Banzai Run Prototype
Williams Electronics brought their recent Banzai Run pinball machine to Pinball Expo '88. As a rare treat, they also brought their playable, whitewood, prototype Wreck'n Ball pinball. Pinball wizards lined up to play Banzai Run and Wreck'n Ball throughout the Pinball Expo '88 weekend, October 7-9, 1988 in Rosemont, Illinois.
Banzai Run's motocross theme is a good match for its two-plane playfield design. On the conventional lower playfield, a well aimed flipper shot propels the ball through a spinner to the Banzai Run Ball Lifter, which carries the ball to the top of a near-vertical playfield that extends about two feet up into the backbox. The ball drops rapidly on the steep upper playfield, despite three flippers and many scoring opportunities. With reflexes honed on electromechanical games, I never mastered the upper playfield.
Pinball Expo visitors could also try Williams Wreck'n Ball, a whitewood proof-of-concept for the vertical playfield and the ball lifter. The upper playfield design is simpler than Banzai Run's, with no captive ball area , a wide open midfield, and one additional flipper. Wreck'n Ball embeds four score displays in the upper playfield; Banzai Run grouped them behind the backglass above.