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In 1993, video game programmer George Gomez moved to Williams / Bally’s pinball division as a game designer. His first game, Corvette, was based on the iconic American “dream car” and its rich history; originally intended to be a widebody release, the game was converted to a standard body and released in 1994, with a big press event at the National Corvette Museum that opened around the same time.
While Corvette has appeared less prominently on location since its debut, the game is still beloved by advanced players, including myself, for its heavy emphasis on combos and wide variety of shots. This game’s DNA can be seen in Stern games as recent as James Bond 007 or Rush.
About the Corvette Pinball Machine
Collect 9 historic Corvette cars for a chance to look into the future of the iconic American vehicle. Bally's Corvette Pinball Machine was released in 1994 and is the first game for designer George Gomez.
- Kineticist Game Page: Corvette
- Manufacturer: Bally
- Year: 1994
- Design: George Gomez
- Code: Tom Uban, Bill Grupp
- Mechanics: Tom Kopera
- Art: Dan Hughes
- Animation: Eugene Geer, Scott Slomiany
- Music / Sound: Paul Heitsch
Two targets are located at the bottom left and right sides of the playfield. The left targets light the spinner for “turbo boost”, which is generally ignorable, while the right target lights the left outlane kickback and is thus a very important shot. Don’t try to shoot the light kickback target on the fly – hold a ball, and then flip for it with a late shot from the left flipper.
The left side of the game is occupied by two important shots for high scores – the left orbit, and the LT-5 engine. Locking balls at the engine starts multiball and is generally the dominant strategy in tournament play, but the locks can only be lit by shooting the left orbit. In between the two shots is the “MILLION” target, which can result in dangerous returns to the flippers. Use the “MILLION” target as a guide for determining what time on the flipper the left orbit or engine ramp can be made.
Located up the center of the playfield are the pit, used to collect parts and start challenges when lit, and the spinner, which feeds directly into the bumpers and can be very difficult to recover from as a result. The pit is required to shoot for the final shot of “Catch Me” and during a hurry-up mode awarded off of Route 66 and is more reliable if shot early from the right flipper.
The upper flipper shots – the side loop and the skid pad ramp – are also very important due to their usage as the jackpot shots during multiball. They are roughly comparable to the upper loop and side ramp on James Bond 007 in position but are slightly easier to set up due to the many ways the ball can be fed to the upper flipper. Even the kickback sends the ball directly to the upper flipper on this game! If the ball ends up near the upper flipper, there’s no reason not to use it.
On the right side of the game are the Route 66 ramp and the right orbit. The right orbit is a good way to set up combos but otherwise is rarely used, while the Route 66 ramp starts what can be called the game’s “modes”, which are just a linear sequence of awards that reset each game. The Route 66 ramp normally sends the ball to the right flipper, so it can be good as a transfer shot, but if it is lit for an award, then it will send the ball to the left flipper.
Located above the plunger lane is the game’s major gimmick, the Crossed Flags dragway. This mechanic doesn’t interact with the ball, but is meant to serve as a visual indicator of progress during challenges and the “Race Today” video mode.
Scoring on Corvette is typical for its era. 200M is a good starting point for newcomers – advanced players should be able to pass 1 billion with a few good multiballs.
Abridged Corvette Tutorial
- Collect the flashing blue car parts to light “start challenge” at the pit. Challenges require the player to make the flashing shots to advance their car and award the flashing car on the grid if won. Typical challenges award between 50M to 100M for completion.
- Shoot the right ramp to reveal the next Route 66 award, then shoot the ramp again to cash out the award. The first award is the very difficult “Catch Me” mode; other awards like a hurry-up / multiball and super jets await dedicated players.
- Collect spark plugs at the yellow arrows for assorted awards – either 20M points, or lighting the right ramp for “Race Today”. During “Race Today”, use the left flipper to move and right flipper to shift when prompted.
- Track combos add up in tournament play and can be collected at any time, even during multiball. Shoot either the engine or right orbit to set them up from the upper flipper.
- Multiball jackpots are the most consistent way to get high scores on Corvette in a tournament setting. Shoot the left orbit to light the lock at the engine. Lock 3 balls and rev the engine up to start multiball, and shoot the side loop and skid ramp for jackpots (or combo them for super jackpots!)
- Collecting all 9 cars will begin the puzzle challenge. Make 9 flashing shots to reveal the 1997 Corvette and start a 4-ball multiball where engine shots can be worth up to 100M per shot. Players that reach this final mode can enter their initials as Future Car Champ.
Skill shots can add up during a long game on Corvette, especially if you’re consistently locking balls at the engine. Just plunge for the flashing lane and move it using the flippers for 5M + 5M per skill shot, to no known limit.
Corvette was the first game to include a super-skill shot, which is commonplace in newer games. In this game, the super skill shot is activated by pressing the left flipper two times, then the right flipper once, then the left flipper twice again; then full plunging and shooting the side ramp. While the super skill shot awards slightly more points than the normal skill shot, the normal one is too easy to pass up and feeds the ball to the flippers more consistently.
The main goal of Corvette for players hoping to “complete” the game is to collect all 9 cars listed on the grid above the flippers. While there are many ways to collect them, there are two reliable ways: traveling Route 66 and completing challenges.
“Start challenge” is lit at the pit by collecting the flashing blue car part or shooting the pit to spot the part. The first car part will always be “hi-lift cams” at the engine, then “big block” at the left orbit, followed by “big brakes” at the right orbit.
During the challenge, keep shooting the flashing shots to advance your car (the blue one located above Crossed Flags) and win against the opponent’s red car. The shots corresponding to parts you collected prior to the challenge double the progress of other shots, and the spinner if lit for “turbo boost,” also advances farther. When a challenge is completed, a point value between 50M and 100M is scored depending on how fast you completed it, and a car is awarded.
