Pooling Around


(c) Copyright 2002

By John L Patton, tiltjlp



Although Iíve been playing pinball for close to fifty years, my flipper skills have never improved much. Sure, on those handful of tables I consider my favorites and revisit every day, there is a chance Iíll post a new personal best now and then, but itís rare. Most of the more modern games, with all those bells and whistles, flashing lights and blaring music, leave me wondering you can love something so much, when youíre so dang lousy at it. For me, it the challenge of topping my last score, and the rush of seeing that silvery orb careening about, defying me to keep it in play. It doesnít matter how pathetic I am, but only that I can forget my worries for a while.

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One table that I really enjoy is Ballyís 1981 8-Ball Deluxe. I know itís over twenty years old, but there is so much involved with playing it, you wonít be disappointed giving it a try. It only has three flippers, as opposed to more recent tables with nearly a dozen, which seems like overkill. There is more than enough going on in 8-Ball Deluxe to keep things interesting for a while, especially if youíre a fan of billiards.


8-Ball Deluxe invites head-to-head competition, with a set of 7 drop targets, player one uses them for balls 1 through 7, with player two using them for balls 9 through 15. the 8-Ball is just a bit special folks, hence the name of the game. A special drop target all itís own, is tucked away, right there in plain sight, offering you the chance to rack up some real hefty points, once youíve lit up most all of the other values and bonus lights.


Unlit, the 8-Ball target gives you a paltry 500 points, but as you build up the running bonus totals by completing loops and rollovers, and thumping bumpers and other assorted tricks. You might find it a bit hard to fire up this table the first time, as the electric light show bedazzles you. But once you start the game, an announcer invites you to chalk up and go for the gusto, even telling you which balls you have sunk.

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8-Ball Deluxe was recreated by Johnny HK, and is the update of Ballyís earlier Eight Ball, recreated by Gerson Agena, which is a very nice table in itís own right. Now aim your next shot at the upper left inline drop targets, which are not easy to zero in on, and you could receive up to five times the end of ball payout. And if you can repeat the left loop enough times, youíll win up to 70,000 points, and even an extra ball.


There are also A, B, C and D lanes, two at the top, and two at the bottom of the playfield. Lighting all four not only gives you some nice points, but increases the value of certain drop targets, and the 8-Ball target. There are so many ways to rack up points in 8_ball Deluxe, that it shouldnít get boring for a good long time. And youíll want to keep your ears tuned in to find out if you have Stripes or Solids, as the 8-Ball dude calls out every shot you make. But he has a good bit more than that to say, so listen closely.


The key to scoring well, it seems to me, is mastering the third flipper, a third of the way up on the left, just opposite thosedrop targets for the 1-7, and the 9-15 balls. Done just so, you can make short work of them in no time, and get that important 8-Ball lit, for load of goodies.

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Iíve only begun to scratch the surface of all the features of this classy classic from 1981. Let me know if you agree that it has stood the test of time. Drop a few coin into it, choose an opponent, and see who reigns supreme as the champion behind the cue stick. And may you be rewarded with Endless Replays.


© Copyright 2002 By John L Patton, tiltjlp