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Pinball / Pinball Magic

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"Let the game begin!"

"Welcome, child, to my magic dimension!"
Matra Magna

Pinball Magic is a 1995 arcade pinball game, the first table from Capcom's pinball division. It was designed by Bryan Hansen and Rob Hurtado, with art by Hugh Van Zanten and Jeff Busch.

In Pinball Magic, the player is an aspiring magician who must prove his skills before a group of seven famous mystics, all under the leadership of the mysterious Matra Magna. As she waves her wand over the playfield, impress the Masters by performing the linking rings, transforming beasts in the Morph Chamber, riding the magic carpet, escaping from a locked trunk, and numerous other acts. When it's time, take the Stage and Silence the Critics by levitating the pinball. If you manage to complete all three rounds of the magicians' trials, you might discover the secret of Matra Magna's eternal youth...

Pinball Magic is widely considered to be a respectable debut from Capcom, though pinball fans often get into heated arguments when comparing it to Theatre of Magic. Pinball Magic is widely agreed to be for expert players, as its linear gameplay requires precise shots to advance, and proceeding through all 21 tricks is a challenge for even the best players.

This pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: Much of the background for Matra Magna and the Society of Masters is only available in the operator's manual.
  • Droste Image: The pinball machine shown in the backglass is Pinball Magic, complete with a pinball machine on its backglass.
  • Escape Artist: One of the tricks is for the player to escape from a locked trunk.
  • Game-Over Man: Basically all the mystics as you're leaving the "theater"... ending with Matra Manga laughing at you as the door closes.
  • Helping Hands: Magna's disembodied hand is on the playfield, holding her Magic Wand.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty: Matra Magna, who appears on the backglass as an attractive woman in her mid-twenties.
  • Magical Incantation: Parodied with this incantation on the playfield:
    "Hocus Pocus preparatus,
    Play this pinball apparatus!"
  • Magical Society: The Society of Masters, the panel of magicians and mystics reviewing the player: Nostradamus, a Shaman, The Great Hansen, Mr. Mystique, Kenzo, Jadugar, and Matra Magna.
  • Magic Carpet: One of the tricks.
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Matra Magna.
  • Magic Wand: There's one on the playfield, which Matra Magna uses to conjure balls at the player.
  • No Immortal Inertia: What happens to Matra Magna if you defeat her.
  • Public Domain Character: Nostradamus, one of the seven mystics.
  • Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: Inverted; the Skill Shot requires the player to loop the pinball into the top hat.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Matra Magna.
  • Saw a Woman in Half: Used in the match sequence.
  • Skill Shot: Shoot the ball into a loop and let it drop into the top hat.
  • Spelling Bonus: MAGIC increases the bonus multiplier.
  • Stage Magician: The player.
  • Stunned Silence: "Silence the Critics", the first challenge from Matra Magna.
  • Timed Mission: Some of the tricks have time limits.
  • Wizard Mode: This is the final challenge of the third round, against Matra Magna. As you make all of the main shots, her illusion of youth is removed, revealing her true age. Complete the challenge to shoot her with a pistol and turn her into a skeleton for 500 million points.

Matra Magna: "Well, that's showbiz!"