Follow TV Tropes


Pinball / Twilight Zone

Go To
So this is where Rod retired to...

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination."
Rod Serling, at the start of the game

Describe Topic the Twilight Zone.

Twilight Zonenote  is a Pinball game designed by Pat Lawlor and illustrated by John Youssi. Released in 1993 by Williams Electronics under their Bally label, it is based on the original The Twilight Zone (1959) television series, with dozens of cameos, shout outs, and references to various episodes.note 

Taking place in a curio shop, the player must explore various Twilight Zone artifacts to gather fourteen door panels. Tasks include surviving a riot in Town Square, collecting the Powerball from the Gumball Machine, Battle the Power, taking photos with the fortune-telling Camera, and collecting the Spirals around the playfield. Reassembling all fourteen panels opens a door to another dimension, leaving the player Lost In The Zone...

Due to the runaway success of The Addams Family, Pat Lawlor was given carte blanche privileges in the game's design; the result is arguably one of the most complex pinballs ever, with more patent-pending features than any other table ever made and an impressively deep ruleset. It has been rated "Best Electronic Pinball Machine of All Time" on the Internet Pinball Machine Database. Despite this, in its initial release it didn't sell well — the huge success of The Addams Family was tough to follow, though Zone has since been Vindicated by History.

A digital version of the game was formerly available as part of FarSight Studios' The Pinball Arcade collection until the WMS license expired on July 1, 2018.

Another remastered version was released on April 13, 2023 in Pinball FX.

Beyond this door is a dimension of tropesnote :

