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Pinball / Silverball Mania

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In the beginning, it was just pinball...

Silverball Mania is a Physical Pinball Table designed by Jim Patla and illustrated by Kevin O'Connor. It was released in 1980 by Bally.

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:

  • 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.