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Pinball / Indianapolis 500

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Pedal to the Metal... and NEVER LIFT!

Paul Page: "Welcome to Bally's Indianapolis 500, the greatest spectacle in pinball. Paul Page here, along with Bobby Unser. Bobby?"
Bobby Unser: "That's right, Paul. It's a great day for racing — and a great day for pinball!"

Indianapolis 500 is a 1995 Licensed Pinball Table released by Williams Electronics under the Bally label. It was designed by Dennis Nordman, illustrated by Dan Hughes and Paul Barker, and features original voicework by motorsports broadcaster Paul Page, retired racer Bobby Unser, and legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway track announcer Tom Carnegie.

Naturally, the game is a nonstop frenzy of speed as thirty-three racers compete to win the world-famous Indianapolis 500 auto race. As the table rumbles with the action, endure all two hundred laps, make your way past the other racers, and go for the Checkered Flag and the Victory Lap. Along the way, you'll collect spanners, complete waves, and pick up some souvenirs to boost your score. Complete the ten Speedway modes, Pass opponents to advance your Position, but watch out for Dueling Drivers or else you'll Hit The Wall. Go for the Speed Ramp and lock balls into the Turbo Boost, then make a quick in-and-out in the Pit to start two-ball multiball.

Indianapolis 500 was released during the decline of arcade pinball in The '90s, and has the ignoble distinction of being Bally's worst-selling game of 1995, selling just short of 2,250 tables. Pinheads consider this a tragedy, as the consensus is that Indy is a terrific table and arguably Dennis Nordman's best — the addictive action is fast and furious, the lighthearted humor, commentary, and animation are spot-on, and the artwork and music compliment the game perfectly, making it an overlooked gem of the era.

A digital version was once available as part of FarSight Studios' The Pinball Arcade before their license to all Williams and Bally tables expired on July 1, 2018.

