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Playing Williams 8 Ball (1966)

This machine is the second machine called 8 ball manufactured by Williams. The first model was manufactured in 1952. The 1966 8 Ball was naturally based on the popular billiards game of the same name. It is a 2 player 5 ball per game machine. The front of the machine features a large coin door which accepts 2 nickels or 1 dime per game or 3 games for 25 cents. 8-Ball introduced what could be called a new technology to multiple player games. The 'split bank' concept kept track of each players totals. The playfield features a horseshoe in the center as well as a 'Jet Bumper' located between the flippers which are spaced further apart than the norm. Beneath the flippers there are 3 out lanes. The Jet Bumper by the flippers add lots of action as well as many different strategies of playing the ball in the flipper area. If you time it right and slam the ball with the flipper as it rebounds off the bumper you can achieve good ball speed and easily send the ball to the top ot the playfield. Replays are awarded for High Score and a Free Ball is awarded to a player who makes the 8 ball. Player One shoots the Solid Balls and Player Two shoots the Stripes. Balls are made by hitting either the Rollover at the very top center of the playfield, or the center drain Rollover. Balls are Also made by making either of 2 Kickout Holes when lit. The Kickouts are located in each side in thecenter of the playfield, however the machine alternates back and forth lighting each one. The game plays exactly like the game of 8 ball. Balls are shot in succession until a player makes his 7 balls, then he shoots for the 8 ball. It is the 'split bank' concept which alows the machine to keep track of which balls each player has made until one player finally shoots the 8 ball. A rack on the playfield lights up the ball for which the player is shooting. As balls are made they light up in the backglass. The 8 ball is made by making the horseshoe, which awards a free ball to the player. After a player makes the 8 ball, the balls are racked up again, both players start over again shooting 7 balls before being able to shoot for 8. One thing I don't like is that there is only one bell in the cabinet which chimes for 10 and 100 points. The machine has 4 score reels per player. You can get some good scores but its sometimes hard to tell where you're at without looking up at the backglass while you're trying to keep your eye on the ball. 8 Ball has to be one of the best 2 players of the era. Though it can be played by one player it shines when competing. Of course the best fun is when both players have made their 7 balls and its a race to shoot the 8.

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