This morning news came out that the legendary pinball designer Barry Oursler has passed away at the age of 70.
I wanted to wait to write anything about this very sad piece of news until some sort of official statement was issued by American Pinball. I always find the race to be the first to report on a famous individual passing away to be in tremendously bad taste. I also, personally have a hard time discussing subjects like this.
Earlier this month when news that Barry was hired by American broke, I put together a list of his games. His accomplishments in the industry are absolutely amazing...
1996 Williams Junk Yard
1995 Williams Jack*Bot
1995 Bally Who Dunnit
1995 Williams Dirty Harry
1994 Williams Popeye Saves the Earth 1993 Bram Stoker’s Dracula
1992 Bally Doctor Who
1991 Williams Hurricane
1991 Bally Harley Davidson
1989 Williams Bad Cats
1989 Williams Police Force
1988 Williams Jokerz!
1988 Williams Cyclone
1987 Williams Fire!
1987 Williams Space Station
1986 Williams Pinbot
1986 Williams Grand Lizard
1985 Williams Comet
1984 Williams Space Shuttle
1983 Williams Joust
1983 Williams Time Fantasy
1982 Williams Defender
1982 Williams Cosmic Gunfight
1981 Williams Barracora
1981 Williams Solar Fire
1981 Williams Jungle Lord
1980 Williams Scorpion
1979 Williams Gorgar & more
I may have missed one or two, but you get the idea. Below is a copy of American Pinball's statement on the sad news:
"American Pinball Lost a Good Friend
American Pinball and Aimtron Corporation are saddened to announce the passing of legendary game designer, Barry Oursler at the age of 70. Barry designed more than 40 pinball games over his long and illustrious 40-plus year pinball career. Among them, his Space Shuttle game released in 1984 is said by many to have saved and revitalized the pinball industry.
“I was looking forward to designing new games and new mechs with you. I had a wonderful time working on all your games.” – Zofia Ryan
“I will always remember Barry’s brilliant, dry sense of humor, and always having me in stitches.” – Jack Haeger
“I was looking forward to him coming to American Pinball to work with him and enjoying all of the good cooking that Barry made.” – Dennis Nordman
“What can one say about one of the true pinball design masters of the past forty years. Barry established himself as not just a creative talent but a genuinely humble individual who never sought the outside accolades but rather the internal contentment of what he was achieving. From the first time we worked together with Phoenix and Barracora to many subsequent projects, Barry remained a very special coworker and friend. I will miss him dearly but know his legacy will endure forever.” – Roger Sharpe
Those who have had the honor of working with Barry know of his dedication, his efficiency, his kindness and great enthusiasm for pinball and its players. His games are easy to understand, fun to play, and difficult to master, the perfect combination that earned him admirers from all over the pinball world.
“Barry’s game, Space Shuttle, was my introduction to the pinball world. It was a privilege and an honor to work with him as a new member of the pinball industry and then again here at American Pinball.” – Steven Bowden
“Barry has always come across as a gentle giant. He was a guy I was happy to bring on to American Pinball. I am greatly saddened for his family.” – David Fix
“I will always miss Barry for his soft spoken nature and his support of Pinball Expo since day one.” – Rob Berk, Pinball Expo
“Barry was a great friend and an early mentor for me in the Pinball biz. We spent 15 years working together at Williams. Barry was always willing to help me out with anything I needed while cutting my teeth in Pinball design. He was also a really fun guy. We made friends almost immediately. He had a sharp mind for humor and would jab me with practical jokery from time to time. I have nothing but fond memories of our time together.
Barry had a heart of gold and was a good man. I had the pleasure of working on a game with Barry -- that game was Police Force. We would jokingly lament together regarding Python's crazy ways during development. It was a great experience and I am thankful to have had that opportunity.
There were so many good times over the years. Suffice it to say – Great Friend, great person, and I shall miss him a great deal. Rest In Peace, my friend.” – Mark Ritchie
“It saddens me that we lost one of the good guys. He was known as a prankster on some occasions and possibly playing with fireworks in the offices. A great designer and a good friend. He will be sadly missed.” – Ken Fedesna
“It was a great privilege to host him at the UK Pinball Show and to have him speak at the banquet about his amazing career in gaming.” – Gary Flower - UK
Our deepest condolences go out to his family, many friends and the pinball community. He will be truly missed."