Williams Industries, which produced the CFTBL pinball machine under the Bally name.
Creature From The Black Lagoon (IPDB)
Still have no idea what I'm talking about? OK, let's make it real simple... We want to go from this:
One day I was sitting around, bored, with nothing to do. OK, fine... I always have stuff to do, but I didn't feel like doing anything that was, you know, work. :)
So I figured that I might as well tear down the CFTBL that I bought a few weeks ago and give it a proper shop job, being that it was filthy and all. (That didn't stop me from playing it for a week or two to get the feel of it, but it definitely limits the enjoyment!)
When I started tearing apart the game, I noticed that there was this big black hole around the bumper area. It's just dark over there. And it wasn't just that my machine was filthy, either; I've noticed that it's just dark over there on all of the CFTBL machines I've seen. Sure, they added some lightning bolts that sort-of point towards the pop bumpers, but let's be honest; those are lame city. They're not stylin', they're not fly, they're not even anywhere in the same league as "cool". They suck, plain and simple. They were an engineering response to an engineering problem, but the response sucked.
So the solution to the problem was obvious -- light up the pop bumpers. This is not a new idea; seems as though every pop bumper put in a pinball machine since the 1960s has had a light in it. Creature From the Black Lagoon does not, mainly because it's a pain in the butt to get to the pop bumpers since you have to either take off the three ramps (or simply loosen them) in order to get the bumper caps off. But this machine was going to be in my collection in my house, next to other machines that have already been modified. We cannot let this stand! Damn the torpedoes and blown bulbs! This game needs a dose of flavor, TheKorn style!
I am not the first person to think of putting lights in the pop bumpers. Al Warner came before me, putting lights in his pop bumpers that were tied to the GI, or General Illumination string that's close by. (As you can tell by his pictures, Al also believes in flash photography! :)) That's not a bad idea, and is how most pinball machines since the 1980s have lit their bumpers. The only problem with Al's modification is that the lights are always on (something I'm not really a big fan of). As mentioned on rec.games.pinball, the bumper caps are red, but the roll-over lanes right above them are orange. That isn't a big deal if the bumpers are normally off, but if they're lit constantly you suddenly have a color clash. So thanks, but that's not the solution for me.
My idea was pretty simple when you think of it; have the light in the bumper light when the bumper fires. And it should be pretty bright to get your attention, too! Seemed like a simple project (and in hindsight, it was), but getting the game not to immediately burn out the bulb on the first firing of the pop bumper took some work. And lots of blown bulbs, too. Hehehe!
If you want to see how and why it works, click here and we'll go into gory detail about the electrical stuff. I'll also go into detail about why I'm an idiot. :)
If you don't care and just simply want to do the modification to your own game (don't feel bad, I understand!), click here and you can skip all the electrical talk.
If you want to skip directly to the questions and answers page, click here and you'll be there yesterday!
Lasty, if you're just too damn tired to read any more, click here and you'll be transported to Disneyland. Hey, it works for the porn sites, so why not for me? :)