Retro Coin Op Synopsis
When Humpty Dumpty added flippers to pinball for the first time in 1947, the game was forever changed. Just the same, there were plenty of innovations yet to come. One area that was in need of improvement was bumpers. Although they added variation to the game, they were fairly low-powered and didn't give much of a kick to the pinball when triggered.
Bumpers became interesting once more when Saratoga hit the arcade scene in 1948. Designed by pinball legend Harry Williams, the game boasted an interesting new element known as 'power bumpers.' These were molded plastic bumpers encircled by metal ‘power rings,’ set slightly under the playfield. When a pinball hit this bumper, the power ring would trigger a piston beneath the machine that caused it to shoot up towards the playfield with a good deal of power. This made it knock the ball powerfully in a new direction and expanded the range of directions the ball could take in a game.
The added kick that power bumpers gave to Saratoga made it a big hit with pinball fans. In fact, power bumpers became a standard feature in the wake of Saratoga, making the game an important addition to pinball history. Though it may seem a little simple by today’s standards, back in its day Saratoga added a whole new level of power to pinball.