18 October, 2016

A new Pat Lawlor pinball

I know! This blog is supposed to talk about digital pinballs. But when a giant like Pat Lawlor  designs a new pinball (after 8 years of inaction and despite having predicted the demise of pinball industry at around 2012) one cannot remain silent. If you read my blog you certainly know my deep admiration for Lawlor. Last year I wrote a special post dedicated to this great pinball designer. So, when my friend Marco Visser (thanks a million, Marco) wrote to me about the new Lawlor designed pinball I could not resist the temptation to write about it. 

The company behind this new Lawlor pinball is Jersey Jack Pinball, headed by Jack Guarnieri, an amusement industry veteran. They have already produced a movie-themed pinball (the Hobbit) but this time they took the plunge by producing an original theme, without an existing won-over public. However having a designer like Lawlor does minimise the risk. In fact during the presentation of the new pinball Lawlor himself stated that "if players don’t get what you are trying to convey, you’ve just wasted several years of your life".

The new pinball is called Dialed In! A look at the table suffices to convince you that it's a beauty.

And, No, it is not about smartphones. As somebody wrote in pinside it is rather a "Sim City Disaster theme...being broadcast by an action news channel".

If you wish to see the gameplay there are several videos on YouTube. I am giving just one link but do not hesitate to hunt for more. To put it in a nutshell, Dialed In! is a great game. Really funny like all Lawlor pinballs with a captivating gameplay. 

In my "tribute" post I had included a video of the Wizard Blocks gameplay. It's a table of the Williams line that was never released. Looking at WB and Dialed In! I could not help noticing similarities. So, did Lawlor recycle some of the Wizard Blocks features into Dialed In! ? I cannot tell for sure but the similarities are there, so, at least, he must have gotten some inspiration from this old game of his.

The news of Lawlor designing a new pinball are great in particular since they come after our frustration with the ProPinball project. Remember, in 2012, Adrian Barritt announced the revival of the ProPinball series through a grandiose project where the four "classical" ProPinballs were to be accompanied by a brand new one designed by Pat Lawlor. The project was, alas, too ambitious and not only was the Lawlor digital-only design put on hold but the mere revival of a second ProPinball, after TimeShock, looks more improbable with each passing day.

I do not know if we are going to have a digital version of Dialed In! one day. To date, FarSight has produced nine (count them) Lawlor pinballs: Earthshaker!, Whirlwind, FunHouse, Red & Ted's Road Show, No Good Gofers, The Addams Family, The Twilight Zone, Safecracker and Ripley's Believe it or Not! That's about half of Lawlor's production. He has signed 19 pinballs in all, although his very first Wreck'n Ball existed only as a whitewood prototype. Wreck'n Ball had an almost vertical playfield, behind the backglass, a feature that carried over to the first Lawlor pinball to be actually produced, Banzai Run. (I am still crossing my fingers for FarSight to offer us one day a Banzai Run simulation).

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