Theatre of Magic


The Official GeekBoy Edition of Rules for Theatre of Magic
Full Version


New To This Version

  • Explanation of the Theatre hurry-up.
  • Better explanations of illusions.
  • A half-way organized layout of info.
  • Designer names.
  • A replacing of 'kewl' with 'cool' (you're welcome Cameron =))
  • Realization that the lovely assistant is actually the magician. oops.

Super-Duper King-Sized Extra Special Thanks

  • Cameron Silver
  • Scott R. Tiesma
  • Bowen Kerins


  • SDTM - Straight Down The Middle
  • WCS - World Cup Soccer
  • ST:TNG - Star Trek: The Next Generation

Designer Names

  • Playfield Design: John Popadiuk Jr.*
  • Software Degin: Jeff 'Japple' Johnson
  • Mechanical Engineer: Jack Skalon*, Ernie Pizarro
  • Mechanical Design: Joe Loveday
  • Art & Design: Linda Deal
  • Music & Design: Dr. Dave Zabriske
  • Dot Animations: Brian C. Morris, Adam 'ation' Rhine

* worked on World Cup Soccer


Actually something to rival WCS. I didn't think that they could do it. I would even go as far as to say that I think it's better than Shadow (and from me, that's high praise). Very smooth, and very natural shots. It's not a game that you have to practice specific shots for; shots are more of a natural extension. Great job guys.



A real plunger, just like in WCS, but without the coin toss. I'll explain the skill shot later on.

Just two, in the normal positions.

Two triangles, relatively small and non-obtrusive.

Two, called 'staircases', in the center and on the right. Neither is steep, but both are very long. The center ramp drains to the left in-lane, the right to the right. There is possibly the coolest diverter in history on the right ramp that is activated during the Metamorphosis mode. It is a large magnetic ring (called the 'Spirit Ring') located on the left that catches your ball, flashes a blue light, and then placed your ball in the center ramp return track. The right lane has a drop similar to the one in WC, wherein if the ball doesn't make the ramp all the way around, it drops into this and back onto the playfield. On the one I play, both are angled well as to avoid SDTM drains. However, I have heard reports of others on which the center ramp is VERY VERY unkind, to the point of being a design flaw. Both are used to start locks, and in modes. More on that later.

The left orbit scores extra balls and various silly things (like the vanish I'll talk about in a second) and also spells T-H-E-A-T-R-E. A left orbit shot will either lead to a right in-lane drop (because of a weak shot, during the Straightjacket mode, and during the THEATRE hurry-up), or go to the jets. Either way it will score an orbit. Right orbit advances the clock and starts the Tiger Saw Multi-ball.

There is a mini-orbit the the middle of the playfield, surrounding the trunk. This is where balls are locked, modes are played, and the spinner rests (on the right entrance). Kinda tight entrances, but relatively easy to get the hang of (my apologies for the dangled preposition).

There is a big rotating trunk in the middle of the playfield. One side is flat with a green lite, one is flat with a blue lite, one has a super-cool magnet used in the clock mode and to start multiballs, and one has a trap used for jackpots and in modes. It starts modes, scores skill shots, is the jackpot, is a target in modes and locks balls. Its a magic trunk, and so much more. More on it later.

Three jets, in a triangle. You can't see them from your vantage point, so a mirror is provided. Artwork is inverted for you even (X sunoB ecnavdA). Very neat.

A really neat feature, wherein a 'trapdoor' pops up and stays open for a few seconds, awaiting the entry of your ball. It can be accessed by a center ramp shot when the 'Open Trapdoor' lite is lit. See rules section.

There are two captured balls on the left, just to the right of the far left orbit. Every three hits lites Vanish. It is also used in the Tiger Saw mode, to advance the clock, and as the Skill Shot after a ball has been locked or vanished. Plus it makes super-neato sounds when hit.

Middle drain is very kind, seldom drops there, and the Anti-Biff Bars do an exceptional job of bouncing the ball back into play. The right and left lanes are normal, and relatively kind. There is no kickback, however on both sides there are old-style, but automated magna-saves that make a neat 'hiss' when accessed. Very cool. This has to be earned though by hitting the 'Hocus Pocus' target above the left in/out lanes (about the same position as the Lite Kickback in WCS).


