Spectrum is one of the coolest pinball games ever created!
The first time we saw Spectrum was at last summer’s Northwest Pinball and Game Room Show at the Seattle Center. It totally drew us in with its colorful playfield and back glass, and once we played it we realized there was a lot more to this game than we expected.
The first thing that comes to your attention when you play Spectrum is the fact that there is no plunger; instead, you hit one of the flippers, and that launches the ball from the drain area up into the playfield. The second feature that quickly becomes apparent is that there are no side drains, and instead there are hidden side lanes that, once the ball enters, prompt the game to eject a different ball just above the flippers.
While these two unique features are enough to confuse many people, it’s the object of the game that really makes this pin stand out. Unlike the typical way you get points on most games, with Spectrum the object is to figure out the secret color code that the machine randomly selects. Red, yellow, green, and blue are your choices, and you either guess correctly or not by hitting the appropriate targets on the play field. The more guesses you try before draining the ball determines your score.
Confusing? You bet! This game really opened our eyes to the potential of pinball and how most of the games we see and play today are just the tip of the iceberg. We look forward to all the other pinball machines we have yet to discover, both from the past and into the future. Spectrum kicks ass!
Spectrum Fun Facts:
Spectrum is based on the board game Mastermind.
Bally manufactured 994 machines, but due to low sales over half were dismantled.
Spectrum has a lot of speech programs that continually run while the game is played. Many clues concerning the hidden codes are given this way.
If you ever get a chance to play Spectrum, do it!
Originally published in Skill Shot issue 6.5, November 2008