Follow TV Tropes


Pinball / Game of Thrones

Go To
When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you tilt.

Game of Thrones is a 2015 pinball game released by Stern. Designed by Steve Ritchie, illustrated by Greg Freres and Steven Martin, software by Dwight Sullivan, and music and sound effects by Brian Schmidt, it retells the story of HBO's popular television series in flipper form.

The player is cast as a member of one of Westeros' seven Houses — Stark, Baratheon, Lannister, Greyjoy, Tyrell, Martell, or Targaryen. Challenge the other Houses and unite them under your rule, then try to survive long enough to rule Westeros. As Winter approaches, gather Wildfire, hit the Battering Ram, then collect Gold for Awards to strengthen your position. Leap into battle at Blackwater, master the Sword of Multiball, and fight the Dragons, but beware the Dothraki Horde when Winter comes. Follow The Hound's instructions and you can become the Hand of the King, but only the most hardy will ascend to the Iron Throne.

As with many other Stern pinballs, Game of Thrones is available in a standard ("Pro") version as well as Premium and Limited Editions. The deluxe editions add an upper Castle playfield with its own set of objectives, an elevator to ascend the Wall and reach the Iron Throne, and improved lighting and animation. The differences are more than superficial; consensus is that the basic table is a fast, frantic game that's forgiving enough for beginners, while the deluxe versions are a slightly slower — but much harder — game for veterans.