The trap in the one side of the trunk.

The Captured Balls.


When you launch the ball, there is a hat on the screen that has various goodies coming out of it. Launch when it is on the one that tickles your particular fancy. Choices I've seen are:

  • Various points
  • 2x multiplier
  • 2x combos
  • Start illusion (mode)
  • Advance Clock

There are only three choices per launch, and I believe the 2x combos appears only if Illusion is already lit. Once the choice is made, you activate it by hitting the trunk. You may get two tries at it of you're fast. Also, you only get one Skill Shot per ball. After a ball is locked or vanished, hit the Captured Ball to Advance Clock.

Note: the flippers will change which Illusion is lit before the ball is launched.

Modes are started by hitting the trunk three times, then hitting the vault trap, or by a skill shot. A trunk shot during a mode gives you 2y points, with y starting at 2M.

The various modes are:

Timed mode with big tiger with a saw rolling around the screen sawing various things such as a pinball machine. Three hits of the captured ball finishes the mode.
points =???????????

you attempt to make a lady levitate. Three shots of the center ramp completes the trick.
points =??????????

You, as a master magician attempt to escape from a sealed trunk. You have to hit the trunk three times. Pretty easy.
points =?????????

I'm not quite sure of the point to this one, you just flip cards around on the screen. Spinner shots award points.

You, as a Master Magician, force yourself into a safe and become submersed in water. Three shots through the middle orbit, either side, and you live to tell about it. Great quotes during this mode.
points = 51M (17M x 3)

Three right-ramp shots and you are a member of the animal kingdom. Rumor mill has it that a cow has been spotted during this mode.

You attempt to escape a straitjacket this time. 16 jet hits completes the mode. And as Scott says, completion yields a really neat animated sequence. Very easy.
points= 48M (16 x 3M)

You pull things out your hat, like a good magician. First a rabbit, then doves and finally a phone which screams "MOVE YER CAR!!!". Three hits in the trunk trap ends the mode.
points= 15M per shot.


If you get the clock to midnite (accomplished through skill shots, right orbit hits (one hour per orbit), Captured Ball hits, and Basement Awards) the trunk rotates until the magna-surface is facing you. Hit it for big big points. Starting at 24 million points, and decrementing for each hour down to 0. At 6:00 extra-ball will lite. It will also light the extra-ball when you get the Midnight Basement Award. My roommate's girlfriend got a replay from this mode alone.

Four hits of the two white targets on either side of the center ramp will light 'Open Trapdoor'. Then hit the center ramp to, well, open the trapdoor, located on the right side. below the right ramp. When a ball is captured in this manner, it goes down into the playfield, awards 15M points and a random menu ala the Roadshow convenience store pops up. Balls are ejected from here during multiball, when a ball is shot into the trunk, and when you are playing with more than one player and you lock a ball after she/he has already done so.

Awards are as follows:

  • Digital Pinball (YEA!!)
  • Extra Ball
  • Advance Clock
  • Midnight
  • Light Special
  • X Bonus
  • ????????????

Very very cool video pinball game available as a Basement Award. There are five targets at the top, and two flippers at the bottom. if you hit all five targets in 20 seconds, you get either 40 million points or an extra ball. WOO HOO! It even lets you catch the ball on a raised flipper. If the ball drains it just reappears above one of the flippers.

When the vanish indicator is lit (accomplished through three Captive Ball hits), hitting the left orbit will vanish the ball. The ball disappears, a new one is ejected into the launch-lane, and you receive 40 million points. This will lite the Tiger Saw Multiball.

Shooting the left orbit spots a letter in T-H-E-A-T-R-E. Once this is complete, a hurry-up is invoked. For some some strange and wonderful reason the value doesn't count down. You have 10 seconds to shoot the trunk (which has turned so the trap is facing you) to collect big points (which is increased by bumper-hits during normal play). If you lock a ball during this mode, you get credit for the trunk shot as well. Plays a hum-dinger of a tune during this mode.

