Johnny Mnemonic


Johnny Mnemonic

Maintainer: Rich Derr <>
He welcomes any additions, corrections, or comments on this rulesheet.

Johnny Mnemonic (JM) is a 4-ball, narrow body game from Williams.

Everything described in this and associated documents is probably (c) 1995 Williams, or possibly someone else. Any rules which I have made up and are not actually part of the game are (c) 1995 Rich Derr.

I have no idea exactly what versions of the game software were used to write this rulesheet, although I can distinguish between three versions, at least.

You may also be interested in reading the rule card on the game, or in finding out who created Johnny Mnemonic. You are probably not interested in the author of this rulesheet.


Joel Iott <>
for posting to some notes, including one I hadn't myself noticed (the Yakuza Strike/Mnemonic Recovery bit).


As always, we start from the drain and go clockwise.

I think these are small flippers. I say I think because I have a hard time concentrating on these flippers. The plastic and rubber are both black -- for my first game, I could hardly use them at all. While the flippers are small, the gap is small as well.

Triangular, and as small as I've seen in a while.

Left inlane
Can be lit for 'Light Throwing Spears'.

Left Outlane
Can be lit for 'Mnemonic Recovery'. This is fortunate -- the machine at Gala North had the sidewall rubber post set all the way up, leaving just a huge amount of bare wood on the side.

Left Standup
Lights 'Access Jet Bumpers'.

Left Loop
A typical left orbit. There is a sensor gate at the entrance, but nothing counts unless it goes at least most of the way around and doesn't come back out the left orbit. Weak shots will come back out the spinner lane. This can be lit by an orange arrow and a white triangle ('Anna'). This can be lit for extra balls.

Left Ramp
Think of Dr. Who's W ramp, on the other side. This ramp is rather shallow and short, and is easily backhanded. This has three red triangle lights for Yakuza Strike, and can be lit by a white triangle ('Upload').

Bumper area
The upper left of the playfield is where the usual triangle of three bumpers and three rollovers reside. The only way to exit the bumpers is through a narrow opening at the bottom -- think of T2. Balls go to the right slingshot after rolling along the left ramp wall.

The game's diverters are above the rollovers. One diverter stops balls from the spinner lane and right loop (and plunger) from going around to the left loop and shunts them to the other diverter. The other diverter decides whether balls go to the data glove or the rollovers.

Data glove
A magnet crane with two degrees of freedom. Never mind the plastic, this toy is a magnet that floats up near the glass, which can move left, right, back, and forward. When under the player's control, the normal flipper buttons move it left and right, and extra buttons move it back and forward.

There is a sinkhole in the diverter assembly which kicks the ball straight up to the glove. The glove holds on to the ball, moves, and drops it. When modes are being started, or when a ball reaches the sinkhole when it shouldn't, the glove moves slightly forward and drops it above the rollovers. The primary purpose, however, is locking balls, which is done on the ...

Think of a 3x3 grid of mass sensors, with a metal plate covering the vertical gaps. Balls are locked here; the data glove moves over here and drops the ball on one of the sensors, under the player's control. When it comes time to unlock the balls, the metal plate springs up in back which drops the balls into habitrails.

The matrix is in the upper (in both senses) right of the playfield. After taking the high road following the left ramp, we now take the low.

Crazy Bob's
This is a sinkhole which is just about dead center in the playfield. It cannot be shot directly from the left due to a wall (part of the guide for balls leaving the bumpers). The right side is open, and I've seen plenty of wild balls bounce in. This is a deep sinkhole, and has a Neutral Zone-like thing for a backstop; I've only seen one direct hit out of a hundred not fall in. The kickout goes to the lower part of the right slingshot (usually), except when it goes to the knee of the right flipper.

This can be lit by an orange arrow and a white triangle ('Download'). The sign above it can also light up -- not with a coloured bulb as in TAF and TZ, but with a white lamp. It's plenty visible, and fits the theme, I guess. Of course, it's also easy for the operator to not realize it's a lamp instead of G.I.

Center Lane
This is shootable from either flipper, but is a very precise shot from the left. This can be lit by an orange arrow, a green arrow (Cyberlock), and can be lit for Start Mode (a big hexagon).

The center lane leads directly to the VUK in the diverter, but is protected by a large drop target-like thing. I say drop target-like because it is controlled completely through software -- you don't hit it to make it drop. The target lowers when the lane is lit.

