Follow TV Tropes


Pinball / Mousin' Around!

Go To
"So you wanna mouse around?"

Mousin' Around! is a Physical Pinball Table released by Williams Electronics (under their Bally label) in late November 1989. It was designed by Ward Pemberton, with art by Pat McMahon and software by Jim Strompolis. Brian Eddy also worked on the game's effects, marking the first game he participated in making.

A trio of mice have taken up residence in an ordinary house, attempting to steal the sizable amount of cheese to be found within it. Their mischief (including seemingly plying the resident house cat with alcohol) catches the attention of the homeowner, a cigar-chomping man who's none too pleased with their unauthorized residence in his home. He's set up mouse traps in an effort to get rid of them - two of which double as methods of locking balls for multiball, whereupon the mice escape to their mouse hole for a jackpot. This simple, cartoony premise provides the basis for many of the machine's features, including the "ZIP!" and "SWOOSH" ramps that lead to the Mouse Hole in the back of the playfield. Shooting the former repeatedly opens up opportunities for a sizable Cheezy Bonus and builds up the player's jackpot value. (Contemporary advertising made a point of noting that players do not share jackpot levels, unlike other games from this time period.) Other mechanisms include a short ramp that can easily be shot repeatedly (or "looped") for a shot at a million points and a cheese-themed target that temporarily doubles scoring for a short period of time.

Mousin' Around! contains examples of:

  • Alcohol Hic: The backglass art shows a drowsy cat (who's heavily implied to have been plied with whiskey) hiccuping.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Every mouse seen in the game's artwork wears a shirt, pants, and at least one accessory - but no shoes.
  • Cartoon Cheese: Every piece of cheese in the game's artwork is yellow and holey. However, they're not always depicted as wedges - oftentimes the cheese is cube-shaped, particularly the kind used as bait for mouse traps.
  • Catching Some Z's: The upper right portion of the playfield shows a cat sleeping with Zs surrounding it (extending down a ramp and mirroring its wavy shape).
  • Excited Show Title!: The game's name ends with an exclamation point, befitting its cartoony and energetic aesthetic.
  • Humanoid Female Animal: The only female animal in the game's artwork - seen in a male cat's dreams on the backglass - is an anthropomorphic cat with clothes, curly hair, and a sizable chest. By contrast, every male animal is either barefoot but otherwise fully dressed (the mice) or non-anthropomorphic (the male cat).
  • Mickey Mousing: At the very start of a game, before the ball hits anything, the player's score flashes in time with the beat of the background music.
  • Oh, Crap!: Both the playfield and the backglass show one of the three mice panicking at the sight of a man looming in front of them threateningly.
  • Score Multiplier: Lighting and hitting a cheese target will double all scoring for the next 15 seconds.
  • Spelling Bonus:
    • C-H-E-E-S-E lights a Cheezy Bonus and an opportunity to increase your current jackpot value.
    • M-O-U-S-E-T-R-A-P lights the "traps" for multiball.
    • P-O-W opens up the "Big Cheese" loop shot.
    • M-I-L-L-I-O-N grants the player an opportunity to score a million points by shooting the Mouse Hole.
  • Title Drop: Downplayed. Starting a game plays a soundbite that ends with a slight variation on the machine's actual name: "So you wanna mouse around?"
  • Written Sound Effect: The playfield is littered with comic book-style sound effects.
    • The two main ramps are named after the onomatopoeia written on them: "SWOOSH" and "ZIP!"
    • There's a "ZAP!" in front of the Mouse Hole.
    • The drop-targets necessary to open the loop shot ramp are each labeled with one letter in "POW!".

"Those darn mice!"