There was a collective “huh” here in the United States when Bally released Doctor Who pinball in 1992. At the time, the BBC’s signature science fiction series was relegated to late night time slots on public broadcasting stations in America, and had been cancelled back home three years prior. That didn’t stop the premier pinball manufacturer from producing nearly 8,000 units of Doctor Who pinball; the machine was widely popular among both pinball and Doctor Who fans.
Featuring a three-stage raising mini-playfield that housed a trio of screaming Daleks, numerous toys, images of all seven Doctors (at the time), and voice over work featuring Sylvester McCoy reprising his role, the game was an instant classic. I loved this machine so much, I convinced my father to take me to an arcade auction as a teen with hopes of purchasing it for my home. Needless to say, the $200 in my pocket that day was insufficient to materialize the machine in my home.
The average person will not be willing to purchase the machine in its original form; a mint condition Doctor Who pinball can cost upwards of $4000. Thankfully, Farsight Studio’s, makers of the impressive pinball simulator The Pinball Arcade, announced on Christmas day that they intended to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for licensing Doctor Who pinball. The Kickstarter is slated to begin early 2016, with Doctor Who to be added to their Pinball Arcade lineup later that year if successful. This wouldn’t be the first time Farsight has used Kickstarter to fund licensing; successful campaigns brought Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Twilight Zone, and The Addams Family tables to the game in years past. With over forty tables released for the game and more to come, and with the game available on just about every platform, The Pinball Arcade is one of the best ways to experience the classic silver ball, unless you’re lucky enough to have a machine or two at your local pub.