This is not an ordinary spinner with an ordinary decal, this is a large, round spinner with a large, round decal. The spinner seems heavier than the ordinary ones; I've seen plenty of balls hit it and just stop. A good clean shot will send the ball on through towards the diverter area. If not diverted the ball will come out the left loop. If diverted it can go to either the data glove or the rollovers.

This can be lit by an orange arrow and by a white triangle ('Power Down'). It can be lit be a green arrow (Cyberlock). It can be lit for Spinner Millions.

Right Ramp
I guess this is like the Beta Quadrant ramp, although it's been a while since I've seen a ST:TNG, and my memory isn't so good. It's not as steep. It can be hit from the right flipper, although not as a controlled shot.

This has three red triangle lights for Yakuza Strike, and can be lit by a white triangle ('N.A.S. Riot').

Right Orbit
The usual. This sends balls to the same place the spinner lane does: normally out the left orbit, but can be diverted to the glove or rollovers. This can be lit by an orange arrow, a green arrow (Cyberlock), and a white triangle ('Cartoon Hero').

Right Standup
Lights Mnemonic Recovery. Note that there is one big target, but two lights; it must be hit twice to light the saver. And you can't collect the first of those lights while Mnemonic Recovery is still lit -- it does nothing unless M.R. is not presently lit.

Upper Right Rubber
I mention this because there is a huge rubber band to the right of and below the right standup. It's as big as a slingshot. It keeps the ball moving horizontally after a shot to the standup or a missed shot to the right side.

Automatic. Merges with the right loop and can be diverted in the same ways.

Right Outlane
Gee, they put all that lovely rubber up by the standup, and left bare wood down here. At Gala North, the rubber post was down farther than the one on the left was, but not all the way. Even with the posts set to easy this is a bad place to get a ball. Can be lit for Special (from a "Mystery" Matrix Award.

Right Inlane
Can be lit for Hit Me.

Miscellaneous Features

Skill Shot

There is a skill shot at the start of each numbered ball and earned extra balls. There is no skill shot following ball savers or locks.

Hit the launch button to plunge the ball. It will be diverted to the rollovers. The middle lane will be flashing; the flippers move the flashing light left and right. If the ball goes through the correct lane, you score 25M x (number of skill shots made), plus 5 gigabytes.

Plunging the ball scores 123,570 points. I thought you'd like to know.

Bonus X
Light all three lanes to advance the bonus multiplier. If a skill shot is made, the lane is not spotted. Move the lights left and right with the flippers.

The bonus multiplier can also be increased from a matrix award.

If the bonus multiplier was already at 5x, 50M is awarded instead. In early software versions, there was a potentially undesired behaviour regarding the bonus multiplier and hold bonus.

The bumpers score 1,000,000 each in normal play. The triangle is such that balls dropping through the middle lane often don't hit any bumpers.

The left loop spots letters in Johnny, and the right loop spots letters in Mnemonic. Completing Johnny Mnemonic starts a frenzy: every switch is worth 15,000,000 for 20 seconds.

One of the matrix awards is Super Loops, which makes loops worth 25,000,000 the first time awarded, 50,000,000 the second time, etc. (I think for the rest of the ball; I saw no timer.) I infer that the normal value is quite a bit less.

Each ramp shot scores 15,000,000. If a red triangle remains unlit on the ramp that was shot, one is lit. When all six red lamps -- three at each ramp -- are lit, Yakuza Strike begins.

Shooting a ramp when a video frame is on the display collects one frame. These are worth points in the bonus count, and at some reflexing number (I've seen seven and eight) an extra ball is lit. It appears that frames are on the display whenever nothing else is -- when no modes or other at all special things (Yakuza Strike, Throwing Spears, Hit Me, Combos, etc.) are happening.

I'm not sure exactly what makes a combo, but it's probably repeatedly making shots to the same side of the field, such as right loop -> right loop -> spinner -> right ramp. (I think that would be three combos.) Of course, when you're doing this you have no time to look at the display, so I have no idea how much these are worth or when they are scored. I have gotten the impression that they are worth a few million points and a couple gigabytes. I could be confusing that with the award for hitting the loops themselves, of course. Combos are worth points in bonus.

