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Pinball / The X-Files

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The X-Files is a Licensed Pinball Table (obviously based on the popular television series of the same name) released by Sega in 1997.

The game primarily revolves around the titular X-Files (collected in a cabinet in the middle of the playfield); spelling FBI lights one of eight episodes (based on actual episodes of the series) for completion. Completing all eight gives you a shot at the Wizard Mode. There’s also two different multiballs (one achieved by hitting the cabinet enough times, and “The Truth” – wherein you unscramble a message by making the right shots), as well as a choice between Mulder and Scully (who make it easier to start the regular and Truth multiballs, respectively).

The game has received very mixed reception; some people think it’s an overly difficult title with muffled audio and an excessive amount of focus on its two ramps, while others think it’s nicely challenging and underrated.

This game provides examples of:

  • Arc Words: The show’s examples (“the truth is out there,” “trust no one,” and “deny everything”) pop in a few places:
    • The game’s apron displays the latter two.
    • Successfully shooting right during “…Smoking Man” prompts an animation showing his lighter, which has “Trust No One” engraved on it.
    • The three messages are also encrypted in Truth Multiball.note 
  • The Greys: They show up during certain DMD animations (notably the Extra Ball & Shoot Again ones).
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The hidden messages during Truth Multiball. In order, they’re “Deny everything,” “the truth is out there,” “trust no one”… and “Super Jackpot”.
  • Match Sequence: A busy bee hive is shown; the bees disperse to show “MATCH”, then re-group and disperse again, revealing the final number.
  • Mythology Gag: Several.
    • The animation for starting an episode shows an X-File being pulled from the cabinet; the tab shows the season and episode number for its origin (i.e. “…Smoking Man”, the 7th episode of the 4th season, has “4x07”).
    • The different levels of “…Smoking Man” are labelled after the original episode’s on-screen titles.
    • At the end of the Wizard Mode (based on “Blood”), the flashing “KILL EM ALL” display begins to alternate between “ALL DONE” and “BYE BYE” (a reference to the message at the end of the original episode).
    • The bees featured in the Match Sequence come from “Herrenvolk” (and possibly “Zero Sum” as well).
  • Officially Shortened Title: An odd example – the game refers to the episode “Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man” as just “…Smoking Man”, undoubtedly to save space on the DMD.
  • Recurring Riff: Most of the music borrows from the show’s theme in some manner.
  • Spelling Bonus: F-B-I lights an episode.
  • Wizard Mode: “Blood”, which can only be activated after starting every episode (and the X-Files Trivia challenge), then shooting the FBI scoop one more time. You’re given four balls, an infinite ball-saver, and 60 seconds to achieve as many jackpots as you can. (The ramps give a normal jackpot; however, the cabinet’s jackpot increases every time you get a ramp jackpot. The catch is that the cabinet is constantly moving, and you have to get it in the top drawer for the points.)