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Pinball / The Champion Pub

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"Welcome to Champion Pub, kid!"
Established in 1864
Come on in & pound a few.

The Champion Pub is a 1998 pinball machine made by Williams Electronics (under the Bally label).

It's centered around the concept of boxing matches held in bars - the player, as a newcomer named "The Kid", must work his way up through the circuit, training to get his health up, before eventually winning five fights, getting the Pub Champion belt, and fending off five more foes in "Ultimate Challenge".

The game's design departs from the norm - there are health meters for the player and his opponent, and there are a number of toys in the machine, the most prominent of which is a large, revolving target that can present either a heavy bag or a boxer figurine. Two others are a small speed bag with a pair of fists and a rotating metal bar styled as a jump rope; each of these is a separate Mini-Game that the player must complete in order to train for the fights, using the flipper buttons to knock the ball against the bag or make it hop over the turning rope.

The Champion Pub was formerly available for The Pinball Arcade before their license to it and all other Williams/Bally tables expired on July 1, 2018. Those who purchased it before then can still play it, however, and another digital version is currently available for Pinball FX3, along with a remastered version that includes the typical Zen Studios flair.

This pinball machine provides examples of:

  • Alcohol Hic: The drunk in Fisticuffs Multiball does this nearly every time he speaks.
  • Bar Brawl: "Multi-BRAWL" is themed around the bar's patrons getting increasingly unruly. This is primarily indicated by the ball lock animations, which depict chairs and bottles being thrown (and the bartender barely ducking out of the way in time).
  • Betting Minigame: After your fifth win, all fights other than the Ultimate Challenge require you to wager part of your score, up to a maximum of 200 million points. It is possible to zero out your score this way.
  • Boss Rush: The first part of the Ultimate Challenge puts you up against the five opponents you didn’t face during your rise to become the champion. You have to beat them all on one health bar, one right after the other.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": One of Franz Von Pain's lines is a verbal fakeout about his concern for the Kid's well-being.
    Franz: It pains me to have to hurt you... No, it doesn't.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • Using a Smart Punch prompts an announcer to yell its name.
    • As a martial arts sensei, Master Bim Bam Boom frequently announces his attacks.
    • Franz von Pain sometimes calls his punches in an unenthusiastic manner.
    "Punch. Punch punch."
  • Camp Gay: Steveo, a San Franciscan who talks in an effeminate manner and occasionally flirts with the (male) Kid.
    Steveo: You are weak and defeated. (Call me later.)
  • Chef of Iron: Antonio Jaberini is an Italian chef who can hold his own in a fight.
    Antonio Jaberini: I'm-a gonna cook you up some-a nice helping of pain.
  • Circling Birdies: The "KO" bits of the playfield have stars circling around them.
  • Combos: Shooting the loops repeatedly during a fight eventually stuns the opponent, putting them in perfect position for an instant knockout headshot.
  • Company Cross References: One alternate outcome of the Barfly is the Bobfly, who happens to be Crazy Bob from the earlier Williams table Junk Yard. (Sound files also suggest that Bob was intended to be an opponent, and he is listed in the credits to that effect.)
  • The Computer Shall Taunt You: The boxers constantly taunt the player character (and, by proxy, the player themselves).
    Patrotsky Yirbitov: "Hey, look. The weakling is back."
  • Creator Cameo:
    • The boxing man was modeled after Duncan Brown, the game's programmer.
    • Music and sound developer Rich Carle voices Antonio Jaberini and Dan Unda.
  • Easter Egg: If you hear an insect buzzing when you hit the heavy bag, pressing the launch button awards 100,000 points and a Smart Punch.
  • Expy: Armando Santiago heavily resembles Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, including stating his name and saying "Prepare to Die" before a round.
    "No, father! He's winning!"
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
  • Heroic Second Wind: The "Second Wind" knockback launchers emulate the Kid coming back from the brink by saving your ball and adding three health.
