(A Pingame 'Classic')


                         by Russ Jensen



     This is the sixth in a series describing one of the pingames

in my personal collection.  This game is probably my favorite of

all the pingames I own.


     Genco's METRO is a classic pingame which was released in the

latter half of 1940.  Ever since I worked on a friend's METRO in

the late Forties I have been fascinated by this game.  It is now

in my personal collection.  I consider METRO to be a "classic" in

two respects: first from an aesthetic viewpoint, and secondly for

it's advanced playing features. 


     The artwork on the backglass depicts a "city of the future"

as viewed in 1940.  The automobiles are not too futuristic,

however, looking not much different from the models of the day,

with a little "streamlining" added.  The rocket ship in the upper

right area (which is the game's "TILT" sign) certainly has a

"Buck Rogers flair".  Also notice that the building on the left

side (with the Ten-Thousands scores on it's upper floors) says

"Genco Manufacturing" on it, indicating to me that the artist

expected the company to last for quite awhile.


     What makes the glass still more interesting to me is the

artist.  While discussing my METRO one year with designer Steve

Kordek at one of the Pinball Expo shows in Chicago, Steve

informed me that the backglass was done by none other than famous

pinball artist, the late Roy Parker.  Roy was supposedly the

artist who did many of the Genco glasses, both before and after

the war.  A study of the glass will reveal that Roy was not too

far off in his artistic predictions of "things to come".


     Another unique aspect of this machine is the use of bell

shaped molded plastic bumpers.  In 1940 bumper styles were

changing from the old "spiral spring" types to new plastic types,

and several odd shaped bumpers (like the 'bells' on METRO) were

used by various manufacturers during the period.  As far as I

know, however, METRO was the only game to use these bell shaped



     The most significant scoring feature of the game is the

"bonus" system described in detail below.  This is the earliest

game I know of to have an "advancing bonus".  If any of you

readers know of an earlier pingame with such a feature I would be

very interested in learning about it.  It is interesting to note

that this concept is one of the few pinball scoring techniques

that was developed before World War II and is still in use today

in solid-state pins.

     Now for a description of METRO's advanced features.



                          BASIC SCORING


     All unlit bumpers cause "light animated" cars on the

backglass to advance along a road.  Twelve operations of the

bumpers are needed to complete a circuit of the road, and for

each circuit 1,000 points are scored.  All bumpers (except the

purple bumpers) score 1,000 points when lit.


     There are six purple bumpers (labeled '1' through '5', and

one unlabeled).  Bumpers '1' to '5' must be hit in sequence to

light, while the unlabeled bumper is always lit.  Striking a lit

purple bumper increases the bonus score indication on the

backglass, up to a maximum of '15'.  If all five numbered purple

bumpers are lit, hitting any of the purple bumpers awards one



     A triangular array of yellow bumpers is located on the left

of the playfield with a rollover between the top two.  Beneath

the rollover is a yellow playfield "insert" disc which lights

alternately depending on the position of the cars on the

backglass.  A similar set of green bumpers, with corresponding

rollover and insert, is located on the right side of the field.

If a ball activates a rollover when the corresponding insert is

lit, the bumpers of that color light and remain lit throughout

the game.  These lit bumpers now score 1,000 (instead of only

advancing the cars).  The rollover also scores 1,000 points.


                       "A - B - C" FEATURE


     Three rollovers in the lower half of the playfield (labeled

'A', 'B', and 'C') operate in conjunction with four white bumpers

surrounding them.  The rollovers must be operated in sequence to

light the corresponding bumper(s).  When A, B, and C have been

sequentially lit, the bonus collection feature (described below)

changes from awarding points to awarding replays.


                        BONUS COLLECTION


     Two more rollovers, with a white bumper in between them, are

located at the bottom of the playfield.  This bumper never lights

and thus only advances the cars.  A lighted post is located next

to each of these rollovers.  These posts light alternately (first

one for awhile, then the other) as the cars advance on the



     When a ball passes over a rollover when it's corresponding

post is lit, the indicated bonus on the backglass (from 1 to 15)

is collected, either in thousands of points or replays, depending

on whether or not A, B, and C are lit.  Thus the bonus can be

1,000 to 15,000 points, or up to 15 replays.


     Collecting the bonus resets the bonus number on the

backglass back to one.  Passing over one of these rollovers when

it's corresponding post is not lit merely scores 1000 points with

no effect on the bonus system.


     In conclusion, after reading the above description of both

the inventive artwork and the fascinating design features of this

early pingame, I think you will agree with me that Genco's METRO

should definitely be considered one of the "classic" games of

pinball history.