In the annals of pinball, Silverball Mania stands out for its mesmerizing art; the mirrored backglass is a stunning combination of black and silver, an eye-catching attraction in any sort of light. The playfield itself depicts an abstract mercurial landscape of chrome, where muscular men and lithe women spring forth from a gigantic silver ball under the watchful tutelage of a silver wizard. Among all this activity, the player's goal is to hit the various targets and spell SILVERBALL MANIA; loop the central horseshoe to raise the Disappearing Kicker, then let it kick drained balls back onto the table and try for the Carry-Over Special.
The game was originally an unthemed "whitewood" from Jim Patla. The imagery came to O'Connor from an idea in a Comic Book about an artist who drew everything in chrome. While Silverball Mania is not a particularly difficult game, it's definitely a memorable one.
Silverball Mania depicts the following tropes:
- Acid-Trip Dimension: The playfield depicts a mild version of this, with mercurial fountains spewing pinballs and glowing gradients of blue, yellow, and orange everywhere.
- Anti-Frustration Feature: The Disappearing Kicker, which shoots drained balls back onto the playfield.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Even though almost everyone in the game is naked, there are no genitals to be seen.
- Chrome Champion: Everyone in the game, without exception.
- Chrome Makes Everything Shiny: And we mean EVERYTHING.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: One of the people shown on the backglass is a man who is... "playing" a pinball machine rather enthusiastically.
- Metallic Motifs: Guess.
- No Plot? No Problem!
- Power Glows: The giant silver ball in the center of the table glows as people arise from its surface.
- Scenery Porn: The main purpose of the game, really.
- Silver Has Mystic Powers: Invoked with the Silver Wizard, who's implied to be the cause of the game's activities.
- Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Hammers the needle deep into the "Shiny" end of the spectrum.
- Shout-Out: A chrome version of Kevin O'Connor's Jeep Grand Cherokee appears on the playfield.
- Skill Shot: Plunge the ball down the top center rollover to raise the Kicker and score 5,000 points.
- Spelling Bonus: Spelling S-I-L-V-E-R-B-A-L-L-M-A-N-I-A enables the Wizard Bonus, Supreme Wizard Bonus, and then a Special. Also, each time it's spelled lights one letter in "SILVERBALL" on the backglass; completing it earns four free games.
- Visual Pun: The wizard is shown holding a pair of pinballs in his outstretched hands, making him a Pinball Wizard.
- Wizard Classic: The silverball wizard, complete with (chrome) pointed hat, (chrome) beard, and (chrome) robes.