  • Auteur License: After The Addams Family became the best-selling pinball of all-time, Pat Lawlor was given creative control over the game, and the end result, by his own admission, was one of the most complex designs ever.
  • Author Catchphrase: Like in many other Pat Lawlor tables, "The Power" is mentioned here. This time, there's an adversary called the Power that you can fight on a mini-table. In addition, there's the Powerball, a special ceramic ball that moves lighter and faster than a regular pinball, and is immune to magnets. Returning the Powerball to the gumball machine activates a special multiball mode, or bringing the Powerball into the regular multiball enables it to be used to score a double jackpot.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Curio Shop where the game takes place.
  • Big "NO!": The Power does this when you enter the Powerfield during "Lost in the Zone" or "Powerball Mania".
  • Building of Adventure: Technically, everything is taking place inside the Curio Shop.
  • Canon Foreigner: The game's iconic gumball machine and "Battle the Power" pyramid were created for this game, and are not references to any existing episodes.
  • Cap:
    • 99 Robots
    • 100 Hitchhikers
    • Bonus multiplier tops out at 5.
  • Combos: Several of these are available, awarding 10 million for a 3-way and 20 million for a 4-way. If neither GUM nor BALL is lit, shooting the left and right ramps in succession will award a 2-way "Gum-Ball Combo" for 5 million.
  • Company Cross References:
    • The "Fast Lock" multiball, which starts with a radio playing clips from Lawlor's previous tables. Depending on when the player locks a ball, music from The Addams Family, FunHouse (1990), Whirlwind, Earthshaker!, or Banzai Run will play until multiball play ends.
    • Similarly, hitting the clock enough times during "Clock Chaos" will play a clip of Rudy (from FunHouse (1990)) yelling, "Quit playing with the clock!"
    • When a player buys an extra ball at the end of a game, a clip of Raúl Juliá's Gomez Addams saying "Grrreeeeeeed" will play. (Oddly, it's not heard when the mode named "Greed" is active.)
    • TAF's Thing appears and knocks three times whenever you defeat the Power.
    • Score at least 20 million during the Greed mode, and you'll hear Gomez's TAF quote "There. See what greed will get you?" — but spoken by Rod Serling.
  • Continuity Cameo: LOTS, thanks to the license. A full list of the pinball's episode references can be found here.
  • Cover Version: Chris Granner (the game's composer) covered Banzai Run's main theme (originally performed by Brian Schmidt) for this game.
  • Creepy Doll: Talky Tina, just like in the episode from whence she came.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion:
    • Defeating The Power causes it to explode.
    • Inverted with the Door; it explodes to signal the start of multiball, but remains intact when starting Lost In The Zone.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If the ball exits the Powerfield undetected and doesn't hit any switch on the playfield before draining, a new ball is fed to the autolauncher to compensate.
      Rod: "Things aren't what they first appear."
    • If the Powerball is on the field, then access to the Powerfield is disabled, since the Powerball isn't affected by the magna-flippers.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Occurs when you defeat The Power.
  • Evil Laugh: Done by The Power if the ball drops out through the bottom hole of the Powerfield before time runs out.
  • Eye of Providence: One of the bosses is "the power", which is represented by a pyramid with an eye in it.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Powerball + Battle the Power = instant loss. Barring a failure of the carriage on the right ramp or the software controlling it, this can only happen during Lost in the Zone.
  • Fortune Teller: The Camera, which can give eight different awards. It'll always tell you which one will come next.
  • Greed: One of the modes that, unsurprisingly, has an emphasis on hitting as many 5,000,000-point targets as possible. Every target hit generates a satisfying BANG, followed by the ring of a cash register.
    Voice: You want more?...More?...More?
    Rod: There. See what greed will get you? (Heard if you score at least 20 million in this mode)
  • Humans Are Bastards: "There's madness in Town Square."
  • Large Ham: Rod Serling (or, at least, Tim Kitzrow's impersonation of Serling).
  • Lilliputians: The Invaders, who are only slightly larger than a pinball.
  • Machine Monotone:
    • Several spoken bits are delivered this way: "The robots can help." "Enter the Spiral." "Look to the future." And so on.
    • Played with: at the start of multiball, "Don't touch the door!" is heard, getting higher and higher pitched every time until the door explodes. See Madness Mantra below.
  • Made of Explodium:
    • Some of the extra balls you get explode.
    • The Zone's door explodes upon starting the game's main multiball mode.
    • Light all seven of the "5 Million" targets with a regular ball, then hit the clock target to blow up the clock and score a bonus.
  • Match Sequence: One of the Invaders fires its laser gun to reveal the two numbers, and any non-matching numbers instantly vaporize.
  • Mind over Matter: The mini-playfield, which uses flipperless "magna-flips" to control the ball and battle The Power.
  • Musical Gag:
    • The game's main background music is an instrumental version of the 1982 song "Twilight Zone", by Golden Earring.
    • Collecting a Camera award plays a snippet of the old standard "You Oughta Be in Pictures."
  • My Name Is ???: The center of the playfield (which indicates each mode as part of a door) represents "Lost in the Zone" with a single question mark on the doorknob.
  • New Game Plus: This is the first Pat Lawlor game to reset the modes (door panels in this case) immediately after playing the Wizard Mode, allowing them to be played again on the same ball as opposed to not resetting until the next ball.
  • Not Quite Starring:
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: The Power speaks in a very deep baritone.
  • Power-Up: The Powerball, a ceramic sphere that's the same size as a pinball, but whose lighter mass makes it go faster and move somewhat more erratically as a result. It's also immune to the game's magnets. When it appears in-game, some shots have increased scoring, additional targets are lit, and returning it to the gumball machine starts Powerball Mania mode. Get it during multiball, and you can score a double jackpot by shooting it into the Player Piano.
  • Pyramid Power: The Power, appropriately enough.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: In addition to using the theme song from the show, this game used the 1982 hit song, "Twilight Zone", by Golden Earring.
  • Retro Rocket
  • Robot Buddy: Collect robots to light extra balls and Camera awards. The counter maxes out at 99; beyond that, each one awards bonus points.
  • Score Multiplier:
    • Score a jackpot with the Powerball during multiball, and you collect double the points (the display will point this out if you pull it off).
    • A lit Dead End awards double the Town Square value, and one of the Camera awards gives triple.
    • Defeat the Power during normal play, and your entire score from that battle is doubled.
  • Signature Style: A shot through the jet bumpers, magnets under the playfield, a "soft plunge" Skill Shot, and eye-grabbing toys all over the place — yep, it's a Pat Lawlor pin all right.
  • Skill Shot:
    • A soft launch will send the ball into a colored zone (red, orange, or yellow), which lights one to three of the jet bumpers and awards points.
    • "Super Skill Shot" does something similar, with alternate rewards - red lights Battle The Power, orange lights the outlanes, and yellow lights an extra ball.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: A snippet of "Pop Goes the Weasel" plays during the Clock Chaos mode. After each of the first four hits to the clock target, the music speeds up and rises by half a step.
  • Spinning Clock Hands: Used throughout the game to indicate the amount of time remaining for a particular mode. In some modes, the clock hands can travel backwards, switch directions, and/or determine the points awarded for hitting a target.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: The playfield spirals. Aside from being decorative, they can also temporarily trap a regular pinball on their magnets, which is helpful for making some of the shots.
  • Timed Mission: While timed modes are a staple of modern pins, TZ is well-known for having a physical ticking clock on the table to go with many timed objectives. Although it doesn't always run clockwise...
    "Time is a one-way street...except in the Twilight Zone."
  • Title Drop: True to the series, many of Serling's voice clips refer to "the Twilight Zone".
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • The Powerball. It's lighter than a standard pinball, making it riskier to handle, and because it's ceramic, it's unaffected by the magnets on the field. Get it for multiball, though, and you can use it to score a double jackpot.
    • The clock initially runs backwards and at about half normal speed in Clock Chaos; every hit to the Clock Millions target speeds it up and reverses its direction.
  • The Unintelligible: The Invaders.
  • Wizard Mode: "Lost In The Zone", which is reached after collecting all of the door panels. In this mode, all six balls are launched onto the playfield, and the player has 45 seconds to rack up as many points as they can with nearly every mode and scoring shot active at once.

"Dance with the devil at your own risk, in the Twilight Zone."

Alternative Title(s): The Twilight Zone