Kahler's Guide to Bally's Game Show
Preliminary Version, as of 11/7/93
Disclaimer: This rule sheet was (also) written completely from memory- I haven't seen or played a Game Show in at least a year. However, I played it many times back when it was new. Questions, comments and additions can be forwarded to me, Mike Kahler. Any usage of the term Milti-Ball refers to the physical action of having Multiple (pin)Balls on the playfield at one time.
Important Things, in pseudo-random order
Game Show has a single level playfield. Plastic ramps for the wheel, skill shot and collect ramps cover a lot of the area. There are a variety of shots off the flippers, ranging from the close-quarters Wheel Ramp and the TV, TRUCK and TRIP targets, to th e distant Loops and CAR/Big Bucks shots.
The rear, vertical panel at the far end of the playfield is rimmed with clear bulbs, which continuously 'chase', giving the game a glitzy, game show appearance.
Another noticeable thing is the large "APPLAUSE" studio light on top of the backglass. Lights during most major point scores, as well as randomly whether the game is being played or not.
The backglass depicts the Host, an Assistant, and 4 contestants. If anyone can fill in the names please do.
Host: Keith McTeeth. Asst: Contestants: Ms. Geri Tol,
Start of game quote:
"Welcome to Game Show, I'm your host, Keith McTeeth" (McTeeth is apparent from the cartoon of our host on the backglass).
The plunger delivers the ball to a raised field above the CASH lanes. Object of the Skill Shot is to hit the flashing CASH lane for X Bonus. The flashing lane cannot be steered. Bonus X's start at 2X and max at 10X, with a step value of 1. Because the Collect Ramp connects into the plunger lane, it is possible for a weak plunge to roll backwards down the Collect Ramp and into play. A very weak plunge not even reaching the peak of the Collect Ramp will always return to the plunger.
The whole object of Game Show is to win prizes :). To do this, you must light each prize for collect, then collect them. Once a prize is collected, it cannot be collected again until all others have been collected. Prizes can be lit and collected in an y order.
There are 4 main prizes, a TV, TRUCK, TRIP and CAR. Each prize has a target/target set associated with it. On the multi-letter prizes, each target has a lamp noting whether that letter has been spotted.
Each time a prize is completed (ie, hitting all letters in TRIP), that prize is lit for Collect on the Collect Ramp. The base of the Collect Ramp has a lamp for each prize; a flashing prize means it is ready to be collected. Steadily lit prizes have already been collected. To help the flashing/steadily lit impaired, there is also a large Collect lamp at the entrance to the ramp which indicates if there is a prize to be collected.
Besides direct hits on the prize targets, prize letters can be spotted individually by traversing the rear loop in the direction indicated by the SPOT arrow at the entrance to the loop. One of the two entrances will always be lit; the lit side alternates with things hit like the pop-bumpers and sling shots. Only a full traversal of the loop counts; making it half way through then falling into the CASH lanes don't cut it. The SPOTed loop direction does not change when a loop is completed, thus continuous SPOT loops can be made; a ball returning from a CCW traversal of the loop returning to the left flipper can immediately be shot to the right loop entrance for another SPOT , over and over. It's one of those fast shots that just flipping when the ball nears the flipper seems to put it through the loop again, where it comes back to flipper again, and again... (like the Freeways in High Speed or the Chase Loop in T2). Prize letters are SPOTed from least valuable up; TV letters are given first, then TRIP, then TRUCK, then the CAR.
Now to explain the seemingly simple Collect Ramp. During the Skill Shot and when Collect is not lit, both the plunger and the Collect ramp will continue to the raised Skill shot field, but will be diverted from continuing to the Collect Saucer. Only when Collect is lit will the diverter allow the Collect Ramp to continue on to the Collect Saucer, where the prizes are actually collected (well, almost only. More below). However, even if Collect is lit, a weak shot up the Collect ramp not continuing thro ugh the diverter will end up in the Skill Shot field just the same (shot must have enough speed to completely bypass the entire Skill Shot area). A really weak shot can sometimes land back in the plunger lane, just as a weak plunge can sometimes come back down the Collect Ramp.
As each prize is lit for collection, the assistant notes "Collect the [ TV | TRIP | TRUCK | CAR ] !". When a single prize is collected, Keith states "You've just won a [ color tv | fabulous trip | sporty new truck | shiny new car ] !". If multiple prize s are collected in one Collect Ramp shot, Keith adds a little something, for example "You've just won a fabulous trip, a sporty new truck, and that's not all.... a shiny new car!". It's clearly heard that the quotes are pieced together as needed, it's always the same "You've just won..." followed by whatever is appropriate. Needless to say, the whole Game Show environment is quite amusing and the corny quotes really add to the game.
