By Bernard Blvd.

“It seems today that all you see is violence on movies and sex on TV…” And in a pinball game! It’s Family Guy pinball, distributed by Stern. If you are familiar with the show that the game is based on, you are in for hours of fun with Family Guy pinball. If you aren’t familiar with the show, watch Fox on Sundays to see new episodes of the show that got cancelled and returned years later due to the demand of fans. The whole Griffin family is here: Peter, Lois, Meg, Chris, Stewie, and Brian. Many other characters show up to play, even Quagmire. Giggity-giggity!

The playfield is fun and very animated, with each family member represented by a plastic model that denotes their area of the game. Lois stands next to a ramp entrance that has a spinning picture of her face. Peter stands on a bumper behind Brian, who is on top of a Pawtucket Patriot beer can. Chris is directly next to his dad, behind the ramp that threatens to start the “Evil Monkey” feature. Stewie of course stands near Lois and Meg is alone on the left side, and if you hit the target beneath her, she usually gets hit in the face with something on the display and whines about it.

The game has four main features: TV modes, Beer Can modes, Fart Multiball, and Stewie Pinball. The TV modes are shown directly above the flippers, and include “Sexy Party” and “Chicken Fight.” These are activated by spinning the Lois picture and then sinking the ball into the TV “scoop”. The Beer Can modes are displayed directly below Brian on his beer can, and include “Happy Hour” and “Lard Multiball” (two balls). Hitting the beer will get these modes going. Fart Multiball (three balls) is activated by knocking down the four drop targets that spell out “FART” three times. Family Guy’s skill shot is hitting the “F” in “FART” after pulling the plunger, so practicing this skill shot helps to advance you toward Fart Multi-ball.

Stewie Pin-ball is the best feature of the game, utilizing a second, smaller playfield located in the top right corner. To get to this mode, you have to hit the two trapped balls that border the TV, or hit the scoop itself. When the lights that spell out “PINBALL” are all lit, putting the ball in the hole activates Stewie Pinball, and the regular play-field is temporarily turned off. To advance you hit the ramps or targets to spell out each family member’s name. Be careful, because the flippers are shorter, and the ball tends to jump over them into the drain, especially after rounding the Lois ramp. There is a 15 second “shoot again” limit, which can be extended if you hit the somewhat hidden Stewie targets before hand (look for them next to the word Stewie!). If you can keep the last ball in play, you have no time limit and once all the family members are lit, you have activated Stewie Multiball! This is a four ball multiball that incorporates both playfields, although it is wise to concentrate only on the main playfield and flippers. This feature looks like a lot of fun, but since I have yet to get to it (not for lack of trying…a lot), I have to rely on both of my talented Skill Shot collaborators to “show me how it’s done”.

The features, modes, and jackpots are plentiful. The music and sounds are a direct reminder of the reason this game is so much fun, which is Family Guy: the little TV show on Fox that could.