Star Trek: The Next Generation (pinball)

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Star Trek: The Next Generation
STTNG pinball.png

Manufacturer Williams
Release date November 1993
System Williams WPC (DCS)
Designer(s) Steve Ritchie, Dwight Sullivan, Greg Freres
Programmer(s) Dwight Sullivan, Matt Coriale
Artwork Greg Freres
Mechanics Carl Biagi
Music Dan Forden
Sound Dan Forden
Voices The Star Trek: The Next Generation cast
Production run 11,728

Star Trek: The Next Generation is a widebody pinball game, designed by Steve Ritchie and released in November 1993 by Williams Electronics. It was part of WMS' SuperPin series (see also The Twilight Zone and Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure), and was based on the TV series. It is the only pinball machine that features three separate highscore-lists. Apart from the regular highscore-list and the buy-in-list, it also features a reminiscence to The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot billionaires club. It is also the third pinball game overall based on the Star Trek franchise, following the 1979 pinball game by Bally, and the 1991 game by Data East (both based on the original series).

Production notes[edit]

According to an interview, Steve Ritchie, a longtime Star Trek fan, stated that getting the license was a challenge, due to Paramount insisting that they don't want to put any violence in the game; however, he told them that he would never violate the Prime Directive.[1]

Originally, the game was supposed to be based on the 1992 film, Under Siege.[2]

The game uses the DCS Sound System and includes voice clips recorded by the cast of the television series, with:

Launch options[edit]

When a new ball is launched into the plunger, the player is given one of five launch awards, which is selected when the ball is fired. Unless otherwise noted, the ball is launched through the spiral ramp and into the lock hole (above the pop bumpers). Another ball is popped from the left scoop and onto the left inlanes.

  • Start Mission: Starts lit mission.
  • Flipper Skill Shot: The player has to shoot the ball up the right ramp (the Beta Quadrant) for a random award.
  • Launch Probe: The ball will be loaded into one of the two cannons, located on top of the slings. Shoot the lit target for a random award. If the player misses, Data will say, "The probe has discovered nothing, sir".
  • Light Lock / Light Holodeck: Lights the ball lock, and the ball gets locked for multiball. When this option is selected twice, "Light Lock" changes to "Light Holodeck".
  • Warp Factor: Starts the ball at Warp Factor 4. After the player reaches Warp 9, (depending on the ROM version), the award changes to Warp 9.1, up to 9.9 (the player has only a limited amount of time to make either the left circle or Delta ramp for each point), then changes to "Warp Factor 2". The ball is sent to the pop bumpers.

Scoring and Game Modes[edit]

There are several ways to score points outside of the missions as well as unlocking certain game modes. The following modes are available:

  • Explosive Millions - Shooting the Alpha Quadrant or Beta Quadrant ramps unlocks Explosive Millions. Shooting the same or opposite ramp awards 5 million points, followed by 10 million for another shot, which cumuliates by 10 million every shot. The player has ten seconds to hit the ramp to score or the mode ends.
  • Bonus Multipliers - Hitting all three rollover lanes above the bumpers will increase the bonus multiplier for that ball. The first completion raises it to 2X, and subsequent steps raise it 2X at a time to a maximum of 10X. When the 8X is achieved, the Extra Ball light is lit in the "Start Mission" pocket. When the multiplier is maxed, completing the rollovers again awards 10 million, with the value increasing by 10 million every time afterward
  • Holodeck - The player has two choices. Score 25 million points, or play the "video mode" shuttle cavern. If the player selects the video mode, the player has to go through the caverns in a shuttle, picking up 10 million point cards while avoiding mines and cavern walls. There is an extra ball card somewhere in the caverns, as well as artifact (see below). Collecting the artifact, clearing all caverns, or crashing into a mine or wall immediately ends the video mode scoring the points collected in the mode. At the start of the Holodeck mode, pressing both flipper buttons at once starts a "Riker's Poker Night" video mode.
  • Kickback - Shooting the three left yellow targets lights Kickback, which saves the ball from draining from the left outlane.
  • Shuttle Ramp - Each shot at the Beta Quadrant Ramp launches a shuttle which a certain number of launched shuttles can reward a player. Rewards could be Light Holodeck, Command Decision, or Extra Balls. Between the ramps are two small targets when hit, adds two times the shuttle to the counter.