Mnemonic Recovery
If this light is flashing when a ball drains down the left side, another ball is plunged. The plunged ball is not diverted, so it will come out the left loop fast. Don't watch the display; it's showing abstract art while your second chance is draining.

This starts the game lit, and once used, is relit by hitting the right standup twice.

Mnemonic Recovery cannot be relit during Yakuza Strike.

Non-exclusive Scoring Modes

Yakuza Strike

After each ramp has been hit three times, Yakuza Strike begins. During this round all the orange arrow shots plus both ramps are lit. A timer starts at 60,000,000 and counts down at about 1,000,000/second. Hit a shot to score the value remaining on the timer. The mode stops at 25,000,000.

This mode can continue during, and I do believe start during, multiball. If you can hit the sixth ramp and immediately lock the third ball, a billion from Yakuza Strike is not out of the question.

During Yakuza Strike, Bob's Bunker does not give out hints -- it scores the timer and immediately spits out the ball. It does, however, give out the power item award if lit.

Throwing Spears
During most of the game, the left inlane will light Throwing Spears. To collect the award, shoot either the right ramp or right loop. This is a timed shot, and there is time to try again if you miss the first time, but not that much extra. After making the shot or having time run out, the left inlane relights.

The following are awarded in order every time, and reset upon every drain.

  1. Gigabytes

    The display doesn't say how many, though.

  2. Big Points

    Again, I don't know how many. I doubt it's 'big'.

  3. Lite Spinner

    When lit, the spinner is worth 1,000,000/spin, instead of 100,000/spin.

  4. Quick Multiball

    A second ball is plunged. The ramps award jackpots of 50,000,000 each, as many times as you can hit them. This continues until you drain one or both balls.

  5. Hold Bonus

    Now go for those bumper lanes!

  6. Extra Ball

    I think this actually awards the extra ball, and doesn't just light it. It's one or the other. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a limit on how often you can collect this. (It's no more than once per ball. There may be no other limit other than the overall total extra balls/game adjustment.)

Hit Me
During most of the game, the right inlane lights Hit Me. You have a short time -- essentially one shot -- to hit the left loop. This is worth 25,000,000 the first time and 45,000,000 the second time .... I don't know if the value resets to 25,000,000 every ball or not. I usually would have rather hit the left ramp to set up a Throwing Spear shot.


Start Mode

The center lane starts the game lit for Start Mode. Shooting the ball up that lane will send it to the VUK. The ball is kicked to the glove, which moves forward and drops it above the bumper lanes to start the mode.

Start Mode is re-lit after locking a ball for multiball. If the number of Start Mode shots made is less than the number of locks made in the game, Start Mode is re-lit by shooting Bob's Bunker.

The lit mode moves every couple seconds while Start Mode is lit. This is quite a change from earlier versions, which required that the modes be completed in sequence. All five 'normal' modes must be played before Power Down is lit. After Power Down all modes become unlit, even if the playfield lamps don't immediately reflect this. These modes exclude Start Mode. They do not exclude Yakuza Strike, Throwing Spears, and Hit Me. In early versions they excluded multiball locks, but in the most recent version locks can be lit unless the shot is used by the particular mode. If multiball is started during a mode, the mode may end (if little time remained) or pause and continue as it was when single-ball play resumes.

Scoring and Timing
All modes start with a base score of 30,000,000 and 6 GB. Score by making shots indicated by lit white triangles. Except for Upload, modes start with 25 seconds on the timer. However, after every shot is made the timer resets to 15 seconds if it had counted down below that. (This makes it very easy to complete the modes, which is valuable. This latter behaviour was not present in earlier versions.)

The left loop, left ramp, right ramp, and right loop are lit. Shoot them in any order. The first shot is worth 50,000,000, the second 70,000,000, the third 90,000,000, and the fourth 110,000,000. All shots are also worth 6 GB. The timer for this mode starts at about 306 and counts down at about 15/second. Every other mode has a 25 second timer, so I'd bet this one does too, even though you can't read it.

Cartoon Hero
The left ramp is lit. After that shot is made, the right loop is lit. The right ramp and left loop follow. The first shot is worth 50,000,000, the second 70,000,000, the third 90,000,000, and the fourth 110,000,000. All shots are also worth 6 GB.

If you don't like seeing violence in pinball, don't watch the display after shooting the right ramp! (Right loop in early versions.)

