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Source: The Pinball Archive

Rules: Riverboat Gambler

HTML Version 1.63

<NEW> By: Scott Piehler

Barring any major revelations (flipper codes pointing out the location of Jimmy Hoffa's body, etc.,) this is the final revision of this rulesheet. I realize the game is 9 years old, but it's still out there on location, and it is a great home machine, so what the heck. Also, I've tried to throw in as many historical tidbits as possible, so hopefully this can also serve as something of a reference document.

To locate bugs in the game, just look for <BUG>

To find what was new since the last version, look for <NEW>

This rulesheet is entirely based on L-3 (final release) software.

I am the author of this rulesheet, but all copyrights pertaining to the game itself belong to Williams Electronics. I received direct or indirect assistance on this rulesheet from:

Throughout this rulesheet, (Ad xx) points to an operator feature adjustment, where xx is a particular number. This is for home users who might like to change something.

<1> Rulesheet History


As changes are made, the text version of this rulesheet is posted to Additionally, it lives at in the rulesheet section.

<2> Description & Design Team

Riverboat Gambler was released by Williams in August of 1990, as game # 50007. It was released around the same time as Funhouse, but with a much smaller production run. Also, Funhouse runs on the WPC-A system (TM:BOP), where RG is a System 11-C (Rollergames). In fact, Riverboat Gambler was the last 11-C game released. It has been estimated that there are, perhaps, 300 remaining in the U.S., as a great many were shipped overseas. The machine is set up with three pinballs installed. One of the balls is essentially a spare, since multiball is a two-ball affair here.

The final ROM revision is L-3. According to Dwight Sullivan, there are no H-ROM's. However, during the introduction of Riverboat Gambler at AMOA Expo (October 25-27, 1990) in New Orleans, there was a slight modification made. If 777 777 777 came up on the Slot Machine during the show, the display would say *T-Shirt* instead of *Special*. The person playing the game would then receive a Riverboat Gambler T-shirt. Other games at this show: Simpsons, Dr. Dude, and Whirlwind.

The shirt is red, and the total design area is 6 1/2 inches tall by 11 1/4 wide.

While not common, you can find some RG's with Diamond Plate playfields. The flyer shows the partially obscured words


just above the left flipper, so we know that at least some were released that way.

RG is a game really designed with the street location (read: Bar) in mind. A classic gambling theme, pin-up style backglass, standard width, and simple playfield layout. Due to the random nature of the jackpots , it is not a machine for purists. However, for sheer fun, and aesthetics, it is an excellent machine, well suited to home use.

The design team is as follows (from Uncle Willy):

  • Design: Ward Pemberton
  • Software: Dwight Sullivan (his first pinball programming credit)
  • Music/Sounds: Dan Forden, Paul Heitsch
  • Art: Pat McMahon
Note that if you find a game without the design credits listed on the playfield, then it's a prototype.

There is a great bit of trivia on an uncredited vocal appearance.

Also mentioned on the playfield design credits:

  • Linda Deal (Theatre of Magic backglass artist)
  • Greg Tastad

<3> Cabinet/Backglass unique features

These features mostly relate to the Roulette feature of the game.

The Lockdown Bar

The lockdown bar features four rectangular buttons. Left to right they are:


These are used to place your bet on the Roulette wheel. The Pass button is just that. You pass your bet, and pinball play continues.

The Roulette Wheel

In the head of the machine, dead center of the backglass, there is a vertical roulette wheel, five inches across. Well, it's more like a wheel of fortune at a carnival, since it doesn't actually use a ball. The wheel in Tee'd Off is actually a truer *roulette* wheel. But I digress...

The wheel is divided into 16 sections. 7 are black, 7 are red, and 2 are green. The colors alternate like a standard Roulette wheel. The two green sections also have stars. There are two other stars, one on black, and one on red. If the wheel is lined up correctly, the stars sit at North, South, East, West (if the wheel were a compass...).

On the flyer for RG, all the non-starred roulette spaces are numbered. The flyer shows the wheel stopped on the red star space. going clockwise the numbers/colors are: StarR, 12B, 5R, 2B, StarG, 3R, 8B, 11R, StarB, 10R, 7B, 4R, StarG, 1B, 6R, 9B. This wheel was mocked up specifically for the photo shoot. At the time, there was some thought that the numbers would have an impact on the game play/scoring. That idea was abandoned as making the rules too complicated.

