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Pinball / Lights... Camera... Action!

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"Quiet on the set!"

Lights... Camera... Action! is an arcade pinball game released by Gottlieb (under the "Premier" label) in 1989. It was designed by Jon Norris, with artwork by Brian Johnson and Constantino Mitchell. It was also one of the company's earliest System 3 tables, allowing for a more complicated game (similar to their competitors).

In this game, the player is a budding Director working on a summer action movie. Under the heat of the spotlights, travel around San Francisco, wrap up the five big Scenes, and finish the Blockbuster. Complete the Stunt Sequence, perform the Helicopter Rescue loop, then flip the ramp and film the big Shoot-Out in the backbox. Keep an eye on the countdown timer embedded in the playfield, use the Catch-Up feature to stay in the game, and collect the stars' playing cards to build up your Poker Hands.

A digital version is available for The Pinball Arcade.

Lights... Camera... Action! demonstrates the following tropes:

  • All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: Chinatown has a parade featuring identical-looking performers wearing conical straw hats.
  • Art Shift: The cartoonish playfield art is interspersed with several women drawn in a more realistic style. According to Brian Johnson, Constantino Mitchell added them because Gottlieb management felt Johnson's women weren't "sexy enough".
  • The Artifact: Word of God is that the game was originally designed with a card game theme, which was changed to movie-making midway through production. The many references to playing cards and poker hand mechanic are remnants of this design.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Though set in San Francisco, the right side of the table depicts an orange suspension bridge with three towers. Either the Oakland Bay Bridge is miscolored or the Golden Gate Bridge got a sudden extension.
  • Big Bad: King is the primary antagonist of the movie within the game.
  • Camp Gay: Queen is a flamboyantly effeminate man with a loose shirt and leather-skinned bandanna draped over his shoulder.
  • Comeback Mechanic: Multiplayer games have a Catch-Up feature in place; each round ends with all players receiving the score of the opponent immediately ahead of them, while the leading player gets an extra 1 million points.
  • Creator Cameo: The director's assistant (a woman wearing a tank-top with the name "Jeanine") is Constantino Mitchell's wife.
  • Destination Defenestration: The rooftop Chase Scene includes a bystander knocked through a skylight window.
  • The Dragon: Jack is the right-hand man of King, the Big Bad.
    Jack: "Don't come any closer... copper!!"
  • Easter Egg: In the artwork on the sides of the cabinet, the rocks spell out "Jon Norris".
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The Golden Gate Bridge is prominently featured on the backglass, indicating that the game takes place in San Francisco.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Two cars are shown falling off of a cliffside road in a fiery collision.
  • Foreign-Looking Font: The signs and indicators in the Chinatown section of the playfield are lettered with the same psuedo-Asian typeface used in many Chinese restaurants.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Invoked by the movie-within-a-game, as the Chinatown scenes take place in the middle of a Chinese New Year parade.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: While naming the characters in an action movie after playing cards can make thematic sense, there's no explanation why you're collecting their "cards" to build poker hands while filming the movie.
  • No Name Given: The player is never told the name of the movie nor the names of the stars. The main characters are also never properly named, and are only identified by their playing card ranks.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Every character in the movie is identified solely by a playing card-themed nickname.
  • Outside Ride: Two characters are shown hanging off the outside of a helicopter.
  • Painting the Medium: The game has spotlights, like those on a movie set, which shine down on the player at key points of the game.
  • Playing Card Motifs: All of the characters in the film are named after playing cards, an artifact of the original card-game motif.

Director: "Cut, cut, cut!"