Gigantic Pinball Machine Offers Big Fun For Science Museum in Germany
Created by Niklas Roy — an artist who creates “electro-mechanical sculptures” according to his YouTube page — the game stands 3 x 6 meters and was put together using many everyday objects. “As a science center should stimulate creativity and inventiveness, I repurposed everyday items like hair dryers and office fans for the playfield elements, giving the visitors the idea that they could also build such a contraption at home,” Roy wrote on his blog.
The installation is actually part of a celebration of more traditionally-sized pinball machines on loan to Phæno from the California-based Pacific Pinball Museum. The museum asked Roy to conceptualize a piece of pinball-related art using one of their existing 30-degree slopes. Thus, Galactic Dimension was born.
From there, it was a matter of actually figuring out how to make the whole thing work. Roy selected a light ball and then got to work on developing the flippers. Eventually the third pneumatic cylinder powered prototype proved the most effective.
With all the flippers figured out, Roy began to incorporate regular objects into the build. “For the rest of the machine, I wanted to (mis-)use as many household items as possible,” he wrote. “I thought it would be fun if the exhibition visitors could recognize the objects, and how I gave them a different purpose in the mega pinball machine. The plunger, for instance, was a combination of a sewer pipe and a hair dryer, blowing the ball up the playfield. This worked really well, right away.”
Those devices were put together in a modular fashion each with their own power supply and sensors that would activate the particular piece of equipment or offer sound effects. Installing the whole thing at the museum was nerve wracking for Roy, but he says the pieces all came together successfully. “Then the moment of truth approached,” he wrote. “As soon as I had the essentials mounted on the ramp, I switched the machine on in order to play it for the first time. And what can I say? – It worked like a dream!”
Roy’s Galactic Dimension pinball game will be on display along with the rest of the exhibition, in Germany until September.