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Pinball / Secret Service

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In Digital Stereo!

"Licensed to Thrill"
— Advertising flyer, borrowing from James Bond

Secret Service is a 1988 Physical Pinball Table from Data East. It was designed by Joe Kaminkow, with art by Kevin O'Connor and Margaret Hudson.

The player is Agent 001 of the United States Secret Service, with one simple mission — protect Washington, D.C. from the evil Soviets who are targeting the nation's leaders. Patrol the streets of D.C. in your service-issued Ferrari, gun down enemy agents in front of the Capitol Building, then curve around the Beltway and lock your ball in the White House. Infiltrate the Soviet spy headquarters via the underground passage, then start a three-ball multiball for a chance at the Special.

Secret Service is memorable for its post-game karaoke mode; after each game, the table would play the chorus from "Nobody Does It Better" (from The Spy Who Loved Me), while displaying the lyrics on the alphanumeric score display. It also featured a Digital Stereo soundsystem, a point played up in advertisements.

This was the second pinball game released by Data East;note  most players deem it as a respectable effort, though cynics will say that's because it liberally borrows playfield elements from High Speed and Flash. In any event, it's regarded as a decent game, a not-too-Guilty Pleasure that plays around with the spy genre.

The Secret Service pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Air Force One
  • Alliterative Title
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • The male agent is seen on the playfield and on the backbox sides wearing an immaculate tuxedo.
    • His female partner appears on the backglass and playfield, wearing a full-length gold dress while firing a gun at some spies.
  • City of Adventure
  • City of Spies: Apparently, everyone in Washington D.C. is either a Soviet spy or an American agent.
  • Code Name: The player is addressed as "Agent 001".
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: The back of the playfield has a road sign that reads "Eat At Joe's", with "Joe" wearing a trenchcoat, fedora, and dark glasses.
  • Cool Car: Apparently, all Secret Service agents are issued inconspicuous cherry-red Ferraris.
  • Dirty Communists
  • Double Agent: The instruction card addresses the player as such, perhaps to explain why he's shooting (pinballs) at the White House and the Capitol Building.
    "Double Agents Only..."
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The playfield includes models of the Capitol Building and the White House.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: The "Retina Scanner", a large red/yellow/blue light bar on top of the backbox. It flashes at times during the game, and accompanies the post-game karaoke sing-along.
  • Gratuitous Russian: The Soviets, who even put it on the signs in front of their secret base.
    "Nyet Parking!"
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: Played straight; although the antagonists are Soviet spies who use Gratuitous Russian, they are never named as such, and their flag is a solid red rectangle with a yellow star. A few references to "KGB agents" slipped through, however.
  • Home Base: The Soviets' secret hideout, with a roof adorned with barbed wire, satellite and radio equipment, and a large red flag with a yellow star.
  • Indecisive Parody: Half the game plays the Spy Fiction genre straight, with attacks on Air Force One and a James Bond-wannabe. The other half throws in goofy jokes and over-the-top acting.
  • Neon Sign Hideout: The entrance to the Soviet's secret hideout is blocked by a set of barricades:
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: A red toy Matchbox Ferrari is parked in front of the White House.
  • Old-School Dogfight: The playfield shows three Soviet MIGs shooting at three American fighter jets escorting Air Force One.
  • Overt Operative
  • Real Song Theme Tune: In addition to "Nobody Does It Better", the game plays music from other espionage works, including the themes of Mission: Impossible and Get Smart, and "Secret Agent Man".
  • Spy Catsuit: Worn by the Secret Service agents in the Capitol Building shootout.
  • Spy Fiction: A lighthearted take on the James Bond-style martini-flavored genre.
    "U.S. spies park somewhere else!"
    "Parking for KGB Agents Only"
  • Spy Versus Spy: The theme of the game.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: The instruction card ends with "This card with vaporize when game over!"
  • Vehicular Assault: The playfield and backglass show a shootout between the two American agents (in their Ferrari) and three Soviet spies (in a black Mercedes).
  • Washington, D.C.