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Pinball / Ripley's Believe It or Not!

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The Strange, the Bizarre, the Unusual!

"Welcome to Ripley's Odditorium."
Robert Ripley

Ripley's Believe It or Not! is a 2004 pinball designed by Pat Lawlor, with artwork by John Youssi and released by Stern Pinball. It is based on the franchise of the same name.

The player is on a quest with Robert Ripley as he travels the seven continents of the world to collect strange objects. Gather Tomb Stones in Europe, search for Bigfoot in North America, chase penguins in Antarctica, and dodge boomerangs in Australia. Go for the upper playfield temple and try to collect the colored jewels to unlock a reward. Activate the magic Idol to redirect the ball, then shoot the snarking Shrunken Head to start multiball.

Although the Shrunken Head is a bit unnerving for some, Ripley's is considered to be a fun game for players of all levels, with smooth flowing action, easy goals to entice beginners, and a good amount of depth for experts. A digital version is available on The Pinball Arcade and Stern Pinball Arcade.

This pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Announcer Chatter: Ripley and the Shrunken Head both provide this.
  • Atlantis: The Eighth Continent, accessible for the Wizard Mode.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Bigfoot features in the North America mode and in the top right pop bumper area playfield art. The Shrunken Head can also award the Bigfoot Value, which is built up by the pop bumpers.
  • Boomerang Comeback: Referenced in Australia's mode. The jackpot value, like most of the Continents, goes down over time... unless you hit the right shot, which causes "Go Backwards" to appear and the value to start increasing.
  • Building of Adventure: Ripley's Odditorium.
  • Cap: The end-of-ball bonus multiplier tops out at 5x.
  • Collector of the Strange: Robert Ripley.
  • Combos: The Temple Code, depending on jewel alignment, can be broken to reward up to three awards at the same time.
    • Combos are also available during regular play (though are uncommon and worth little points).
  • Butt-Monkey: During the South America mode, the Shrunken Head must be hit to collect a countdown value; with each hit, the Head takes every opportunity to voice his displeasure.
    Shrunken Head: Can we pick on the Idol instead?
  • Creepy Souvenir: The Idols and the Shrunken Head.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Shrunken Head speaks with a somewhat sarcastic tone.
  • Fortune Teller: Bozo the Dog.
  • Helium Speech: The Idol's nonsensical high-pitched gibberish.
    Shrunken Head: That idol is noise!
  • Indy Escape: Ripley is running away from a boulder (or possibly a giant pinball) when a player earns an Extra Ball.
  • Interface Screw: The introduction to the hidden mode, Frog Frenzy. The game (in a possible Shout-Out to White Water) appears to be going on the fritz, and ends with the machine rebooting itself, until the words, "JUST KIDDING!" appears in small letters. After that, Frog Frenzy starts.
  • Lightning Reveal: Collecting a super jackpot reveals a statue of Poseidon.
  • Match-Three Game: The Temple Code is a Tic-Tac-Toe grid of inserts in the middle. Getting three jewels (by shooting the middle ramp when the temple is open) in a row gives various awards—possibly more than one at the same time if the player's skilled enough.
  • Painting the Medium: There is a "Did you know..." card behind the right ramp with some facts about pinball machines and then a Title Drop.
  • Perpetual Smiler: The Idol has a rather creepy, sinister smile on it at all times.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Hitting the vari-target during the Australia mode will have the boomerang hit the aborigine squarely in the head—twice if the ball makes it into the scoop.
    Shrunken Head: Double points!
  • Score Multiplier: The award for completing three in a row vertically on the right column on the temple grid is 2x Playfield.
    • There's also a bonus multiplier from the top rollover lanes.
  • Series Mascot: The Shrunken Head, who's prominently featured on both the backglass and the playfield.
  • Shout-Out: To Pat Lawlor's previous games, including the following:
    • FunHouse (1990):
      • One of the Shrunken Head's lines is "I feel like a million!"
      • The start of multiball features a man with three billiard balls in his mouth spitting them out, accompanied with the sound of Rudy doing the same.
    • The Shrunken Head also speaks quotes from The Addams Family:
      • "It's not plugged in yet, mon."
      • "Now you've done it!"
      • Ripley himself gets in at least one: "Good show, old man!"
      • One of the Odditorium awards: "Addams Family, The Best Selling Pinball of all time!" It awards 2,123,200 points, possibly corresponding to the total number of units made, regular and Gold combined.
    • Twilight Zone:
      • The tilt quote, spoken by Ripley: "Skate with the penguins at your own risk, in The Ripley Zone."Explanation 
      • Bozo's predictions are presented in the same manner as the Twilight Zone camera.
    • At the end of a game, Ripley says, "No matter where you go, there you are."
  • Skill Shot: Gently plunge the ball into the Bozo scoop for one million points, which increases with every skill shot made.
    Robert Ripley: "Amazing!"
  • Spelling Bonus: Spell B-O-Z-O (Ripley's dog) for a random reward, and R-I-P-L-E-Y-S to visit the eighth continent. R-I-P-O-F-F (a letter is awarded when shooting the vari-target with nothing on it lit) will start Ripoff Multiball.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion/Have a Nice Death: Draining the ball during the trip to Asia will result in the man walking on fire suddenly being burnt to a crisp.
  • The Unintelligible: The Idol speaks in high-pitched gibberish.
  • Timed Mission: The non-multiball Continent modes, as well as Road Trip are this either by an actual timer or a descending hurry-up value.
    • As pinball champion Keith Elwin points out in his tutorial for the game, all modes run on the same timer (similar to The Simpsons Pinball Party). Furthermore, starting a new timed mode when others are active will reset the timer for all modes currently in play. The timed Continent modes, Road Trip, and 2X Playfield fall under this rule.
  • Toothy Dog: When the Bozo feature is activated, Bozo smiles with human-like teeth.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The guy with the three cue balls in his mouth spits them all out at the start of multiball.
  • Wizard Mode: Two of them:
    • Atlantis, the Eighth Continent, which is acheived by spelling R-I-P-L-E-Y-S and then hitting the vari-target.
    • The hidden mode, Frog Frenzy, is reached by collecting all six Super Jackpots. It is a frenzy mode, where all shots are worth 25,000 points. It can even be a multiball with a ball saver for the duration of this mode, but it can only be done with the regular multiball modes and not the Continent multiball modes themselves.
  • World Tour: Travel the seven continents for odd artifacts.

Robert Ripley: "A rollerskating penguin, how amazing!"