This is a bumper mode, unlike the others. Bumpers score 8,000,000 per hit. The spinner lane and right loop are lit and diverted to the lanes. When the lanes are completed during Riot, not only is the Bonus Multiplier increased, but the bumper scores are multiplied as well. I assume some gigabytes are also awarded in this mode, but I don't really know how. I also don't know what constitutes finishing this mode -- I've had 82 hits and not lit Crazy Bob's.

Hit the left loop three times for 60,000,000, 90,000,000, and 120,000,000, plus 6 GB per shot.

N.A.S. Cure
Hit the center lane four times for 60,000,000, 90,000,000, 120,000,000, and 150,000,000, plus 6 GB per shot.

Power Items
Upon completing any of the five modes, Crazy Bob's is lit (the sign above the hole, that is). Shoot Crazy Bob's for a power item and 200,000,000. (Early versions: 100,000,000.) Power items are one of the things that flashes by on the normal score display (along with current ball, credits, gigabytes, and video frames). Thus, I assume they are important. They seem to effect how Power Down plays.

Power Down
All white triangle shots are lit, and all four balls are put on the field. Each white triangle shot scores 400,000,000. Well, enjoy, because those shots start going away. Every few seconds the game announces that a section is being powered down, and those shots become unlit. More than that, that whole portion of the field goes dark, G.I. and all!

If you start Power Down with no power items, the shots start going away after just a few seconds, and the whole mode lasts maybe 30 seconds. If you collect some power items, it seems (I don't get this far often enough to be sure) you get more time. Or maybe the shots are worth more, if they felt like borrowing a good idea from ST:TNG.

Drained balls are replunged after a five-second delay. When the time runs out, there's nothing left to do, so stop flipping. (Earlier versions killed the flippers. I don't know why that changed.) The total for the round is displayed, the lights come up, and a ball is plunged.

(In early versions this mode was totally unbalancing. The powering down part hadn't been implemented, so all the shots were lit all the time. The timer behaved as if a whole bunch of power items had been collected, and the mode lasted at least sixty seconds, if not ninety. Not knowing what I was doing, as the display didn't provide even the information that the white triangle shots scored at the time, I got 10,500,000,000 from this mode. Knowing what I'm doing I haven't gotten half that since the rules changed.)


Bob's Bunker

During normal play, shooting Bob's Bunker will give you information about one of the matrix awards. This lights the first lock.

Locks are lit at the center lane, spinner lane, and right loop. (Start Mode takes priority over Cyberlock at the center lane.) Shooting one of these sends the ball to the VUK, where it is kicked to the glove. The glove is under the player's control, and you have seven seconds to drop the ball where you wish.

Dropping the ball on a lock gives you an award. These awards are shuffled after every multiball and every game, but information is available from Bob's Bunker.

After shooting the first lock, the display flips through six or seven of the possible awards. At the same time, the lights on the physical matrix itself flash. Yes, the game is showing you what's available at most of the locks! Easy extra ball here. (This is NOT duplicated on the display, as the physical lamps usually are. You have to keep both the DMD and matrix in your vision, or quickly shift downward and to the right when you see 'Light Extra Ball' on the display. Never to my knowledge has the maintenance of lamps been so important to gameplay!) (Also, in early versions what was on the display did not have anything to do with the lamps being lit.) If you drop the ball somewhere other than the matrix, the locks will be re-lit.

Start a mode to light the second and third locks.

Matrix Awards

  • Bonus X
  • Hold Bonus
  • Light Extra Ball
  • Light Crazy Bob's -- lights Crazy Bob's for a power item (the name of which appears to be meaningless, but which always occur in the same order) and 200,000,000.
  • 50 GB -- becomes 10 GB if collected more than once in a game.
  • Super Loops -- the left and right loops score 25,000,000 for the rest of the ball. 50,000,000 if collected again in the game, and probably more if collected even more often.
  • Award Bonus
  • Video Mode -- A curious mode. You must use all four buttons to move your square around the display and catch all the dots before time runs out. My best guess at the scoring is 15,000,000/catch after the first. I've never completed Wave 1, so there may be completion bonuses or additional points on subsequent waves that I don't know about.
  • Mystery -- This can start Yakuza Strike, award points or gigabytes, light an extra ball or the right outlane special, and start Touch-Tone Multiball. It can probably do most anything. (In early versions, this always started Touch-Tone Multiball when possible. In later versions it rarely does, thankfully.)