Win Meter

A vertical series of 7 lights. You advance the meter by either winning Casino Games, or shooting the Winning Streak loop,or spelling CASINO. When the Win Meter reaches the top, Roulette is lit for JACKPOT. You can advance the Win Meter to the top directly by correctly selecting GREEN on the roulette wheel. Depending on operator setting, the meter starts at 1,2,3, or 4 lights lit.

Also depending on operator settings, the meter may drop down a notch if you don't win anything in a set period of time. This can range from 10 through 30 seconds, or it can be turned off. If the drop feature is on, it will be (temporarily) stopped by any of the following: bumpers, ramp, FIVE CARD targets, Blackjack standup, or CHIPS standup. If the Win Meter is at the top, it will stay there until you lose the Jackpot, or drain the ball after winning Jackpot.

Backglass Displays

As with most modern era pins, the backglass (translite) sits above the scoring display. Well, RG has two additional displays in the backglass. The first is :


Located directly above the roulette wheel, this is a four digit display that keeps track of your *chips*. Chips are earned on the playfield, and used to bet on the roulette wheel.

(Tech note: It's actually a 7 digit display, but the first three are masked by the backglass). Chips are also used for end-of-ball bonus. They are worth 1,000 points each.

Break The Bank

Located in the upper right corner (think Taxi's jackpot meter), this keeps track of the number of points that can be obtained by winning the Roulette Jackpot. A seven digit display, it maxes out at 9,999,000

<4> Playfield Layout

Starting at the right outlane, and working clockwise:

A note on lanes: there is lane change. It is bi-directional. Hit the left flipper, the lit lane moves left, hit the right, it moves right. Unlike many games, you are *not* trying to light all the lanes. There is one light, period.

Right Outlane: Standard, with post separating it from inlane. When lit with lane change feature, it scores 50 chips and 50,000 points. Otherwise, 25,000 pts, no chips. Note: When ball drains down either outlane, the female voice on the machine says a very sincere *Too Bad*.

Right Return Lane: Again, standard. When lit, it scores 10,000, and lowers the Slot Machine Ramp. The timer on the ramp is operator adjustable, and ranges from 5 to 10 seconds. When the lane is not lit, it scores 5,000.

Flippers: Two, standard. In addition to operating the lane change, they also activate the Status Report. Hold in either flipper, and the Status Report gives the following:

The Status Report will either cycle on its own, or you can advance through it by pressing on the other flipper.

Slingshots: Two, standard. They toggle the value of *Royal Flush* between 100 and 200 chips.

Left Return Lane: Standard style. When lit, it scores 20,000 , and lights the right ramp for *Spot A Card*. Again, the timer is adjustable, and lasts from 5 to 10 seconds. When not lit, it scores 10,000.

Left Outlane: Same as right outlane.

F-I-V-E Drop Target Bank: Located on the left of the playfield, with the *E* about halfway up, a bank of four drop targets. They are used for earning ROYAL FLUSH. Drop them all, they pop back up. Each target scores 10,000. Completing the bank scores 85,000, 10 chips, and spots a Royal Flush card.

Blackjack Table: Top left corner of the playfield, a single standup target at the end of a *chute*. Completing Blackjack awards the *A* in CASINO, and advances the Win Meter. Next to this shot, on the right is the:

Bust Card: A single standup target that lights after the second hit of the Blackjack. Hit it when lit, and Blackjack resets. It scores 20,000 when lit, 5,000 otherwise. The Bust Card sits between the Blackjack Table and the:

Slot Machine/Winning Streak/Roulette shot:

This a raise/lower ramp, like the lock ramp in HSII: The Getaway. If the ramp in HSII is at the 12:00 position, then rotate it 90 degrees to the 9:00 position. You now have a good idea of the positioning of this ramp.

When the ramp is down, it feeds the Slot Machine. The ramp may be lowered one of two ways:

Note: A half-hearted shot up the Slot Ramp will most likely result in a Straight_Down_The_Middle drain. This is rare, as it is a fairly short, shallow ramp.

When the ramp is up, the shot leads to a permanent ramp that feeds the Roulette area directly over the plunger lane, and back to the right flipper. For purposes of this rulesheet, this is called the Winning Streak shot, always. If Roulette is lit, the ball is stopped, and you play Roulette. If not, the ball feeds directly back to the right return lane, *after* the rollover. During Multiball, this is the Winning Streak shot that advances the Win Meter. An unlit shot is worth 20,110 points (yes it's weird). A lit Winning Streak shot during Multiball is worth 100,000. If the shot is too soft to make it up the ramp, the ball diverts to the:

