Production Date: October 1979
Production Run: 10,340 solid state
Design: Greg Kmiec
Artwork: Kevin O'Connor
The Game Synopsis/History
Supersonic was created in recognition of the Concorde, which provided trans-Atlantic commercial supersonic flights between London Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York JFK, Washington Dulles and Barbados. It could complete this flight in about half the time of other planes. There were only 20 of these aircraft built. However, it was never profitable commercially so after a crash in 2000 coupled with the manufacturer's decision to discontinue maintenance support, the planes were grounded in 2003.
The game itself uses the Bally -35 board and pre-dates the first use of speech. It has a true "skill" shot, as one of the main goals in the game is to get the ball into the center '2' lane at the top of the playfield. It sits a little higher than the other lanes so it does require some skill and nudging to get it. The playfield is asymmetrical. On the left is a chute called the "Jetstream" consisting of five star rollovers. Next to the chute is a bank of five drop targets. On the right is a saucer that advances the bonus multiplier. The keys to the game are getting the five numbered lanes (especially the '2'), getting the ball in the saucer, and knocking down the drop targets. There is a ball gate on the right side that feeds the shooter lane. The sound on this game is unique and added four "new" sounds to the Bally sound repertoire. It uses electronic sounds but hadn't advanced yet to the music or speech of later games.
This Particular Game's History
This particular game holds a great deal of sentimental value to me. When I first got my lot of 19 games (as told here), I gave this game to a good friend of mine named Tony Shipp to have at his house. This was in 2002. This gave me some much needed room in my work area (19 games took up a lot more space than I expected) and allowed him to have a game to play at his house. The game stayed at his house until a little over a year ago (2016) when he developed cancer and passed away. Without going into too much detail, Tony had a business where he cleaned, repaired, and maintained foreclosed homes. As a result, he accumulated tons of "stuff" from the home clean-outs. It's amazing the stuff people leave when they vacate a home. I'm talking brand new items as well as trash. Anyway, a few months before he passed away, he needed some extra room in his house so he put the game in a storage unit where he kept alot of the stuff they retrieved and would then sell later. He wasn't planning on selling the game, he just stored it there to make room in his house, planning to bring it back when he got the space. Well, he never got to bring the game back home. This sets the stage for the restoration.
After his death, the family wanted me to have the game back so I picked it up and brought it home. Upon inspection, I found that mice had invaded the cabinet and chewed out the wiring harness, part of the cabinet wiring, and the game manual (more on this later). So, there was going to be a lot of extra work in getting this game together. Since this was a game I never actually intended to get back, I decided I didn't need to keep it. Well, my oldest son's father-in-law is from Europe and has worked here in the United States for over twenty years in the airline industry. He had always wanted a pinball machine so I figured what better thing than to restore this game and give it to him. He would love the Supersonic theme both for its tie to the airline industry and its connection between the United States and Eurpoe. So begins the story behind the restoration of this game.
This game ended up being quite an extensive restoration. I did a full cabinet repaint, an extensive playfield repiant/touch-up along with a playfield clear-coat, almost complete re-working of the wiring harness due to the mouse infestation, and re-doing almost all of the connectors in the game. The only thing I didn't do was get a new backglass for the game which it needs. My son's father-in-law was fine with the backglass as it is (peeling but held together with mylar) so I left it with the work I have done. Maybe one day my son will get him a new backglass as a present:)