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Bottom line (at the top) - Pinball Magic is THE BEST pinball machine not made by Bally/Williams. I'd go as far as saying it is one of the best games ever made, certainly in the top 10 or so....

I'm sure I must have seen Pinball Magic somewhere before, if not in an arcade then at least at a show, but the first time I ever really noticed the game was (believe it or not) in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in March 2001. I was on a 3 week backpacking trip - the only home comfort I was really missing was my pinball collection - and whilst shopping for bargains, stumbled across a few arcades. Pinballs could still be found and in quite large numbers in comparison to at home, I found two arcades with a total of 8 games in them.

Pinball Magic was in the middle of a long line of filthy games. I played it because it was the most attractive of the lineup that I don't own (I usually only pay for games I don't have at home). It hadn't been very well looked after, it was filthy and had most of the bulbs out in the backbox (likely robbed to use on the playfield), but it played well. I was knocked out by the toys, the colour-changing captive ball, stage with magically elevating ball (this effect was inhhanced by the lack of lighting), and I couldn't believe my eyes the first time I saw the ball run along the underside of the magic wand!

The wand has to be one of the best toys ever made for a pinball machine.

After returning home to the UK, Pinball Magic went to the top of my shopping list, and I was lucky enough to find one quite soon after (all Capcom games were produced in low numbers but because most collectors prefer Bally/Williams games, they can still be found, and usually at reasonable prices). My game was in (at best) reasonable condition. The cabinet was pretty good showing no signs of fading though had had a security bar installed over the cashbox (always a sign of where it's been!), and some plastics were cracked or broken and all the drop-target stickers were missing. However, it was 100% working, perfect backglass, nice playfield (though very dirty).

Reparing a Williams game is often a matter of scrounging parts from other games, fabricating your own, or just 'making do' but Illinois Pinball bought the rights to all the Capcom games and have a large supply of spares. Ordering was quite simple once I'd established fax connection to Kim and my order, including a complete set of spare plastics. Shopping out this game and installing the new plastics is a job still to be done.

For the time being, here are some pictures of my game as it is now...

Capcom Games

Capcom entered the pinball industry just as it was tailing off after the boom of the early 90's. Pinball Magic was a superb debut from a company starting from scratch with the help of some ex-Williams staff.Sadly, Capcom only made six games, the final two of which were never put into full production...

GameDateProduction RunDesigner
Pinball MagicOct 951200Brian Hanson,
Rob Hurtado
AirborneMar 961350Claude Fernandez
BreakshotMay 961000Greg Kmiec
Flipper FootballOct 96750Brian Hansen,
Python Anghelo
Big Bang BarNov 9614
(Prototype)
Rob Morrison
KingpinDec 969
(Prototype)
Mark Ritchie

All the above is my personal opinion - Agree/Disagree? Drop me a line here.

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last updated 16 Jun 2010