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     Habos Arcade Big Bang Bar Tube Dancer

"On the night of July 2nd, 1947 a loud crash was heard near Roswell, New Mexico. Remains of an alien spacecraft were recovered, although this was officially denied by the United States Government. Was this craft the advance scout of an impending alien invasion of the Earth? Or was it simply an accident by a group of joy riders after having one too many at the... BIG BANG BAR?"

Nearly an urban legend and a game that almost never was, Big Bang Bar (BBB) has finally been produced 11 years after the 1st prototypes made their appearance. Big Bang Bar is a pinball machine that was to be manufactured by Capcom Coin-op Incorporated in February of 1997. The pinball division of Capcom was later closed that year with only 14 prototypes of the game created for demonstration and proof of concept purposes. The rare prototypes were then later sold off to collectors along with other Capcom assets. Capcom and another pinball company named Williams also went out of business were later purchased by Gene Cunningham.

        One of the 14 Big Bang Bar prototypes residing with a pinball collector was engulfed in flames in an unfortunate house fire. The fire also claimed his entire collection including another Capcom pinball prototype named Kingpin. With only 9 Kingpin prototypes ever produced it was an even rarer pinball machine than Big Bang Bar.

        In October of 2004 the owner of Illinois Pinball Co. Gene Cunningham announced he would be remaking approximately 200 Big Bang Bars and was taking pre-sale orders at a cost of $4500. The reason for only making 111 was how many Capcom board sets Gene had acquired.  Additional upgrade options such as a gold, neon and purple trim could be purchased. These special order Big Bang Bars are also known as prototypes, not to be confused with the original 14. Gene had purchased one of the remaining 14 Big Bang Bar prototypes for $19,000 and used it as a template of sorts to produce the reproductions.  The news was received with enthusiasm and excitement. Some were skeptical though as to if such a large and expensive project could be accomplished by a small company that has never produced a pinball machine before.


        The long road lay ahead for Gene during the remake of Big Bang Bar. There were many difficulties in reproducing some of the unique game features and parts. The main ramp in the game uses a three high voltage phosphorus lights that worked inconsistently on the original prototype pins. Developing a reliable power supply for the lights proved challenging and expensive with a cost of $15,000. Gene not only recreated but improved the design of many of the major components of the game settling for no less than OEM quality. Other difficulties were of a legal nature regarding tooling and the ability for Gene to produce an "entire" game. Another obstacle was a new hazardous substance reduction law passed in Europe, July 2006. Solder used in the original Capcom board sets contained Lead which was no longer allowed to be imported.  The prospective buyers that pre-ordered the remake where informed by a private online forum to keep everyone up to date. Production costs increased where Gene estimated he had over $7000 into each Big Bang Bar. Gene absorbed the extra costs and didnít pass it on to the buyers.

         In Early July 2006, European pre-orders were filled as the first reproduction Big Bang Bars started showing up. A buzz of astonishment could be felt as the word got out in the pinball community. Gene affectionately adopted the slogan
"Pigs are almost ready to fly" since the odds were not in his favor for the project to ever be completed but now there was light at the end of the tunnel. The remaining owners would have to wait until June of 2007 when the project was completed with with a total of 163 reproduced and approximately 20 special order prototypes. Even with the remake and original Capcom prototypes there are less that 200 machines making it one of the rarest and fun pinball machines to ever play or own.

 

Habos Arcade Big Bang Bar Patron        The BBB pinball theme centers around an fun and edgy alien space bar .  The vibrant color scheme of the game is done in bold blues, purple and neon-greens.  The  artwork   has a retro style to it featuring a cavalcade of alien patrons that fill the bar.  It captures that party atmosphere perfectly but with odd looking aliens drinking, dancing and mingling around.  BBB has a striking look like no other pin and stands out. 

