This time I have decided to again describe one of the more

interesting early pingames in my collection, Genco's "7-UP", and

then talk about the fun and challenge of playing such "pre-

flipper" games, using the features of this game as an example of

such machines.  Before describing 7-UP, however, I will digress

for a few moments and describe how and why I acquired this

particular game, and briefly tell of some of the work I had to do

in getting it operational again.


     As many of you already know, when I was about 11 or 12 years

old (in the late 40's) I was given two pingames by a local coin

machine operator.  These were Bally's VARIETY and VOGUE, both of

1939.  My VARIETY had a crack in the backglass (in fact it was in

two pieces) which made it less desirable than VOGUE.  Well, it

seems that another kid had also gotten a game from this same

operator, but unfortunately he could not get his machine to work,

having little or no knowledge of electrical circuitry as I

fortunately had.  As a result of this we made a trade.


     I traded my VARIETY, which I had gotten to work, with the

cracked backglass for his non-working game, which turned to be

Genco's 7-UP from 1941.  I was soon able to get it working and

discovered it was a very challenging game and fun to play.  I had

VOGUE and 7-UP for several years and finally sold them to an ex-



     Now, a couple of years ago I was talking on the phone to

fellow pinball collector Rich Grant from St. Louis.  Rich told me

he had just acquired a Genco 7-UP and I told him it was one of

the games I owned as a kid and that I would like to have one

again someday.   Well, when I went to Pinball Expo '85 last year

I discovered that Rich had hauled his 7-UP from St. Louis, along

with the other machines he had for sale, primarily I believe to

show it to me and to offer to sell it to me.  Seeing that machine

after so many years brought back memories of the many hours I had

spent as a kid trying to "beat" that challenging game. 


     We ended up making a deal for me to purchase it and Rich

eventually shipped it to me upon his return to St. Louis.  I

again owned Genco's 7-UP.





     Upon receiving the game I set out to restore it to playing

condition.  The major problem was that a majority of the plastic

bumper 'skirts' were warped, some quite badly.  At Pinball Expo I

had discussed this problem with Steve Young and he suggested a

possible solution.  This was to heat them in an oven and then

press them into shape.  I discussed this idea with a friend,

jukebox/pinball collector Mike Berard, and he volunteered to try

to straighten the bumper skirts for me.  I gave them to him and

within a week or two he returned them in quite good and

definitely useable condition.  The major 'hurdle' in the

restoration of 7-UP had been overcome!


     After re-installing the bumpers (not an easy job for me) I

began with the electrical trouble-shooting.  I found two basic

problems with the circuitry.  One was that the D.C. power supply

(Genco used D.C.  Power in all their machines) did not put out

quite enough voltage to reliably power all the game's circuitry

due to the old selenium rectifier which had deteriorated over the

years.  When I replaced it with a modern rectifier the voltage

was too high, causing different problems.  After much

experimenting with other power packs, rectifiers, etc, I finally

ended up using the power pack from my Genco METRO and using

another one for METRO, which seemed to work alright on a higher



     The other major circuit problem involved the unreliable

operation of the circuitry connected with "multiple scoring" (the

scoring of 1 to 5 thousand points (or replays) when certain

"Super Bumper s" were hit.)  After much investigation and "trial

and error" I, with the help of my friend Ron Tyler, discovered

that the problem was due to excessive wear in a small stepping

switch unit.  The only cure, short of replacing the entire unit

(a very difficult task considering the large number of wires

which would have to be unsoldered and then resoldered), was to

use thin cardboard "shims" To compensate for the mechanical wear.

This method, although it looks a little "Mickey Mouse" if you

look into the backbox of the game, has proved to be a

satisfactory solution to the problem.


     One final note regarding my restoration problems.  While

working on the game I discovered that two of the Bakelite contact

actuator plates used on the large relay "trip bank" were broken.

At first I panicked  but I decided to try a little epoxy type

glue.  Much to my delight it worked, even under the tensile

stress of the application, and appears to have solved this

problem which otherwise could have been tragic, unless

replacement parts could have been located. 





