Blackout (Williams, 1980)

From Bob Matthews EM Encyclopedia 2018
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Quickie Version

 Up Top until your bonus multiplier is maxed, then finish each set of standups and drops once to light the spinners and orbits, then UTAD all day.
 Go-To Flipper:  Balanced.

Full Detail

Blackout is noteworthy for having been the finals machine at the first really large pinball tournament, the 1980 US Open, with over 550 players. I enjoyed playing it then, and still do, although it’s hard to find these days.

One thing I like about Blackout is that all of the shots are worth making; for most EMs and many SS games, there are things that you should avoid in competition. On Blackout, it all adds enough value to be worthwhile.

The main feature of the game is three colored target banks – five green standup targets to the left, three red drop targets in the center, three yellow-orange drop targets at the far upper right. Completing the red or yellow set lights the same-colored spinner for 3000 a spin. Completing the green bank advances the left orbit to the next higher orbit value - - 5K, 10K, 20K, 30K. Both the orbit and the spinners are what you want to be shooting once you’ve got them lit or maxed out.

Finishing all three colors lights the blackout saucer for 50,000 and a then-novel machine blackout effect. If only they’d made the saucer lock-capable and built it to enable multiball.

Bonus goes up to 29,000 base, advanced as usual by lanes and targets. The top lanes advance your bonus X when completed, up to 5X for 145K overall maximum.

The general strategy is to finish the green bank from the right flipper, then UTAD from both flippers via the left orbit and top right spinner until your bonus X is maxed out. Once bonus is at 5X, get the red and yellow drop targets from the left flipper and keep finishing the green standups from the right one to increase the orbit value. Take the orbit shot at 20K and leave it there - - the left orbit value resets after making the 30K shot. Once everything is lit up, it’s UTAD via spinners and orbits all day.

It’s a good tournament and learning game due to the benefit of hitting everything; the fewer shots you need to do so, the less your risk of draining, and the better you’ll score. Aiming at and hitting specific targets early on is important.

This page is one of many in the The Players Guide to Classic Pinball by written by Bob Matthews