Bumpers: Three bumpers, standard triangle formation. When not flashing, they score 100 points, and award 1 chip per hit. When flashing (as determined by Skill Shot), they score 1,000 and award three chips. The bumpers also have what is euphemistically referred to in the manual as *Colorful Speech*. Translation: some woman going *Ooh*, *Ahh,* Yeah*. This speech can be normal, less frequent, or off entirely. (Ad 48) Directly below the bumpers is the:

C-A-R-D Drop Target bank: Same as the F-I-V-E bank, except located about center playfield, angled to face toward the left out/return lane. Slightly above and to the right of the C-A-R-D bank is the:

Right Ramp: This permanent ramp goes up, turns left across the top of the bumpers, crosses in front of the slot/bust/roulette area, comes behind the F-I-V-E targets, and returns the ball to the left flipper, after the rollover. This is potentially lucrative loop shot. The ramp is used in Five Card/Royal Flush. Just below the ramp entrance, to the right are the:

CHIPS standups. They begin unlit. Lighting each scores 8,000 points, and awards a chip. After that, they score 3000 points. This brings us around to the :

Plunger: A standard, manual plunger. There is a VERY important skill shot on Riverboat Gambler.

A made skill shot delivers the ball (eventually) to the right flipper. If the shot is too hard, it feeds the bumpers, too soft and it rolls partially back down the plunger lane, exiting onto the playfield below the *S* standup in CHIPS.

Final note on the playfield: Between the plunger lane and the top of the right outlane, there is a gap large enough for the ball to get through. Some operators close this off with a rubber stretched between the two posts. This is not correct. The manual states that a small rubber should be placed on each of the posts, similar to the posts between the return lane & outlane. Some may leave the rubber off entirely, making for a fairly wide opening. Should the ball find its way through this opening, you get another chance at a skill shot!

If the ball finds its way through during Multiball, you get to play Single Ball Multiball until the second ball drains. This can be relatively lucrative.

<5> CASINO Game Rules

While Riverboat Gambler has no modes, it does have a series of six tasks. Each task awards points, chips, etc., and spots a letter in CASINO. Completing CASINO advances the win meter one extra notch, awards 2,000,000 points, some neat music plays, and the female voice says *Yeah....CASINO!* After completion, you can start over again.

To keep things simple, I'll describe each game, and then at the end of each section, list the operator-adjustable variables.

*C* Five Card:

This game involves the F-I-V-E and C-A-R-D drop target banks, the right ramp, the left return lane, and the slingshots. There are five cards on the playfield that you are trying to light. It is a Royal Flush, in Hearts. You start with the *10*, and work up to *Ace*.

You start with between 0 and 3 cards. Cards are spotted in any of the following fashions:

There are two lights visible through the ramp. One is white, and says *Hold Card*. The other is red and says *Spot Card*. When a card is spotted, it flashes. If you drain, any flashing cards are lost. If you hold a card, it is lit solidly, and will remain on the next ball.

Starting with no cards, and no lights on the ramp, progression would go like this for looped ramp shots:

  • 1. *Shoot Ramp Again*
  • 2. *Spotted A Ten*
  • 3. *Ten Held*
  • 4. *Spotted A Jack*
  • 5. *Jack Held*

Lather, rinse, repeat on through <BUG>*Spotted A Ace*. (Yes it should say *An* ace, but it doesn't.) The machine will hold all cards before spotting another; e.g.-You use the ramp to spot a (flashing) jack. *Hold* is now lit. You complete the C-A-R-D bank. Now you have a flashing Jack and Queen. The next two ramp shots will hold those cards before spotting the King.

If you have all cards blinking (i.e.-ROYAL FLUSH is lit), completing F-I-V-E or C-A-R-D will hold the lowest flashing card.

Once all cards are lit, the right ramp is lit for ROYAL FLUSH, as indicated by a BIG white arrow in front of the ramp, similar in size to Gilligan's Island (another Pemberton design) KONA arrow-light. Shooting ROYAL FLUSH scores either 100 or 200 chips (toggled by the slingshots), awards the *C* in CASINO, scores 500,000 points, and advances the Win Meter. Royal Flush may collected multiple times via looping, and can be a VERY lucrative award.

<BUG>: There is a very player-friendly bug here. If you collect ROYAL FLUSH, and the ball drains before the feature times out, ROYAL FLUSH will be lit on the next ball, UNLESS the next ball is a SECOND CHANCE.

