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Pinball / Terminator 2: Judgment Day

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"Get the CPU. It's payback time."
"Let's go."
The Terminator

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 arcade pinball game designed by Steve Ritchie and released by Williams Electronics. It is based on the movie of the same name, and Arnold Schwarzenegger reprised his role as The Terminator. Unsurprisingly, the game rode the movie's popularity to become the best-selling pinball machine of 1991 by a landslide.

Instead of trying to replicate the plot of the film, the pinball instead opts to recreate the emotional highlights with a whirlwind of nonstop action. Shoot the two Cyberdyne ramps to raise the Security Levels, repeatedly hit the Chase Loop for progressive bonuses, then fire the ball over the left loop and Escape into the saucer to collect more rewards. Hit the dropdown target below the T-800's skull, then load the swinging cannon and shoot the HK-Aerial across the playfield to start multiball. But to score the Super Jackpot among all the chaos will require the cool demeanor of a robot...

Terminator 2 was one of the first pinball games to use a dot-matrix display, and the first pinball game to feature a Video Mode. It also eschews the traditional plunger for an automatic plunger (in the form of a gun handle), and features a pivoting ball-firing cannon on the right side of the playfield.

A sequel, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, came out twelve years later.

A digital version was available for FarSight Studios' The Pinball Arcade until their license to the WMS tables expired on July 1, 2018.

"Judgment Day.":

  • Anti-Frustration Feature: The "Auto-Fire" ball saver.
    The Terminator: "Don't move."
  • BFG: The cannon.
    The Terminator: "Fire at will."
  • Boom, Headshot!: Happens to the T-1000 when he tries to break into the elevator.
  • Combos:
    • Shoot the left or right ramps, then immediately shooting the opposite yields an extra million points.
    • Boring, but Practical: Shooting the Chase Loop (right outer orbit) awards Million Plus if shot consecutively (1 million, 2 million... with no known limit) in addition to the Chase Loop's face value. If the combo is broken, the Million Plus feature will reset but the Chase Loop's value will be maintained until the end of the ball.
  • Cool Bike: The T-800 is shown riding a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy in the "Chase Loop" animation.
  • Cool Shades: Worn by the T-800 on the backglass.
  • Demoted to Extra: Due to pre-release secrecy and fears the pinball could be released before the film, Robert Patrick and the T-1000 are not shown on either the playfield or the backglass, except for a small picture on a playfield shield. When the dot-matrix display programming was nearly completed, the "liquid metal" T-1000 was public knowledge, which allowed him to be included in a few display animations.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The Database Saucer awards are great if a player has a low score, especially on ball 2 or 3. If the player has a great score then they are almost guaranteed to get the meager 100K "Big Points".
    • In a minor more Macro Game example, the bonus multiplier required to light an extra ball will "reflex" between 2x and 8x depending on how other players do with that shot.
  • Get Out!: The Terminator says this when the player shoots the Database saucer when it's unlit.
  • Glowing Mechanical Eyes: Featured on the T-800's head on the playfield.
  • Gratuitous Spanish/Have a Nice Death: When the player drains the last ball on the outlanes:
    The Terminator: "Hasta la vista, baby."
    • If you press the Start button without any credits, the machine responds, "No way, Jose."
  • Guide Dang It!: The Super Jackpot shot always has the same timing, slightly after the gun edges back upward.
  • Licensed Pinball Table
  • Match Sequence: A pair of Terminator fabrication walls close together, repeatedly mashing a pair of digits between them to form the match.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: The T-800 and the T-1000 are facing off against each other on the far wall of the playfield.
  • Moving Target Bonus:
    • The Skill Shot (see below) is this.
    • The Super Jackpot is this as well; after loading the cannon, you have to fire at the moving lit target on the Flying HK five-bank for 50 million points — while your remaining pinballs are still in play.
  • Pinball Scoring: Not the worst, but a rather blatant abuser. Even a bad player will end a game with several million points. Do keep in mind that the beginning of the DMD era was also the beginning of a trope-naming score inflation trend that peaked right around Attack from Mars. Scoring became significantly higher than Williams' late solid-state games (except one) note .
  • Progressive Jackpot: Exists somewhat, though it is not carried between games. The jackpot starts at 5 million points on every game, increased for every shot made to the Escape Route or Database saucers, up to a maximum of 10 million. It is reset to 5 million every time a player collects it. In multi-player play the jackpot is carried between players. Tournament settings lock the jackpot value at a flat 7.5 million. If the player scores a Double or Triple Jackpot, he/she can try for a Super Jackpot, which scores 50 million points, but is tough to do.
  • Random Drop: Shooting the left Database saucer when it is lit results in the Terminator choosing a random option from a list of rewards.
  • Rated M for Manly: Chrome, steel, and killer robots everywhere.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The Jackpot/Name Entry theme is the same as the end credits music for its arcade game counterpart. The Video Mode music is the same as the score screen music in the arcade game. The pinball and arcade games share the same sound effects as composer Chris Granner worked on both.
  • Robocam: Used when a random Database award is being selected.
  • Shows Damage: The DMD shows cracks in Video Mode if the player gets shot.
  • Skill Shot: Shoot the ball at the moving lit target on the Flying-HK five-bank for one million points, and the value increases for every skill shot made. However, the lights move faster each time.
    The Terminator: "Take your best shot."
  • SkeleBot 9000: The T-800 endoskeleton, prominently shown on the playfield right above the flippers.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The music that plays when a hurry-up is active is very much this, all while the player is constantly being told to shoot the shot by both the Terminator, with the DMD also repeating what the Terminator says. This same music was remixed in many other Williams and early post-Williams Stern games and used in similar situations.
    The Terminator: "LET'S GO."
    The Terminator: "RUN."
  • Timed Mission: Payback Time, where every major shot scores 5 million points for 20 seconds. On the second multiball and onward, the drop target in front of the skull will only recede for a certain amount of time before going back up (though it stays down after a target is shot with a gun). And of course, being a Steve Ritchie game there is a Hurry-Up which can be lit from the third Escape Route award and activated from the left inlane where the player must shoot the Chase Loop shot.
  • Video Mode: The Trope Maker. This is a simplified Light Gun Game, where the player moves an onscreen cursor left or right to fight off advancing Terminator robots and HK drones. The video game is over when either all of the Terminators are defeated, or the player is shot three times.
  • Zonk: The 100,000 point award on the Database Saucer, arguably the worst award there.
    The Terminator: "Big points."

The Terminator: "I'll be back."

Alternative Title(s): Terminator 2