Showcase Bonanza is the major prize round possible after collecting the above prizes. When the four prizes have all been lit for collect, the Collect Ramp is also lit for Lock. It doesn't matter if some prizes have been collected and others not; once the Collect shot has the possibility of completing the Collection of all four prizes, Lock is also lit. Luckily, if some or no prizes have been collected but the rest are lit for collection, hitting the Lock/Collect Saucer will still award the full "You've just won..." sequence, followed by the Showcase Bonanza stuff. Would you believe Showcase Bonanza begins with the quote "Showcase Bonanza!".
Showcase Bonanza is a 2 ball Multi-Ball. The second ball is served to the plunger immediately after the first enters the lit Lock, or after prize collection quotes are finished if needed. During Showcase Bonanza, the Collect Ramp is lit for Jackpot. When the second ball is plunged, and until some switch is hit, the ramp diverter is activated so no shot (including the plunger shot) will continue to the Collect Saucer (where the first ball is now locked). Apon hitting any switch, the first ball is ejected from the saucer and the diverter is de-energized so a shot up the Collect Ramp will continue to the Collect Saucer, where Jackpot/Showcase Bonanza is scored. Showcase Bonanza/Jackpot starts at $3,000,000 and remains there for the first few seconds after Multi-ball is started. It then begins decrementing at a rate of about $100,000 every couple seconds, and bottoms out at $1,000,000, where it stays until collected or a ball is drained.
Showcase Bonanza Quote: "You just won... Showcase Bonanza!!" (could you guess?).
Showcase Bonanza can only be collected once per multi-ball. Game play goes back to normal after it is collected, even if both balls remain in play. Prizes can be lit for collection and collected. The only difference is Lock cannot and will not be lit until one ball is drained, even if all four prizes are collected.
Another disappointing difference is after the first Showcase Bonanza, all the prize quotes are discontinued and replaced by simple sound effects. This is obviously because the quotes are quite lengthy, and are only heard when the ball is waiting in the saucer, wasting precious, quarter earning play time.
The wheel is scattered with various amounts, ranging from something like $25,000 to $250,000, I think starting at the 12 O'clock position and increasing clockwise. The wheel automatically spins at the start of each ball, placing it in a random position.
The Wheel Ramp can be lit for SPIN or NUDGE. SPIN is lit by the Right Inlane. NUDGE is lit immediately after a successful SPIN and remains lit for several seconds afterwards. Merely hitting the swinging gate at the entrance to the ramp restarts the NUD GE timer. Once NUDGE times out, SPIN must be lit off the Right Inlane to activate the Wheel again. When SPIN is lit, making a full loop around the Wheel Ramp spins the wheel and awards the newly lit value. Making consecutive loops, before NUDGE times out, advances the Wheel one space, and awards that value. As NUDGE is re-lit by the left inlane, where the ramp returns to, it is easy to 'nudge' your way all the way around the Wheel. Note to award a SPIN or NUDGE, the full 270 degree loop must be traversed; up the ramp and straight back into the return path doesn't count.
Besides the general point values around the Wheel, there are also 4(?) features connected to 4 of the point values. These are marked by clear, circular lamps on the perimeter of the Wheel. The values (I can remember) are: $1 Million, $4 Million, Lite Ex tra Ball, and Hold Bonus. At any time, one of the features will be flashing. If the wheel lands on the flashing feature (by either SPIN or NUDGE), that value is also awarded along with the point value of that spot on the Wheel.
$1 Million awards $1 Million immediately, Quote: "$1 Million (?)".
$4 Million (not really) lights the Left Loop entrance for $2 Million. If the Left Loop is hit before the $2 Million times out, then the Right loop entrance is then lit for $2 Million, which also times out shortly. Quotes: "Be a contestant for $2 Million, You just won.. $2 Million" (repeated for Right Loop).
Light Extra Ball lights the Left Loop entrance for EB, which remains lit for the remainder of the ball in play. Quote: "Get the Extra ball, Extra Ball" (both by the assistant).
Hold Bonus does just that, but in a much more noticeable way than say, White Water. The Bonus X is carried to the next ball, or if on the last ball, gains a second bonus count up at the end of the ball. What actually makes up the Bonus Value escapes me, but when up to 10X can be scored, it's worthwhile to score.
Once each feature is scored (or lit, such as the EB or $4 Million), that feature remains steadily lit on the Wheel. Only after all 4(?) awards have been lit will they be available again.
