Rollergames (Williams, 1990) VP8

VP8 Williams SS Recreation Rollergames (Williams, 1990) VP8 v0.83b 2020-01-28

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Williams 1990,
IPD No. 2006

General Layout
Starting at the lower left and moving roughly clockwise, here's what you'll find in Rollergames:

Left outlane
There is a kickback here, and a red special light. Now, before you get mad and think, "There's a mile-wide left outlane, right?" this kickback lane is not a black hole; the kicker shoots straight back (reminiscent of F-14 Tomcat), up a little ramp, onto another kicker that is not otherwise in play, and finally around the orbit to the upper right flipper.

Left inlane
Lights the right Jetway and scores a few points. The divider between the inlane and outlane is just a piece of metal, so nudging the ball away from the outlane is not easy to do.

Left standup targets (SKATE)
These 5 targets face directly right and form the left side of the playfield (the Kickback actually sends the ball behind these targets). Each target has a light in front of it, indicating whether it has (steady light) or has not (flashing light) been hit. Completing the targets lights a letter in WILLIAMS and lights the Magnet. It is possible to hit these targets with the left flipper, and there is a magical point on the bank (different for every machine, of course) where you can shoot the ball with the right flipper and have the ball land in the Pit.

Left Jetway
This is the left side of the orbit. There is a spinner and an orange Jetway light at the entrance. This shot is also the first half of the Combo Shot.

The Pit
This is a saucer just to the right of the left Jetway. The saucer is completely enclosed. You shoot the ball through a one-way gate into the enclosure, so you can shoot the ball as hard as you like and it'll stay in there. The ball exits by a vertical upkick onto a habitrail, which deposits the ball at the upper right flipper. There are three things the Pit can award: Roller Motion, Magnet, and Scoring Cycle. Each award has its own arrow light to indicate when it is available. The Pit can be hit from either lower flipper.

The Wall
This is a VERY steep ramp, reachable only from the upper right flipper. The ball can exit from the ramp in three ways: a diverter can send it down a habitrail that feeds the left Inlane; another diverter can send it down a winding habitrail to either the Lock or the right Inlane (another diverter controls when balls enter the Lock mechanism); finally, the ball can go all the way across the ramp, fall off the end, and land above the upper right flipper. There are three arrow lights on the playfield that indicate awards you can collect at the Wall: Jackpot (red), Lock (green), and Million (orange).

Center Standups (123)
These targets face right, and are not easily reachable from the flippers except by a lucky bounce off something else. Usually the ball hits these targets when it's being knocked around by the bumpers. Completing the targets lights Roller Motion.

Center Lane
The first time I saw this lane, I thought it would be impossible to hit, and it almost is. You need to shoot the ball literally straight back, through a narrow space between the Drop Targets and the ramp entrance, and then between the Center Standups and the bumpers. This lane feeds to the left Orbit, above the spinner. So, why would you ever shoot for this lane? Well, it's where you collect extra balls, that's why! Sometimes, if you're lucky, the ball will roll down the J lane and be kicked around this lane by the bumpers. Extra balls can be stacked here, and they remain lit until collected.

Drop Targets (WAR)
These three targets are placed below the bumpers. They are arranged horizontally but angled a bit to face the lower left flipper. Each target is labeled "MULTI-BALL" and has a green light in front of it to indicate if it's been collected (steady light), not collected and not timed (light off), or not collected and on the timer (timeout-flash pattern). These targets award Locks during one-ball play, and points during Multiball. The targets can be hit from any flipper. You can even sweep all three with the upper right flipper (but there is no bonus for doing so). If you really want to show off, you can sweep the targets AND hit the ramp, all with one shot!

Three of 'em. Two just below the Rollover Lanes and another below those two. The ball can exit down the middle of the board (past the left side of the Drop Targets) or to the upper right flipper.

Rollover Lanes (JET)
These three lanes are above the bumpers. Completing them advances the bonus multiplier, up to a max of 7x. Completing the lanes after the multiplier is at its max awards 100K(?). These lanes are not saved between balls. You can rotate the lit lanes to the right by pressing either flipper button. It is pretty hard to hit these lanes purposely, since there are no gates in the orbit (which passes above the lanes) to stop the ball from zooming on by.

