The Walking Dead is an arcade pinball machine based on the popular Zombie Apocalypse live-action television series. It was designed by John Borg, illustrated by Greg Freres and Kevin O'Connor, and released in October 2014 by Stern Pinball.
In this game, the player joins Rick Grimes and his group of survivors as they try to make it in a Crapsack World overrun with zombies. Collect Food, Weapons, and First Aid supplies, visit Woodbury, the Prison, and the Tower, then load up on various weapons in case a Riot breaks out. Venture to the Arena, Cell Block C, the CDC, and the Tunnel, battle the Prison Walkers and the bloated Well Walker, and don't hesitate to stab, shoot, or bash the undead wherever they appear. Load up the unfolding crossbow and shoot it at targets across the playfield, then start a Multikill spree for maximum damage. The frightful mood is enhanced with music from the show and playfield toys sculpted by executive producer Gregory Nicotero.
The Walking Dead is available in both a regular ("Pro") edition, and pricier Limited and Premium Editions. The latter two versions include an extra magnet and drop target, spinners, custom artwork and trim, a fish tank with zombie heads, a fold-out crossbow launcher, and a "Bicycle Girl" bash toy on the left ramp, as well as multi-color LED general illumination.
Overall, the game has become very popular among pinheads alike. Praise has been drawn to the game's intricate, deep rules and strategy, offering a multitude of wizard modes and features from the mind of programmer Lyman Sheats. It has also been commended for its violent and gritty nature. However, the game has become enormously criticized for its lack of speech from the show's characters, leading many to claim that the game feels like a generic zombie game with a recognizable title grafted onto it.
Not to be confused with the Walking Dead Digital Pinball Table, which is based on Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Season One and is available through Zen Pinball. For more information about that table, click here.
The Walking Dead pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Abandoned Area: Most of the playfield gives off this vibe.
- Bloody Handprint: Seen on the two inlanes, as well as the Limited Edition backglass.
- Boom, Headshot!: Appears in one of the animations for killing a walker.
- Chainsaw Good: One of the animations for killing a walker.
- Creepy Souvenir: The Limited Edition table has the governor's illuminated aquarium with three walker heads inside. Stern also sells a larger aquarium that can be placed on top of the backbox.
- Curse Cut Short: The left outlane has the phrase (cut off by a walker)GOT BIT FEVER HIT WORLD GONE TO SH
- Dead Weight: The Well Walker, who is hideously fat, with folds of flabby skin and a body covered with open sores."Let's get that thing up here and start some multiball."
- Gorn: On the Limited Edition table, hitting the Well Walker causes him to topple over at the midsection, revealing his guts.
- Diagonal Cut: One of the animations shows a walker getting killed with a cut across the head.
- Eaten Alive: Getting enough hits on the pop bumpers starts the Bumper Jackpot, accompanied by two walkers eating a hapless victim on the ground.
- The player meets this fate if they fail the "Horde" or "Last Man Standing" modes.
- The Horde: The playfield depicts a horde of walkers marching towards the player. "Horde" is also the name of a Wizard Mode in the game.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: The Limited Edition version of the game adds a fold-out crossbow launcher, an illuminated fish tank with zombie heads, rust-colored metalwork, and a mirrored backglass translite. The Premium Edition offers the same features, but with different translite and cabinet art.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Not surprisingly, the playfield is covered in blood.
- Match Sequence: Two zombies are shown eating on a fallen corpse, and the display cuts to a close-up of the victim's entrails. A zombie hand removes the stomach, and part of the small intestine forms the match number.
- Not Quite Starring: The callout quotes use substitute actors instead of the show's stars. Unsurprisingly, Stern got a lot of flak for this, even though many sources claim it was solely due to AMC's Executive Meddling during the game's development.
- Averted in that the fandom — as documented on Pinside — used third-party software to replace the original callout quotes with speech from the show's characters.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: As with the original Comic Book and television series, the word "zombie" is never used; "walker" is the preferred nomenclature.
- Score Multiplier: The tower doubles all scoring for 20 seconds. Every two walker kills will increase the multiplier on one inlane for one shot, with no limit to how high it can reach until cashed out.
- Skill Shot: The two rollover switches will light in sequence, switching on and off at faster intervals after each successful skill shot. The player must plunge the ball through the rollover switches and collect one of the two top bonus x lanes to award the skill shot. The value of the skill shot is determined by the number of rollover switches collected on the plunge and whether or not the player makes the lit bonus x lane.
- The "Welcome to Woodbury" feature, qualified after filling the fish tank via the right ramp, works like this. The ball is fed back to the plunger, and the player must plunge the ball into one of four lit areas (the two rollover switches or the top bonus x lanes) to collect an award. Both the award and where it can be collected change with the flipper buttons.
- Spelling Bonus: P-R-I-S-O-N begins the Prison Mode, while W-E-L-L awakes the Well Walker and allows the player to start Well Walker Multiball.
- Weapon of Choice: The characters' various weapons, including Rick's Colt Python, Michonne's katana, and Daryl's crossbow.
- Wizard Mode:
- Blood Bath could be considered the easiest one to reach. This is started after collecting all three Supplies awards from the drop target bank, and is a multiball where all switches score points. Completing the drop targets will score jackpots and will add up to three additional balls back in play.
- Siege is reached upon killing twelve walkers during Prison Multiball. This is a one-ball affair in which the player must shoot the prison and various lit arrows to advance through the siege. Shots to the prison itself will also spot shots for the player.
- Horde is lit at the Woodbury shot upon finishing all six Multi Kill rounds. This mode sees the players Last Stand against a relentless horde of walkers. Shots must be made to kill the approaching walkers, whose distance from the player is measured via the column of inserts in front of each main shot.
- Escape Terminus begins after the player has at least started all five Dead Feature modes. The player must make shots to cash in their previous mode totals and help the survivors bust out of Terminus.
- Crossbow Frenzy, given how hard it is to even start, could be considered this. The mode is begun once the player makes all five shots during the Crossbow mode (where the player loads the crossbow and has one chance to make a lit shot in a short amount of time).
- Last Man Standing — quite possibly the most difficult wizard mode to get to in the game — is started once the player has killed one hundred and fifteen walkers during normal play. During this mode, players must make lit shots to fend off oncoming walkers while waiting for a helicopter to arrive.
- Zombie Apocalypse