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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pinball machines have easter eggs

I learned last week that pinball machines have easter eggs, too. It makes sense, given that they have so much electronic stuff going on and frequently have backboard screens which can display almost anything. After reading that page I made a mental note to try some of those tricks as soon as possible.

To celebrate a milestone in my trunking scanner project, I decided to drive over the hill to Santa Cruz where I've been able to find a few pinball machines in the past. On that particular day, their Cocoanut Grove arcade wasn't booked for some company, and everything was available. Bliss!

Unfortunately, even though it looks like they must be raking in profits from all of that foot traffic, they must not be putting any of it back into the pinball games. A whole row of them disappeared since my last visit, and those which remained were in bad shape. I'm talking about flippers which wouldn't flip consistently, sticky spots all over the playfield, and just general wonkiness.

They used to have two Addams Family pins. One was relatively good, and the other one was horrible. Their bad one wouldn't do any of the fun things like picking up your ball with a magnet or rotating that bookcase. This time, there was only one, and I couldn't tell which it had been, but it was horribly broken, too. I was able to make it run its easter eggs, but I couldn't get any pictures.

What's really screwed up is why I couldn't get pictures. I couldn't do it because the machine kept rebooting. Yeah. Apparently I can crash pinball machines just by using them, too. It kept eating my tokens, so I had to write it off as yet another useless game in Santa Cruz.

Simpsons secret message My trip wasn't completely useless. I managed to trigger this completely underwhelming "secret message" in The Simpsons Pinball Party. It's almost like someone put in a placeholder and then never went back to make it do or say anything clever. I don't consider "secret message" to be that interesting, considering that a number of machines will do exactly that given the same inputs. Big deal.