Sunday, February 23, 2014

Top Score: SPECIAL

I have been investigating the SPECIAL awards in Top Score.  At first glance I was thinking (and hoping) that the Special award should also give 10,000 points.
Long story short:  It only gives a replay credit.
I would love to re-wire it to ALSO give 10,000 points as well since who needs a replay in the home environment?

Let's start with the G and F circuits:
F is 500 point relay, G is 500 points + bonus relay.  Zoom in on the schematics and you can see how the switches oscillate depending on which relays are triggered.  A is the alternating relay, so those are the switches that alternate between one or the other depending on the spin of the spinner.
DX, EX, and FX relays are for balls 3, 4, 5 (or 1, 2, 3 on a 3-ball game) and so add extra scoring options as the game progresses.

click all schematics to make them look less like illegible garbage

Check the schematics below with the ten thousands and thousands score units.
At first, I thought this was connected to the bonus circuit, but was quickly reminded that this was it's own separate circuit in parallel:  Notice the "Point Score Adj" bit in the center.  That relates to the pins in the backbox which can be adjusted to set the replay scores.  If the thousands and ten thousands line up for the replay switches, a credit is added and the knocker is activated (that is cut off down at the left)
no really, click to embiggen.

Note the "C" solder points in the upper left.  Those are the wires in the schematic that just go straight in to the unit, that "common" point, and are used for the replay checking.

Here is the section that connects immediately below:  the upper left wire is the chain of signals that trigger the valid replay.
But in this one we see the circuitry around the "tens" position, which lines up with the FS relay, thus advancing it for each 10 points scored.  The FS relay is one of the mechanisms used to determine if the "special" lights are lit.  (if set to the "conservative" adjustment)

Now here is the big chunk where we look in the Special logic:
Any questions?  No really, I can answer them, if so.

At the very top we have the FS advance relay.  We can see it has a toggle with relay C, which is the "TARGET SPECIAL RELAY".  So normally the FS disc is advanced by 10 points being score, but when the special is lit, it is advanced by 100 points.  It is subtle rule variations like that which make Top Score extra endearing.  They really didn't need to add that subtle rule, but they did!

Next down we have the C relay, which has the somewhat odd inclusion of having 2 of the lights being described here.  All of the other lights are always in the upper-right section of the schematics for the Gottlieb ones I've seen, so this is a special case.
We can see the conservative-to-liberal adjustment on the right:
Either 1 in 4, as dictated by the FS relay (this is definitely the hardest since it's almost impossible to shoot the rollover on purpose during the game)
Middle is the A relay, which is the alternation of the spinner.  (the right bonus lanes also toggle with this one)
Or liberal:  always on.
When the criteria is met, the rollover light is on.   When the rollover button is depressed, the C relay activates and switches itself to stay activated.  When activated it also toggles the light from the rollover to the Special insert.

The line just below that sends the signal that a replay has been won, so upping the credits and hitting the knocker.  It requires C to be activated, but also F AND G to be set!

Yes, the "500 point relay" and the "500 and bonus relay" serve a special dual purpose.
you guys are awwwwwesome
If you look at the schematic at the top of this post, find "RIGHT TOP TARGET" at the bottom left, and notice the branch off of the switch, thus setting G and (if C is active) F at the same time.
The system uses this anomaly as the trigger for saying HEY, THE SPECIAL WAS HIT!  (in the final/4th schematic of this post)

The C relay is latched at the end by Motor 1C, which is a resting state.  That means if we do anything to move the motor, the C relay will unlatch and the special light will no longer be lit.  That means any 500 point hit, or an add bonus (which is technically 500 + add bonus,) or either of the holes.
That's extra difficult.  And that's why I also really want a 10k score awarded if you do it, since it's rad AND big challenge.

The 5 "advance" lights in the bowling lane are reset to the 5th position by the ball reset circuit.  This is cool for the player as it means one hit to the spinner and a bonus is awarded right away.
BUT, that also means if you hit the special rollover during your plunge (which would be 95% of the times you hit it,) a single hit to the spinner will also crank the motor awarding your bonus ball and turn off the special target light.

All in all, this game is filled with excellent examples of rules engineered to give it an extra depth you'd never expect in a 40 year old machine.

Oh but what does that mean for me?   Since the Special is awarding properly, that means THE GAME PLAYS PERFECTLY!  All rules are being applied.  Nothing is flaking out.  Woot.
The only other things I'd want to do to this game at this point is replace the corroded light sockets that give a dim glow, and look in to having the backglass restored.   Everything else seems to be humming along perfectly.

After this I should write up a detailed rules sheet for this game.

I wanted to add one note about the Special.  It can sometimes be gained via CHAOS.
If you send a strong ball up through the spinner and start racking up 500+bonus via there, hit the "light special" target, in the same small time frame hit a 500 point target, you will hear that KNOCK and get a replay.
So much has to be happening all at once that the timing of the gears fails just in this one specific way, allowing F and G to be on at the same moment, and that's the condition for the special!   It has happened to me twice so far I think.

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