Strategy: If you save this for the last letter in CASINO, you can really help yourself. Shoot the ramp when lit for ROYAL FLUSH, you get the ROYAL FLUSH award, the *C*, spell CASINO, and get 2 million points. Loop the ramp a second time, and you are awarded the C to begin your next attempt at spelling CASINO. Much easier than starting from scratch

Operator Adjustments:

  • 1. 5 Card Free Card: Begin with 0-3 cards (Ad 34)
  • 2. 2nd Five Card Timer: Royal Flush times out between 5-10 seconds
  • (Ad35)
  • 3. Spot Card Timer (Ramp): *Spot Card* remains lit between 10-20
  • seconds for looped ramp shots (Ad36)
  • 4. Spot Card Timer (Lane): *Spot Card* remains lit between 5-10
  • seconds after rolling over left return lane (Ad37)
  • 5. Hold Card Memory: After a drain, held cards come back as either
  • held (solidly lit), or spotted (flashing). (Ad44)

*A* Blackjack

This involves the single Blackjack Standup, and the Bust Card. Each hit of the Blackjack Standup *deals* a seven, lighting the card on the playfield below the standup. Hit the target three times, you get Blackjack. Scoring goes like this:

  • 1st Hit: 20,000
  • 2nd Hit: 50,000
  • 3rd Hit: 200,00, the *A* in CASINO, advance the Win Meter, and 75 Chips.

This pattern remains the same, except each subsequent win doubles the chip value, maxing out at 1200.

The little fly in the ointment in this game is the *Bust Card* target, located next to the Blackjack Table. It lights after you are *dealt* two of the three sevens . If you hit the Bust Card, you are dealt a Queen, giving you a hand of 24, and *busting*. No chips, and the Blackjack Table resets to no cards. Bust is deactivated during multiball

Operator Adjustments:

  • 1. No 21 Busts: Determines how often the Bust card lights. Settings are after 1-3 successful Blackjacks, always, or never. Since the Bust card is very easy to hit by accident, this feature can really get in the way of ever spelling CASINO. (Ad 38)

*S* Slot Shot

This involves the Slot Machine ramp, the Winning Streak Loop, and the Right Return Lane.

The Slot Ramp may be lowered in one of two ways:

The number of consecutive Winning Streak shots needed to lower the Slot Ramp will increase, even if you lower the ramp via the return lane, and make the shot before it times out. Without dragging out the explanation, it comes down to this: The number of Winning Streak shots needed increases by one for *each made Slot Shot*, regardless of how the ramp was lowered. It maxes out at 5 shots needed.

When the ramp is down, a large blue arrow lights, exactly like the Royal Flush arrow. Making the Slot Shot locks a ball for Multiball, awards 100,000 points, the *S* in CASINO, advances the Win Meter and gives a random award. This random award turns the score display briefly into a three reel slot machine. The *reels* have either BAR, BELL, 777, or STAR on them. The awards are as follows:

Any three50,000none
2 Bells100,00025
2 Bars200,00050
2 777s300,00075
3 Bells1,000,000100
3 Bars2,000,000200
3 777s3,000,000+Special300
3 StarsSecond Chancenone (I believe)

Note that ANY time a star shows up in the slot machine, it counts as a *Lucky Star* towards SECOND CHANCE. If two stars show up, they both count as well.

After your Slot Machine Award, a second ball is delivered to the plunger. This ball is set up for a skill shot. After that, make or miss, you begin the two ball *Winning Streak Multiball*.

Multiball seems LESS important on RG than on almost any pin of the modern era. This may be true at the lower difficulty levels, but with a machine set on Extra Hard, it can be about the only way to raise the Win Meter to the top for Jackpot. Additionally, it does make Blackjack much easier by eliminating the Bust card.

The only features that are different:

Near as I can tell, this is a *truly* random feature. Adjustments affect payoff and your ability to activate the feature more than they affect what comes up on the reels.

Operator Adjustments:

  • 1. Second Chance Percent: Can be set for 1-30%, or OFF (Ad 33)
  • 2. Maximum Second Chance: Can stack 0-9 Extra Balls per ball (Ad 11)
  • 3. Special Percent: Can be set for 1-10%, or OFF. (Ad 32)
  • 4. Special Award: Credit, Second Chance, or 1,000,000 points (Ad 07)
  • 5. Maximum Credits: Can be set for 5-10. (Ad 12)
  • 6. Consecutive Ramps for Lock: 2-5 looped Winning Streaks to lower ramp. Note that this number increases to a maximum of 5 regardless of starting point. (first time-2, second time-3, etc.) (Ad 39)
  • 7. Winning Streak Timer: Consecutive defined as 5-15 seconds apart. (Ad 40)

*I* Skill Shot

Pretty basic. Make the Skill Shot. The plunger lane ends in a ramp that raises right to left across the back of the playfield. A proper shot will go up the ramp, tripping the three bumper flasher switches, and then fall off the track, into the Roulette area. The bumper flasher switches are worth 10,000pts, 20,000pts, and 30,000 pts. The first time you make them, each scores a chip. After that (on that ball) they score 3 chips.

