Hercules was one of the few pinballs produced by video gaming pioneer Atari. It was designed by Steve Bicker and released in 1979, and ultimately proved to be the last arcade pinball game from the company.
This table's most notable claim to fame is that it is the largest pinball machine ever madenote ; while a typical pinball table is around 28 inches wide by 55 inches deep (72cm x 150cm), Hercules is about the size of a billiards table. The "pinball" was a ceramic cue ball, and the wooden flippers were custom-made to accommodate the game. Unfortunately, the novelty doesn't enhance the gameplay any; the bulk of the cue ball, and the flippers that can't quite muster the relative strength to hit it, results in a relatively slow-paced game.
Only about 400 tables were ever made, and the few that remain operating today require frequent maintenance.
This pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Amazon Brigade: There are six of them in the upper-right corner of the playfield, all with spears while standing around in various states of undress.
- Appeal to Novelty: Oh cool, a giant pinball table! Too bad the ball rolls pretty slowly and the table lacks enough depth to keep players hooked.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The game itself: again only 400 were made (so parts are scant), the game isn't nearly as strong as it looks (which makes spare parts harder to find), it's very expensive to find and own, the table doesn't slant nearly as much as it should for a ball its size so it rolls too slowly, and the game itself isn't very technical so pinball fans won't have very much to chew on aside from "Wow! Bigass pinball!"
- Barbarian Hero: Hercules himself looks true to form.
- Bigger Is Better: "Better" from the marketing team's perspective, anyway.
- Character Title: Hercules provides the only recognizable theme and character for the table.
- Excuse Plot: Even by the thin standards of other pinballs of the time, Hercules is considered an overly simplistic novelty table.
- Failure Is the Only Option: The game's owners say that replacing the flippers' solenoids is a constant maintenance hassle.
- Fanservice Extra: The Amazons.
- Heroic Fantasy: A barbarian with almost naked women certainly sets this theme.
- Loincloth: The only visible clothing on Hercules.
- Mighty Glacier: Compared to other physical pins, Hercules' ball is bigger... but slower.
- Nipple and Dimed: The Amazons; despite being a half-dozen nearly naked women, never expose a nipple.
- Protagonist Title: Again, Hercules is the man.
- Rated M for Manly: Barbarian hero, naked women, huge table and an oversized ball. Very manly.
- Public-Domain Character: Hercules is borrowed for this purpose.
- Stab the Sky: Herc's pose.