Based on the popular animated show by Seth MacFarlane, the Family Guy pinball 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.
- Ass Shove: The match sequence involves Brian blowing and popping a bubble-gum bubble from his rear.
- Butt-Monkey: Meg, as usual.Stewie: "I never thought I'd see Meg worth something."
- Dialog During Gameplay: LOTS. Numerous playthroughs are needed to hear all of the voice clips.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Hitting the Death drop-down target shows Death getting hit in the face with a pinball.Death: "Great! Now the whole world is laughing at me."
- Double Entendre: It wouldn't be Family Guy without it.Quagmire: "You must be a flipper, 'cause you can smack my balls around any time!"
- Farts on Fire: During "Fart Multiball", Peter shoots flames out of his rear.
- Fat Idiot: Chris and Peter. Doubly so during "Lard Multiball", when Peter grows to grotesque size.
- 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.
- The Grim Reaper
- Maniac Monkeys: The Evil Monkey in Chris' closet. Hit him repeatedly to start "Crazy Chris" mode.
- Mythology Gag: The animations in "Sexy Party" have a small resemblance to the "Dance Party" gofers in No Good Gofers.
- Ray Gun: Stewie zaps the letters in PINBALL with one.
- Sex Comedy: "Sexy Party", where Stewie gets chased around the house by a gaggle of scantily-clad women.
- Show Within a Show: Stewie's pinball.
- Signature Style: 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!: Numerous. In just one example, if the player drains during Happy Hour:Peter: "Only a jackass would leave Happy Hour early."
- Toilet Humor: True to the TV show, there's lots of it.Peter: "Milk, milk, lemonade — around the corner fudge is made!"
- Video Mode: "Chicken Fight", where Peter fights a man in a chicken suit. The player helps Peter land punches by making key shots on the play field.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: "Ipecac Contest", and how.
- 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:
- Development Hell/Wag the Director: According to sound developer Jeff Powell, Shrek was originally envisioned as a quick and inexpensive two-month project. Unfortunately, due to contractual requirements from the actors and licensing issues with Smash Mouth,note it ended up ballooning to double the schedule and nearly triple the budget.
- Lighter and Softer
- Not Quite Starring: The substitute voice actors for Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and the other actors.
- Palette Swap and Recycled Set
- Rage Against the Reflection: Prince Charming's playfield target, which consists of his mirror mounted on a pillar (formerly the Family Guy beer can).
- Real Song Theme Tune: The game includes the first verse of "All Star" by Smash Mouth.
- 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, practically becomes one of the heroes 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".