It seems there is some other way than the Wheel to light the Extra Ball (at the entrance to the Left Loop). From what I recall, it must be reaching 4X Bonus. Lighting this way probably only holds for the ball in play. If scored, 5X must be reached next , then 6X, etc.
Big Bucks is scored via the sink hole behind the CAR Target. It begins each ball at $100,100. Each time it is hit on the same ball $100,100 is added to the value. As the sink hole returns to the right flipper, it is quite possible to continuously hit t his shot. I faintly remember the CAR target resetting at some point, maybe after $900,900 is reached. Can't say for sure. When it does, it essentially means 2 shots are required to hit the hole, one to drop the CAR, and another to hit the hole.
Tips, Tricks and Bad Things
Game Show is quite a simple game, both in rules and playfield mechanics. I've never seen one not fully functional; there's only 1 lock and 1 diverter to go haywire. If all the ramp switches and gates also register you're in good shape.
Lighting prizes for Collect is easy- no difficulty in hitting any letter in any prize. With additional SPOTs from the Loops, they all 4 get lit pretty quickly. Prizes never become any more difficult after Showcase Bonanza's, so it's always just as easy to get a multi-ball.
As the Wheel Ramp can be hit from either flipper, it is quite easy to 'NUDGE' the Wheel around a full circle. It's usually best to SPIN, then NUDGE until the first feature is awarded, then shoot what is necessary to score that feature. By now a SPIN will be required off the Right Inlane to continue with the Wheel.
Big Bucks is not a simple shot; the sink hole is far down a long path, thus requiring a good centered shot to make it all the way to the hole. The score awarded isn't spectacular either, making it a less desired shot.
The Wheel Ramp is designed with the player in mind; it will never center drain a ball rolling back down the initial rise. It seems to have some deformation right at the entrance that will seriously change the path of a returning ball, sending it near the pivot end of one of the flippers.
The Collect Ramp is good to shoot whether lit or not; if not lit, it's an easy way to get into the CASH lanes, which can make a large end of ball bonus, as well as working towards an Extra Ball.
The Multi-Ball trick works especially well on Game Show. Being a Bally machine requires extra skill on the players behalf though.
Multi-Ball trick background: After locking a ball, when the next ball arrives at the plunger, it is possible on many games to push the plunger inwards, enough to push the ball off the trough switch, making the game think the ball is no longer there. After some time, the game will perform a 'ball search', eventually kicking out any locked ball to get the game going again. This nets the player with a free ball in the plunger as well as (on some games) Multi-Ball mode scoring with only one ball on the playfield. But Bally got a bit smarter; If a ball is served to the plunger, and it hits the trough switch, it will never perform a ball search even if you push the ball off the switch; it _knows_ the ball was put there. So this just means you have to push the plunger in _before_ that second ball pops into the plunger, so it never triggers the trough switch. Easy to do, just push the plunger in as soon as you hit the Collect/Lock ramp when Lock is lit. Plenty of time before the next ball comes out.
Multi-Ball trick awards something more on Game Show. Holding the ball with the plunger, the machine will ball search and eventually kick the locked ball out of the Collect Saucer. Once that ball hits any target, Jackpot is ready at the Collect Ramp, meaning the diverter has been de-activated. Simply plunging the ball now will pass right by the Skill Shot playfield and drop immediately into the Collect Saucer- "You just won.. Showcase Bonanza!" (without even trying to shoot for it, and at full $3,000,000 value! :).
As with any machine, for Multi-Ball trick to work, the trough switch must be adjusted such that pushing in on the plunger will un-trigger it. As most games make some sound effect when the ball is plunged, you can tell if MB trick will work in advance. Before plunging the first ball, press the plunger in and see if the 'plunge sound' is heard. If so, you're set for MB trick later on.
On Game Show, it's possible to Lock a ball before the Lock is even lit, if you want to get technical. When the last prize is lit for Collect, if the Lock Ramp is hit before the "Collect the ???" quote and animation is finished, the Lock will not light, b ut as you made a valid lock shot, Showcase Bonanza will be awarded (after the "You've just won.." quotes are finished). I even recall the displays throwing in a quick 'Lock Ready' just after the awarding of prizes, but then it realizes you already locked and continues with Showcase Bonanza. Try it sometime and you'll see what I mean, it's basically a noticeable lag in the update/display software.
Last note- for the match, the wheel spins and gradually slows to a stop. However, the numbers on the Wheel do not relate to the match at all, it's just a visual clue that the match is taking place. The actual match selection is shown on the displays.
End of Game quote: "How would you like to win fabulous prizes on Bally's Game Show?"
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