You can also gain a large amount of progress during the first challenge of a game by shooting the pit and repeatedly mashing the flippers. This can still be done during later challenges, but the speed boost won’t be anywhere near as massive.
Generally, challenges can be ignored in tournament settings – the points scored from them are minuscule compared to other rules in the game. However, casual players or those with minimal experience with the game might benefit from challenges to adapt to the game layout.
Making a shot to the right ramp will open a diverter at the back of the ramp and display the next Route 66 award; a subsequent right ramp shot will then collect it. If the diverter isn’t open and a mode is currently running, then shooting the right ramp will qualify the next award, which can be collected once the mode ends.
Route 66 awards are scored in the following order:
- Catch Me (1st, 7th) – The player needs to make four shots – the right ramp, side ramp, engine, and pit – in a row, with 20 seconds allotted per shot. Making all four shots awards a maximum of 230M, awards the flashing car, and starts a quick 2-ball multiball where all switch hits score 500k.
- Car Awarded (2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th) – Awards the currently flashing car located above the flippers.
- Pit-In (3rd) – Shoot the pit to lock in a hurry-up value starting at 60M and start a 2-ball multiball where all pit shots score that value as a jackpot.
- Quadrajets (5th) – For the rest of the ball, all bumper hits are worth 1M points. Quadrajets is also enabled upon reaching puzzle multiball.
- Bonus X (8th) – Advances the bonus multiplier.
- 20M (10th) – Awards 20 million points.
- Special (11th) – Awards a special.
- Once all 11 Route 66 awards have been scored, they will reset from the first award, Catch Me.
Like challenges, Route 66 awards are ignorable in a tournament environment but are worth playing for if the player hopes to become Future Car Champ.
“Race Today” is started at the right ramp and is another quick way to earn cars, but is started in a different way from the typical Route 66 award. Over the course of the game, the yellow arrows in front of each shot indicate that they will award spark plugs – they change every time the ball rolls through an inlane. Extra ball is lit after a fairly low number of spark plugs – afterward, every 8 spark plugs will either award 20M points or light “Race Today” at the right ramp.
“Race Today” is the game’s video mode and uses the Crossed Flags dragway above the plunger. To win the race and collect another car, the player must use the left flipper to accelerate and shift with the right flipper when prompted by the DMD. Points between 50M and 100M are awarded based on how fast the player won, and the drag race becomes more difficult each time it is played during a game.
If the player wins the video mode, they will be awarded with a 2-ball multiball where all ramp shots score jackpots worth 15M. This quick multiball is a great time to play for track combos.
Track combos are a lesser-known rule on Corvette but are well worth researching. Shots to the engine ramp (when it isn’t lit for lock) or right orbit allow the upper flipper shots (ie. upper loop, skid pad ramp, and RAUCOUS target) to be made in succession and collect track combos, each combo correlating to a different famous racetrack and adding up in end-of-ball bonus.
The values scored for each track combo are additive rather than cumulative, meaning that the score pool built up with previous track combos on the same ball is awarded again once you make another unique track combo.
Multiball is easily the biggest source of points in Corvette and is what tournament players should predominantly be focused on while playing. For the first multiball, only one left orbit shot is needed to light lock at the engine. Subsequent multiballs require the left orbit to be shot once for each lock, eventually requiring the lock to be made on a time limit. The three locks for the first multiball also award cars.
Once the third ball is locked, you can rev the engine for some small bonus points and kickback will automatically light as the multiball starts. Keep an eye out for the upper flipper, as balls will eject out of the engine towards that flipper one at a time to set you up for jackpots at the upper loop and skid pad ramp. The jackpot value starts at 60M for the upper loop and half that for the skid pad ramp – it increases by 20M each time both jackpots are scored, up to 100M.
You can continue to score track combos during multiball and even score super jackpots worth an instant 100M (and relighting both jackpots!) by shooting the upper loop immediately followed by the skid pad ramp.
Once the player has collected all 9 cars (either from challenges, Route 66, Race Today, or multiball), extra ball will light and the puzzle challenge will start, remaining active until completed. Puzzle challenge requires the player to shoot 9 total shots to complete the puzzle of the 1997 Corvette on the DMD, locking 3 balls at the engine ramp in the process. Once the puzzle is completed, puzzle multiball can be started at either the engine ramp or right ramp.
Puzzle multiball is a relatively low-scoring wizard mode where quadrajets are enabled (ie. each bumper hit is worth 1M) and every shot to the engine ramp scores 25M x the number of balls in play, up to a maximum of 100M with all four balls in play. Once the multiball ends, the player’s car collection will reset, though collected cars will still contribute to end-of-ball bonus like they did before.
- When in doubt, go for multiball. Multiball is a huge source of points and safer than many other sources of points on Corvette, and getting there also guarantees 30M in end-of-ball bonus for the rest of the game and lights the kickback if it isn’t lit already. Be sure you can consistently shoot for the left orbit and the engine ramp.
- Track combos are not only fun to show off but can add up immensely over the course of a long ball – both immediately and in end-of-ball bonus. A great way to handle multiball jackpots while scoring track combos is to set up your jackpots either with strong engine ramp shots or right orbit shots.
- Race Today is worth playing out – the first race is easy to complete and the 2-ball multiball awarded for it allows more track combos to be scored alongside 15M jackpots.
- Focus on the outer shots like the orbits and ramps, not the inner shots like the spinner or the pit. Horizontal motion on Corvette is safer, and easier to handle, than vertical motion from the top of the playfield.