Diagnosing weird game issues with Gottlieb System 80B (Raven)

Just when I thought I had my Raven running beautifully, it just started acting up. I would press the start button and the game would begin to start, but then not kick out a ball, the sound would stop, and none of the coils would fire. It was very odd. I knew from experience that Gottlieb games can get a bit wonky with irregular power or switch inputs, so here’s a short, 2-part video series of the “rabbit hole” I went down trying to figure out what was wrong? (As always, Ockham’s Razor tends to prevail)

Along the way, we learn a few things about the switch matrix on these System 80 games and how they differ from other manufacturers like Bally/Williams when it comes to trying to trace switch matrix issues. Here’s part one:

And here is part two, where we figure things out…

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Diagnosing spinning score reels – Bally EM pinball

Here’s a video I made awhile back that I don’t see linked on my main site so I thought i’d include it. It’s a short video on how to diagnose problems with score reel switches when you turn the game on and the score reels just seem to spin forever and not reset/start the game.

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Stern “Deadpool” – One shot pinball review & tutorial

We have had a new Stern “Deadpool” pinball machine around for a few weeks and I thought I’d finally do a quick “one shot pinball review” of the game, my impression, its features and an overview of the basic ruleset. Check out this very interesting game!

Here’s a companion video of 17 more minutes of gameplay and comments… hope you enjoy:

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Poor design in WOZ software compounds hardware issues

So here’s a rant I have to make… this comes after arguing in forums for years about a certain feature many of us WOZ owners have been asking for, only to be told, “No.”

We ran into a problem with our WOZ pinball where the game would act like a ball hit the castle doors on the upper left playfield even when a ball wasn’t up there. This was caused by two things: 1. The switch on one of the castle doors was too sensitive (requiring quite a lot of work to adjust) and 2. The upper playfield flippers continuing to flip every time the flipper buttons are pressed, regardless of whether or not there’s a ball up there.

Myself and many people have complained about the need to have a feature in the game to DISABLE THE UPPER PLAYFIELD FLIPPERS WHEN THERE ISN’T A BALL UP THERE, and Keith Johnson has flat out refused to do this. There are many reasons for this feature request – most specifically to reduce wear on flippers that are only used a tiny percentage of time. It’s a key issue that pertains to game reliability: don’t fire coils unnecessarily.

This same problem was also present in The Simpsons Pinball Party and someone made a third-party add-on board to fix it. That’s how annoying this thing is – and it’s a two-second software fix but they refuse to fix it. So you have unwanted wear and tear on upper playfield flippers, and additional bugs like what I describe in this video.

I don’t expect this problem to be fixed, so I’m just ranting. I hope this will be a lesson to other pinball manufacturers that listening to your customers is important. Broken games are not fun to play. If you can make a small software change that makes your games more reliable without in any way, sacrificing game play, WHY NOT DO IT? (That’s a rhetorical question actually. I suspect the real reason for not doing this is so they can sell more flipper parts.)

/endrant

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First Look: The first multi-ball pinball machine (with flippers), 1956 Bally Balls-A-Poppin!

Here’s a special treat. We are working on restoring a 1956 Bally “Balls-a-Poppin” pinball machine. The very first multi-ball pinball machine with flippers! Here is the full playlist of the current progress on the game, including the video from our unboxing. Right now it’s up to 4-5 parts. Skip ahead in the playlist to see our progress!

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