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Posted on Nov 30th 2012 at 12:04:31 PM by (singlebanana)
Posted under pinball, singlebanana, Top 10, Diner

Coming in at #7 on my Top 10 list is Williams' Diner.  In the mid-80's, Williams made some of the most incredible System-11, original concept pinball machines ever created.  I might be biased, since these are the machines I played during my late childhood/young adult years, but I guess every list is biased to some degree.  Diner is a restaurant themed pin where the object of the game is to wait on, some fairly non-PC by today's standards, customers. Customer's call out their dishes (an appetizer & an entree) and they are served by hitting the two banks of drop targets in the center of the machine, which are located in the middle and to the right.  Once you have served all 5 customers, the "Dine Time" jackpot is activated and you must make the release shot and collect the value on the backbox clock, which can be up to 12 million points (increased during the game by continually ripping the left ramp)! 

The backbox area is one of the most innovative and fun features of this game.  The artwork is great and depicts a classic streamline diner.  The customers located on the playfield that you are serving, also appear in the diner windows and actually bounce around as the machine moves.  They are actually plastics on springs that are located behind the backglass and help to give the backbox a sort of 3-D effect.  As previously mentioned, the clock plays a big role in scoring for this game and is also a prominent and fun feature on the backbox.

Another great feature in the game is the cup and saucer shot located at the back of the playfield.  If you are able to spell out D-I-N-E-R by shooting the right ramp multiple times, a timed cup shot activates for the right ramp.  During this time, a ramp diverter moves and instead of your ball traveling around the ramp in it's normal fashion, the ball spins out in the cup for a big score. (**See 2:25 of video)

Multi-ball is another fun and high scoring feature of Diner.  For multi-ball, you must also complete D-I-N-E-R via the right ramp shot to light the LOCK. What is really interesting is that completing D-I-N-E-R gives the player the option to either lock a ball, or shot the cup shot depending on preference; once you active one of the features, the other one disappears. After lighting the LOCK, the left ramp raises and ball must be shot beneath the ramp in order to capture it.  After plunging your second ball, the object is to start multi-ball by making the release shot to the left of the right ramp.  During multi-ball, make the Rush 1 (same as release shot) to light Rush 2 (located at the kickout hole to the right of the right ramp). Making both Rush shots results in a super scoring bonus.

The left ramp can be shot multiple times for cash register bonuses and to light the extra ball.  Many tournament players will continually rip this shot, since it is fairly simple to make and provides decent points and very low-risk shot.

Not only is Diner a fun machine to play, but the artwork and stunning incorporation of the theme really pull it together as a complete package.  Diner is a great machine that after much careful consideration, deserves a spot on this Top 10 List.  It is an older machine, but if you can find one, PLAY. IT......or better yet, BUY. IT.  You won't be disappointed.

"Order Up!" 


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I like it when tables make use of the back glass area to have more than just the score. Like how this one has the moving characters and Banzai Run has a whole extra play field.
@nupoile: I couldn't agree more.  Not only is it a really cool feature, but it really helps to immerse you in the machine while playing.

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