"Missions"[edit]

The game features seven "missions/episodes" the player must complete before entering The Final Frontier:

  • Time Rift
  • Worm Hole
  • Search The Galaxy
  • Battle Simulation
  • Q's Challenge
  • Rescue
  • Asteroid Threat

There are various marked targets around the playfield with the Star Trek insignia. Different combinations of these are lit for different modes, indicating which shots the player needs to make. These modes are not stackable, meaning the player must complete one mission before starting another. There is a hole in the center at the top of the playfield labelled "Start Mission" which will start a mission at anytime if the player makes the shot. In addition, hitting the lit "Command Decision" Target allows the player to select which mission to attempt, including already attempted missions (marked as "rerun" missions; varies from no allowable "reruns" to unlimited "reruns", depending on the machine's settings).

"Artifacts"[edit]

Each Mission can award one or more "Artifacts", which add to the value and bonuses of the "Final Frontier" Mission. (Artifacts can also be earned during Warp Mode — see "Warp Factors" below - or in the Holodeck video mode.) These Artifacts are, in award order, Dilithium Crystals, an Isolinear Chip, a Duranium Sphere, and a Singing Stone. Once all four Artifacts are awarded, the order starts again with the Dilithium Crystals. Thus, multiples of each Artifact can be awarded. Every Artifact collected is worth 50 million points.

Missions shown on the Starship Enterprise in attract mode

List of Missions[edit]

Time Rift

All the signature targets are lit and worth 10 million points. Hitting the Time Rift targets to the left cause the count down timer to add time and the bonus amount to increase by 5 million. Both the time increases and the bonus amount top out once the bonus reaches 25 million; further hits add no extra time or score. Each time the target is hit, a different character speaks. One Artifact is awarded after hitting any 4 Rift Markers (duplicates count).

Worm Hole

The left orbit, Beta Quadrant/Shuttle ramp, and Delta Quardant/Worm Hole ramp are lit. The goal is to shoot the Worm Hole ramp. This is facilitated by hitting the Shuttle ramp, which feeds the right flipper to shoot the left orbit, which feeds the upper right flipper to the Worm Hole ramp. Each completed Shuttle ramp shot increases the value of the Worm Hole target by 10 million, as does the left orbit spinner by 1 million per "spin". Failure to hit the Worm Hole ramp before time expires awards a flat 20 million. Completing the Worm Hole awards the accumulated points and an Artifact.

Search The Galaxy

The three ramp targets light up. Riker tells the player to "set course for the Alpha Quadrant." Technically, the targets can be complete in any order, but if done in the order of Alpha, Beta, and Delta, the Neutral Zone target lights up as a fourth target and is considered the "Gamma Quadrant". After completing a target, Riker orders the player to set course for the next target not yet reached. Base award is 5 million; each Quadrant completed adds 10 million times the order hit. Completing the three Ramp Quadrants in any order awards one Artifact; completing in order AND getting the "Gamma Quadrant" awards a second Artifact and 40 million more points.

Cannon (feat. Prototype Dome)
Battle Simulation

A ball is loaded up in one of the cannons and the player must either shoot the Neutral Zone targets/hole or the Start Mission hole. The targets alternate, and if successful, another ball is loaded in the other cannon. If the player misses, then they must hit the ball into either of the targets or the Advance Rank hole in order to have another ball loaded into a cannon. Sometimes a player can hit the target of the Neutral Zone, get credit, but not actually sink the ball and have to recover from that. Completing the first 5 "Levels" awards an Artifact. If completed without "losing" the ball to the playfield activates a Level 6 which—if hit—awards an extra ball.

Q's Challenge

Q shows up and greets Picard as he often does in the TV series, "Bonjour, mon Capitaine!". Picard responds, "Q, what are you doing here?" Q says, "Let's play a little game." As the ball is being served up to the left flipper, Riker replies, "Q, we don't have time for your games." A couple of the signature targets is lit. There is a tiny target in front of the foremost pop bumpers that has "Q" shown on it. Any time the player hits it, another target lights up. As the player hits targets, others light up. Each completed target awards 10 million times the order hit. Each target also has a time out, where it will fade after a given time period. Completing five Q targets awards an Artifact. If the player drains the ball through the outlanes, there are several cracks that Q will make:

  • "Someday you'll learn to play pinball."
  • "And you were doing so well."
  • "Pity."
Rescue

The goal is to rescue 50 Starfleet personnel. The Alpha ramp, Start Mission, and shuttle ramp targets light up. Any targets on the playfield that get hit cause personnel to be loaded onto the shuttle. Hitting either the Alpha ramp or the shuttle ramp will rescue the personnel currently loaded. When the player hits the Start Mission target, Riker says, "Five to beam up", and an animated graphic plays showing five personal being rescued. When the player has hit enough targets that there are no more personnel to load, the computer voice instructs the player to board the shuttle at once. Getting 25 personnel to "safety" (either aboard the shuttle OR beamed up) awards one Artifact; saving all 50 awards a second Artifact.

