Bill Paxton Pinball

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Since 2005 I have been working on building my own custom pinball machine and now it is finally finished. It is based off the endlessly quotable films of Bill Paxton and thus is called… get this… Bill Paxton Pinball. (Very creative, I know)

Aside from “stock” items such as flippers and solenoids it has been completely manufactured from scratch. Most of the artwork is from his movies and has been assembled in stylized montage form as is typical for a pinball machine. It is controlled by a single Parallax Propeller CPU which runs PCM audio music & voice clips as well as handling game logic, I/O and driving the custom LED display. I did the mechanical design, layout, construction & programming all myself, except for the sound player libraries that I got off the Parallax Object exchange website.

I’ve prepared all sorts of stuff for people to check out, so please check out the links below. Also, I did consider creating a “Virtual Pinball” version of this machine but ultimately didn’t have the time. If anyone is well versed in that tool and wants to take a crack at it, let me know, I can supply with you specifications.

“Making Of” Story
A four part article that describes the making of the machine in great detail. Includes photos of the guts, making of video links and source code.

Bill Paxton Pinball Photo Gallery
Contains lots of photos of the machine and its various parts (finished condition).

Demonstration Videos
See the machine in action, and check out descriptions / demos of the specific modes and toys.

Bill Paxton Pinball Evolution
A downloadable video demonstrating the process from start to finish.

Notice: Bill Paxton Pinball is a personal project and therefore is not for sale or duplication. All music / images / audio used on it are owned by their respective copyright holders.

101 thoughts on “Bill Paxton Pinball”

  1. Very cool, well worth the wait…

    Just out of curiosity,
    I wonder how hard it would be to make a visual pinball (vpinball) version of this table?

  2. Congrats on finishing an awesome awesome project. That thing looks sweet. I haven’t read the making-of yet, but I’ve followed the process up until now. And just watched all the new videos you posted on youtube. Really wish I could go to MGC and see it/play it.

  3. “Some celestial event. No – no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should’ve sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful… I had no idea.”

  4. Excellent.
    Has Youtube sent you a threatening email yet warning of the impending deletion of the audio in your videos? I used a few seconds of violin from an old movie and YT told me that Sony required that it be removed. Stupid thing only had 13 views after a week and I didn’t tell anybody about it. They either have an army of music experts listening to every single video that is posted, or they have “melody recognition software” that analyzes every clip that exists on their servers.

  5. Please tell me someone here has Bill Paxton’s contact info and get him over there to play his own game. Would be completely awesome plus he could sign it.

  6. OK Ben, you were already my hero for all the cool portable hacks you have done, but this is simply amazing. Not only is it a technical feat to make your own pinball machine, with the physical machine and the computer processing, but by picking Bill Paxton as your theme, you have left no doubt that you truly are king of the geeks, and we are all merely your subjects! Excelsior!!

  7. THey’re gonna come in here… they’re gonna come in here and they’re gonna kill us…

    This made my day. Bill Paxton pinball… wow.

  8. I don’t get excited by many things. But this is definitely one of them. Bill Paxton will be forever immortalized in your machine. You should talk to an arcade games manufacturer about getting into mass production for arcades across the world. What kind of world would we live in if a kid had to grow up without experiencing the wonder and excitement that is Bill Paxton.

  9. Great machine Ben – been a long time coming. I noticed two things missing that I would have liked to see, one being a circular tube that would go large and then smaller for Twister mode (ball going around like in a twister) and a Terminator mode or bonus or sound bite since he was in T1 for 15 seconds..

  10. I have been toying with the idea of trying to build my own pin but I am curious if you would be posting any schematics for your I/O boards or any of the custom boards you built. Amazing job!

  11. I once wrote to Bally to see if they’d do an Eddie Feinor machine (he was the famed fast pitch softball pitcher called “The King and His Court” who with 4 players (pitcher, catcher, first baseman, and fileder) would regularly beat all comers at softball). It had potential. Bally quit making them shortly after my suggestion. I have been to MGC but have not been able to attend for the last few years. I have a few machines from the 70’s and one from 1942. Good job, Ben! Like Ferris B., you are my hero. I saw your feature in Isthmus and found the web site off The Daily Page.

  12. I’m a huge pinball enthusiast and I have to say this is one of the most creative tables I have ever seen. Plenty of modes to keep people entertained and to spend more money on. A lot of thought went into the creation of this table. Its a shame that pinball is dying out and that there is only one major manufacturer anymore producing tables (and even they are not that great of quality in my opinion).

    I would be fantastic to see your table converted for virtual pinball.

  13. Why are there coin slots on this machine?

    I would love to have my own custom pinball machine. I would make it perhaps the world’s only pinball machine with no theme. (Why do pinball machines need themes, anyway?) I also might not have a scoreboard — can’t look at it when the action’s too intense, anyway — and just tell you your score thriough the speakers.

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