Earthshaker: "Ooohhh, bitchin!!"
A pinball machine that actually said "bitchin"? Naw, couldn't be! Yes,
it did, and while that may seem tame today, it was somewhat novel in 1989
when Earthshaker first hit the streets.
Not that it's the only thing to this game. Not by far. Earthshaker comes
to us from the brilliant (and delightfully twisted) mind of Pat Lawlor.
His credits include Banzai Run, Earthshaker, Whirlwind, Funhouse, The
Addams Family, Twilight Zone, Road Show, Safecracker and Monopoly.
Earthshaker was a groundbreaking pin (no pun intended). It was the first
game to include a shaker motor in the cabinet, so that the game could
rumble right along with the theme of the game. Equally as novel was the
ball lock. A shot up the ramp caused the states California and Nevada
to split apart, forming a groove, through which the ball travelled, on
it's way to the lock. Damn cool ... at least, from this Californian's
perspective (your mileage may vary).
Earthshaker quickly became a "must-have" for my collection, and I actually
bought one off a street location. It wasn't for sale, per se, but I didn't
let *that* stop me!
Oh, there *is* the matter of the prototype moving building. Earthshaker
had yet *another* gimmick to draw in players, but sadly, it was removed
after the first run of 200 "sample games" were completed. In these
coveted few, the "Earthquake Institute" was attached to a motor that
would lower the building into the playfield, simulating its destruction
during an earthquake. Incredibly cool, though it was, it was removed
due to cost, and because "it wouldn't be reliable enough". Suffice it
to say, many of these machines are still on location, with working
buildings, though they are largely being snapped up by collectors, when
we can find them.
My first game did *not* have a moving building ... so I made it a little
"pet project" to learn all I could about the moving building itself, in
an attempt to "re-invent" it someday.
Well, that "someday" never came ... but a prototype machine did!! A
collector had "rescued" a prototype machine from an arcade many years
ago ... however, he was now moving hundreds of miles away, and he
couldn't take the game with him. His only objective was to make sure
the game ended up in the hands of a collector, and not an operator.
So, I was that lucky collector and I bought the game off of him, and
sold my other one.
That said, someday these pages may contain the findings of the aforementioned
"pet project", should someone else want to tackle the project of re-creating
the moving building for all production-run Earthshaker machines out there!!
For those who are interested, Earthshaker has a rulesheet, written by
Brian Falardeau. You can find it here:
Oh, and as for that word "bitchin"? Apparently, it cheesed some people
off ... enough so, that Williams released a special "Family" ROM that
removed that offending quote. You can pick it up at the
Williams/Bally Web Site.
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Copyright © 1996-2002 Bill Ung