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Spitfire (Williams, 1954) VP9

VP9 Williams EM Recreation Spitfire (Williams, 1954) VP9 v1.0

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Spitfire (Williams, 1954) VP9 v1.0
by pbecker1946
IPD No. 2296

VP 9 version of 1954 Williams game SpitFire. Built entirely from actual game photos found on the internet with a focus on game play and bringing about the feeling of playing an old woodrail. This game didn't keep High Score, so I floated it in the sky on the Backglass.


Making numbers 1 to 8 in that order scores 1 REPLAY
& lites bottom center roll over lane and yellow &
green field lanes for Special.

5 Balls in skill hole scores 1 REPLAY & lites yellow
and green field lanes for Special.

1 REPLAY FOR 4,200,000
2 REPLAYS FOR 4,500,000
3 REPLAYS FOR 5,000,000
4 REPLAYS FOR 5,500,000
5 REPLAYS FOR 6,000,000

2nd coin gives player new STAR feature! Each time a ball leaves playfield one or two numbers from 00 to 90 lite up. Should either number match first two digits in score of 10,000 to 90,000 a STAR lites on backglass. Matching numbers twice lites TWO STARS for 5 replays.

* * ........... 5 REPLAYS
* * * ........... 15 REPLAYS
* * * * ........... 50 REPLAYS
* * * * * ........... 100 REPLAYS

Press 5 to Deposit Coin, 1 to Start a game.

Press 2 to Reset high Score to 2,460,000.

Press 3 to Reset Credits to 0.
My exploration via recreating the early post-war games of Williams and Gottlieb to experience the evolution of flipper pinball design and innovation hands-on continues with Williams Spitfire. Spitfire was released in December 1954. Designed by Harry Williams with George Molentin artwork, It is not known how many games were produced but this game is rare today.

Spitfire shows both the best and worst of Harry Williams' designs. Fortunately the best far outweighs the worst. William’s innovation is evident in his side mini-field method of doing bonus scoring. He went on to explore variations on the mini-field concept in several games of this time. In Spitfire, the gobble hole takes on big significance as the worst way to exit the playfield is the lower lanes. So you want to end each ball via the gobble hole if you can, just not too soon.

While Harry sought to make his games exciting in novel ways (and often succeeded), he also was clearly influenced by the gambling machines of the era. The "star feature" in this game is pretty much just a slot machine that will take your money while promising a jackpot sized 3 digit replay award should you get extremely lucky. As with all of my games, pressing the "R" key gives you game rules.

I am not an artist of any kind, but rather a real-time and systems programmer. So my art is the essence of Photoshop "hacking" (term used here in the same way it is used in hacking code). In appearance, I am striving for the slightly dirty, heavily played look that the real games had in the 1960's when I was living in the pinball parlors. I am trying as much as possible to make it feel like you are playing an older pinball game, not a video game.

As anyone who has done VP games knows, playability is a tough compromise in VP. The ball in general is "too light" and the only way I have found to compensate for that is to over-incline the playfield. Once you do that, however, the ball tends to accelerate too rapidly to properly simulate one of these old EM games where the playfield was inclined at 3.5 to 4 degrees. I have done many "cheats" to get close, but close seems all that is available. So at times the ball will move far faster than in the real games. I have tried to adjust things so that it still feels like playing an older EM game, and mostly like the real thing did, just faster.

The key to a good "real world" EM game was to have lively rubbers, and the ability to shake the table a bit before it would tilt for good game play. VP makes that tough as once the ball is moving too fast (as a result of not simulating its proper weight) the elasticity in VP becomes a very non-linear game. I have sought to tune the various surface elasticities in a compromise that makes the game feel as close as I can to the real thing, and as realistic (even if a bit wrong) as I can make it. Again, my goal is to make it feel like you are playing a pinball game, not a video game.

Sound is a big part of the EM experience, as the old relay and motor logic units created a sense that a pinball game was truly a machine that was playing against you. Where possible I have found videos of these games and used sound editing software to extract the actual sounds, including room ambience. I am learning with each step how to better integrate the sounds of both the parts you see (rollovers, chimes, etc.) and the underlying mechanisms that created those sounds to recreate the feel of an EM machine.

As with all VP work I do, anyone is welcome to use anything in the artwork or scripts of these games as they wish. Since downsizing my actual Pinball machine collection to the few machines I now have room for, The VP work of others has brought me many hours of joy, and in return anyone is welcome to whatever they can learn or use from my efforts. I am posting these games in the hope that others will enjoy them as much as I have, and to keep the memory of these older machines alive just a bit longer.
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