Upper right flipper
This standard-length flipper lies along the right side of the right Jetway. Use it to hit the Wall.

The Magnet
This is located at the tip of the upper right flipper. Activate it by hitting the Pit when the Magnet light there is lit. The Magnet is relit by the Left Standups.

Lock mechanism
This is just a kicker at the end of one of the habitrails leading away from the ramp. There is room to hold 3 balls. Sometimes, during one-ball play, the locked balls will be kicked out, around the habitrails, and back into the Lock. This is supposed to look like skaters going around a track.

Right Jetway
This lane has a spinner and a Jetway light at its entrance.

Right Standups (ABC)
These three targets are placed low on the right side, and are angled to face the lower left flipper. Completing these targets relights the Kickback.

Right Outlane
Just like the left, but sans Kickback.

Right Inlane
This lane lights the left Jetway. The divider between the inlane and outlane is a piece of metal--not much rubber on this side, either.

Rollergames Team Lights
These 6 lights are located in the open area in the middle of the board. They indicate your progress on the Jetway.

2 of 'em.

Lower Flippers
2 of 'em.

A manual plunger. Plunging at full strength will send the ball up the Wall.
Now on to the rules....

The Jetway
The two Jetways are independent of each other, and both can be lit at the same time. A Jetway is lit by rolling through an inlane. The left Inlane lights the right Jetway, and vice versa. You can also light an unlit Jetway by shooting the ball around the entire orbit.

To collect a lit Jetway, you only have to hit the spinner. So if both Jetways are lit, shooting the entire orbit will collect both Jetways.

Collecting a Jetway spots a Rollergames Team. Lighting all 6 teams lights an Extra Ball at the Center Lane. At the start of the game, you get 2 teams lit for free, but after collecting all the teams once, you don't get any more freebies. The teams you light are not saved between balls, and you can light only one extra ball from the teams per ball. After all 6 teams are lit, the Jetways are worth 250K for the remainder of the ball.

The Magnet
The Magnet gives you a little bit of assistance in shooting the Wall. When the Magnet light at the Pit is lit, shooting the Pit activates the Magnet, which is at the tip of the upper right flipper. Here's the sequence of events: The screen shows "Don't flip" and the announcer says "Don't flip" as the ball rolls along the habitrail. The screen then counts down "Three--Two--One," estimating the time until the ball will come to rest on the magnet. After the countdown, the screen says (and the announcer yells) "Flip," by which time the ball should be at rest on the magnet (although I have seen games where the magnet was too weak to catch the ball). If the ball stops early, go ahead and flip; the game won't mind if you don't wait.

If you flip too early, the magnet will turn off immediately, so don't do it! It will also turn off if you wait too long after being ordered to "Flip!" If something goes wrong with the magnet or the Pit kicker, you're outta luck. The game will continue on as if everything were OK, and you'll lose the chance at the easy ramp shot.

The Magnet turns off after one shot, and is relit at the start of each ball, at the start of Multiball, when Instant Lock is awarded by Roller Motion, and when the Left Standups are completed.

Roller Motion
This is a semi-random award. Shoot the Pit to collect Roller Motion when it is lit. Here's the possible awards:

Penalty Pit: No points. Bummer.
Jetter Bonus: 100K to 200K points.
Bonus Held: Holds the end-of-ball bonus. Maybe the multipliers too(??).
Instant Lock: A VERY generous award. One lock AND the Magnet are lit.
WILLIAMS Letter: Spots the next letter in WILLIAMS.
Spot Team: Lights the next Rollergames Team.
Bonus X: Advances the bonus multiplier.
Extra Ball: Devastating.
Lite Special: Lights the outlanes.
I don't remember if an award is purposely not given when the associated sequence is complete, e.g. awarding Bonus X when the multiplier is already at 7x. I assume the game is smart enough not to do this, or at least award some points instead.

Roller Motion is lit at the start of the game, and is relit by the Center Standups. It is not lit automatically at the start of each ball.

The WILLIAMS Scoring Cycle
The WILLIAMS sequence carries over between balls, players, and games. Progress towards completing it is shown in the status report and whenever a letter is awarded. Completing the sequence starts the Scoring Cycle, which is a hurry-up round. Its value starts at 4M and counts down to 1M. Shoot the Pit to collect the points.

