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Pinball / Fish Tales

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"You're not gonna eat that, are ya?"
Catch 'Em All, Hook, Line and Sinker!

Fish Tales is a 1992 pinball game made by Mark Ritchie for Williams Electronics. The game, obviously, is based around fishing and the act of lying about the size of the ones you caught.

Among the more notable features of the game include a plunger shaped like a rod, a fish topper that shakes its tail when the player accomplishes certain goals, and flippers with lightning bolts on them that are 1/8th inch shorter than regular flippers, adding an element of challenge that was used on very few machines.

It sold more than 13,000 units, making it one of the top 20 most produced pinball games of all time. A digital version was available for The Pinball Arcade until the WMS license expired in July 2018. However, on September 4, 2018, Zen Studios announced that it had gained the rights to this and other WMS tables to be released within Pinball FX3. In particular, this and three other tables (Medieval Madness, The Getaway: High Speed II and Junk Yard) are the first to get this treatment.

"Gone tropin', leave a message." *BEEP*:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: Autocast, which saves any balls that drain while it's flashing.
  • Batter Up!: The shark on the side of the machine wields one.
  • Blatant Lies: While you can "Stretch the Truth" about the size of a fish you catch, you can also tell a "total lie" about it... though it gives you no points for the fish.
  • Combo: The "Fast Cast", which is scored by shooting the Caster's Club or the drop target in front of it right after a Long Cast or ball launch.
  • Creator Cameo: Lots of them on the backglass.
    • The fishermen are artist Pat McMahon and designer Mark Ritchie.
    • The fisherman in the water filled waders (wearing a baseball hat) is Carl.
    • The worm is Jim Patla. According to Brian Eddy, "it kind of fit his personality at the time."
  • Double Unlock: In Multiball, the player must shoot the Caster's Club shot to light the jackpot (twice for a double jackpot), and then shoot the hole in the back through the spinner to collect it.
  • Easter Egg: During the game, many sea creatures pass by. Occasionally, a skeleton fish will show up, and mashing the "cast" button about 10 times when it happens score the 10-point "Russ' Fishbone Bonus".
  • Match Sequence: A fish is dropped onto a scale, and the weight is the match number.
  • New Game Plus: After making it through the entire multiball sequence and collecting at least one Super Jackpot, it cycles back to the beginning of the multiball sequence the next time multiball is started with the jackpot values (including the Super) doubled. The jackpot multiplier increases by one every time the sequence is completed, maxing at 6x.
  • Nintendo Hard: In addition to the shorter "lightning" flippers, this game is infamous for having one of the hardest to obtain jackpots in all of pinball, let alone super jackpots. And just being difficult in general.
  • NOT!: Whenever "Stretch The Truth" lands on a "Total Lie".
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: A beautiful mermaid appears on the side of the backbox and the far wall of the playfield.
  • Painting the Medium: The plunger is a fishing rod.
  • Pinball Scoring: The Super Jackpots can be worth up to 600 million points for a single shot to the captive ball and be collected repeatedly as long as the player is in multiball. Of course, you must collect eighteen jackpots across at least six multiballs to even reach this point. Getting even a single 100 million Super Jackpot can be an ordeal even for experienced players.
  • Shout-Out: The flyer for the game begins describing the Video Mode with "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..."
  • Skill Shot: Shooting the lock saucer or drop target in front of it shortly after the plunge (usually within your first flip) awards a "Fast Cast" for some points.
  • Signature Style: Criss-crossing ramps, long shots up the playfields, and lots of timed modes.
  • Spelling Bonus: Spell L-I-E to increase your bonus multiplier up to 7x.
    Mermaid: "Every good fish tale has one."
  • Threatening Shark: The side of the machine has a cartoony one, about to hit an unsuspecting fisherman with a bat.
  • Thing-O-Meter: "Stretch The Truth", a gauge which measures how big the current catch is compared to reality — from "5X Actual Size" to "Total Lie".
    "How big was it?!"
  • Vanity License Plate: A variant - the side of the boat on the backglass reads "IMADV8" ("I am a deviate").
  • Video Mode: You fire torpedoes at waterskiiers.
  • Visual Pun: Above the fisherman on the playfield is a string of six fish, holding rulers, pencils, and textbooks — making it a school of fish.