The Indianapolis 500 pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: As requested by distributors, some European games had the playfield and cabinet colors changed to use more primary hues in order to make the game more manly and appealing in certain countries.
  • Announcer Chatter
    Paul Page: "Driver 1 has a ball in the Turbo, Bobby."
    Bobby Unser: "That's right, Paul, another one means a guaranteed multiball."
  • The Big Race: The whole theme of the game.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Game modes are "Speedways".
  • The Cameo: A Goodyear Blimp can be seen on the playfield.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The four main ramps are color-coded with orange, yellow, blue, and green cars and corresponding Speedway flags.
    Bobby Unser: "Hit the green car!"
  • Combos: The Steve Ritchie-esque Loop Turbo Combo awards a moderate amount of points that increases every time it is made. Left orbit to upper flipper into the lock.
  • Company Cross References:
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Unlike most games of this era, the PIT and INDY lanes only advance to the right, regardless of which flipper is engaged. This can result in quite a bit of frustration if an unlit lane needs to be moved one slot to the left.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect:
    • One of the most extreme examples of this trope comes into play when starting Pit Stop Multiball. While one might be inclined to shoot the Pit as quickly as possible in order to light more shots for Jackpots, the best option is simply to let the timer run out. You'll only light one shot... but that shot happens to be the most valuable in the game, awarding both Passes and progress towards locks as well as setting up the highly-valuable Loop-Turbo Combo (the other shots only award two laps at best). Even better, because it's the only Jackpot lit, it stays lit; otherwise, you'd need to complete all of the lit shots in order to relight them.
    • Once the Jackpot value has been raised above 40 million, it's better to avoid shooting for Super Jackpots and just try to score as many normal Jackpots as possible with two balls locked, since the scoring rules for multiballnote  make these Jackpots more valuable.
  • Drives Like Crazy: "Wrong Turn", where a driver takes a wrong turn and ends up taking his Indy Car onto the streets.
    Farmer: "You go about half a mile past the barn, and take a left!"
  • Easter Egg:
    • Secret Race Mode, which is started by shooting the center kicker while both it and either Go for the Pole or Quick Pit is lit. This shoots the ball over to the pop bumpers to score a Pass per hit on the left bumper, a Lap per hit on the center bumper, and 5 million points per hit on the right bumper.
    • Mashing the Launch button during Go for the Pole or Dueling Drivers will spot one of the shots for you.
    • The lock mechanism is a spinning Turbo wheel.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Due to a coding error, all Souvenirs only award 5 million points, regardless of what the display says they're worth. Since the value of each successive Souvenir earned is supposed to increment by that amount (up to 50 million for the last one), this can lead to a lot of wasted value later in the gamenote .
  • Golden Snitch:
    • The 3X Playfield Speedway multiplies Victory Laps, which are worth at least 200 million points and up to a billion. You do the math.
    • A lesser example, but the third Gasoline Alley award is 15 Passes, allowing you to advance your progress towards the Position objective by about 50% in a single shot. This is far more valuable than any of the other Gasoline Alley awards.
  • Kitsch Collection: Collecting Indianapolis Speedway souvenirs not only awards points, but also allows you to complete Lightup Targets in a single hit (as opposed to four), depending on the souvenir and the target wave you're on.
  • Last Lousy Point: If you're going for the billion-point Victory Lap, the Lightup Target objective can be this, since it requires you to complete the entire bank of lightup targets six times.note  Since you'll likely complete at least one of the other three objectives long before then, this also requires you to completely avoid the center kicker once you've done so until you've completed the targets. In fact, it's not uncommon to complete all of the other objectives twice or more before this one's achieved.
  • Match Sequence: Assorted Indy race cars past and present flash on the display, each sporting a different number. The final car's number forms the match.
  • Score Multiplier: The "3X Playfield" Speedway, which temporarily triples all scores.
    Tom Carnegie: "Triple Playfield Scoring!"
  • Signature Line: "It's a great day for racing — and a great day for pinball!"
  • Signature Style: As a Dennis Nordman game, Indianapolis 500 features wiggling ramps, two vertical up-kickers, and two spinning playfield toys.
  • Skill Shot: Immediately after launching the ball, shoot the left ramp. Alternatively, shoot the right ramp to start Go for the Pole immediately.
  • Spectacular Spinning:
    • The top right of the playfield has a toy Indy racer on a circular platform; its sole purpose is to spin when the cabinet shakes.
  • Spelling Bonus:
    • Spelling P-I-T increases the bonus multiplier and lights the Pit Stop.
    • Spell I-N-D-Y to light Souvenir at the left ramp.
    • For "Go for the Pole", spell P-O-L-E for the Pole Jackpot.
    • Hit the spanner targets to spell various four-letter words (INDY, RACE, CARS, FAST, LAPS, TIRE, etc.) for an ever-increasing Spanner bonus.
  • Spiritual Successor: In terms of table layout, this game is a successor to Elvira and the Party Monsters .
  • Take That Player: The game does this on occasion, usually after a particularly bad play.
    Pit Crew: "Shoot the blinking light, you wanker!"
  • Timed Mission: In addition to the time limits on some of the Speedway modes, there's Pit Stop Multiball, where the first ball is locked, then the player must shoot the second one into the lock to exit the Pit. Faster exit times enables more shots for the Multiball Jackpot, and the game keeps track of who exits the pit the quickest.
  • Video Mode: "Caution", where you drive down the track and move the car left and right with the flippers. Collect point values and Extra Balls on the track while avoiding obstacles. Crashing ends the mode, but it's possible to graze obstacles and continue.
  • Wizard Mode: Subverted; instead of a true Wizard Mode, there is rather a stacking of Jackpots called "Victory Laps". After completing one of four tasksnote , a Victory Lap will light, but if you have one lit and then light another Victory Lap, the value increases up to a maximum of 1 billion for four completed tasks. The values can also be multiplied by 3x Playfield.