by Kayla Greet
Originally published in Skill Shot 25, August 2012

In October of ’86 Williams released Pin*Bot, an interplanetary journey ending at the Sun with a robotic companion to guide you through. The ball locks – Pin*Bot’s eye sockets – are in the center of the upper playfield much like Dr. Who, and his sight is activated once the two-ball multiball starts. But this isn’t where the Pin*Bot franchise ends. He’s gone Vegas on us with Jack*Bot, come into our living rooms with the Nintendo video simulation, made a cameo in Taxi and most importantly he met a robotic lady known only as Bride of Pin*Bot — the star of the show in the table simply named The Machine.

This is hands-down one of my favorite tables. The premise is that you’re building a robot and eventually transforming her into a human. Her body encompasses the entire playfield, consisting of her torso on the lower and face on the upper. Located on the the lower playfield are two ramps, three orbits, three pop bumpers and a tunnel on the left that activates a spin on one of two bonus wheels. But what makes this table really special is the rotating 4-mode face.

Head up the left ramp to lock a ball in Bride’s mouth and activate her speech, and her face rotates to one with empty eye sockets. Two more shots up the ramp activates her sight and rotates to a robotic face with the mouth and eyes intact. Here’s where the fun begins: MULTIBALL! From here, the challenge (which is a doozy for me) is to lock both balls up the ramp at the robotic face during your two-ball multiball. Once you do this, the real magic happens.

What follows is THE most gratifying and just all-around awesome atmospheric aspect to any pin I’ve ever played. The face rotates a final time to reveal a human’s, every light on the game shuts off and the only sound remaining is the beating of a heart. Once you realize it’s not just your heart pounding, the machine reboots, greets you with a “Hi there” and starts singing during your big money multiball. Relock both balls for a spin of the big wheel where you may get a chance at the Billionaire Shot. Regardless of what happens with your multiball, just get to the Metamorphosis mode of this table and make sure you’ve got some spectators around to witness the coolest thing in all of pinball.

I recently went to Add-a-Ball in Fremont to play this game with some friends.  I played the first couple of games as two-player with a buddy of mine before he moved on to something else. I still had two credits left when he told me he wanted to get going soon, so as an attempt to get out of there quicker, I spent both credits on my last game.

It was the greatest game of Bride of Pin*Bot I’ve ever played.

I activated all four faces on the first ball and finally, after three years of trying, I got to spin that big wheel.  As luck would have it, it landed on “Lites 1 Billion” and I made the shot. After ball one my score was 1.12 billion, leaving me less than 6 million points left to break the bottom spot on the Billionaire’s club (which holds up to 20 high scores.) As my multiball ended and the second ball drained shortly after, I found the most frustrating glitch in this game.  My heart sank as the “TESTING MODE” screen appeared. Apparently you cannot score the billionaire’s club shot when playing a two-player game.

Noted.