Earlier this week, Martin and Ryan from the Head2Head Pinball Podcast (website, Facebook) streamed the Magic Girl pinball machine on their Twitch channel. While there have been some short videos of Magic Girl gameplay, this is believed to be the first full stream of the game. (***EDIT – it is NOT the first stream! Check out Stashkid13’s stream of Magic Girl from several months ago here!***) You can view the entire stream here on YouTube. Special thanks to Martin and Ryan, and also to Chris Kooluris of Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast for access to photos of his Magic Girl machine as well – check out Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast on Soundcloud here. Finally, thanks to Wayne Gillard for allowing Martin and Ryan to stream Magic Girl – check out Wayne’s Mr. Pinball website here.
WHAT IS MAGIC GIRL?
If you don’t know much about Magic Girl or haven’t played one, you’re not alone. There are only about two dozen Magic Girl machines in the world. The short and controversial history of the machine goes like this – several years ago famous pinball designer John Popadiuk started a company called Zidware, and planned to build a limited number of Magic Girl machines. Zidware customers paid in part or in full for these machines that had not been built yet (the “pre-order” model). Popadiuk ran out of funds before any games were delivered. American Pinball later built the Magic Girl machines and they were shipped to customers, however, despite the efforts of American Pinball, the game was incomplete as you will see below.
From Ryan and Martin and the other people in the stream, there were some observations that were stated throughout the evening, including:
- It is a beautiful machine with a lot of potential
- There were magnets missing, code missing, features that simply don’t work
- All magnets seem weak, which should be able to be fixed with software
- The ball times were short
- There were many rejects on the left ramp where the ball didn’t quite get up the ramp
- The skill shot is similar to the World Cup Soccer pinball machine
- Everything feels solid, very good build quality
- Several people mentioned that the game shoots well
- It could be a great game if everything is working
For an overview of the features of Magic Girl, visit this link for a playfield view and brief description, and this link for a list view that goes more in-depth of the features and some rules.
***EDIT*** The website linked above were created by Pinsider Applejuice, who worked on the code for Magic Girl. This Week in Pinball received some clarification from him regarding some context of the MG code development, why he created the website above, and his situation working with Zidware. With his permission, I have copied and pasted his private message:
2 Main points currently are that the code shipped with the games was NOT fully paid for and i never received my own game as part of my contract. Also the code development was stopped by myself in May 2014 due to lack of payment on invoices. roughly $11000 software contract fees plus a few £K in development hardware owing.
You can listen to the full (early) story at this flipping podcast – https://www.mixcloud.com/thisflippinpodcast/episode-34b-jim-askey-speaks/
I created the magicgirlcode.org website, after i learned that games were shipping to original owners, as a gesture of good will on my behalf to help them understand the rules and game concepts as i had coded them and developed the game rules with jpop. The game concepts were a joint discussion, not all jpops ideas.
I also was in contact with the original owners for awhile in terms of getting a game myself (to own) to be able to iron out and improve the code base, fix problems. I created a new software release to address some of the owners concerns on my own time, plus fixed a lot of the issues in the code created after i had departed. Unfortunately as no deal could be created to get me a game the software release could not be tested on real hardware so i parked the project once again.
Let me share with you the update notes for v0.8.0 (I’m still waiting for a game to be sent to me so i can test it!!!)
Magicgirl v0.8.0 Update Notes
– Added Free Play Option to Service Standard Settings
– Removed Novice Play
– Adjusted Coil Strength on Potion Kickout
– Adjusted Coil Strength on Magic Shop Kickout
– Fixed Potion Saucer mode issues which conflicted with old bagatelle mode
– Fixed Ball Search flipper hold coil disabling issue
– Updated POWER letter progress to use RHS loop as original designed.
– Updated MAGIC letter progress to be as original designed.
– Updated graphic window display for WIZARD letter completion
– Updated graphic window display for POTION letter completion
– Improved Ball Search
– Updated Attract mode score names
– Added attract mode sound screen
– Added attract mode myPinballs Electronics screen
– Added game audit reset option to Service Utilities/Audits menu
– Added game diagnostics reset option to Service Utilities menu
– Added broken switch reporting to Service switch test
– Added broken switch updating to Service switch test
– Fixed a bug with Service Switch NC grid colouring
– Added correct machine serial number designation in Service System menu
Applejuice also mentioned: Also, in answer to one of the questions from the stream, the wizard lane hurry up shot is collected in the same place the wizard lanes were spotted, i.e. left loop. This is also explained on the website in the feature list as shot 5.
