My Favorite Pinball Machine as a Teenager

Information About This Game

CavemanPinball was the first hybrid pinball/video game.  It was manufactured by Gottlieb in 1981-1982.  Perhaps they saw the writing on the wall as people flocked to drop massive amounts of quarters into Space Invaders and Pac-Man.  They must have thought, "How are we going to keep people interested in our pinball machines when the videogames are taking over the arcades?"  So they invented a pinball game that could turn into a videogame, and back to pinball again.

When you sent the ball into certain areas of the playfield, the ball became locked, the table dimmed  and the videogame (which was on a TV loaded in the top center of the table) turned on.  You moved your hands from the flipper buttons to the joystick protruding from the center of the lockbar, and guided a Caveman character through a maze.  The idea was to avoid dangerous dinosaurs while eating the friendly ones.  The videogame portion allowed you to rack up much higher point values than the pinball portion, especially as you level-up by clearing screens.  But the gameplay would speed up a lot and thereby became more difficult.  The big catch was that if you died in the videogame your ball died too.  You also had the option of leaving the maze via exits on the sides, at which point the ball woul be returned to you and pinball play would resume.

I learned, after spending a ridiculous number of quarters, that I could memorize the maze patterns and eventually learned routes through the maze that would allow me to quickly earn high enough points to get free plays.  I had to quit cold turkey when I realized the game was interfering with my studies and draining my living expenses budget.  Ah, youth.

Links About CavemanPinball

Internet Pinball Database Entry

Machine flyer from the Arcade Flyer Archive

You Tube video of gameplay

Another You Tube video of gameplay

Yet another You Tube video of gameplay