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Pinball / Firepower

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Mission: Multi-Ball Destruction

"FIRE! / ONE! / TWO! / THREE!"

Firepower is a Physical Pinball Table designed by Steve Ritchie, programmed by Eugene Jarvis, and illustrated by Constantino and Jeanine Mitchell. Released by Williams Electronics in 1980, it is noteworthy for being the first pinball with a "lane change" feature,note  as well as being the first solid-state game with multiball.

As with other pins of the time, the premise is an Excuse Plot to showcase the gameplay. Without warning, an alien war planet has appeared next to Earth and unleashed an army of Jet Pack-wearing invaders against humanity. In response, the player must spell FIREPOWER to increase the game's point values, hit the six targets to light the eject holes, then lock two balls into the saucers to start multiball.

Firepower is considered one of the classics of '80s pinball, a game that's simple to understand yet challenging to play, though sustaining multiball is fairly difficult due to the wide outlanes. A sequel, Firepower II, was released in 1983; designed by Mark Ritchie, it retains most of the layout and rules of the original.

A digital version of Firepower is available in Pinball Hall Of Fame: The Williams Collection. Both it and its sequel were also available from FarSight Studios' The Pinball Arcade until their license for all Williams and Bally tables expired on July 1, 2018.

The Firepower pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • City Planet: The alien warworld is one of these.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: The alien warworld is so close to Earth that humans can retaliate with their rocket-powered spaceships.
  • Creator Cameo: Steve Ritchie provides the game's voice clips.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Being the first solid state pinball machine with multiball, Firepower has no bonuses, jackpots, multipliers nor other advantages later machines would have to starting multiball, beyond just having more than one ball on the playfield at the same time.
  • Excuse Plot
  • Jet Pack: Worn by the flying invaders.
  • Machine Monotone/You No Take Candle
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Done as with Gorgar, although this game has a slightly larger vocabulary.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: The eyes of the alien leaders have white pupils and no visible irises.
  • More Dakka
  • My Brain Is Big/Rubber-Forehead Aliens: The alien leaders have oversized wrinkled foreheads.
  • Pastiche: The aliens are drawn in a style that closely mimics that of Jack Kirby, though most believe it was done as Plagiarism instead of any sort of homage. The same could be said for the alien warworld (with it's very close satellite moon) which may have been inspired by an Angus McKie illustration for the Terran Trade Authority handbooks from The '70s.
  • Updated Re-release: Firepower II, which kept the original's layout, but added a cross-table chute and tweaked the rules for better balance.
  • Space Fighter: Featured for the humans in both games.
  • Spelling Bonus: played with; F-I-R-E is spelled with the top rollovers, but POWER is a set of three targets.


Alternative Title(s): Firepower II