy:
- The sub-Wizard Modes "TV Wizard" and "Stewie Multiball" have been renamed to "Swamp Wizard" and "Donkey Multiball".
- The main Wizard Mode, "Sperm Attack", becomes the age-appropriate "Far Far Away".