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Pinball / Ghostbusters

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Ghostbusters is a Physical Pinball Table designed by John Trudeau, programmed by Dwight Sullivan, illustrated by Zombie Yeti, and released by Stern Pinball in March 2016.

Based on the first and second Ghostbusters movies, this table has you join the Ghostbusters crew in defending New York City. Capture as many ghosts as possible, and consult Tobin’s Spirit Guide for random rewards. Test your psychic ability in the Negative Reinforcement Video Mode, then bring upon Mass Hysteria. Lock three balls to shut down the storage facility and start Multiball to rack up more ghosts. By chasing Slimer away, you can start a scene from the movie. Completing all the scenes in a ladder starts "We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Its...", and completing all nine scenes means We're Ready To Believe You.

The game was released in Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition versions. Premium adds a moving Slimer toy instead of a static one, a holographic “Ecto Goggles” toy over the right ramp, digital magnetic slingshots, and different cabinet art. Limited Edition, which is limited to 500 machines, includes a shaker motor and cabinet art different from the Pro and Premium versions. The full list of differences can be found here.

A digital version of the Premium table is available for Stern Pinball Arcade (PS4/Xbox One/PC) and The Pinball Arcade (PC/Mobile). Not to be confused with the Digital Pinball Table from Farsight Studios, available here.''

