High Speed is a pinball game designed by Steve Ritchie, with software by Larry DeMar and art by Mark Sprenger (playfield) and Python Anghelo (backglass); it was released by Williams Electronics in 1986. The game is based on a high-speed police chase between the player (in his cherry-red Lamborghini) and the long arm of the law. The player must first advance a set of traffic lights from green to yellow to red; after he runs the red light, the police will immediately follow. If the player escapes, he can start three-ball multiball for a chase at breakneck speeds, complete with flashing lights and siren.
High Speed is noted for several industry firsts — it was the first pinball with an actual (albeit simple) narrative, the first pinball with a full theme song, the first Williams pinball with alpha-numeric displays, the first pinball to dynamically adjust match percentages and replay score values, the first solid-state pinball with detailed diagnostic reports, and the first game to detect and compensate for broken switches on the playfield. Even without these features, it is fondly remembered by numerous players for its adrenalin-pumping action and fast gameplay, a sterling example of why Steve Ritchie is considered "The Master of Flow". This was the most popular pinball of 1986 with over 17,000 tables sold.
A video game version for the Nintendo Entertainment System was developed by Rare Ltd. and published by Tradewest. To the detriment of purists, it added video-only obstacles, such as a mad mechanic who attempted to slap the ball down the flippers. After over twenty years, a true recreation of the game without extraneous features was made available for The Pinball Arcade, only to be taken down when FarSight Studios' license to all Bally and Williams tables expired on July 1, 2018.
This pinball table demonstrates the following tropes:
- Based on a True Story/Dramatization: Word of God is that the game was based on a real-life police chase. Ritchie was caught on Interstate 5 in California driving at 146 mph in his 1979 Porsche 928.
- The bonus counter maxes out at 69,000 points. The bonus multiplier maxes out at 5X, making the maximum possible bonus 345,000 points.
- A player's score will roll over at 10,000,000 points. The player's score will be displayed as 9,999,999 on the high score table if they manage to "roll" the score counter.
- Cool Car: The game's cherry-red Lamborghini.
- Creator Cameo: Steve Ritchie and Larry DeMar, the designer and programmer, respectively, provided the speech for this game.
- Dynamic Difficulty: This was first pinball game to feature a reflexing replay value (that is, the score a player needed to reach for a free game would be adjusted automatically based on how frequently players were able to reach it).
- Flat "What"/Oh, Crap!:Car 504: "Dispatch, this is 504. He got away, over."
Dispatch: "504, this is dispatch. He what?"
- Have a Nice Death: When you drain your last ball down the outlanes, you hear a sound a car skidding and crashing.
- Hero Antagonist: Car 504. Yeah, he's your adversary, but remember, you are the one treating the speed limit as completely optional.
- Hood Ornament Hottie: Seen on the back glass, looking astonished at the policemen chasing her.
- Hot Pursuit
- Progressive Jackpot: This was the first pinball game to feature this.
- Rated M for Manly: How else can you describe a game centered on a high-speed police chase in an exotic car with a sexy blonde in the passenger seat?
- Real-Place Background: The playfield freeways are labeled after their Real Life counterparts — the Bayshore Freeway (route 101), the Santa Monica Freeway (interstate 10), and the San Diego Freeway (interstate 5).
- Vanity License Plate: The car sports KINGPIN plates, as seen on the backglass.
- Writing Around Trademarks: The red car on the cabinet sides and the center of the playfield is clearly a Lamborghini Countach, but since it's never named in the game, nobody noticed. That the car looks different in the backglass is noticeable, though.
The Getaway: High Speed II was a sequel designed by Steve Ritchie, with software by Dwight Sullivan and artwork by Mark Sprenger (playfield) and Doug Watson (backglass), and released in 1992 by Williams. Once again, the player hits the highways in his souped-up sports car, and once again, Car 504 is on his tail... and he's bringing reinforcements.
The game features a magnetic Supercharger on the playfield that accelerates pinballs around an upper loop, building up speed before returning it to the player. A gearshift allowed the player to change gears, and judicious shifting is needed for higher scores. The table also features ZZ Top's "La Grange" as the main theme music.
A video game version for the Nintendo Game Boy was developed by Unexpected Developments and published by Williams. Another video game version of the table was available for The Pinball Arcade, which was accidentally revealed earlier than expected due to a in-game bug within the PC version. However, in the case of The Pinball Arcade, the expiration of the Williams/Bally license in July 2018 made it a legacy table and thus unavailable except to those who purchased it before that month. 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 (Fish Tales, Medieval Madness and Junk Yard) are the first to get this treatment.
This pinball table demonstrates the following tropes:
- Combos: Shooting the left orbit and then the inner loop will award a Two-Way Combo bonus.note There also is a Loop Champion record kept for the highest number of consecutive inner loops.