Many of the shots and features in the game are actually coded fine. It is that some tweaks to timings and alterations to hardware controls are needed due to changes from the prototype and the ‘production’ machines.
Below are a few of the features we saw (or were supposed to see) during the stream:
Locking Balls for Multiball
The locks are supposed to work like this: Light lock lanes in the left/right inlane/outlane to light lock (similar to K-E-E-P on Lord of the Rings). Once L-O-C-K is completed, lock will light at the left ramp, and three balls can be locked for multi-ball, one ball locked on each ramp, and the third ball is sucked up into the Kings Chamber. Here is the problem – there aren’t any ball lock areas on the ramps and it doesn’t appear there is a way to physically lock balls on the ramp. It could be coded as a “virtual lock” in the software to fix this? Here is Martin nailing the lock shot and finding out it doesn’t actually lock a ball right now. So unfortunately there aren’t any videos of multiball – however, there IS a video of someone figuring out a work-around and actually locking one of the balls (check it out here!).
Upper Playfield with Magna Flippers
According to Wayne, there is supposed to be a magnet that holds a ball and shoots it up to the upper playfield. Then you can use magna flippers (similar to Twilight Zone) on the upper playfield. This works in test mode currently but there apparently isn’t software to support it.
The Levitation Chamber is supposed to levitate a ball, however, it is also not working right now. Wayne (Mr. Pinball) is trying to fix it on this particular machine, and they manufactured a stainless steel flap to get it to work about 1 in 20 times right now. Listen to Wayne discuss what they’ve been doing and how the levitation chamber works.
W-I-Z-A-R-D and the Wizard is Messing with You
In this video, Martin completes “WIZARD” by shooting the orbits and spinner shot, and although it doesn’t seem to do anything when WIZARD is complete (supposed to start a hurry up?), the ball ends precariously balanced directly on the top of the rubber between the inlane and outlane. After cradling the ball for a moment, it also appears that Martin deals with the Wizard “messing wit him” in this video, where the machine acts like it is in a ball search and flips the flippers to move the ball. Not sure if that was intentional or not, but the audio does say “the Wizard is messing with you” or something to that nature.
Outlanes – Jinx Wheel and Magna Save
There is a spinning disc above left outlane called the Jinx Wheel. Check out it throwing a ball down the outlane, throwing a ball back into the playfield, and how the disc turns on and off with rollover targets in the middle of the playfield. Above the right outland, there is a magna save, check out this video to show where the magna save magnet is located.
This seems to currently be the main thing to shoot for in the game. It makes the lights change colors and makes loud noises, check out here.
Light Show in Attract Mode
Speaking of lights, check out the attract mode.
The ramps look fluid and very John Popadiuk-y. As mentioned above, there were a lot of times where the ball didn’t make it all the way up the ramp, but check out this video to see someone hit it twice (and almost three times) in a row. When you hit the ramp it goes down the right side, but after you hit the ramp 3x the diverter switches it to go down the left side. For some reason that didn’t work during normal game play but did work here while the glass was off.
WILL MAGIC GIRL BE MASS PRODUCED?
A company called deeproot pinball has hired John Popadiuk, and there are rumors that they are planning to mass produce the Magic Girl pinball machine. (For more on that story, click here.) This Week in Pinball spoke to deeproot this week, and regarding the possibility of building more Magic Girls, they had the following statement:
“Contrary to what is being falsely disseminated, there are no plans at this time to actually make MG, RAZA, and/or AIW. One or more of them might be made, or might not. If one or more of them are made, they might vary in nature (i.e. title, theme, artwork, structure or layout) and/or quantity. An unfortunate factor in this decision involves the unresolved ownership of some of the intellectual property rights involved in the games. In order for deeproot Tech to consider making MG, RAZA, and/or AIW, these issues may need to be resolved.”
Here is a two minute flyover of the machine.
This guy is a good pinball player judging by the stream, but this is the shortest ball time EVER – the ball literally doesn’t even go onto the playfield, just goes from plunger to drain. It may have something to do with the shooter lane not having any type of groove to guide the ball.
Check out this Popular Science article: The curious story of Magic Girl, the would-be greatest pinball machine of all time
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