<NEW>Each new skill shot on the same ball allows you to increase the number of flashing bumpers. If you get more switches than the previous shot, you get more flashing bumpers. The same or fewer switches simply keeps the number the same. You never lose a flashing bumper until you drain the ball, unless your next ball is a Second Chance ball. On a Second Chance ball, you start with as many bumpers as were flashing when you drained.

This skill shot starts at 100,000, and increases by 100,000 for each ball played, REGARDLESS of whether or not the shot was made. Example: On the first ball, the shot is worth 100k. Whether or not you make the shot, the value on the second ball will be 200k. Second Chance balls count. So, if you are playing a three ball game, and win two Second Chances, the value of the final skill shot will be 500k. If the ball winds up at the plunger multiple times during one ball, (Slot Shot, passage above right outlane, air-ball, etc.), the value remains whatever it was at the beginning of the ball.

<BUG>: There is a slight bug here. At 10 through 15 balls, the value does advance (1 million, 1.1 m, up to 1.5m). However, the score display will read:


You will get your proper points, you just can't tell from the display.

<BUG>: At ball 16, the skill shot awards ZERO points. The display reads: SKILL SHOT
with nothing in the bottom two displays.
At 17 balls, the skill shot awards 100,000 again, the display works properly, and I assume the whole circus begins again.

Skill Shot also awards 100 chips, opens the Roulette table, advances the Win Meter, and awards the *I* in CASINO. It may be the most important Skill Shot in modern pinball.

Operator Adjustments: None

*N* Roulette

This one takes some explaining. It is the center focus of the entire game, and is the one point that most unbalances the scoring. This is also the feature that can keep a newbie in a game against *anybody* due to the sheer random nature of the beast. It's one of the reasons I love it.

The Roulette feature involves the Roulette Wheel, Chips Display, Break The Bank Display, Win Meter, and the Lockdown Bar

To receive the *N* in CASINO, you must win at the Roulette table, simple as that. However, Roulette itself gets a bit involved.

First, you must open the Roulette Table. This is done by:

  • 1. Making the Skill Shot, or
  • 2. Winning 100 chips in any fashion on the playfield.

If you make the skill shot, you play roulette immediately. Otherwise, the table must be open, and then you must make the Winning Streak shot. The machine will ask you to pick a color. You can choose Red, Black, Green, or Pass (white). If you win, you get 100 chips, and one advance of the win meter. If you bet Green and win, you get 800 chips, and the Win Meter goes to the top. The Roulette wheel stays open as long as you win.

You can tell if the Roulette table is open either from 2 speech cues:

*Play Roulette* (female)


*Play Roulette for Jackpot* (male)

Additionally, a white arrow under the slot ramp lights, as does a sign saying PLAY ROULETTE, located just below the glass at the back or the playfield.

If you lose, you lose 100 chips, and must reopen the roulette wheel. Your lost chips go into the *Break The Bank* Jackpot, adding 100,000 (number of chips times 1,000).

If you pass, nothing happens, and you keep playing pinball. Of course, you don't get the *N* either.

All this changes if you are playing for Jackpot. Jackpot is lit when the Win Meter is advanced to the top (7 lights). If you lose on your first Jackpot attempt of a given round, you lose half your chips to *Break the Bank* (Number of chips times 1000). The roulette table closes.

Example: You have 1500 chips. The Jackpot is 5,600,000. You bet red. It lands black. You now have 750 chips, and the Jackpot stands at 6,350,000. You must reset the Win Meter to try again.

If you begin with an odd number of chips, you lose half plus one. That extra chip is simply erased. It does not go to you nor to the Jackpot. Example:

You have 1501 chips. The Jackpot is 5,600,000. You bet red. It lands black. You now have 750 chips, and the Jackpot stands at 6,350,000. You must reset the Win Meter to try again.

If you win the Jackpot, you get all the points in *Break the Bank* plus 1000 chips! As long as you keep winning, and don't drain, you can keep collecting the Jackpot.

If, after winning one or more Jackpots, you then lose, the roulette table closes, you lose HALF your chips, and the Jackpot resets to 3,000,000 plus the value of half your chips times 1,000. Example:

You have 1500 chips. The Jackpot is 5,600,000. You bet red. It lands black. You now have 750 chips, and the Jackpot stands at 3,750,000. You must reset the Win Meter to try again

If you win a Jackpot, then drain, you keep your chips, and the Jackpot resets to 3,000,000.

