It’s a retro month at The Pinball Arcade, thanks to two electro-mechanical machines in the January update and the pre-David Tenant Doctor Who pinball Kickstarter that’s currently running. The two new machines come bundled together as a single purchase, possibly because El Dorado is the original version of a a table that’s already been included once, El Dorado: The City of Gold. El Dorado is a western-themed take on this playfield, while City of Gold reskinned the exact same layout with an Indiana Jones-style theme. There’s also a cheesy sci-fi reskin in the form of Target Alpha, a strange Aztec/Native American sci-fi version called Solar City, two more western in the form of Lucky Strike and Gold Strike, and even a ginger ale-themed version for Canada Dry. Gottlieb seems to have really, really, really loved this particular table layout for some reason, but so far it’s only shown up in The Pinball Arcade twice.
The next new table is the more exciting of the two, featuring a very nice layout and clever table mechanics. The two standout features are the spinning disc in the middle of the playfield, which has the tendency to send the ball off in new and unexpected directions, and flippers that close in towards the middle of the center drain and pull back again when certain targets are hit. Careful shooting can even start a three-ball multiball, which was pretty impressive for 1972. True, there are no extra goals activated by getting everything in play, but it’s always fun to try to keep things moving, especially with the tiny little flippers.
In addition to the new tables, Farsight Studios continues on with its Doctor Who pinball Kickstarter campaign. The Doctor Who machine has been a tricky one to license because it features images of all seven doctors up the point it was made, Dalek voices, the Master, Davros, the Doctor Who theme song, and a million other bits and pieces of Doctor Who lore. For as much as there is the goal is a reasonable $54,364, but it’s topped out after its first week at around $24,000 and has been hovering there since. The Doctor Who table is a fantastic machine that more people should be able to play, complete with a Time Expander feature at the top-middle of the playfield that rises up to reveal three separate levels of targets. Disclaimer- a local comic shop has a perfectly-preserved and lovingly maintained Doctor Who in the back that I dump money into almost every time I’m there. There is unquestionably a personal bias in wanting this Kickstarter to succeed, because everyone should be able to have a chance to play awesome things.