Asteroid Threat

When the mode starts, only the Start Mission target is lit. Picard sees asteroids and asks for suggestions. Mr. Data suggests that "we can destroy the asteroids in our path." A counter shows a value of 20,000,000 starts to count down. When the player hits the initial target, an asteroid blows up, and it sets the value for all the other shots. (If the count down reaches 5 million, the asteroid self-destructs, and all other asteroid hits are set at 5 million.) Then the other targets light up as asteroids to hit. Completing 4 asteroid hits (including the opening "point set" asteroid) awards one Artifact; getting all the asteroids awards a second Artifact.

The Final Frontier

After completing all the other missions, starting the eighth and final "mission" begins an amazing 6-ball multi-ball mode. First, bonuses of 25 million points are awarded for each Artifact collected. In addition, each full "set" of four Artifacts awards 1 Billion points per set. The number of artifacts also sets the point value of each lit shot for this mode (25 million per Artifact, maxing out at 250 million for 10 or more Artifacts). Two balls are loaded into the cannons, and the player must launch them. The others also enter the playfield. This is considered the "wizard mode" for the player to complete.

Warp Factors[edit]

The Warp Factor is lit at the right inlane, and it is collected by shooting the left loop. The left loop must be completed to be advanced. It is also advanced by shooting the Delta Quadrant (left ramp), but only during the first series of increases to Warp 9. The Warp Factor awards are as follows:

  • Warp Factor 2: 5 million points.
  • Warp Factor 3: Million Jets—Each pop bumper hit is worth 1 million points in addition to increasing the Borg Jackpot (see below).
  • Warp Factor 4: Spinner Is Lit—This increases value of each "spin" by 100 (from 1,000 to 100,000, for example). This increase is not cumulative (not earned again if WF4 is hit again on the same ball), and is lost on each ball drain.
  • Warp Factor 5: Bonus multipliers are held and carried over to the next ball.
  • Warp Factor 6: Both inlanes are lit. The left inlane starts Hurry Up, a bonus score that counts down from 50 million points to 10 million points, and is collected by shooting the right loop, while the right inlane starts Super Spinner, where the spinner is worth 10 million points per spin.
  • Warp Factor 7: Double Spinner—This doubles the base value of each "spin"; maxing at 255,000 points [25,500,000 if Warp Factor 4 is active].
  • Warp Factor 8: Extra ball is lit at the Start Mission scoop. After the extra ball is collected, the player is awarded an Artifact instead if Warp 8 is reached again (see "Missions" above).
  • Warp Factor 9: Starts Warp Factor 9 mode. The goal in this mode is to shoot the left loop and/or the Delta Quadrant to advance the level in 0.1 increments (Warp 9.1, Warp 9.2, etc.), until the engine maxes out at Warp Factor 9.9. Each increment awards points, starting at 20 million with Warp 9.1, and increasing 5 million per increment, maxing out at 60 million points once Warp 9.9 is hit.

Neutral Zone[edit]

Three targets plus a hole in front of the middle one. Shoot the targets three times to light a random mission:

  • Ferengi: Multiball, but starts with only two balls. Shoot the Neutral Zone for additional balls (maximum of four). The "Start Mission" hole awards Jackpot (Ten Million times the number of balls), and the left yellow targets increase the Jackpot by two million per hit (maxing at 70 million with 4 balls in play).
  • Romulan: Three Romulan Warbirds will appear (left orbit, Alpha Quadrant ramp and Beta Quadrant ramp) which the player can force to cloak by shooting the corresponding shot. The mission goal is to cloak all ships simultaneously for a 30 million award. Hitting any of the righthand "Klingon Assistance" targets brings a Klingon Bird-of-prey out of cloak, thus blocking one of the Warbirds (first hit blocks the left orbit ship, second the Beta Quadrant ramp ship; the Alpha Quadrant ramp is never "blocked") and expediting completion of the goal.
  • Cardassian: Two ball Multiball with the Jackpot placed in the Neutral Zone. Value of the Jackpot is depending on the Enterprise shields, and are decreased (between one and three levels) by any shot fired by the Cardassians as follows:
    • Shields at 100%: 50 Million
    • Shields at 83%: 30 Million
    • Shields at 66%: 25 Million
    • Shields at 50%: 20 Million
    • Shields at 33%: 15 Million
    • Shields at 17%: 10 Million
    • Shields at 0%: 5 Million

As with Borg Multiball (see below), hitting the left orbit Spinner builds the shields back up, thus reincreasing the jackpot amount.

