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Pinball / FunHouse (1990)

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"Quit playing with the clock!"

Rudy: "Hey, Bucko, you're up!"

FunHouse is a Williams Electronics Pinball game introduced in 1990. It was designed by Pat Lawlor with artwork by John Youssi, and features the voice of Ed Boon as Rudy.

Rudy the Dummy is a living ventriloquist dummy and chief proprietor of the titular FunHouse; the player must advance the clock to midnight, which will cause the FunHouse to close and make Rudy fall asleep. When this happens, the player can shoot a ball into Rudy's mouth to start multiball, panicking Rudy and wreaking havoc all over the board.

Pinball connoisseurs regard FunHouse as an undisputed classic. Rudy offers a level of immersion rarely matched even by modern-day tables, with its main character actually being part of the game itself (instead of just being a voice in the background). Meanwhile, the game proper is simple enough to attract casual players while remaining challenging enough to keep even the best players on their toes. It was this core design that Pat Lawlor would later build his two biggest hits, The Addams Family and Twilight Zone, from.

A digital version of the game is available as part of FarSight Studios' Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection and The Pinball Arcade compilations. However, the latter game stopped selling it after June 2018 due to the studio losing their license to all Williams and Bally tables. FunHouse reappears on Pinball FX3 as part of Volume 6 on October 20, 2020.

In 2021, Pedretti Gaming released an officially licensed Game Mod titled FunHouse: Rudy's Nightmare.

FunHouse demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Amusement Park: Well, part of one, anyway.
  • Announcer Chatter: Rudy will occasionally cheer and taunt the player.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If the ball is short-plunged and it immediately falls into the right outlane, or if the player scores nothing before a ball drains, it is returned to the player.
    Rudy: "You can have it back!"
  • Big Brother Is Watching: When he's awake, Rudy constantly watches the pinball and follows the game.
    Rudy: "I'm watchin' ya!"
  • Big "NO!": Rudy's reaction whenever you shoot a ball into the trap door during Midnight Multiball.
  • Circling Birdies: In the Pinball FX3 remake, stars appear around Rudy's head whenever he's hit.
  • Combos:
    • A three-way combo bonus of 500,000 points will be awarded for shooting the Steps Ramp, the counterclockwise Gangway shot through the bumpers, and a Trap Door Loop in that exact sequence. Hitting Rudy in the mouth immediately afterward awards a four-way combo worth an extra million.
    • The Trap Door Bonus requires the Trap Door Loop to be shot 2-4 times consecutively, with the penultimate shot opening up the Trap Door. Shooting it in will award the bonus.
  • Company Cross References:
    • In the back (underneath the ramp) is a freeway sign reading "Kansas - Feel the Power." This is both a reference to Whirlwind and one of Pat Lawlor's Creator Thumbprints.
    • Whirlwind gets another nod on the backglass, which includes a sign reading "Ride the Whirlwind".
  • Creator Cameo:
    • The man in the backglass with the child on his shoulder is artist John Youssi.
    • Rudy's voice is provided by Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon.
  • Creepy Doll: Rudy's even creepier when you consider that his eyes are following the pinball(s).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rudy, who constantly snarks at the player.
    Rudy: "Now who's the dummy?"
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • The only way to normally shoot a ball into Rudy's mouth is while he's asleep, but it's possible to get one into his mouth while he's talking. Called a "Rudy Gulp", doing this will award you an extra 250,000 points and cause him to spit it out. This is one of this table's Standard Goals in The Pinball Arcade, and an achievement in Pinball FX3.
    • One particular target in the upper portion of the table activates several awards (lighting an extra ball, maxing out bumper values, etc.) One reward is "Quick Multiball", which, under the right conditions, will not only start Midnight Multiball without having to fire a ball into Rudy's mouth, but activate the "Unlimited Millions" feature, which gives major scoring opportunities for missed shots to the trap door.
      Rudy: "What was THAT?!"
    • If a Frenzy is started and then a Super Frenzy is started, the Frenzy will become a Super Frenzy and 20 seconds will be added onto whatever time was remaining in the Frenzy. Collecting a normal Frenzy while in a Super Frenzy will just add 20 seconds onto the Super Frenzy and it will remain a Super Frenzy.
  • Evil Laugh: "FunHouse?! AAA-HAHAHAHAHA!" He repeats this when a Super Frenzy is started.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Rudy's right eyebrow curls downward, while his left curls upward.
  • Freak Out: During the Midnight Multiball, Rudy sounds as if he's in a panic, trying to get you back under control even though he has no means of actually doing so.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: The music slows to a crawl when you advance the clock to midnight and Rudy falls asleep. It also affects the Frenzy theme.
  • Living Toy: Rudy, both in the more traditional sense and in terms of being a "living" playfield toy.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Rudy's comments to the player typically go like this, unless your name is "Slick".
  • Marilyn Maneuver: A woman is shown doing this (unintentionally) on the backglass and the slingshot bumpers.
  • Medium Awareness: If you tilt the machine, Rudy will say, "Hey! It's only pinball."
  • Mickey Mousing: After scoring a Million Plus shot, a series of explosions will punctuate the beginning of the music that follows.
  • Mood-Swinger: Rudy will act rather cheerfully throughout most of the game. However, when 11:30 comes around, he gets sour in a hurry. Of course, he changes back to his more chipper self once the midnight multiball round ends.
  • The Nicknamer: At the start of each game, Rudy will give each player a nickname, such as "Spunky", "Bucko", or "Biff", then uses it throughout to refer to that player. Most obvious in multiplayer games.
    • Easter Egg: If a player is nicknamed "Slick", Rudy will sometimes use derogatory comments for that player, instead of his usual Mad Libs Dialogue.
  • Recycled Title: Not to be confused with Williams' earlier Fun House, an electro-mechanical pinball from 1956.
  • Shout-Out: The Superdog mode is most likely named after famous Chicago Dog restaurant Superdawg, particularly considering FunHouse was designed and manufactured in Chicago.
  • Signature Style: Demonstrated by the upper flipper, the right Gangway shot, and the soft-plunge skill shot.
  • Skill Shot: A well-placed shot will launch the ball into "Rudy's Hideout", a hidden spot behind Rudy's head worth big points.
    Rudy: "Where did you go now?"
  • Sleepyhead: Rudy quickly falls asleep once the clock reaches midnight.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic:
    • The 11:45 theme is a faster and more frenetic version of the 11:30 theme. Inverted once the clock reaches midnight, as the music becomes very slow and quiet.
    • An alternate, more frenetic version of the multiball theme plays during the restart countdown.
  • Talk to the Fist: One way to interrupt Rudy's heckling is to shoot the ball into his mouth. This will either hit his jaw or cause him to swallow the ball; both actions award points.
    Rudy: "That was no accident!"
  • Timed Mission: (Super) Frenzy and Superdog.
  • Title Drop: Rudy does this at the start of the game
    FunHouse? [laughs]
  • Trap Door: There's one right in front of Rudy.
  • Unusual Euphemism: If Rudy is hit enough times.
    Rudy: "You... big... sausage!"
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Rudy vomits up the ball you shoot into his mouth.
  • Westminster Chimes: Occurs when the clock hits 11:30.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Advancing the clock to midnight causes Rudy to fall asleep.

Rudy: "Hey! Close the door!"

Alternative Title(s): Fun House