In late 2017 I started designing the Rick and Morty Pinball machine for Spooky Pinball. This machine was announced at the end of 2019 and started production early 2020. The run was limited to 750 total units. This was a bit of a different project for me as I was working with the Spooky team as opposed to the TNA project where I created the full machine in my garage and did most of the design elements myself. I could not have been happier with the team for Rick and Morty!
The Design Team
Playfield Design: Scott Danesi
Software: Eric Priepke
Rules Design: Bowen Kerins, Eric Priepke
Artwork: Josh Freydkis
Music: Scott Danesi, Adult Swim
Sound Effects: Scott Danesi, David Van Es
Voice Calls: Justin Roiland
Lightshows: Scott Danesi
Operating System: Chris Niezold, Jimmy Lipham
Design Features / Challenges
During the design of this game, I wanted to make sure to design some quirky, but fun, features into the game. The first one is the pop bumper. The pop was put in place of a slingshot to give the “sling area” more angular action. This had been done on a few games in the 80’s, but never really caught on. This was the biggest challenge to me as I needed to make sure this was fun. Pinball players expect a slingshot to be in this location and are not keen on designers changing this area. I made sure to sink the pop back as far as I could and protect the back side from being hit with a guide rail. This made it act as close to a sling as possible but also giving it much more angular range. I personally feel it turned out great.
You can also see in the image above that I put a trough assembly on the left side of the game. This trough is there to house a staged ball and is loaded from the Portal hole in the back left corner of the playfield. I will talk more about this later.
The next design element is the new ball locking mechanism. This mechanism was pretty fun to make. It is basically a high speed u-turn, with 2 drop targets at the openings. This is not really anything new, but the way we are using it is. I also put an up post at the center of the mech. This allows the programmer to capture balls on either side and allows the player to hit these captured balls just like a standard captive ball mech that has been around forever. There are 2 opto sets on each side that can read the ball states in the lock.
The Portal in the back left corner (in the garage of the house model) was an obvious choice for this design. This Portal leads to a subway that feeds the trough on the left side of the game. This trough always has a ball staged in it and gives the illusion of entering the portal and immediately exiting the other side. This is very fun to me as you can loop the right orbit to the Portal and have it kick a ball out immediately and loop it again.
Creating music for this game was actually quite fun. To my surprise, I asked Adult Swim if I could remix their theme song to make it fit in with the rest of the music and they were on board for that. So that is what I did. The main theme in the game is the Rick and Morty Theme Song with a bit of an exciting twist. Below is a sample of the incidental music for the game.
There are many more tracks in the game that I created from scratch, so make sure to find one of these machines, crank up the volume and enjoy.
Some of the music that I own the rights to, that was licensed to Spooky for this game, will be released eventually as singles for you to enjoy just like the Total Nuclear Annihilation Album. I will not be releasing any of the music that was derivative work from anything Adult Swim created.
Eric Priepke has been very hard at work on this software for the game and has been releasing Beta code for people who would like to help search for code bugs before the official software releases are posted. If you are a brave individual and would like to help him out. Check out his website below. Also, please make sure to thoroughly read the top portion of his web page before downloading the Beta code.