     SEVEN-UP, like most of the pingames of 1941, had several

ways of winning replays.  This use of alternate methods of replay

scoring was a major factor in making these late pre-war games so



     The first method, of course, is "high score."  In connection

with this I should first explain the game's scoring

characteristics.  The basic scores are indicated in units of

1000, ranging up to 77,000.   Scores of 1000 can be obtained in

several ways.  All bumpers (except for the two "Super Bumpers",

whose operation will be explained shortly) score 1000 if they are

"permanently lit".  I say "permanently lit" because some of the

bumpers, connected with the "ABCD" and "Diamond" features, are

sometimes "temporarily lit".  This distinction will be explained



     All unlit (or "temporarily lit") bumpers cause small lighted

numbers, which are arranged in a circle on the backglass, to

change.  There are 12 of these numbers in the circle, each

between 1 and 5, the sequence of numbers being:

"1,2,3,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,5."  The next hit of a bumper, after the

"5" is lit, causes 1000 points to be scored.  The significance of

these numbers is related to the "Super Bumper" Scoring, which I

shall now describe.


     The game has two white bumpers, one at the top of the

playfield and the other near the bottom, which are each labeled

"Super Bumper".  These bumpers provide the "multiple scoring"

feature which was mentioned earlier.  Whenever any of these

bumpers are hit (when they are not lit) they score from 1000 to

5000 points, depending on the lighted number (1 thru 5) in the

circle on the backglass which was just described.  If these

"Super Bumper s" are lit (how they are lighted will be described

shortly) they score 1 to 5 replays, again depending on the value

of the lighted number.  This is the second way to score replays

on 7-UP.


     In order to score replays with the "Super Bumpers" (other

than by high score) they must first be lit.  This is done in

connection with what I shall call the "A-B-C-D feature".  On the

playfield there are four rollover channels labeled "A", "B", "C",

and "D" respectively.  The corresponding letters are also

indicated by lighted 'panels' on the backglass.  Beside each "A"

and "D" rollover is a red bumper, and on each side of each "B"

and "C" rollover are two green bumpers.  Whenever the ball in

play hits any of these bumpers (or other unlit bumpers) the

lights in them cycle "on" and "off", first one set and then the

other.  This, by the way, is what I meant by the "temporarily

lit" bumpers mentioned earlier.


     If a ball goes through one of the rollovers, when the

adjacent bumper(s) are lit, the corresponding letter lights on

the backglass.  In the case of "B" and "C" only, when those

letters are lit their corresponding green bumpers become

"permanently lit" and score 1000 points from then on.  The

lighting of all four letters (A,B,C,D) causes the two "Super

Bumpers" to light and score replays instead of points.


     The third way to score replays on 7-UP is by lighting a

"number sequence".  Placed diagonally across the playfield are

seven yellow bumpers labeled "1" thru "7" (that is probably where

the name 7-UP came from).  There are two additional numbered

yellow bumpers, "8" near the bottom of the playfield, and "9"

near the top.  There are nine corresponding numbers on the



     In order to light these numbers the player must hit these

yellow bumpers "in sequence", this is, "1" first, "2" next, etc.

As each number is lit, the corresponding yellow bumper lights and

henceforth scores 1000 points, until all seven bumpers are lit.

When the "7" bumper is lit one replay is scored.  After that,

hitting any of the lit yellow bumpers scores a replay (rather

than 1000 points).  If, after lighting the numbers 1 thru 7,

bumper #8 is hit five additional replays are scored.  Then

hitting bumper #9 lights it, scoring an additional five replays.

Lighting 1 thru 7 "in sequence" is quite difficult, but then

hitting "8" and "9" is almost impossible!


     The final way to win replays on 7-UP is the "Diamond

Feature".  This is sort of a 'jackpot' feature and works in the

following manner.  There are two rollover channels on the

playfield (one near the top and the other near the bottom)

labeled with a diamond.  Next to the entrance of each of these

channels is a red bumper which is alternately lit and unlit in

the same manner as the other "temporarily lit" bumpers described

above in connection with the "A-B-C-D" feature.  At the top of

the backglass are eight "half diamond" symbols, seven of which

have numbers which show if that diamond is lit.


     If a player gets a ball to go through one of these rollover

channels, when the corresponding red bumper is lit, the first

diamond on the backglass lights indicating number '1'.

Additional rollover scoring causes additional diamonds to be lit

on the glass ('2', '3', etc).  When a predetermined number of

diamonds have been lit (the number required being preset by the

operator) a replay "bonus" is scored.


     The way this "bonus" is scored is somewhat novel.  What

happens is that the game's replay counter is automatically

advanced to a preset level (either 20, 40, 60, or 75, as preset

by the operator).  If, however, the player already has that many

replays to his credit, nothing happens!  I guess the game's

designer felt that you had already "beaten the machine", so why

take the operator for any more.


