Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Pinball machines are usually forgotten within a few years of their release, ending up in a warehouse or the back corner of an arcade as new games with new features step up to take the place of old ones. But certain games manage to live on well past their year of release, thanks to either a unique design or a new challenge in gameplay. Slick Chick covered both of these attributes, turning itself into a pinball favorite.
Released by Gottleib in 1963, Slick Chick was designed to capitalize on the popularity of Playboy Clubs, which had become a major national trend in the early 1960’s. This Playboy influence was reflected in the art on the game’s backglass and playfield, which depicted men in a swanky nightclub being tended to by beautiful women in skimpy ‘bunny’ get-ups that came complete with rabbit’s ears. However, the design was kept from getting too sexy by the prominent appearance of a Norman Rockwell-styled barbershop quartet and a few Bugs Bunny-styled cartoon rabbits.
The game design of Slick Chick was just as unique as its art. The centerpiece of the board was formed by 9 bumpers arranged in an ‘X’ pattern, and the letters on their tops intersected to spell the words ‘Slick Chick’. Gameplay was controlled with a pair of flippers that were backed up by a pair of rubber flipper extenders, helping make up for the short reach of the two-inch flippers. There were also two bull’s-eye-styled targets arranged in difficult-to-reach locations that offered fifty points when hit.
The goal of Slick Chick was to light up all the bumpers by hitting them with the pinball. Once this was achieved, a large hole in the center of the playfield would light up and allow the player to score 100 points by landing it in there. Otherwise, this central hole was to be avoided, because the unlit hole doubled as a ‘gobble hole,’ ending your turn if the ball fell in. This love/hate relationship with the center hole created a fun, if sometimes frustrating challenge for the game player that made Slick Chick quite addictive.
Although it is almost forty years old, Slick Chick continues to be a favorite today. It was also a favorite of company owner David Gottleib, who proclaimed it one of the best machines the company ever made. A frequent sight at pinball conventions, Slick Chick commands big sums of money from eager collectors. Its continued success proves that a cool game design still goes a long way in the world of pinball.