The Paperboy of Pinball Machines that Almost Was
The other day I wrote about a rumor that an unknown company may be in the process of remaking the rare Capcom pinball machine Big Bang Bar. That post has spurred a lot of discussion about the short, yet fascinating history of Capcom Pinball. There's a new dedicated thread on the subject over on Pinside in which the pinball industry legend LTG mentioned a prototype pinball machine that I had never heard of before, Capcom's Red Line Fever.
The great website Internet Pinball Database, aka IPDB, has a page dedicated to this unmade machine. Check this wild game out! It was going to have handlebars that controlled the flippers, sort of like a hybrid between the 1984 Atari arcade classic Paperboy and the 1994 Williams pinball machine Demo Man. I love both of those games, so I bet this Capcom pin would have been pretty cool. Alas, the game was under development at the same time as Python Anghelo's disastrous Zingy Bingy prototype when Capcom pulled the plug on its pinball division, so Red Line Fever never made it into production.
IPDB has a description of the prototype game from its creator, the famous pinball designer Greg Kmiec, who designed such iconic games as Breakshot, Skateball, The Six Million Dollar Man, Xenon, Vector and Transporter the Rescue:
"Red Line Fever" was designed to combine the real-world experience of motorcycle racing with the symbolism of pinball by offering playfield racing-themed features in addition to handlebar flipper switches. The handlebar was mounted on the front of the cabinet. A few real-world motorcyclistspinballers relayed their approval to me of the game when it was shown. It was the best game I ever designed. It was the last game developed by Capcom before the doors shut. It was scheduled to be Capcom's next game. There is only one prototype whitewood in existence.
The super cool pin that almost was...