Star Trek: The Next Generation
Retro Coin Op Synopsis
When Star Trek: The Next Generation helped return the Star Trek legacy to television in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, it also inspired a brand new wave of Star Trek-related memorabilia. One the best and most memorable examples of this wave was the Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball game. This 1993 release from the Williams company managed to satisfy pinball fanatics and Star Trek addicts alike through a combination of sleek design and nifty features.
Star Trek: The Next Generation was a complex game that presented ambitious pinballers with seven different ‘missions.’ Each of these missions—performed as a timer ticked down to zero—forced the player to guide the pinball through a dense maze of targets, bumpers, ramps and tubes to perform various scoring tasks. For example, the 'Time Rift' mission had the player hit as many lit targets as possible during the time limit for a million points each. The player could add extra seconds to the clock by hitting Time Rift targets. There was also a 'Rescue' mission, wherein the player rescued crew members by shooting the pinball up ramps.
All this action took place on a handsomely-designed playfield that wove plenty of colorful lights, targets and bumpers into a thick web of tubes, ramps and alleys. The playfield was also studded with miniature models of various spaceships used in the show.
The appeal of these sights was matched by the game’s innovative use of sound, which included the Star Trek theme music, plenty of outer-space sound effects, and an endless selection of quotes from the show’s characters. These ear-catching snippets were specially recorded for the game by eight of the show’s cast members—including Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard) and Levar Burton (Geordi La Forge)—the largest collection of voice talent ever assembled for a pinball game.
In short, Star Trek: The Next Generation was an all-around audiovisual delight. It appealed to Star Trek fanatics and pinball lovers alike, and this broad appeal made it a smash hit. It can still be seen in some arcades today and is a prized, big-money item at both Star Trek conventions and pinball conventions