There is a short pause before the countdown starts, so it's possible, though very hard, to get the full 4M. There's also a pause after the timer reaches 1M.

If you collect the Scoring Cycle, the WILLIAMS sequence resets completely. But if you do not collect it, the sequence goes back 4 letters (this is adjustable, 4 is the default).

The best way I know to get the full 4M is to find the magic point on the left Standup bank where you can shoot the ball and have it bounce into the Pit, then hope that that target or targets are the last ones needed to start the Scoring Cycle.

Sudden Death
This round starts randomly during one-ball play, once or maybe twice in a game. You'll know that it has started when you hear the announcer yell (can't he say anything in a normal voice?) "It's Sudden Death! Go for the Wall!" A 15-second timer starts, and hitting the Wall before time runs out awards 1M and resets the timer. If you complete both SKATE and WAR, the round ends and you get 2M. I have also seen the round end early if the ramp is hit too many times (about 5 or 6 times in quick succession).

The Combo Shot
Shooting the left Jetway (lit or unlit) and then the ramp awards 100K the first time, 200K the second time, and so on up to a max of 500K. The combo is awarded in addition to anything else that might be lit at the ramp, so you can get a Power Play and a combo at the same time, although only the combo display will be shown.

Locking three balls starts multiball. The balls are kicked out of the lock mechanism and come screaming down the right inlane all at once (a VERY annoying design IMHO). There is only one thing to do: hit the Wall to collect the jackpot, which is worth between 1.5M and 4M. The Magnet is automatically lit at the start of multiball, so you have a little help in collecting the first jackpot.

The jackpot is lit as long as 2 or 3 balls are in play, but it resets to 1.5M each time it's collected, so only the first jackpot is worth a significant amount of points. Hitting stuff during multiball adds to the jackpot. Once you lose 2 balls, normal play resumes. There is no restart shot.

During multiball, the Scoring Cycle, Magnet, and Jetways operate as usual, but you cannot collect Roller Motion until normal play resumes. There are also other bonuses available during multiball: completing SKATE awards 100K the first time, 150K the second time, 200K the third time, and so on up to a max of 500K. Completing WAR awards a bonus with the same scoring scheme. After multiball ends, the SKATE standups reset, for no real reason.

When you collect the first Jackpot, the ball you hit up the ramp will be diverted into the Lock while the jackpot-collected display runs and the announcer yells "Kick Butt!" Subsequent jackpots only get the quote "Devastating! Outrageous! Unbelievable!" and the ball will not always go into the Lock. Any ball that goes into the Lock will be held there only for a few seconds.

Other Stuff

Some notes on the Wall diverters
If Lock is lit, the ball will be diverted into the Lock unless it was moving slowly and didn't reach the diverter. If the ball falls down the left exit, or even back down the ramp entrance, no lock is awarded but Lock remains lit. If both Million and Lock are lit, the ball may be diverted into the lock, but not always. If it is, and if that wasn't the third lock, when you shoot the next ball up the ramp, you'll get another million award. But a Lock is never awarded on a plunger shot.

More Wall stuff
The switch that registers a successful shot up the Wall is on the upslope of the entrance, before the level area at the top where the diverters are. So, a weakly hit ball can go up the entrance, hit the switch, stall before going all the way up the entrance, and fall back down over the switch, thus earning two awards. This is an especially nice feature. ;>

Power Plays
Hitting the Wall when nothing is lit (except a possible Combo Shot) awards a Power Play. 3 Power Plays lights Extra Ball, and 8 Power Plays lights the outlane Specials. (These values are probably adjustable.) Power Plays carry over for the entire game.

Outlane Specials
Whenever you get a light Special award, both outlanes are lit and remain lit until one is hit, at which point both outlanes turn off.

Unfortunately, if you break 100 million, you don't automatically get on the high score list; in fact you don't get a single thing! The game totally forgets all the hard work you did to get those 100 million points.

Nope, no cows, but the TV show did have alligators once.

Closing Credits
Thanx to those folks on who helped me with my memory gaps, and to Karl Brostroem (for whom I originally wrote this rules sheet :). Man, this thing REALLY looks good now, compared to the older ones! Have fun!
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