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Basketball, 1938

Features: Reclined backbox. Backglass light animation (basketball players move around court and score baskets). This is a one-player game with two scoring sequences, the Blue Team and the Red Team. Five balls per game, using one or two coins. The first coin starts the game and lites the words 'Blue Team' on the backglass. The player can choose to insert a second coin at this time to lite the words 'Red Team' as well. There are 14 yellow bumpers, 3 blue bumpers, and 3 red bumpers. These bumpers, when hit, lite animated basketball players on the backglass to move across the court and score baskets. Game play: At the start of each game, an animated player is shown in the "start" position on the backglass. The yellow bumpers are live, while the blue and red bumpers are dead. To score a basket for either team, any five of the yellow bumpers must first be hit. Each "yellow hit" causes the backglass animation sequence to step just once, and the animated player is shown in stop-motion, moving in and between the stationary players on the backglass. Once the animation has reached the fifth step, the yellow bumpers cease to advance (they go dead) and the blue and red bumpers become live. If the ball in play next hits a blue bumper, an automated seven-step sequence begins, showing the animated player heading towards the right-side basket, and he sinks the ball through it, scoring for the Blue Team. However, if a red bumper was hit instead, then the animated player is shown heading towards the left-side basket and scores it for the Red Team. Only one blue or red bumper need be hit to initiate the automatic stepping sequence, which takes approximately two seconds to complete. After a basket is scored, the yellow bumpers are live again, the red and blue bumpers are dead again, the animated player is back at his start position, and game play continues. It is possible to have the same ball in play hit a live blue or red bumper, score a basket, and still be in play to hit the yellow bumpers once they go live again. A ball falling through either the Red Team rollover or the Blue Team rollover in lower playfield will automatically score a basket for that Team, even if the prerequisite five yellow bumpers have not been achieved. This is done using a shortened animated sequence, which is actually the last three steps of the longer animation sequence, and shows the ball sinking through the hoop. The playfield bottom has five ball traps and one OUT trough. A skillful shot from the plunger sending a ball through the top rollover will return to the player all balls sitting in the OUT trough. The balls in the traps can only be released upon insertion of a coin to start a new game. If a second coin is not inserted at start of game, the Red Team bumpers and animation sequence still operate during play, and the Red Team score still increments on the backglass. However, because the words 'Red Team' are not lit, the Instructions indicate that its score does not "count". Since there are no replays to win and no payout mechanism of any kind, perhaps the player's incentive to insert a second coin was based on a wholesome enjoyment of the game, or maybe anticipation of under-the-counter payouts by the location owner.
Manufacturer: Exhibit Supply Company, of Chicago, Illinois, USA (1932-1957) [Trade Name: ESCO]
Date of Manufacture: February, 1938
Players: February, 1938 / 1
Year: 1938
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Theme: Sports - Basketball
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Machine Type: Electro-mechanical (EM) 
Notes: The backglass pictures were photographed to illustrate each step of the animation sequence for the yellow, blue, and red bumpers. They do not represent an actual game in progress, therefore the Red Team lamp in the backglass and the Team scores may not track logically across the sequences. Also shown is the clever backbox mechanism for automating the seven-step animation sequence. A ball in channel device is mounted at an incline. Each time the stepper unit is energized, the ball is kicked up the channel and, when it rolls back down, it activates a switch to step the unit again, which kicks the ball back uphill again, etc. This continues until the animation sequence has completed. The cabinet has been repainted by the owner to match the evident original color and artwork. These patents were referenced on the Instruction card: Patent 1973814 [GAME APPARATUS] filed May 23, 1934 and granted Sept 18, 1934 to C.R. Kirk. Patent 2012518 [GAME APPARATUS] filed Dec 5, 1934 and granted Aug 27, 1935 to Joseph W. Orcutt, Harry A. Stearns, and Thomas L. Wall.
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