If the wheel lands on a Star, you get that color, plus the Lucky Star.

The Jackpot, like in Taxi, carries from game to game and player to player.

There is a bit of strategy involved in Roulette. If you have 4000 chips, which means 4,000,000 bonus points, and the Jackpot stands at 3,000,000, do you risk 2,000,000?

Operator Adjustments:

  • 1. Win Meter Start: Win Meter starts at 1-4 lights. (Ad 42)
  • 2. Win Meter Timer: This can be nasty. The win meter will drop by one if you don't win something in a specified period of time. (Ad 43)
  • 3. Jackpot Percentage: You always wondered if it was fixed. The answer is *Maybe*. The choices for awarding of Jackpot are 5% thru 30%, or Normal. Normal means Jackpots are awarded truly randomly. (Ad 45)
  • 4. Front Buttons Broken: In case the Lockdown Bar buttons break, the machine will just choose a color for you whenever it plays Roulette. (Ad 46)


The *O* in CASINO is Awarded by completing the bank of five CHIPS standup targets. Completing CHIPS scores 100,000 points, awards either 10, 20, or 50 chips, or a star, advances the Win Meter, and lights the *O* in CASINO. The number of chips is determined by what was lit when you lit the first standup. After completion, it cycles again, until hit and locked on an award level. This is subject to change on the last ball, if your score is low enough.

Operator Adjustments: About the only impact adjustments have on CHIPS is if the Second Chance feature is disabled. Then the Star becomes fairly pointless.

<6> Second Chance and Lucky Stars Explained

This Second Chance is not at all like the Second Chance you may have encountered in Dr. Who. In Dr. Who, Second Chance is a ball-saver. In Riverboat Gambler-ese, a Second Chance is an Extra Ball. You can obtain one (depending on setting) from points, a special, the Slot Machine, or by collecting 3 Lucky Stars. Stars may be collected in three ways:

When you receive a Star, it lights up on the backglass, just above the scoring display. Collect three of them, and you get a Second Chance. As explained earlier, this can be affected by a couple of settings:

  • 1. Second Chance Percent: Can be set for 1-30%, or OFF (Ad 33)
  • 2. Maximum Second Chance: Can stack 0-9 Extra Balls per ball (Ad 11)

Riverboat Gambler calls it a *Second Chance* for very good reason. If Second Chance is lit, and you drain, it's like an extension of the ball you were playing. All features remain exactly as they are, including Jackpot staying lit if you've already won a Jackpot. Normally, draining after a made Jackpot resets *Break The Bank* to 3,000,000. Thus, you truly get a *Second Chance*, as you can try for Jackpot immediately off the skill shot.

Additionally, when you get a Second Chance, the bonus doesn't count until you finish your Second Chance ball(s). The only way to combine bonus and Second Chance is to have one awarded on points while the bonus is counting down from a previous ball. Of course if you do this, the features don't carry over.

The *Second Chance* light is located between the flippers, in good, old fashioned EB Orange. It doesn't say *shoot again*, it says:

(Warning-rough ASCII approximation follows)

* * *

<7> Easter Eggs

Since this is an older game with an alpha-numeric display, we're not exactly talking about dancing cows here. So far, the only one I know of (during the game) in the L-3 ROM package is this:

With game on, and ball at plunger, press and hold the Red & Black buttons. Then press PASS 3 times, Black 3 times, Red 3 times, and Green 3 times. The display will *shimmer*. Then press Black & Red together. The display will say


Those who keep track of such things will realize that there is also a HELLO WORLD in High Speed II: The Getaway. Both RG and HSII feature Dwight Sullivan software.

In HSII, it works like this:

"Hello World" gets displayed when you have a ball in the shooter lane and do flipper sequences 3L 1R 3L 1R 3L 2R

There is a fair amount of stuff going on in Attract Mode to keep you amused.

RED or BLACK button starts a display cycle of all the CASINO events. If the Attract Mode Sound (Ad 31) is on, the SLOT MACHINE sounds will play as the display shows the SLOT landing on 777 777 777. Curiously, this appears to be the only sound made in attract mode.

GREEN button shows Replay score (or Second Chance, or Ticket).

PASS (White) button displays HIGH ROLLERS (Four top scores)

START will display *Credits 0*, or start the game.

