[Chicago Slices raw : pinball wizard]

Raw footage shot for the TV series Chicago Slices. This tape features a tour of Gottlieb pinball company with engineer and "pinball wizard" Jon Norris.

00:00Copy video clip URL Cameraman Doug Sawyer checks in with a receptionist at Gottlieb to see Jon Norris. Norris comes to meet him and takes him into the pinball factory where he works as an engineer. Jon shows some popular games, such as Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter 2. He talks about the secrecy involved in pinball game design.

04:40Copy video clip URL Jon plays a golf-themed pinball game he co-designed, called Teed Off. His high score on this game is around six billion, he says.

07:00Copy video clip URL The hardest part of designing a pinball game, according to Jon, is trying to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible. He goes into specifics of game locations and corresponding earnings.

11:30Copy video clip URL One of Jon’s trademarks in pinball rule design is adding in an improbable but possible task that can multiply the player’s score. Another is to bring back a rule from games of past decades.

13:00Copy video clip URL Jon talks about the origin of his interest in pinball. When he was in college, studying art at Cal State, the student union had pinball games that he played often.

15:25Copy video clip URL Jon shows us some tricks that most pinball players cannot do.

22:40Copy video clip URL Jon moves onto the next machine, a game called Cue Ball Wizard. It is a pool themed game that would often be found in taverns. We see him play the game, with close-up shots of the board’s design.

27:45Copy video clip URL Jon describes what he thinks it means to call oneself a “pinball wizard.” He owns between seventy and eighty games that were all made before 1965. Then he continues playing Cue Ball Wizard, while discussing pinball score inflation and other aspects of game design.

44:39Copy video clip URL Jon talks about his opinion on why Chicago is the “pinball capital of the world.” Then he talks about the technological aspects of recent pinball design. He shows us a game from ten years earlier, and compares it to the more advanced games of recent times.

49:30Copy video clip URL Jon says that Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, and Hugh Hefner are among the celebrities who are known pinball enthusiasts.

51:48Copy video clip URL End of tape.



  1. juppine says:

    Excellent video with John Norris – the great pinball designer. Nice that some footage at Gottlieb Pinball was taken before it’s closure. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mario Van Cleave says:

    Thanks for the video. I never thought I would ever see the inside of that factory again. Brought back memories. I attended distributor training there several times. They took away our camera’s and it was before cell phones with cameras! I actually recognized a few people. Made my day.

  3. Chris says:

    As glad as I am to see inside the factory, my god did the interviewer ask some poorly researched questions. Wished they walked around the factory instead of spending most of it inside the games room. You could tell Jon thought the whole thing was a bit amateur

  4. I know jon and he did quit because of 2nd hand smoke. He is a great photographer too.

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