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is the game that changed my life....well that is to say, it was the first game I purchased for myself to play at home....but as anyone who's bought one knows, buying one pinball machine leads to another, and another, and...well let's just say - I now have a few and I'm extending my house to take them.

For quite a while, I'd been thinking "I've not seen a pinball in a pub for ages". Sure, I could take a trip somewhere and find one but chances are that if I found one, it'd be broken. My next thought was "If I want to play pinbal - I'd better buy one". In September 2000, I took the plunge and bought . It was a game I'd only played briefly in the arcades but had liked instantly, and it was the first to come up from a short-list of games I'd decided I'd consider. This one was in lovely condition, fully working, and came with the manual just in case I had problems.

was designed by Pat Lawlor and virtually the same team that had worked on his previous two games - Addams Family & Twilight Zone. As Addams Family is the best selling pinball of all time and Twilight Zone is widely considered by pinball enthusiasts as one of, if not the most complicated, deepest, and best games ever made. The guys had an extremely hard time coming up with a game to follow their previous success. Raodshow is a great game that takes some of the best ideas from Pat's previous games and improves on them. I personally would rate it as Pat's second-best game, only bettered by Twilight Zone.

The game has four flippers placed unusually in the game with three along the left side of the playfield - two in the normal position at the base of the playfield, one two-thirds of the way up opposite Red's Head, and the fourth just above the left slingshot. This flipper set-out creates unusual shot possibilities and different gameplay making feel different to many other games.

The most striking thing about the game are the two disembodied heads on the playfield - "Red" and "Ted" talk, look around, blink, and go to sleep - the constant banter between them and to you remains amusing through many plays. This is not the first time a head has been a target for a pinball as Pat had first placed a PinMation head called "Rudy" on Funhouse, four years earlier. Many people remember Funhouse fondly because of "Rudy". This time round two heads are better than one - and that truly is the case - is Funhouse with bells on!

Another idea re-used from Funhouse is the twin plunger - has the normal ball plunger on the right side of the machine, plus another for special features on the left side. All this plus ramps, pop-bumpers, and a still wide-open playfield was thanks to the guys making it a wide-body game - a SuperPin. (The other SuperPins were Demolition Man, Indiana Jones, Judge Dredd, & Twilight Zone).

Red & Ted's mission in life it to tear up the roads from East to West Coast USA. This is achieved by travelling across the country shown on the playfield map and completing different game modes. has more modes than virtually any other game - 18 in all - each is well designed and different with nice animation and sound. Many are accompanied with funny quotes from Red and/or Ted. 3 modes feature a crazy New York taxi driver who the guys have increasingly violent encounters with.

One regular criticism of the game is that it's too linear - to a degree this is true - you begin the game on the East Coast and the same selection of modes is always available at the start of the game. However each game will take a slightly different path depending on how the game is played. The really good thing about this 'linearity' is that it preserves game modes for later in the game and for better play. So even after many games you may still have never seen some of the later modes.

The multiball on is superb - and typical of Pat's games - complex build-up and tricky jackpot, and very rewarding when achieved. 3 balls must be locked for multiball - first, the dozer blade in front of Ted's mouth must be hit to advance through the days til Ted's payday ("Where's my paycheck?") then the ball can be locked - this has to be done twice. After the second lock, Ted falls asleep (much like Rudy falls asleep in the Funhouse at 12 o'clock) with (surprise, surprise) his mouth open. Multiball is started when you shoot a ball into Ted's mouth. Jackpots are then scored by shooting the ball alternatively into Ted's then Red's mouths. Ted's is made more difficult by his dozer blade going up and down in front of his mouth.

is a game I love, and although I've now had it for the longest, I'm still not bored with it and I see it remaining in my collection. I liked it so much, I decided to host the Owners List to put other owners in touch with each other. See the list here.

Dotted around this page are pictures of my own Roadshow which has been in my spare bedroom for 18 months but will shortly be going to it's new home in my Games Room. Click on the pictures for a larger image.

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

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fez@extraball.co.uk
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last updated 16 Jun 2010