Time Zone / Time Tunnel (Bally, 1973)

From Bob Matthews EM Encyclopedia 2018
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Quickie Version

 Stop the tunnel on the 5000 value, then shoot the collect tunnel center standup all day.
 Go-To Flipper:  Balanced.

Full Detail

Easier said than done. Skill shot is the collect tunnel lane at the top, but you need to time your plunge so that the tunnel is lit for 5000 when you collect it. The tunnel cycles through values of 1000 to 5000 [look down at the tunnel, you’ll see it], stopping when the ball hits the “stop tunnel” switch near the top of the plunger lane. You can try to soft plunge just up to the stop switch first, then go for the collect plunge after that, but I’ve found it’s harder to accurately time a soft plunge than the near-full plunge that gets the center collect lane. If you do the one-step near-full plunge, line up the plunger on the right spot on the plunge markers first, then time your release while watching the tunnel lights cycling below.

Once the ball is in play, your goal is simple: shoot the center red standup target all day to collect tunnel value so long as the value is 3000 or more. If the tunnel is on 1000 or 2000, you’re usually better off shooting the ball towards the gate, if open, the collect bonus on the left [which shoots the ball back up top], or just shooting the ball up top towards the “start tunnel” saucers to change it. If your plunge fell into one of the start tunnel saucers, or the ball got there after rattling around in the bumpers, the tunnel value will stop again when you hit that center target, or when the ball goes into the “collect tunnel” pocket on the left side.

Ball control and soft flips are the keys here. Once you’ve hit the center target, which raises the center post, you want the ball to settle back down onto a flipper to repeat. The easiest way is to use dead bounces or drop catches to get the ball to settle into the hollow between the tip of a flipper and the center post. Once it’s there, use very light flipper taps to try to hop the ball across to the other flipper just high enough to let you cradle it, but not so hard that it goes up and away or triggers a slingshot. It’s delicate and requires patience. Breathe.

Note that there are two “down post” white buttons near the tops of the slingshots. Obviously you want to avoid them; equally obviously, you need to not be caught off guard if the ball triggers one of them and be ready to flip or try for a trap.

While you can use the two “start tunnel” standup targets to the side of the center collect target to change the tunnel value, the rebounds off of those targets can be really risky, so I’d avoid them.

The two gates are useful, scoring both points and collect tunnel; take them if you get the chance, but don’t go out of your way shooting for them when you have a good tunnel value lit. Each of the two top saucers opens one of the gates.

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