Touch-Tone Multiball
Two balls are launched. The goal is to hit Crazy Bob's as often as possible while keeping both balls in play.

On the display, the digits 1-9 randomly flash on the telephone. The first hit to Crazy Bob's sets whatever digit is lit as the 10,000,000 digit of the jackpot. The second hit sets the 1,000,000 digit of the jackpot. The third hit awards the jackpot. Repeat as often as possible while keeping one ball in play.

This mode precludes normal modes and further locks while running.

(This is very infrequently awarded in recent versions. Considering the difficulty of hitting Crazy Bob's three times, the fact that even 99,000,000 is not much reward, and the possibility of draining both balls, I'm not sorry to see it go.)

After three locks, the balls are released. Balls locked in the left column go to the bumpers. Balls locked in the middle column go to the left flipper. Balls locked in the right column go to the right flipper. There is a ball saver at the start of multiball which is longer than the usual (insignificant) start-of-ball saver.

The shots lit for jackpots vary. At first, three shots are lit. After the first three jackpots have been collected, the jackpot rotates between the three. Which three shots they are go according to where the balls were locked:

Right Jet Lane    Right Loop      Crazy Bob's
Middle Jet Lane   Right Ramp      Left Ramp
Left Jet Lane     Spinner Loop    Left Loop
My best guess at the value of jackpots is: 30,000,000 for the first three, 40,000,000 for the fourth, 50,000,000 for the fifth, and so on. If the three balls were locked in a row, jackpots are tripled.

Between getting good matrix awards, getting shots you can make easily lit for jackpots, and getting all three balls in a row, locking balls in JM is not trivial.

Wrapping Up


After each ball, you are awarded 4,000,000 for each video frame and 100,000 for each gigabyte you have collected up to that point in the game. You also get 5,000,000 for each combo made in that ball.

Hold Bonus
Hold Bonus now works like every other Hold Bonus in pinball. The value after multiplier is remembered, and added in after the multiplier has taken effect in the next ball. Hold Bonus also holds the Bonus Multiplier for the next ball. In early versions it was added in before the multiplier on the next ball. However, it did not hold the multiplier between balls. Hold Bonus has no effect if collected on the last ball.

You can buy-in once. Nothing special happens except for a reasonable ball-save.

High Scores
There is a Grand Champion, and High Scores 1-4 are kept. There is no separate table for bought-in games.

The most recent person to collect 320 GB is stored as the Cyberpunk.

The display has no trouble showing these somewhat high scores at any time. Anyone gotten it up to 100,000,000,000 yet?

Just the basic animation first seen in ST:TNG. So?

Broken Dataglove Compensation
It seems like the big toy is always breaking. Obviously, this affects gameplay. Here's how.

Locks are virtual; balls will be autoplunged when multiball starts. When Crazy Bob's would have just shown the location of an award, it now gives that award immediately. The player gets no choice. I don't know what the jackpot shots are or whether they are tripled in this compensation mode.

The game tries to keep balls away from the VUK. The drop target registers as a center lane shot. (Warning: these tend to drop SDTM. There ought to be a ball saver.) Spinner lane and right loop shots that would have been eligible for locking go out around the left orbit, scoring the virtual lock as they go. When a ball does get to the VUK, and it will, the game repeatedly and quickly fires the kicker, so that the ball will eventually accumulate enough spin to bounce off the dataglove sideways and not return to the VUK. This typically requires five to ten kicks, and does work.

This is not a compensation that gives you an advantage (like a bad trunk in ToM or mini-playfield stuck up in Dr. Who). By taking away the best opportunity for a break, it really makes the game much harder. Don't feel bad about not playing a broken JM.

Rule Card

This is a direct copy of the rule card in JM, and is reproduced for completeness. The rulesheet could probably stand on its own, without this, but I may as well include the bits of the official rules that we know.












As long as I'm copying things straight off the game, you ought to give credit to all the people who helped make JM.


Let's thank these folks for bringing us another great pinball game!

From the right outlane:

From the left outlane:

With these names in mind, perhaps you'd like to jump up to the brief rules card they put on the game itself, or the rulesheet I'm working on.

back to Rule Sheets