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Pinball / Fire! (1987)
aka: Fire

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Woman: "Save my Baby!"

Fire! is a Physical Pinball Table released in 1987 by Williams Electronics. It was designed by Barry Oursler with artwork and models by Mark Sprenger.

Loosely based on the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, this game directs the player to save the city and stop the various fires consuming the playfield. As the lights flash and the flames roll and flicker, hit the various targets to save the Saloon, the Bank, the Harness Shop, and other buildings from going up in smoke. Climb the two fire escapes to save helpless victims, and shoot the horseshoe to activate the hydrant for some extra help. Lock a ball on the second story, raise the Hook and Ladder, then rescue the fireman trapped on the top floor to start a five-alarm multiball while the brass bell rings away.

Fire! is remarkable for its unconventional theme, symmetrically looped layout, and stunningly detailed artwork and models. Like a real fire, this game is deceptively simple, ready to burn careless players at a moment's notice. Nearly 8,000 tables were made, in both standard and "Champaign" editions; not too surprisingly, this game is extremely popular with real-life firefighters and collectors of firefighting memorabilia.


Fire! demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Features a rubber center post that is active at the start of the ball and after making specific dangerous shots.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: One of the buildings is named the "Back Alley Saloon"
  • Creator Cameo: The model buildings include "Oursler's Arcade" and "Sprenger 1st National Bank".
  • Emergency Services: Firefighters, natch.
  • Everything's Better with Cows: The game moos when the start button is pressed.
  • Excited Show Title!
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: The player must rescue women and babies trapped in flaming buildings.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Not only is everything in the game on fire, but the game also has a rotating color cylinder inside the cabinet to make the playfield and model buildings appear to be in flames. The "Champaign Edition" uses a similar feature to animate the fires on the backglass.
  • Advertisement:
  • No Antagonist
  • One-Word Title
  • Primal Fear: Exemplified by the huddled mass of panicking citizens on the lower portion of the playfield.
  • Ripped from the Headlines/Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Played with; promotional materials never outright state that the game is based on the Great Chicago Fire, but it's so strongly hinted at that it's accepted as such by players and historians.
  • Scenery Gorn: The middle of the playfield is dominated by a city skyline awash in animated flames.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skill Shot: Plunge the ball up a lane with five rollover switches, and try to reach the second-highest one (worth 100,000 points) without triggering the first one or the target at the end (worth 5,000 and 1,000 points, respectively).

Man: "Nice job, lad!"

Alternative Title(s): Fire