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Pinball / Magic Girl

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Magic Girl

Magic Girl is a Physical Pinball Table created by John Popadiuk, illustrated by Jeremy Packer and Matt Andrews, with music and audio by Rob Berry and programming by Jim Askey.

The story begins in 2011, when renowned designer John Popadiuk announced plans to produce a high-end boutique pinball game called Magic Girl. Only 13 games would be made, each with an early-bird price of $15,995, and buyers had to sign non-disclosure agreements to preserve the secrecy of the project. In spite of some eyebrow-raising skepticism from the pinball community, all of the pre-orders (eventually raised to 20) were sold. After toiling in secrecy for several years, in February 2015 Popadiuk announced that manufacturing had begun, publicly unveiling the game to the masses.

The pinball itself has the player take the role of one of four characters, who must assist the Magic Girl in her struggle against an unnamed Wizard Classic and his powerful Wizard Ball. Master the Vanishing Locks, the Egyptian Box of Wonder, Nikola Tesla's Lightning Machine, and Isaac Newton's Double Lion Saw, but watch out for the mischievous antics of the Enchanted Hares, the taunting of the Magic Mirror, and the malicious green jinns. While animations play on the full-color LCD screen inside the cabinet, buy enhancements at the Magic Shoppe, spin the Magic Lamp, and use the Potion Mixer to become Immortal. Master the arts of magnetism, optics, lightning, potions, and elements, complete the bronze, copper, silver, and gold multiballs, and maybe then you'll be worthy for the platinum Wizard Ball...

The game garnered lots of attention for its ideas, artwork, and gameplay opportunities -- not to mention the game's tumultuous development cycle. In 2015, it was reported that Popadiuk could not in fact manufacture the machines, and an attempt was made by several fans to start a new company to perform the manufacturing; he provided them with a prototype which was put on public play, but it turned out to be barely functional, although its appearance and artwork were fantastic. In 2017, with a lawsuit pending, American Pinball finally produced a number of Magic Girl tables that were shipped to the pre-ordering customers. Unfortunately, although beautiful, they still did not work, and in some cases were worse than the prototype. There is some suggestion that a company called deeproot Pinball may fund and finish Magic Girl, along with John Popadiuk's other games. Needless to say, the pinball community remains skeptical.

Has nothing to do with the Magical Girl anime genre.

Magic Girl features the following tropes:

  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Nearly everyone in the game has light green, purple, or orange skin.
  • Ambiguous Situation: As with most "plotted" pinball machines, it's not quite clear if you are playing as the Magic Girl, helping her, or if she is helping (or even hindering) you.
  • Artificial Limbs: The Seer in the right outlane has a spring for a neck.
  • Beard of Evil: The two green jinns have these.
  • Elemental Powers: The player must show mastery over magnetism, optics, lightning, potions, and the elements.
  • Emerald Power: Many of the magic elements in the game have either a green color or a green Power Glow.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: The player advances by collecting different types of multiballs — bronze, copper, silver, gold, and platinum (the "wizard ball").
  • Funny Animal: The proprietor of the Magic Shoppe is a humanoid hare with five-fingered hands, wearing an earring and an armored vest.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Spelling L-O-C-K lights the ball lock at the ramp. But there is no actual mechanism on that ramp that can lock a ball, so multiball can never be started. So much for bronze, copper, silver and gold..
      • One streaming group did report that the auxiliary 2-ball "Newton" multiball could be started.
    • The final ball lock for multiball play was intended to be provided by a launcher that is sends the ball into a magnet near the center of the playfeld. The lock can never be lit, due to the inability to complete the first lock on the ramp; but the launcher can be activated during a ball search. However the magnet is also missing, so the launcher instead launches the ball so hard into a plastic cover that it can snap (making this a literal example of the trope).
    • Speaking of the ramp, there's a curved area on it where the ball can run out of momentum and just come to a stop. There's no kickers or anything nearby for the machine to clear it and rocking the machine goes in the wrong direction, so at that point all you can do is remove the glass and clear the ball by hand.
    • The Jinx Wheel on the left outlane is intended to allow the ball to be saved by spinning it into the inlane; but in practice, the removal of a post from the production version means that it almost inevitably bounces the ball around at random before catching it on the lower part of the wheel and sending it into the outlane instead.
    • The Magna Save feature on the right outlane can be lit and activated. Shame that the magnet isn't actually strong enough to catch the ball.
    • The Enchanted Hares "magnetic bumper" hardware is missing. What was intended to be a magnet is replaced with a plastic disc, so nothing in the area has any effect.
    • The "reversal launcher" is supposed to create a neat effect if the ramp is missed, by kicking the ball that was rolling down the ramp straight back up it again. Unfortunately, it isn't lined up properly, and instead kicks the ball into the plastic on the side of the ramp where it immediately bounces off. At least one owner also found it kicked so hard it broke the ramp plastic.
    • The top half of the playfield has a "magna-flip area" with magnetic "inverse flippers". It is intended to be reached via the ramp. However, the P-O-W-E-R lights which are supposed to be lit to enable the diverter onto it cannot be lit.
    • The "levitation chamber" which is intended to make the ball appear to float using magnets does actually work.. provided that you remove the glass and hold the ball inside it with your finger. While the magnet can lift the ball, it cannot prevent it rolling out.
    • Even against the advice of American Pinball themselves, there is no rifling in the plunger lane, which means the ball can rattle and bounce when launched and have insufficient power to complete or reach the skill shot. For some bizarre reason there is also an open gate which allows a weakly launched ball to dribble out of the plunger lane into the outlane, giving the shortest ball time ever recorded.
    • The programmer, Jim Askey, has claimed he has considered trying to fix up the machine's software - but cannot do so because he doesn't have access to a Magic Girl machine to test on, in spite of being promised one.
  • Genie in a Bottle: Each of the two jinn reside in one.
  • Geometric Magic: Runes with inscribed circles are scattered throughout the game.
  • Golem: A grey stone golem is one of the selectable player characters.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Magic Girl herself becomes extremely snarky to the player if they do badly.
"You didn't last long, did you? Ha."
"The evening has ended, and you are no further along than the last."

Jinx: "The Wizard Ball's mine, all mine!"