  • Life Meter: Shown on the playfield: both the player and his opponent have the exact same amount of health. You must work your health up by training before you can start fighting.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: If you're playing video poker and you are dealt a near straight with an ace on the side, dropping all the cards except the ace will almost always give you a four-of-a-kind or royal flush, despite the sheer improbability.
  • Match Sequence: The Kid punches the speed bag several times, two changing digits behind it, before knocking it down and revealing the final number.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • Several opponents make quips referring to the fact that the opposing boxer figure has no visible legs.
    • Patrotsky will sometimes start a fight with "Be thankful this glass separates us" (alluding to the glass covering the playfield).
  • Mini-Game: Two of them, both necessary to reach the Ultimate Challenge.
    • The Jump Rope has the player press the flipper buttons to make the ball jump over a swinging metal "rope".
    • The Speed Bag requires button mashing to control a pair of fists and knock the ball into the bag target.
  • Not in the Face!: One of Steveo's reactions to being hit is to cry "Not the face!"
  • Oireland: Knuckles O'Brien plays to the "fighting Irish" stereotype.
    "Top of my fist to you, lad. I'm O'Brien."
    "Hello to ya! I'm O'Brien. And these are me knuckles!"
  • Old Master: Master Bim Bam Boom uses many of the mannerisms of a martial arts sensei, including frequently admonishing the player that they are not yet ready. He's also notable for never whiffing a punch.
  • Only Six Faces: All the boxers have the same playfield character model toy; unavoidable, given the limitations of the medium.
  • Pink Elephants: Implied - the drunk in Fisticuffs Multiball will sometimes mention that you're "turning all pink and elephanty", implying he's hallucinating.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The game uses Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" as one of its gameplay tunes.
  • Punny Name: The stereotypical Australian fighter is named "Dan Unda" (as in "down under").
  • Rank Inflation: Taken to ridiculous extremes. The normal Jackpot is worth 100K. Then there are double, triple, quadruple... all the way up to Octuple Jackpot, Super Jackpot, Mega Jackpot, Ultra Jackpot, Turbo Jackpot, Maximum Jackpot, Cow of a Jackpot, and Jackpot Deluxe. That's 15 jackpot levels, and you have to earn all of them as part of the requirements to qualify for the Ultimate Challenge.
  • Red Boxing Gloves: Defied if you look on the side of the backglass - the poster there specifically says "NO GLOVES ALLOWED".
  • Shout-Out:
    Commentator: "Bite his ear off!"
    • One of Dan Unda's victory quotes is "Kid: Australian for loser", a reference to a Foster's ad campaign of the time.
  • Single Malt Vision: The drunk in Fisticuffs Multiball makes a comment indicating that he's seeing double.
    "Put up your dukes. Both of you."
  • Skill Shot: The game cycles through various awards, and you must launch the ball at the right time to get the one you want.
  • Smart Bomb: The Smart Punches, equivalent to a head shot that can be triggered any time during a fight by pressing the launch button. If you've already completed enough jab combos, you can use a Smart Punch to score an automatic knockout (needed to qualify for the Ultimate Challenge).
  • Spelling Bonus: To start Fisticuffs Multiball, you must spell BAR FLY FISTICUFFS by hitting the heavy bag repeatedly.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: The token British chap, Sir Winston Pounds, goes out of his way to remain proper and show as little emotion as possible when you fight him.
    "I say, ouch."
  • Victory Is Boring: Franz, a Combat Sadomasochist, is audibly disappointed if he beats the Kid.
    Franz: (sigh) I have achieved victory once again.
  • Video Mode: Two of them.
    • In "Spittin' Gallery", you must move a spittoon around with the flipper buttons to catch some men's spit.
    • In "Poker Night", the player is given fifteen seconds to decide which cards they want to keep and discard.
  • Wizard Mode: Ultimate Challenge, available after getting all five jewels in the Pub Champion belt. You fight the five challengers you haven't encountered yet on one life bar. In earlier versions of the game, if you lose, you can't try it again.
  • Written Sound Effect: Various comic book-esque sound effects are shown on the display whenever your opponent attacks you.
  • Zonk: Each true award on the Skill Shot alternates with a "10" between them. This awards a measly ten points.

"Keep training, kid."