There is a custom message feature in Riverboat Gambler. <Ad 49> It allows you to input 3 lines of alpha-numeric text, 16 characters per line. The available characters are:

A thru Z (all CAPS)
0 thru 9
< > ? - / * '
A. thru Z. (all CAPS, all letters followed by a period)
(a blank space)

Note-the special characters are for custom message only. When inputting initials for HSTD, the only characters available are A-Z and the blank space.

The message is displayed in the top portion of the display (player 1& 2 area). It *moves* onto the display, left to right, and then moves off to the right.. After power-cycling the game, the custom message appears immediately after PUSH START. The default message from the factory is actually longer than 3 x 16. It is:


They get away with this because RIVERBOAT exists in the ROM as a standalone. It's the first thing that pops up when you turn the game on

<8> Compensations, etc.

The ball will be returned to the plunger lane if you manage zero points. This is difficult, but possible.

There is a Compensation Ball feature on the machine. If, on the final ball, your score is significantly low, (apparently below 1 million) the machine does the following:

You are advanced to two Lucky Stars, regardless of how many you had to begin with. Then, it changes the CHIPS award from whatever it was to *STAR*. This means you only need to complete the CHIPS standups to be awarded a SECOND CHANCE.

<9> Rolling Over

Yes, you can roll Riverboat Gambler over. I've done it a couple of times legitimately, including a game that featured around 12 Jackpots, 5 CASINOs, 3 Second Chances. Wound up with 149 Million (game set on *Easy*, 5 balls, Random Jackpots)

When you go over 100 million, it's just like rolling over an odometer. There is no 100 Millions digit on the display. As far as the machine is concerned, you've started over. If you have a replay set at a particular level, you'll get it again. Mine is set to award a *Second Chance* at 9.6M. It awarded that again, at 109,600,000.

The depressing part is this: You DON'T make the High Score list. Basically, if you want to be king of the hill, you gotta tilt at 99M.

<10> Pricing and similar adjustments

There is (if activated by Ad 51) a half price buyin feature. At the end of a game, it allows you to purchase a credit for half the normal price. The timer lasts ten seconds, and is displayed in the lower right of the display. WARNING: The message that you can buyin for 1/2 price flashes by VERY quickly. Be on the lookout for the timer.

You can buy in one credit per previous game played. I.E.: One player game-you can buy one half price credit. Four player game-you can buy 4 half price credits.

Replays and such things:

The factory default (US) replay setting is 7 million. This level can be fixed anywhere between 800k and 9.8M(Ad 2) Or, the machine will average replays every 50 games to award between 5-25% replays (Ad 1)

There can be up to 4 replay levels (Ad 3). Example: if there were four, the first might be at 8M, then 16M, 24M, and 32M.

The replay boost can range from fair & equitable to downright miserly. It can be set (Ad 52) anywhere between 1-50 million (in 1M increments)

The backup High Scores To Date can be set anywhere from 0 to 9.9M. The factory default (US) is 7M, 7.5M, 8M, 8.5M

The initials that accompany the 4 backup HSTD all relate to people, who at the time of production, were in WMS pinball software division.

This is Dwight Sullivan's *handle*. You can find this on many machines he's worked on, including on the backglass of High Speed II: The Getaway. Look at the ID number on one of the helicopters.
Mark Penacho. Programmer for Earthshaker, Roller Games, Hurricane, and Fish Tales
Bill Pfutzenreuter. More affectionately known as Pfutz (Foots). A few of his credits are Whirlwind, Dracula & Dr. Dude.
Brian Eddy. Yes, we know & love Brian for designing Shadow and Attack From Mars, but Brian started out as a programmer, having worked on Pool Sharks and Indiana Jones, among others.

At the beginning of the last ball, the display will note either the score needed for a replay/second chance, or the High Score that you are closest to, depending on what's closer. If you have already beaten the top High Score, the display will merely flash your score, and the ball# in play.

<11> Quotes:

While not as chatty as modern games such as Indy 500, which features running commentary throughout, Riverboat Gambler is hardly at a loss for words.

There are three voices on the machine.

  • (M)-male voice
  • (F)-female voice
  • (S)-singer

People have asked who the female voice on the machine is. The only answer I have received is *someone in accounting*. I do not know who the male voice is. The singer, however, is another story.

I have arranged the quotes according to C-A-S-I-N-O games, and then by miscellaneous.