The lock is initiated by hitting either ramp while the 'Lite Magic' indicator is lit (which is lit through ramp shots), or through the secret ball lock. Secret ball lock is accomplished by the ball not quite making the orbit. All balls are ejected to the right flipper from the Basement (its a three ball multi-ball, however if you make a ball Vanish, and do not collect the Tiger Saw Multiball, it will be a four-ball. You will then have to Vanish a ball afterwords to re-light TSMB.). Jackpot is scored by hitting the trap in the Trunk wall (which is the side now facing you). While the balls are being ejected initially the lovely assistant will count 3-2-1 (rather quietly, you may not be able to hear her in a loud environment). A jackpot shot during this will give you 100 million points. Three shots to the trunk re-lights jackpot. Ends when less than two balls are in play.

After you have made a ball vanish, you can access the Tiger-Saw Multiball (a two-ball) with a right orbit shot. Bad news is there's no ball save. Good news is that Illusions continue during it. Jackpot is the Captured Ball at about 15M a pop.

Extra Balls are lit by:

  • Reaching 6:00 on the clock
  • Winning Digital Pinball
  • Basement Award

Hitting the left orbit then awards it.

Combos are scored by consecutive shots to just about anything (i.e. orbits, ramps, etc.). You do not have to alternate flippers or targets. You can just sit there and hit the center ramp from the left flipper until your face turns blue (memories of alpha quad in ST:TNG). Two in a row starts the scoring at 2M points, and increments 2M for every combo thereafter. Maxes at about 12M.

Bonus multiplier is via the lanes above the jets (flippers control which lane is lit).

You work your way up through the ranks, aspiring to someday become 'Master Magician'. You advance a rank for every time you complete a mode. Ranks are:

  1. Novice
  2. Apprenticeship
  3. Journeyman
  4. Master

You receive 2M x rank as an end-of-ball bonus.

Send me your best (no buy-ins, and only three-ball machines count).


When all Illusions are complete, Theatre Multiball is finished, Theatre has been spelled and the Midnight is complete, the Grand Finale starts. I don't want to ruin the surprise =).


Holding the left flipper while hitting the start button to start the game will initiate the 'Digital Pinball Selected" mode. This will give you Digital Pinball as your first Basement Award.

I have heard, but have not been able to get this to work, that holding the right flipper while hitting start to start the game will initiate the 'Mortal Kombat 3' mode. This will supposedly give you clues during while spelling T-H-E-A-T-R-E to codes for MK3. Perhaps it depends on the machine's ROM version.


There are some great sounds, and some that are really rather familiar in tone. For instance, after a ball save the lovely assistant will say "Here is another ball" which sounds EXACTLY like the ST:TNG ball save comment of "Here is another chance." The jackpot comment is very similar to Raul Julia in TAF.

Some of my favorites:

  • "Amaaaazing Skill"
  • "Oh noooooooooo"
  • "That ball is FULL of magic" (after secret ball lock)
  • "You MUST concentrate"
  • "The air pressure is building"
  • "The magic is within you"

Something that should have been put in: Doug Henning saying "Illuuuuusion".


As always with Bally games (well, with the exception of D*rty H*rry) playfield, cabinet and backglass artwork is superb. The obligatory Bally chesty babe adorns the backglass, throwing pinballs at you in front of various magician toys and a very mean looking tiger. Also, if you look closely the 'O' in 'Of' is actually a pinball.

Screen graphics rival Shadow in quality. Mode animations are very smooth and detailed. By far the best animation is that of the lovely assistant breaking loose of the straitjacket when said mode is completed. Looks vaguely like Samus's death animation in Super Metrois (apologies for the v*d** g*am* simile).

The cabinet is a magic trunk, wrapped in a chain and lock, and is more than a little impressive. Looks as though it may have been rendered.


  • 2 high score tables... 1 for buy-ins... 1 for 0 buy-ins.
  • Message about standby for extra ball on DMD after ball drains if you collected an extra ball.
  • Mirror for lane change.
  • If you hit the trap (door in trunk) before the trunk is fully turned (while it is turning for start illusion shot), you receive both start illusion and a hidden lock!!!


The lane lights above the jets are a pale green and very hard to see.

A very clean inner-orbit shot will result in an SDTM drain that is hard to stop.

Well thank you all for your time and continued support. Look for updates as they become necessary. Have fun kids.

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Editor's Notes

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