I can’t even. The wall shaker A/C was iced over when I got to the site and a mix of frost and mildew was coating the front grill. I set it to fan only and let it sit there and think about what it had done while I went up to the Ace Hardware and got some coil cleaner. Here it is initially, after most of the ice melted.

slinger ring fan description
that sloshy noise making thing

Then I shut it and the small backup unit above it off, applied the coil cleaner to the evaporators and condensers of both, waited ten minutes, hosed them down thoroughly with my pump sprayer bottle full of water, and turned them back on.

Seems I forgot about four important things:

A) both sets of condenser coils and evaporator coils had a massive amount of oily smoke residue from the wildfires and the transmitter fire on them;
B) when you use this cleaner, it saponifies oily (non polar) residues into a soap that will bind to water molecules for easy removal, using a nice amount of sodium metasilicate as an alkali reagent;
C) the drain pans on most modern wall/window A/C units RETAIN some water and use a slinger ring on the condenser fan to throw it on the coils;
D) this action will cause a lot of air to be entrained in whatever condensate water runs into the pan….

I heard the fan speed slow on both units after they’d been running a while and looked out to find this great outpouring of suds that smelled strongly like ass. Assfoam. ew. ASSFOAM!!! Get it out of here! Ugh.

While this was all happening, one of the neighbors came walking up, noticed my Golden State Pinball Festival shirt, and asked me how a Death Save is supposed to work. I admitted to him that while I know how it works, I’ve never been successful in coming away with anything but a bunch of tilt warnings and sore hands. (It’s banned in tournament play as it can cause player injury and damage to the pinball machine. Don’t do it on someone else’s game, or on yours if you don’t like the idea of damaging the legs and cabinet, mmkay?) Video of a successful Death Save below.

Here’s the Death Save in action. It’s fairly brutal. If the ball right drains on me I just let it go, but I’ll certainly shake the game around a bit to try to bounce the ball out of the outlane area before it decides to sink in there!

Here’s the more dangerous (to the player!) left-handed brother, the Bang Back… it doesn’t appear to be as likely to damage the game, but as they mention in the video, you can break your wrist trying to save the ball!

Of all games they could have chosen to demonstrate this on— they chose the mighty, heavy, widebody Twilight Zone!!! Hardcore.

Here’s another video where several different types of nudges are shown as a game is being played and explained, including forward nudges to bounce the ball off of the rubber parts near the outlane to get it out of harm’s way, and sideways nudges for slap saves of balls headed straight down the middle [SDTM].


Weird development theories, or, “I don’t know how you can eat those things”!

Nice going, you put Ted to sleep!

In 1994, Williams Electronic Games built Red and Ted’s Roadshow, a widebody pinball machine featuring the likeness, voice, and music of country singer Carlene Carter.

Already, if you are familiar with playing modern pinball machines, you’re probably already wondering where country music fits in with pinball.

Most games have original score, some of my favorites being by Chris Granner. Most seem to kind of fall under electronic rock or, in the case of FishTales, a fun energetic bluegrass.

A couple of notable exceptions were High Speed 2: The Getaway, where ZZ Top’s “LA Grange” was licensed for the game and became the soundtrack, and Twilight Zone, where Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone” was licensed. In both cases, synth arrangements of the song were created to run in the game’s Yamaha synthesizer based sound board.

But then…. This weird thing happened.

Williams had the DCS system ready for market, which has also been used in some of their video games and even their slot machines. This system, instead of synthesizing sounds on the fly and using a CVSD sampler for some voices, used compressed audio recordings. Rumor has it that the Sony ATRAC codec was used.

So for this poor, unfortunate game, someone decided that Carlene’s song “Every Little Thing” had to go in there…. And…. It’s just ghastly awful and doesn’t fit in a pinball game. She’s got a great voice but that song is a NOPE!! I’m not going to bother looking it up but it’s likely on YouTube.

So, faced with the fact that they had to shoehorn this song into the game somewhere, the designers created original score for normal gameplay…. and shoved Every Little Thing into the multiball modes.

I guess it makes sense. Much like Tommy in The Who’s classic… once multiball kicks in, you don’t hear no buzzers and bells, don’t see no lights a flashing… There’s a certain kind of tunnel vision the senses take on while trying to juggle all those silver spheres and take control of them to make the more valuable jackpot shots. This being a Pat Lawlor game, the jackpot shots are tricky but valuable! (No, it’s definitely not one of these games where about a dozen flashing red arrow lights start at the beginning of multiball, where you can just aimlessly flail at balls and everyone around you just hears a voice shouting “Jackpot!” every two seconds.)

Still though… Very very strange. I’d love to know just what happened there at Williams and why that particular song was chosen. (Record company payola was still a very big thing at the time, so maybe…)