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ATARI Video Pinball Manual



NOTE: Always turn the console power switch off when inserting or removing a Game Program.This will protect the electronic components and prolong the life of your ATARI Video Computer System.










How many of you out there have always longed to be a pinball wizard? It's a good bet that some of the places you had to go to play a game of pinball weren't the most comfortable for you. Well, relax. Since you were wise enough to invest in this ATARI VIDEO PINBALL Game Program, you'll never have to worry about being at places with that kind of unsavory atmosphere again.

VIDEO PINBALL has the challenge and the excitement of standard pinball games, and it doesn't have any idea what a quarter is. So not only are you spared the unpleasant task of stuffing quarters into hungry machines, you have the comfort and the well-being of your home. What more could a pinball enthusiast ask for? And as for you pinball wizards, don't think you can master this one lickety-split. It'll be a while before your wiz rating is restored and in full swing.

Just in case you're a pinball rookie, there's only one thing you need to know. You're going to love it. You may have stayed away from the more traditional places of pinball habitation in the past, but now you're going to see why so many other people have gone goofy with "pinball madness". As a matter of fact, you'll probably catch the fever yourself within about 20 minutes.

So take a deep breath, turn up the stereo, and jump right into VIDEO PINBALL. One more thing. Better get yourself a piggy bank for all those quarters you're going to save.


The object of the game is to keep the ball in play as long as possible and to score as many points as possible.

Pinball is one of the fastest growing indoor sports. It provides many forms of amusement, including competition, challenge, excitement, and stimulation. ATARI'S VIDEO PINBALL provides you with the challenge of pinball wizardry in you own home.

VIDEO PINBALL is a game of skill and chance. It is like the large arcade pinball games, complete with sounds and bright colors that set the mood for the ultimate VIDEO PINBALL challenge.

Each player starts with three balls. Every time you hit the ATARI rollover four times you get an extra ball. The extra ball is indicated by a large X at the bottom of the screen. Playing VIDEO PINBALL requires skillful control of the flippers which are located at the bottom, center of the screen. When the ball drops to the bottom of the screen, you send it back into the playfield by using the flippers. The flippers are controlled with your Joystick Controller. It's your job to guide the ball within the playfield hitting bumpers, spinners, targets, and rollovers to score points.

Use your Joystick Controllers to "nudge" the ball, but don't "nudge" too much or you'll cause a "tilt". If you "tilt" the game, your ball scores no more points and any extra balls earned are lost (See HELPFUL HINTS to learn more about nudge and tilt.)


Use your Joystick Controllers with this ATARI Game Program.

Be sure to plug the controller cables firmly into the jacks at the back of your Video Computer System.

Hold the controller with the red button to your upper left toward the television screen. Use the LEFT CONTROLLER jack for one-player games. See Section 3 of your owners manual for further details.

Use the Joystick Controller to move your flippers. Move the Joystick to the right to move the right flipper up, and to the left to move the left flipper up. Move the Joystick up to move both flippers at the same time.

Both Flippers

Use your Joystick Controller to start the game. Pull the Joystick down (towards you) to bring the plunger back.

Press the red controller button to release the spring and shoot the ball into the playfield.

You can also use your Joystick Controller to "nudge" or apply "body English" on the ball. "Nudge" or "body English" means forcing the ball to go in a particular direction. To do this, hold the red button down while you push the Joystick in the direction you want the ball to go. All games allow you to "nudge" the ball. (See GAME VARIATIONS for further explanation.)


To select a VIDEO PINBALL game, press down the game select switch.

The number of players for each game appears at the upper left corner of the television screen. The game number appears to the right of the player number.

When you have selected the game you want to play, press down the game reset switch to start the action.

Each time game reset is pressed down the game starts over. When game play starts, the player number and the ball number appear at the top of the screen to the left of the score.

Difficulty Switches

VIDEO PINBALL offers two difficulty levels - a and b. The a level is for expert pinball players, also know as pinball wizards. The b level game is for the beginning or novice pinball player. The a level game has two extra drain holes at the bottom of the playfield. Each VIDEO PINBALL player may choose his or her own difficulty level. In a one-player game, use the left difficulty switch. For two-player games, the left player uses the left difficulty switch; the right player uses the right difficulty switch. Difficulty levels may be changed at any time during game play.


You score points each time your ball hits targets, bumpers, rollovers, or spinners. The scoring is fast, and you'll hear special electronic sounds as points are scored. When bonus points are scored the screen flashes. Scores are posted at the top right of the screen. In two-player games, each player's score appears with each turn. At the end of a two-player game both player's scores alternate at the top of the screen.

Points are scored as follows:

1 point each time the ball hits the spinner.

100 times their current value. The value inside the bumper increases each time all of the diamond shaped drop targets are knocked down.

100 points each time a drop target is hit.

100 points; after hitting the ATARI rollover four times, you receive an extra ball. Each time it rolls over, the bonus multiplier increases by one. Only one extra ball can be awarded with each turn. The number of ATARI rollovers hit is indicated at the bottom of the screen by one 'atari symbol' for each hit.

100 points each time it rolls over. Its value increases by one with each hit. When the ball drains, you receive 1000 points for each time it has rolled over, (up to 4000 points.)

This target lights up for only four seconds. It is located between the two lower bumpers. Each time it is hit, the screen flashes and you score 1000 points.

The bonus multiplier is tallied at the end of a turn.

This rapid scoring is accompanied with a "whirring" sound. When you have scored one million points the score rolls over and starts again. When this happens you do not lose the additional 999999 points, they remain part of your score.


VIDEO PINBALL has four exciting game variations. There are two games for one player and two games for two players. The variations are:

GAME 1 is a one-player game. GAME 1 allows you to nudge the ball. Too much nudge will cause you to lose the ball (TILT) and any extra ball is lost. During GAME 1 the bumper values are accumulated for an entire game.

GAME 2 is a two-player version of GAME 1. Each player takes a turn with one ball at a time. The turn lasts until the ball drains. Each player's score appears at the top of the screen with each turn. The left player is always player number one.

GAME 3 is a one-player game similar to GAME 1 except that the bumper values are not accumulated. The bumper values are reset with each new ball. GAME 3 is just a bit tougher than GAME 1. For a real challenge, try GAME 3 with difficulty level a.

GAME 4 is a two-player version of GAME 3. Each player takes a turn with one ball at a time. The turn lasts until the ball drains. Each player's score appears at the top of the screen with each turn. As in GAME 2, the left player starts the game.


Tilt is caused by nudging the ball too much. When a tilt occurs, the top portion of the television screen turns red, your flippers are frozen, you cannot score points, and eventually the ball is lost through a drain. If an extra ball was earned before a tilt, you lose it. You still retain the bonus earned from the left rollover.

Nudging can be very helpful in preventing a lost ball. If the ball gets too close to a drain, you can use a nudge to move the ball and prevent it from dropping down the drain. Nudge the ball by holding the red controller button down while pushing the Joystick in the direction you want the ball to go. You can also use a nudge to help score points by nudging the ball towards a rollover or target.

Use the flippers to maneuver the ball so that it rebounds off a playfield device (bumper, rollover, etc.) and then moves toward a specific target.

Experiment with the plunger. Try pulling it halfway back, or all the way back, or anywhere in between. You might find you have better control over the ball with a particular plunger setting. Sometimes, a combination of plunger setting and nudging will help send the ball in the direction of the ATARI rollover.

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