A Boy and his BlogA Boy and his Blog

Posted on Nov 8th 2012 at 11:06:56 PM by (singlebanana)
Posted under pinball, singlebanana, list, top 10

As many of you on the site know, along with collecting classic video games and systems, I have a big interest in playing and working on pinball machines.  I bought my first machine on August 6, 2011, an electromechanical pin called Spanish Eyes (1972) and I've owned a total of 9 machines since.  Many of them I have fixed up, played for several months, and sold.  I recently picked up one of my favorite machines, Bram Stoker's Dracula (1993) and am currently restoring a favorite from my childhood, Taxi (1988), a machine I picked up in February earlier this year.  In April of next year, I will be driving up to Pittsburgh to attend, maybe play in, Pinburgh 2013. http://papa.org/pinburgh2013/

Anyway, while my Vectrex Interview Series #3 is in the works, I thought I might do a Top 10 list of my favorite pinball machines for those who might be interested.  I'm a member of Pinside.com, a great source for pinball collectors and enthusiasts, and through their rating system, I have been able to keep track of the pins that I have played (currently 112!)  Though I've rated the machines on this site, the categories for ranking don't necessarily reflect my favorite machines.  Though I recognize the flaws in some of my favorite machines, they are often not such that it takes away from my enjoyment of them.  Sure, the artwork might not be the greatest on some, but the features, the experience, or even the nostalgia may outweigh what others might see as imperfections.

Coming in at #10 is a machine I played quite a lot growing up, High Speed.  High Speed is an early alphanumeric solid state machine that was made by Williams in 1986.  The game was designed to simulate a high speed chase from the cops in which the ultimate objective is to escape their pursuit.  The game's designer, Steve Ritchie claims that the concept of the game is based on the true story in which he was once chased by the police in his 1979 Porsche 928 and charged with reckless driving.  What I really appreciate about High Speed is how the concept is well integrated into the design of the machine.  Ramps and loops are designated as freeways and when you plunge the ball, you hear the sound of an engine reving and a car peeling off.  The machine even has a red light topper that flashes during the pursuit and police call outs simulating a call into the station and instructing you to pull over.  High Speed also has a side ramp, which presents a greater challenge, since it can only be reached using the 3rd flipper located in the upper right playfield.

What makes High Speed especially attractive is the history of the machine.  It wasn't the first machine to have sound (Gorgar - 1979), but it was the first to have an original musical score.  High Speed was the first Williams pinball game to use alpha-numeric displays and was the first game that allowed players to enter their initials for a high score, which was very revolutionary since it gave players an incentive to pump in more quarters.  Over 17,080 units were produced, so it's a fairly common title to find; however, due to its popularity and age, they are typically in pretty poor condition.  High Speed was basically remade in 1992 as The Getaway: High Speed II and had the same basic playfield layout, but included a metal Supercharger centrifuge ramp to left center, an animated dot-matrix display, and ZZ Top's "La Grange" as the score.

**Gameplay and Tutorial (be sure to watch in full screen**

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High Speed is a pinball game that I grew up with as well, but I was never fortunate enough to find an actual machine. I had to deal with the NES port of it, and while I loved it as a kid, the pinball machine in the video eclipses the NES port by far.
Yeah, the NES version is pretty bad.  I think they did The Getaway: High Speed 2 on the Gameboy, which as I understand, is also a disappointment.  Most people prefer The Getaway because it is newer and has more toys, but I'd much rather own an original.  If you are ever looking for a machine, I have some good contacts in the Florida area.  There is a festival in Orlando next weekend, which they have yearly and you should consider going to sometime. http://www.southernpinballfestival.com/
I miss that festival every year because I have Thanksgiving dinner with the family the Saturday before Thanksgiving, which is when they hold that festival. Cry
While I was quite aware of this machine I really didnt understand its significance. Very cool article banana. I'm quite looking forward to hearing about the rest of your top 10!
@Crabmaster2000:  Glad you enjoyed it and hopefully I can incorporate some history into some of my other posts.  I think that those types of things make for a more enjoyable read.  Python Angelou designed the backglass for this machine.  I've always been a big fan of his work and have owned several machines with it on there (Taxi, Cyclone, Bride of Pinbot).  Apparently, he was not a fan of this machine's concept.  If you think about it, the ball represents the car and you are the driver, a sort of a lawbreaking anti-hero.  Pretty interesting stuff considering how people view violence and other such "immoral" content in games today.

Also, stayed tuned....I have a lead on a pretty special machine and may be the proud owner of it this weekend. Wink
I love pinball!  This is a great idea for a blog series.  I have not played High Speed, however.
@blcklblskt: I'm glad to hear that the blog is interesting to some of our readers and I'll continue to update it.  If you are looking for places to play pinball on site in your area.  Here is a decent map to check out: http://pinside.com/pinball/map/where-to-play

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