Bill Paxton and pinball, the perfect marriage | Bleader

Bill Paxton and pinball, the perfect marriage


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  • Benjamin Heckendorn
Maybe console modder Benjamin Heckendorn (aka Ben Heck) had a good reason to spend five years building a pinball machine solely devoted to the film roles of actor Bill Paxton, but I don't even want to know what it was. Knowing why the machine exists would only taint the incredible mystery behind its creation.

Bill Paxton Pinball was completed in 2010 and features themes and artwork from a number of Bill Paxton classics—except for Twister, which already has a pinball identity. The machine includes a torpedo loader (U-571), a Jamie Lee Curtis Progress-o-Meter (True Lies), oxygen tank stirrers (Apollo 13), Heart of the Ocean Progress Lights (Titanic), a killer sun (Near Dark), sentry gun LED counters (Alien), a greasy pork sandwich light (Club Dread Weird Science), and a recrushable Hamm's can (Frailty).

Heckendorn writes about the machine:

Aside from "stock" items such as flippers and solenoids it has been completely manufactured from scratch. Most of the artwork is from his movies and has been assembled in stylized montage form as is typical for a pinball machine. It is controlled by a single Parallax Propeller CPU which runs PCM audio music & voice clips as well as handling game logic, I/O and driving the custom LED display. I did the mechanical design, layout, construction & programming all myself, except for the sound player libraries that I got off the Parallax Object exchange website.

Heckendorn is great about showcasing the machine in both a series of photos and videos—he even provides a meticulous four-part breakdown of the construction. But the short "Bill Paxton Pinball Evolution" video is the best and most succinct explanation of the process leading up to the game's completion.

If you're able to take a step back from the sheer oddity of the whole thing, the project is unbelievably impressive.

Check out some simple demo videos of the machine:

And now a few videos of the machine's different modes:

True Lies mode

Titanic mode

U-571 mode

The game is for looking only. Heckendorn is not selling it.

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