There is a song that plays during the game, in which a gravel-voiced, New Orleans-style male vocalist sings the following:

  • (S) *Ridin on that lucky Riverboat*
  • (S) *Ridin on that lucky Riverboat*
  • (S) *Take your chance, make a bet*
  • (S) *If you're lucky, you might win yet*
  • (S) *Ridin on that lucky Riverboat*

That voice is none other than: Mark Ritchie, the designer of Indiana Jones & Fish Tales, among others.

<12> Ward Pemberton

As of this writing (July 9, 1997) Ward Pemberton has been responsible for the design of 8 machines. They are:

  • Fathom (1981-Bally)
  • BMX (1982-Bally)
  • Hardbody (1987-Bally)
  • Dungeons & Dragons (1987-Bally)
  • Mousin Around (1989-Bally)
  • Riverboat Gambler (1990-Williams)

Gilligan's Island (1991-Bally) Allegedly, Ward took over the Gilligan's design after the untimely death of the original designer, Dan Langlois. Prior to his death, Langlois was responsible for Karate Fight, Black Belt, Strange Science, Escape from the Lost World, Heavy Metal Meltdown, Game Show, and Radical .

After leaving WMS, Mr. Pemberton went back to being, a firefighter. Later, he spent a brief bit of time at Capcom Pinball, and then went to work for Sega pinball, where he designed Goldeneye, Ward no longer works for Sega. Apparently, he is out of the pin-biz entirely, and back serving his community as a firefighter, at a station in Chicago located behind Wrigley Field.

Allegedly, Ward is the model for one of the figures appearing on the backglass of Black Rose.

Extra Notes

Riverboat Gambler Quick-Take
by Scott Piehler

Since my rulesheet for Riverboat Gambler turned into the vision of an
obsessive completist, I decided to write this quick-take for those who
just want to play the silly thing!

Basic gameplay summary:
-Enable roulette wheel by either making the skill shot or earning 100
bonus chips.
-Enable roulette jackpot by advancing the backglass win-meter to the
top.  Do this by winning the various CASINO games.
-Win at roulette by making the lit shot, and betting correctly using
the buttons on the lockdown bar.
-Complete various tasks to spell CASINO for 2 Million points
-Earn 3 stars for a second chance Extra Ball

A two ball, no-jackpot affair that is started by making the Slot Shot.
Scoring: as in regular play, except each switch also scores a bonus
chip, the BUST CARD is inactive, each WINNING STREAK shot advances the
Win Meter.

(Note-each game you win advances the win meter)

CASINO strategy-If possible, save C for last. Since the award can be
looped, the first shot will complete CASINO. The second shot will
light C to begin spelling CASINO again. *Much* easier.

C-5 Card. Knock down targets and/or shoot the right ramp to spot
playfield cards.  Shoot ramp when ROYAL FLUSH arrow is lit to score
500,000 points, 100 or 200 bonus chips, and light C. Royal Flush may
be collected multiple times via looping.

A-Blackjack-Shoot the top right standup target 3 times without hitting
the BUST card standup to score progressive bonus chips and points, and
light A.

S-Slot Machine. Lower the slot ramp by looping Winning Streak shot, or
rolling over lit right inlane. Shoot left ramp when down to receive a
random award (including stars), light S, and begin Multiball.

I-Skill Shot-Make plunger skill shot to score progressive points,
award 100 bonus chips, light I, and play Roulette.

N-Roulette-Correctly bet on Roulette wheel using buttons on lockdown
bar. Award is 100 bonus chips, (800 for a successful bet on GREEN), or
Jackpot, depending on Win Meter.  Lose on regular bet-lose 100 bonus
chips. Lose Jackpot bet-lose 1/2  your bonus chips. You must bet
successfully to light N. Win or lose, 4 of the 16 roulette spaces
award a star. A winning GREEN bet advances the Win Meter immediately
to the top.

O-CHIPS-Complete CHIPS standups to receive lit award (can be a star)
and light O.

The only way to really roll up monster scores is to be lucky at
Jackpot Roulette. Barring that, here are some things you can do

ROYAL FLUSH is the most lucrative skill-based game on the playfield.
Since it can be looped, you can roll up millions very quickly. Each
loop also advances the win meter, so it's a great way to set up
Jackpot Roulette.

The only CHIPS standup award really worth going for is Star. Trap ball
on left flipper and time your shot when the award is strobing to
select Star at every opportunity.

Multiball is the best time to collect Blackjack, since the BUST card
is disabled.

Become proficient with the bi-directional lane change, since it's the
easiest way to lower the slot ramp.

Make the skill shot! It's worth 100,000 times the ball in play. It
also instantly starts roulette, and makes the bumpers worth more bonus

This game really rewards flipper passing, and it's fairly easy to do.