The Game of Thrones pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • All Your Powers Combined / Power Copying: House Greyjoy gets the abilities of other Houses as their missions are completed, and they are all continuously active at the same time. Greyjoy can even inherit the action button ability of the most recent house defeated.
  • Ascended Meme: "Hodor!" shows up as an Easter Egg in a few places.
  • Boring, but Practical: The lesser-valued of the two mystery awards can often light a house or a lock for a very small price.
  • Cap: The playfield multiplier starts capped at 3x. Collecting Swords will raise this cap.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The game features LED lights that change color to match the current situation, such as turning the playfield green during Blackwater Multiball or white for "Winter Has Come". In regular play, the lighting will change colors according to which Houses have been gathered.
  • Combos: Not only are various combos available, but there is a separate Score Multiplier to increase their value.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Greyjoy. Modes will require extra shots to complete, but in return, you will get the powers of any Houses that are gathered. Having extra shots required also drastically increases scoring potential. Greyjoy's first completed mission also counts as two Houses instead of one (Greyjoy plus the other House). Additionally, bringing Greyjoy into Hand of the King will make it far easier to collect the hurry-up Super Jackpot.
  • Double Unlock: The 4x and 5x playfield multipliers. You must first collect Swords to earn the right to advance your playfield multiplier to those levels, then you must hit the battering ram enough times to actually do so. This cap also applies to buying multipliers as House Lannister.
  • The Dragonslayer: The player must defeat the three dragons of House Targaryen - unless the player chooses to play as House Targaryen.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Midnight Madness makes its return after not being present in any games since Williams Electronics games in The '90s. It is as usual, a frenzy-type multiball mode where each switch scores points. It was added in a software update within a few months of the game's original release. Hodor!
    • A surprise Hodor! can come up randomly near the beginning of a Status Report.
  • Expansion Pack: The Castle upper playfield in the Premium and Limited Edition tables. Not only does it change the game's pace and difficulty, it adds a new "Collect the Castles" objective and adds a new "Castle Multiball" mode.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls:
    • One is heard during the Match Sequence.
    • Can also be set up to count out the current hour during attract mode.
  • Gotta Catch Them All:
    • Collecting all of the Houses is necessary to advance in the game.
    • Completing a House allows you to collect a Sword. These are worth points in themselves, and raise the cap on the Score Multiplier.
  • Guardian Entity: The Lord of Light, which can be summoned once per game. If it is present, a ball that drains down the outlanes will be automatically reloaded and launched back onto the playfield. Playing as House Baratheon can also allow the player to temporarily activate Lord of Light with the button once per ball.
  • Interface Screw: If you get attacked by the boss in Winter Has Come multiball, your left flipper will be disabled ("frozen") until you hit the center ramp to "thaw" it out.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: As noted in the description, the Premium and Limited Editions add a second upper playfield, updates the table layout accordingly, and adds additional rules to match. They also feature different art packages, and laser-cut siderails for the Limited Edition.
  • The Load: Some of the Houses act like this in certain modes. For instance, starting "Hand of the King" with House Baratheon requires seven shots to complete a set, instead of the regular four.
  • Match Sequence: The word "Match" appears on the screen, then a bell tolls. A flock of ravens swarm over the word, picking pieces away until the number remains.
  • Money Multiplier: One of the Awards that can be purchased is the Golden Hand, which gives an extra 750,000 bonus points at the end of each ball. The consensus among players is that this is generally not worth its high gold cost.
    • In the 2019 update, House Lannister's new ability is a literal manifestation of this trope. If you have enough gold to do so, you can push the action button to buy the next playfield multiplier. A common strategy is to save up your gold for the large wizard modes, then go to town with purchased multipliers once a super jackpot is ready.
  • Mythology Gag: The Super Jackpot animation in Blackwater Multiball is similar to that of several other Dwight Sullivan-programmed games (The Getaway: High Speed II, Red & Ted's Road Show, Junk Yard, and possibly others).
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: The Casual operator setting, arguably. It gives the player no choice of House by automatically selecting Stark, which only increases the scoring of the Winter is Coming Hurry-Ups. Meanwhile, House Martell for one gives free Add-a-Balls which can be cashed in at any time during multiball.
    • Many years after the game's release, it became clear that Tyrell and Martell were dominatingly strong houses in competitive play. The most recent Pin-Masters tournament experimented with forcing "Casual Mode" ON, presumably to force players to adapt a different strategy than the one they were probably used to. The irony of enabling Casual Mode in these circumstances was that many top-ranked players were competitors in this tournament.
    • The 2019 code update granted significant buffs to Stark, Baratheon, and Lannister (especially) to make them more competitively viable. Lannister was once considered the most lackluster house, but now with its ability to buy multipliers on demand, is likely considered the most powerful.
  • No-Sell: The Dragon in the Pro Edition (and the White Walker in the Premium and Limited Editions), which automatically shoots back any shots made at it.
  • Pinball Scoring: Notably so when compared to other modern Stern games. With the advent of playfield and combo multipliers, a single shot can easily be worth tens, if not hundreds, of millions. Scores in the billions are far more easily attainable compared to other recent Sterns.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: The playfield includes the motto "Valar Morghulis" ("all men must die").
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The game includes the theme song from the television series.
  • Score Multiplier: There's a multiplier both for the playfield and for Combos. These can stack with each other to form multipliers as high as 25x (or 30x during Hand of the King). If you're playing as House Tyrell, it's also possible to "cash in" the multiplier for points instead.
  • Severed Head Sports: Invoked with the Sword of Multiball; pinballs are queued up beneath the sword, and each time it drops a ball rolls into action.
  • Skill Gate Character: House Baratheon allows you to reach Wall Multiball faster, but few high-level players will pick it, as they're likely to reach Wall Multiball with or without the Baratheon benefit, and they're aiming for something better than that anyway.
  • Skill Shot: Plunge into the lit top lane to collect 500,000 points times the ball number. Averted in the Premium/LE, where normal plunges are intended to be fed directly to the upper playfield.
  • Spiritual Successor: With its crisscrossing ramps and Dragon kickback, the Pro edition is seen by many as a modern update to F-14 Tomcat and No Fear: Dangerous Sports. The Premium and Limited editions, on the other hand, invokes comparisons with Black Knight 2000
  • A Storm Is Coming: Invoked by "Winter Is Coming"; as the player challenges the various Houses, the corresponding shots "ice over," and no progress can be made until the player collects the House's hurry-up value.
  • Timed Mission: Many of the House modes and Wizard Modes have time limits.
  • Tyop on the Cover:
    • Early software revisions had "Change You Choice" on the DMD when it was time to do that (a screen that usually will come up at least once per game, as it only takes one relatively easy shot that starts lit to bring up that menu). Later ones added the missing 'r'.
    • There was also the "Skil Shot" yielded from plunging the ball to the top rollover lanes, which was quickly noticed by members of the chat during Dead_Flip's live stream of the game, and a software update added in the extra 'l'. Granted, the code was still in beta, as this was the first ever public footage of its gameplay.
  • Video Mode: Available as a Mystery award. The player engages in a sword duel with an axe-welding opponent, and must defeat him before running out of time or health.
  • Wizard Mode: There are two sub-Wizard Modes and a final Wizard Mode.
    • The "Hand of the King" sub-Wizard Mode is activated after lighting four Houses. You begin by making four specific shots for each House, then hit the Battering Ram for the Super Jackpot. This can be repeated up to three times, after which an even larger "hurry-up" Super Jackpot is lit. Each of the four Houses completed prior to the mode will create an alteration in the rules - for easier or harder.
    • "Winter Has Come" is the second sub-Wizard Mode, and occurs after collecting four of the Houses' hurry-up values from "Winter is Coming". First, confront the Horde by making all seven major shots before the timer runs out. Then fight a Khal Boss by hitting three indicated shots in the time given. Collect four shots during Boss Mode to collect the Winter is Coming Super Jackpot.
    • The final Wizard Mode is the "Iron Throne," which is only available after completing all of the House modes. It requires all seven Houses to be lit, and begins as a two-ball multiball. Make a shot to begin a siege on that House's castle, then complete all seven shots and hit the Battering Ram to complete the siege and add a ball. Conquer all seven castles to take the Iron Throne and start a tour of Westeros.
      • Anti-Frustration Feature: Iron Throne will continue even after the multiball ends, and even if you have further balls to play. Essentially, "you win or you die".