The Ghostbusters table demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Adjustable Censorship: As of Code Update 1.05, you can now toggle Family Mode in the Operator Settings.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If a ball is ejected from the right side scoop, a brief ball saver is activated to combat unfair drains.
  • Arrange Mode: "God Mode", added in the 2019 software update, starts each game with the "We're Ready to Believe You" Wizard Mode already running. Failing to complete it ends the game, while succeeding starts "Are You a God?"; finishing that also ends the game.
  • Curse Cut Short: "We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Its..."
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: A very significant gameplay change made in the 1.10 code update, released October 2016, is that modes do not have to be restarted if the ball drains or time runs out. In the former case, they will continue on subsequent balls if there are any. In the latter they will simply be maintained as not completed. Prior to this, modes had to be restarted in either of the cases above, and it was very costly to do so if not earned on a skill shot. Modes also had to be played to completion before moving onto the next mode in a ladder. The 2019 update takes it a step further, allowing modes to be "completed" when the ball drains as well - however, the uppermost scene in each ladder now needs to actually be played through in its entirety.
  • Easter Egg: Midnight Madness (a hidden mode activating when the game's internal clock reaches midnight, which programmer Dwight Sullivan originated in the 1990s) returns here.
  • Flying Books: Found in the library, just like in the movie.
  • Interface Screw: The Mass Hysteria mode reverses the flippers, so that the left flipper button activates the right flipper and vice-versa. The 1.05 code update added another twist (courtesy of none other than Keith Elwin before his official employment at Stern) — hitting the right captive ball will swap the flippers back to normal (or back to reverse)!
  • Jump Scare: Version 1.10 added a "Scare Feature", whereupon a shot to the Librarian or Negative Reinforcement scoops will occasionally darken the entire playfield...only for a ghostly apparition to appear on the display with an extremely loud scream (increasing the volume regardless of where it's been set to) and melt into a skull. Watch it here.
  • Licensed Pinball Table
  • Luck-Based Mission: Negative Reinforcement On E.S.P. Ability. It’s a Video Mode where two cards are displayed on screen. The value of the mode starts at 10 million points which you can cash out at any time, and is increased by 10 million for every time you pick the correct card, but picking the wrong card forfeits the bank of points and ends the mode. Averted in Tournament Mode, where instead you are guaranteed one correct pick for every 10 ghosts collected, and any further guesses will always be incorrect.
  • Match Sequence: A recreation of the scene where Dana is restrained by a giant animal claw and her chair slides into the kitchen door. The door then reopens to reveal the match number.
  • Nintendo Hard: Ball control on this game tends to be considerably harder than most other pinball games due to the unique quirks of its design, which just so happens to demand a very good sense of ball control. Some of the factors that contribute to this are the wider flipper gap, tighter slingshots, and deceptive double-inlanes that tend to cause more outlane drains than usual.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Early code revisions would allow you to continue collecting ghosts during Mass Hysteria multiball, which is started by collecting 100 ghosts. If a player collected 100 ghosts again during Mass Hysteria, it would restart with a fresh ballsaver, as well as start another instance of Loopin' Supers and PKE Frenzy — two potentially very high-scoring modes. The whole process could loop infinitely as long as the player kept getting another set of 100 ghosts, leading to ridiculously absurd scores. The fix was simply to stop ghost collection during Mass Hysteria.
    • This was also a byproduct of a defect in the manufacturing process on some early machines which caused the Slimer target to be extra-sensitive. Other early machines had a different defect where Slimer was not sensitive enough, which made this exploit far harder to pull off, at the expense of making it harder to progress in the game overall.
  • Pinball Scoring: PKE Frenzy and "We Came We Saw" in the 2019 update can potentially score billions of points on their own, especially with a 6x playfield multiplier. Completing "Are You A God?" also awards a billion points (which can be multiplied). And then on future balls, each skill shot awards +5% of your current score on top of that (this used to be 10%, with a easy skill shot to make it +20%).
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Collecting the Super Jackpot after frying the Scoleri Brothers, courtesy of Ernie Hudson.
    Winston: "Super! Jackpot!"
  • Score Multiplier: A x2 and x3 playfield multiplier is available, which can be combined for a x6 multiplier.
  • Skill Shot: This table has nine skill shots, and out of those shots you pick one rollover lane on the top of the playfield, and one ramp, loop, or scoop shot on the bottom of the playfield. Once you plunge the ball, you can't change shots. Completing a skill shot awards 5% of your current score plus 1 million times the ball number, as well as an additional award depending on the shot you made.
  • Spelling Bonus: Spell G-H-O-S-T to battle Slimer, and complete P-K-E to increase the PKE level and the bonus multiplier.
  • Take That Player: Doing poorly in "We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Its..." results in this quote:
    Winston: "We came, we saw...we got our asses kicked!"
  • Timed Mission: Every scene is a timed mission.
  • Tyop on the Cover: Early models of the game had an insert on the playfield labelled as "Negative Reinforcment" (missing the 'e'). Later models came with the typo fixed.
    • Numerous "Did You Know?" trivia pages in the attract mode had typos (including misspelling Eddie Murphy's name), which were addressed in version 1.13.
  • Video Mode: Two of them, with version 1.0 introducing a second. Both are started at the Negative Reinforcement scoop when lit, and either one can be chosen with the flipper buttons.
    • "Negative Reinforcement on E.S.P. Ability" is a Luck-Based Mission where the player has a choice of two cards. Choosing the correct card builds a value which can be cashed out at any time, but the wrong card forfeits it and ends the mode. In tournament play, the rules are changed so that the player gets one guaranteed successful pick for every 10 ghosts collected, with subsequent attempts always being incorrect.
    • "Don't Cross the Streams" involves the player zapping oncoming ghosts with two proton beams, each controllable with the flipper buttons. The streams draw nearer when holding in the buttons, while releasing them retracts the streams from one another. Getting "slimed" by a ghost or "crossing the streams" will end the mode, while a bonus can be yielded for successfully completing it.
  • Wizard Mode: Three of them, with one being added in the 2019 update.
    • "We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Its..." is earned by playing all of the scenes in one ladder. It is a 2-4 ball multiball (dependent on the number of scenes of the ladder you finish) where all shots are lit for jackpots. As the player completes all nine scenes, they will inevitably have to play this mode twice. But instead of playing this a third time...
    • "We’re Ready To Believe You" is earned by completing all nine scenes. This mode is a race to collect 100 ghosts in 60 seconds, as you advance through the ranks of becoming a Ghostbuster: Junior -> Tex -> Apprentice -> Ghostbuster -> Demigod -> Lesser Deity -> Maybe a God?.
      • Prior to the 2019 code overhaul, this mode was a generic multiball that, at best, had no real structure *or* point value, and at worst, would often crash the game.
    • Long-rumored to exist since the game's rule card hinted at it, "Are You a God" is now finally a real mode in the 2019 update. Completing "We're Ready To Believe You" will start it. This is a multi-stage wizard mode where the player has to complete certain tasks to advance through each stage (for instance, complete two combo shots). Completing all levels awards one billion points, and a 6-ball multiball.

Alternative Title(s): Ghostbusters Stern