        To equally match the artwork is the fantastic music and sound effects.  The music is different and catchy in every mode.  This is especially true in the "Lunapalooza" mode where the DJ changes music after every correct shot is made.   The character voices and comical lines are what make the game so fun to play.  There are tons amusing double ontondra spewed by the characters.  One of main character voices of BBB feature a big bruising door man that guards the entrance and a voluptuous waitress with whiney voice that can sometimes be difficult to find for a drink refill.   Of course there is the sexy voice of the tube dancer.  BBB also has the funniest the DMD animations that are extremely well done like the rest of the game.  As icing on the cake, the light show is memorizing and even features a black light that brings all the neon colors on the playfield to life.

         Overall game features are: 3 flippers, 3 pop bumpers, 8 drop targets and 1 main ramp.  The main ramp is the catalyst for all the modes but feeds ball through several diverters to any 5 destinations.   The playfield layout is open at the bottom and gets more packed towards the top.  Its similar to High Speed with an upper right flipper to make shots through an inner orbit around the pop bumpers.  The first thing you might notice on the playfield is the nude neon tube dancer and a mini-bar with 2 aliens sitting down.  In different modes the tube dancer at the left center of the playfield actually gyrates and moans as she erotically gives instructions on "where" to shoot the pinball.  Depending on the location, there is a setting to tone down the moans.  The little mini-bar at the top right is even complete with its own mirror.  The aliens sitting at the mini-bar capture pinball's in their mouth for multi-ball.   They start the "Looped in Space" multi-ball by spinning around on their bar stools to serve out the pinball's.  

         BBB has 5 modeless features  ("Looped in Space", "Multi-Brawl", "Ray's Ball Busters", "Tube Dancer", "Underground")  and 9 timed modes ("Mosh A GO-GO", "Cosmic Dartz", "Babe Scanner", "Lunapalooza", "Tour the Bar", "Happy Hour", "Chase the Waitress", "Extra Ball", "Get Lucky") have to be completed to be awarded the "Big Bang" wizard mode.  The game throws everything it has at your senses as you attempt to keep all 4 balls in play.  BBB rules are simple and easy to follow on the surface but not as easy as it might appear to achieve.  There is enough needed skill  to play to keep players amused and coming back for seconds.  See the left side bar for a link to an in-depth description of the game play and rules.

        Capcom architecture and design were well thought out also.  One pretty cool feature is the ability to adjust flipper strength.  Most owners have lowered their flippers around the 10 strength to lessen the chance of breaking a plastic.  Another nifty feature is the ability to automatically diagnose and alert you burned out bulbs.  The Capcom boards evidently can measure resistance or current to the bulb and determine if its working.  The back box also is designed with the operator in mind.  The translite pulls out in the usual fashion but the speaker and DMD fold down on a nice sturdy hinge.  This is nice as the speaker panel is a little heavier due to the enclosures around the speakers.  The enclosures produce better overall acoustics for the speakers.  It's evident that the short lived Capcom pinball division had great ideas, designs and games.  They would have been a major contender in the pinball market if the timing was different.

 

Did you know?

During Attract mode, with no credits, press one of the following sequences you will now get a secret message.


S, L, R, S, L, R
S, L, R, S, 2L, R
S, L, R, S, 3L, R
S, L, R, S, 4L, R
S, L, R, S, 5L, R

 

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Manufacturer:  Capcom Coin-Op, Inc. (1995-1996) 

Released: 

Production Run:

Design Team:

  1. Game Design:  Rob Morrison
    Artwork: Paul Mazur, Stan Fukuoka
    Software: Steven King

  2. Music:  Jeff Powell

Purchased:  June, 2007

Serial Number:  17

Condition:  Purchased new in box (NIB)

 

Big Bang Bar Quick Reference Links

Rule Sheet

MySpace Page

Flyer

Pinbits - BBB protectors and add-on's

Big Bang Bar Stuff

Cows and Easter Eggs

 

Big Bang Bar Sounds

The Underground

Attract Mode

Game play

 

Habo's Gone but not forgotten

 

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