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Pinball / Spectrum

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Guess the Computor's Color Code
Computor: "Challenge me."

Spectrum is a Physical Pinball Table designed by Claude Fernandez with art by Margaret Hudson. Released by Bally in 1982, it's based on— of all things— the game Mastermind! Players have to deduce the 4-color code provided by the "Computor" by shooting the ball into the colored saucers (to obtain clues), comparing them to the light display on the playfield, and then shooting banks of colored targets to place the colors in the order of your guess.

This level of game complexity (compare the rules here with the ones provided on the instruction card) plus other uncommon features (no launcher — a new ball went into play as soon as the player pressed Start or a ball drained), made this machine a major flop: of the 994 machines produced, less than 500 were sold and the others allegedly scrapped or salvaged. A notable oddity.


Not to be confused with its contemporary, the ZX Spectrum.

Spectrum provides examples of:

  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: The play field design is a set of multicolored spectrums interrupted by black circuit boards.
  • Fake Difficulty: Deciphering the playfield can be tough enough, but the game is also designed to not allow flipper catches.
  • Machine Monotone: Computor speaks like this.
  • Stalked by the Bell: If a player dawdles trying to make a guess (or figure out how to play), the game says "You're taking too long!" and autolaunches the next ball.
  • Technology Porn: The game tries to invoke this trope by decorating the play field with illustrations of diodes, capacitors, and other electronic components.
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  • Vocal Dissonance: Despite looking like a bald woman, Computor has a clearly masculine monotonic voice.

Computor: "One more game, perhaps?"