     This concludes the discussion of the many features of this

very challenging and technically sophisticated pingame.  This

game is typical of the interesting pinballs manufactured just

prior to World War II temporarily halting production of all new

amusement devices "for the duration."





     Most flipper pinball players seem to believe that playing a

pingame without flippers would be extremely dull and

unchallenging.  This, I believe, is primarily due to the fact

that they have never played one.  The fact is the lack of

flippers makes the game more challenging because it is harder to

"beat".  There is still a great deal of skill involved in playing

a pre-flipper game, maybe even more since the player does not

have flippers to aid him in his conquest of the machine. 


     The two main areas of skill required to play (and "beat")

one of these games are plunger shots and "gunching".  These

skills are also used in playing flipper pinball, but are relied

upon to a lesser degree with emphasis being put on flipper

action.  Another form of "skill", although not manual, is the

mental skill in deciding which of the game's replay scoring

features to concentrate on to try to win replays.  I will attempt

to give a little personal insight into the uses of these three

factors in playing a pre-flipper pingame, using 7-UP and its play

features as a typical example.


     In playing the game the first action to be taken is of

course the initial plunger shot.  Before shooting the first ball

you would probably want to decide which of the game's replay

scoring features to go for.  Probably the "1 thru 7" feature

would be chosen since that is the "theme feature" of the game.


     If that was your choice you would try to "aim" your first

ball at the #1 yellow bumper at the upper left of the playfield.

If the number on the backglass indicating the value of the "Super

Bumper s" was at a high value, say 4 or 5, (incidentally, it does

not get reset at the start of a game) you may try to hit the top

"Super Bumper" first, scoring some extra points, and then try to

get the ball to bounce off it and hit #1.  After lighting '1' you

would try, by a little "gunching", to hit additional numbers of

the sequence (2,3,etc), since with only five balls you must light

more than one number per ball whenever possible to succeed in

lighting at least seven numbers.


     Now, during the play of the first ball you may have

succeeded in other things, besides lighting one or more numbers.

You may have lighted the "C" and/or "D" letters, or you may have

gotten some good score by hitting both "Super Bumpers" for

multiple points.  In any case, what you accomplished on the first

ball will usually determine your strategy on the next shot.


     If you did well on your original plan of lighting 1 thru 7

you would probably continue with that strategy.  If you did not

you might decide to try for a different goal, maybe lighting all

the letters (if say, you lit both 'C' and 'D' on your first

shot), or going for "high score" if you did well with the "Super

Bumpers".  This, I believe, is where a lot of the "mental skill"

comes in, making a decision to either continue with your original

course of action or "switch horses" for a "better plan".


     This "strategy switch" may also be unwise.  It may be better

in the long run to choose a goal and stick to it even though your

first shot failed, as far as your original goal was concerned.  I

sometimes believe that one reason the designers of these games

used several methods of scoring replays was so that a player

would often be tempted to switch from his original goal and thus

possibly decrease his chances of "beating the machine".  This

would help satisfy two of the major design objectives of any

game, namely 1) to provide challenge and interest to the player,

and 2) to decrease the chances that the machine will be "beaten"

easily, which could reduce the operator's profit.  The decision

to change, or not to change, his strategy during the course of

the game is up to the player and this "mental skill", I believe,

is of utmost importance in beating any of these games.


     As I said earlier, "gunching" (nudging the cabinet with the

palms of the hands, to influence the path of the ball) is of

utmost importance in playing pre-flipper pinball.  Without

flippers the player must make each ball hit as many "targets"

(bumpers, rollovers, etc) as possible.  This is, of course, where

gunching comes in.  Part of the skill in gunching comes from

hitting the machine hard enough to influence the ball, without

'tilting' the machine.  The player must first get the "feel" of

the tilt setting of a particular machine by trial and error.  The

freshness of the rubber on a game is of course a big factor in

the effectiveness of gunching.  If a game has "good rubber" it is

amazing how far a ball can sometimes be deflected  by a slight

push of the cabinet.  Needless to say, if you dont have flippers

to cause the ball to be redirected up the playfield to strike

additional "targets", you must rely heavily on gunching (a real

'art', I might add) to make the most effective use of each ball.


      I think the above discussion should give anyone who has

never played a "pre-flipper" pingame (especially one of the

1940/1941 vintage) some insight into the fun and challenge of

playing  one of these fascinating games.  It should also

illustrate the various "skills" (both manual and mental) required

to play, and "beat", one of these games.  So, if you flipper

players have never tried a "pre-flipper", find someone who has

one and "try it; you may like it!"