Borg Multiball[edit]

All hits of the upper playfield pop bumpers increase the base "Borg Jackpot" amount awarded in Borg Multiball mode. To start the mode, and thus the battle with the Borg ship, the player needs to lock three balls. Locks are lit by shooting the right orbit (or selecting "Light Lock" on the start of a ball). Then shoot the right orbit again (or — if either or both are lit — the Delta Quadrant ramp or the Neutral Zone) to lock a ball. After locking the third ball, Multiball will start with one ball placed into the left cannon and the "Start Mission" hole lit. Shooting the hole damages the Borg Ship and scores the Jackpot. A second hit will score a Double Jackpot, and a third hit destroys the Borg ship and scores the Triple Jackpot. In addition, each cannon shot in the "Start Mission" hole adds 10 million points to the Jackpot.

The full Multiball mode will start as soon as the player misses a cannon shot or after scoring the Triple Jackpot, where Picard will call out All hands, prepare for Multiball! During Multiball, "Start Mission" will score cycling Jackpot/Double Jackpot/Triple Jackpot and the left ramp a Triple Jackpot. As the Enterprise is being shot at by the Borg, the "Shields" will drop in strength (from one to three units as with the Cardassian Neutral Zone Mission above). "Start Mission" Jackpots will be unlit as soon as the Shields reach 0%. By hitting the spinner in the left orbit, the shields are rebuilt and the "Start Mission" Jackpot is reactivated.

If a player scores a Triple Jackpot from the Delta Quadrant ramp, the Borg will automatically open fire on the Enterprise and the ball will shoot out of the Borg ship. Any jackpots scored through the "Start Mission" pocket will remain claimed, i.e. if the player has scored a Jackpot and a Double Jackpot, and scores a Triple Jackpot via the left ramp, sinking the ball through the "Start Mission" pocket will award a Triple Jackpot.

Should the player score at least one Triple Jackpot during the multiball, at the end of the game during the Match Game, the player will hear this dialogue: "Captain's Log, supplemental: The crew preformed admirably in dispatching the Borg threat."

Ranks[edit]

Light all three multiplier lanes (above the jet bumpers) to advance bonus and light advance rank at "Command Decision" for:

  • Ensign: 5 million (player starts the game with this rank)
  • Lieutenant: 10 million
  • Lieutenant Commander: 15 million
  • Commander: 20 million
  • Captain: 25 million

Note that the scores are awarded only at the bonus count. Advancing Rank while already being ranked "Captain" awards an instant 100 million.

Digital version[edit]

Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball is available for purchase as a licensed machine of The Pinball Arcade for several platforms.

Bonus Feature[edit]

After the ball goes down the outlane, an occasional soundbyte of Data will announce, "Had you propelled the ball with the proper trajectory, you would have been rewarded." If the player hits both flipper buttons before this soundbyte finishes, a Picard soundbyte will interrupt, testily saying "Thank you, Mr. Data". The player is then granted a "Thank You Mr. Data" bonus.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Getting the rights to do 'Star Trek: Next Generation' was also a challenge. Because they didn't want us to use any guns in the game. I said 'Hey, wait a minute, when the Enterprise is provoked, they use photon torpedoes.' I didn't set out to make them space pirates from hell, I just wanted to represent the show accurately in my game. I told them that I had been a fan of the series all my life, and I would never violate the Prime Directive ... and they came around." -- Steve Ritchie. Hollister Free Lance: The original Pinball Wizard, by Danielle Smith. Retrieved on August 13, 2007.
  2. ^ "For a while the game we were doing after “The Getaway” was going to be Under Siege based on the upcoming movie. Steve had ideas of putting two cannons on the right side of the playfield and dress that side up to look like half of a ship. The two cannons would look like cannons of the destroyer, the ship that is used as the setting of the movie... Then the opportunity came to do Star Trek: The Next Generation. Steve and I were both huge fans of the show. We switched tracks from Under Siege fast." -- Dwight Sullivan, My Pinball Blog: T2, Getaway, and Star Trek: TNG. Retrieved on 7 October 2008.

External links[edit]