By Brad Cook
Gather around the light of your iPod for a creepy tale so spine-tingling, so chill-inducing, that you wont look at a pinball machine the same way again. Our story begins on a rain-soaked night. Lightning strikes illuminate a forbidding mansion. Its massive front door creaks open. As a high-pitched shriek comes from within the pitch-black interior, you steady your nerves. There is treasure to be found here, if you dare enter.
Eerie music accompanies the first ball you put into play. It speeds up the Ghostly Lane ramp, toward the secret lab, where electricity crackles each time it strikes a bumper; do that enough times and youll begin video mode. The ball rolls down Courtyard Lane and an expert flipper shot sends it up the treasure ramp. As you execute that move, a creepy voice cackles: Dont be afraid. Easy for him to say.
The ball drops near the other flipper and you hurl it toward the moon, where a third flipper allows you to loop it into orbit as many times as you can, lighting up the letters in the word MOON along the way. Strike the moon a few times with the ball and you enter one of Mystery Mansions coveted multi-ball modes. Soon youre racking up big points as you send balls flying around the table; cross the treasure ramp four times to earn a jackpot multiplier.
Several of your multi-ball shots reach the secret lab, striking the bumpers there enough times to activate video mode. One of your balls rolls through Frankys head and into the jackpot hole. Now the action pauses as a screen opens to display one of Mystery Mansions five mini-games. This one challenges you to press the Forward or Backward buttons on your iPod at the right moment as arrows cross the screen. Success means not only a big point bonus but also Frankys resuscitation.
Youre not done, however: theres plenty more to do in this haunted house. For example, you can strike the two vortex targets, put the ball in the vortex hole, and earn yourself a bonus each time you roll up or down a lit ramp. Or you can fire the ball up Courtyard Lane and down Ghostly Lane without hitting anything along the way and score a bonus. Your ultimate goal is to illuminate the letters in the words Mystery Mansion and escape.
Take your time getting away, however. There are surprises lurking behind every door. Open them, if you dare.
- Cursed Shell Game: A key is placed under one of five cups, which are shuffled. Keep track of the right one to win.
- Devils Mine: Steer your mine cart along the correct path to escape from the devils hands.
- Its Alive: As the left- and right-facing arrows cross the screen, press the Backward or Forward button on your iPod at the right moment.
- The Experiment: Quickly place the dropper above the vial of the correct color.
- The Chase: Press the Select, Backward, or Forward button on your iPod when the corresponding symbols flash and help the woman escape from the monster.
The First Arcade Games:
Not only did he free the slaves, but President Abraham Lincoln had a connection, however slight, to the early days of arcade games. While its not certain he ever played it, a political cartoon from Lincolns administration shows him engaging in Bagatelle, a billiards variant that was a predecessor of pinball. Bagatelles traditional cue stick was replaced by the familiar plunger around the turn of the century.
In 1931, Gottlieb and Company released Baffle Ball, which gave players seven balls for a penny, challenging them to nudge the cabinet as they tried to land the balls in various scoring pockets. It didnt use electricity, so players had to accumulate scores in their heads. Later pinball machines not only incorporated electricity, but many of them also awarded money to successful players, leading to their classification as gambling devices. Within a few years, all forms of pinball were outlawed in many places, whether they paid out winnings or not.
During the late 1940s, a Gottlieb engineer came up with the idea of putting flippers in pinball machines, turning them into games of skill, not chance, which meant they werent gambling devices. The idea spread and eventually pinball machines were allowed back into many of the places were they had been banned.
Pinball was the key growth driver for early arcades, even after videogames emerged during the 1970s. As technology improved, pinball game designers incorporated all kinds of bells and whistles. Many were also based on rock bands, movies, TV shows, and other properties. In 1991, a pinball machine based on the movie Terminator 2 introduced the concept of video mode, which is similar to Mystery Mansions mini-games.
iPod Games FAQ
Do you have questions regarding any of the iPod games available from the iTunes Store?
More iPod Games
- Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or Windows 2000
- iPod nano (3rd and 4th generation only), iPod classic, or iPod (5th generation only). Not playable on your computer, other iPod models, iPod touch or iPhone. Please check which iPod model you have.
- iTunes 7.5 or higher required to download (games cannot be played in iTunes)