- Company Cross References: The explosion DMD animation after collecting the Getaway Jackpot is taken directly from Terminator 2: Judgment Day (also designed by Steve Ritchie).
- The Computer Shall Taunt You: During multiball and Video Mode:Car 504: Okay buddy, pull over! Pull over, now!
- Creator Cameo: According to artist Doug Watson, the driver on the backglass is Steve Ritchie.
- Steve provides the voice for Officer 504.
- Guttural Growler: Steve provides the voice of the deep-throated announcer."SHIFT - GEARS."
- Determinator: 504.Car 504: "This time I'm gonna nail that dirtbag."
- Donut Mess with a Cop:
- The player locks the second ball by pulling up to Donut Heaven, where 504 happens to be taking a break.
- If the animation panel shows your car pulling up to Donut Heaven and there are three police cars present, quickly shifting gears will start a 20-second Secret Mania score mode. (The Pinball Arcade version simplifies this: the instructions say that you only need to tap the shifter controls twice to activate.)
- Driving Stick and Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A variation; instead of a traditional plunger, the game uses a shifter, used to launch the ball and to change gears. To shift up, you need to build up the RPM gauge.
- Easter Egg:
- On the backglass, the initials "XAQ" and "DWF" (look at the helicopters) refer to the game's programmer, Dwight Sullivan and the game's composer, Dan Forden, respectively.
- "XAQ" appears on the cop's badge during the "Free Ride" ball saver animation.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Activating the "Secret Mania" glitch mentioned above has been known to cause confusion regarding the state of locked balls, especially in a multiplayer game. This is primarily why this game doesn't show up very frequently in competitive tournaments.
- Have a Nice Death: When you drain your last ball down the outlanes, you hear a sound a car skidding and crashing. Also, when you drain your last ball normally, a sound of a car crashing plays. Draining a ball that isn't your last one in the outlanes will play the skidding sound without the crashing sound.
- Hellish Copter: After you've collected the "Getaway" Jackpot and still have at least two balls in play, shooting a ball into the Tunnel will get the helicopter to follow you and crash, awarding the Helicopter Bonus.Car 504: "Where'd he go?"Pilot: "He went in the tunnel."Car 504: "HEY! LOOK OUT!!"*CRASH!*
- Gory Discretion Shot: The display cuts away before the helicopter actually crashes.
- Hood Ornament Hottie: The hitchhiker."Nice wheels."
- It's a Wonderful Failure: Failure to get a match or a high score will play a clip that confirms that Car 504 succeeded in pulling you over (offscreen, of course), then starts reading your Miranda Rights. 504 gets through the first part ("you have the right to remain silent") before the theme music kicks in.
- Kinetic Toys Are Just Better: The Supercharger.
- Made of Explodium: Kingpin's car explodes if he crashes with any cars during the video mode.
- Match Sequence: The speeder and Car 504 pass by on the display, with the dirt being kicked up forming the match number.
- Miranda Rights: You hear the beginning of them when you get a Game Over, indicating that you've been placed under arrest for blatantly speeding on the freeway.
- Nitro Boost: Seen on the backglass art, and represented by the playfield Supercharger.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo
- Pinball Scoring: Relatively tame compared to some other Williams pins of The '90s, but scores are much higher compared to its predecessor.
- Rated M for Manly: Exploding helicopters are very manly. Invoked in the promotional video for the pin, in which Steve Ritchie boasts, "I don't do cute."
- Real Song Theme Tune: The aforementioned "La Grange".
- Rearrange the Song: The Multiball theme is a remix on the original High Speed's multiball music.
- Shout-Out: Places listed on the Burn Rubber bonus map include Hill Valley, Smallville, Otisburg, and Bedford Falls.
- Vanity License Plate: KINGPIN, once again.
- Vehicular Assault
- Video Mode: Available after you've reached 3rd Gear. Drive your car along a three-lane highway and dodge slow-moving Volkswagens. Change gears to go faster and earn more points. Regardless of whether you complete the mode or crash, you'll get a Burn Rubber bonus at the end.
- Villain Protagonist: How many police helicopter pilots have you killed by going into the tunnel while the police helicopters are chasing you, causing them to crash into the ground above the tunnel and likely die?
- Wizard Mode: Redline Mania, which is available after reaching 5th Gear. It's a three-ball multiball with everything lit, and the Super Jackpot scores a minimum of 100 million points* ."RED... LINE... MANIA!"
- Writing Around Trademarks: The original game used a couple of images of the Lamborghini Countach in the artwork without a license, but The Getaway is even more blatant in this regard. The red car on the backglass and playfield artwork is clearly a Lamborghini Diablo, but since it's never actually named in the game, Williams managed to get away with it.