Space Shuttle (Gottlieb, 1979)

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Quickie Version

 Spinner all day but try to complete the drop target bank left of it as many times as possible along the way.
 Go-To Flipper:  Right while trying to hit the 3-bank, Left for spinner shots.

Full Detail

Fun? Boring? Yes to either, depending on whom you ask. This game is spinner-heavy, but with a twist. Like many games, it has targets you hit to increase the value of the spinner. The catch here is where and how those targets are positioned: there are three of them placed almost flat against the left wall of the spinner chute. There’s a very narrow area where you can hit them; most shots at them simply go through the spinner without knocking any of them down because the sweet spot is only about a quarter of an inch wide. They’re super difficult to hit from the left flipper which has no real angle on them; the right one is your best shot. A precise shot from the right flipper can make a sweeping hit that knocks down all three targets in the bank and continues on through the spinner; that’s your best one, if you can do it.

Another way you can get the spinner advance drop targets is to graze the post below and left of the targets just enough for the ball to bounce sideways into the wall to the right of the spinner. If you’re lucky, the ball will then rattle sideways between the right wall and the drop targets on the left wall, which can also clear out the whole bank. In this case, the ball won’t go through the spinner when it’s done but fall back down, hopefully to the right flipper rather than draining down the middle.

The spinner starts at 1000 per spin in value, but with each completion of the 3-bank, it goes up another thousand, maxing out at 7K per spin. Most Space Shuttle spinners are pretty juicy, so getting 50K-100K or even more on a good shot is common once your spinner value is high enough.

Besides increasing the spinner value, finishing the drop targets opens your ball save gate on the lower right outlane. Whenever the ball goes through the gated outlane, it closes the gate, so you want to get the drop target bank again to reopen it. When you start the game, your first goal should be to complete that bank once to open the gate, even before you go for the spinner.

There’s a two-ball and a three-ball multiball on the game. Start by locking one or two balls in either side saucer. Next, knock down the drop target in the top center in front of the shuttle ramp. Finally, shoot the ball through the shuttle ramp, starting multiball. Ramp shots also raise the center post, protecting you from center drains, but not permanently, it’s on a timer and will eventually retract. Ramp shots during multiball score a semi-random value indicated on the backglass. Multiball itself isn’t that valuable, but it does give you a better chance to get spinner shots and knock down the targets, especially if you can get two balls in the chute by the targets at the same time; they’re more likely to go sideways if they hit each other, and more likely to score those targets.

The top U-S-A lanes, SHU and TLE standup targets and center T drop target all score points, add bonus or award values shown in the center of the playfield, but treat them as incidental, other than using your flippers to lane change to finish the ABC whenever the ball is up there after a spinner shot. You’ll get some of them along the way, especially during multiball, but you should not try shooting at any of them. Shoot the 3-bank, shoot the spinner, lock balls and play multiball, don’t worry about the other stuff.

Oh, lock stealing is Active on this game! If you lock one or two balls, your opponents can steal them from you. Keep that in mind.

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