Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 08/19/2009

Going Full Tilt for Bill Paxton

By Liz Kelly

(Image courtesy

Updated 3:45 p.m. ET -- scroll down for new must-read details about the Bill Paxton pinball machine.

I learned early on that no good can come from slagging Bill Paxton, and none too soon. Shortly after I dismissed Paxton as no more than a guy who played a surfer dude in every single movie, I became a late-blooming fan thanks to his portrayal of polygamous everyman Bill Henrickson on HBO's "Big Love."

So it is with pleasure that I present the Bill Paxton pinball machine, a labor of love for gamer and modder Benjamin J. Heckendorn who we should all thank for not being unduly enamored of Jeremy Piven or Pete Wentz.

But why Paxton? Explains Heckendorn who, in a blog post, says he always wanted to build a pinball machine from scratch:

Well it's as good a theme as any -- I guess I could have gone with a more obvious geek choice like Bruce Campbell but to be honest, Paxton's more interesting and has made movies people have actually seen. In the end what this project is really about is building something very complicated from scratch, so the engineering is the real star.

Okay. How does the theme affect play? The game's different modes will allow for different experiences. "Titanic" mode takes the pinball down a "sunken 'Titanic' hallway" and includes a "Heart of the Ocean" doodad. "True Lies" mode includes some blue quotes from Paxton's character if the ball goes down the drain hole, and (my favorite) "Big Love" mode requires competitors to plays with three balls at once.

I've got an e-mail out to Heckendorn to ask whether he's integrated what may be Paxton's most famous one-liner ever, from "Aliens": "GAME OVER MAN!" (Note -- One NSFW word in clip below)...


3:40 p.m. -- Just heard back from Ben Heckendorn. Rest assured, "Game over, man," will be a part of the experience. But there's much more about what makes Heckerdorn -- and his Paxton pinball project -- tick after the jump...

Liz: Seriously -- why Bill Paxton? I read your blog post, but wasn't this just a bit tongue in cheek?

Ben Heckendorn: Exactly! I want people to look at this project and wonder "what the hell was he thinking?" I mean sure, Paxton's had some memorable roles over the years and is generally well-liked, but more than anything it's about the WTF factor. On that note, I could have built something like "Lou Diamond Phillips" pinball, but he hasn't been in enough movies people remember. Also Paxton has a lot of memorable lines from his movies that will make great audio clips during play. I can't wait to get the playfield (part the ball rolls on) finished!

Liz: Do you know if Bill Paxton has heard about the project? If so, what's his reaction?

Ben Heckendorn: Not that I know of. Hopefully he would appreciate my appreciation. Also I've made it clear this is a fun, personal project for myself and isn't something that will be resold. (I've always wanted a pinball machine)

Liz: So, will "Game over, man!" figure into this thing somewhere?

Ben Heckendorn: Well of course it will! Over the years I've gone through Paxton movies and sampled great lines, still have more work to do on that. It will focus on his more well-known roles, such as "Aliens," though I'd like to include some not-so-obvious movie references, as well as Paxton's band -- Martini Ranch.

Liz: Any other celeb pinball machines or celeb/game mashups in your past, present or future?

Ben Heckendorn: Considering I've been working on this pinball [machine] for over four years now, I really don't plan to build more. Again it's ultimately about the pinball and not celebrities, it just so happens I picked a celebrity as the theme.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go rent "One False Move"...

By Liz Kelly  | August 19, 2009; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  Extreme Fans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Michael Jackson's Doctor Posts Video Statement; Celine Dion Pregnant
Next: Celine Dion Impregnated with Embryo Stored for 8 Years; 'Jon and Kate' Ratings Slide


"Big Love" mode requires competitors to plays with three balls at once.
Not that I'm any kind of expert, but shouldn't that be just two balls and multiple holes?

Posted by: mdreader01 | August 19, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

And when you hit the Weird Science buzzer, Chet turns into a giant blob of goo.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 19, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

On Apollo 13 mode, there could be a Tom Hanks cameo when you lose your ball that says "Houston, we have a problem".

Posted by: hodie | August 19, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Is there no Twister mode? I'm thinking in this mode the player has to try and avoid a flying cow.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | August 19, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

And in "Twister" mode, a flying cow appears out of nowhere and sweeps away both your ball and your integrity.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | August 19, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Great minds, Dorkus.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | August 19, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse


I hope Mr. Heckendorn's next project is a Charlton Heston mod to "Big Buck Hunter Pro". If you hit up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start, you get unlimited ammunition and bonus damage on hunts in red states. Plus every time you lose, the screen flashes red and Heston's voice growls, "You can have my gun when your pry it from my cold, dead hands." And then you get a free play.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | August 19, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I would also support a version of "Duck Hunt" in which the ducks have been replaced by the cast of "The Hills".

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | August 19, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

bawlmer, you're gonna make Sarah Palin and her fans jealous that she doesn't have her own.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 19, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

What, no Twister mode? That's a slight, because until Big Love, that movie is what most of the population remembers him for. "Cow" "Another cow" "No, that's the same one".

Posted by: milano99_99 | August 19, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Another version of the Charlton Heston game:

Planet of the Apes. When a game is over, Charlton Heston yells, "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | August 19, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The trouble with the Charlton Heston Pinball Planet of the Apes ending, Sas, is that you'll find the James Franciscus game pretty dull by comparison.

Posted by: byoolin1 | August 19, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The Charleton Heston version also has gun-shaped flippers. The game ends when the Red Sea parts and the ball slides into the top of the Statue of Liberty.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | August 19, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

That deaf, dumb and blind kid is gonna plotz when he gets his hands on this thing.

Posted by: byoolin1 | August 19, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh, byoolin, SPLOOT!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 19, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, now I really want to play Charlton Heston's "Classic Movie Commando". Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes, there's just so many opportunities to shoot things (Romans, Pharaohs, Dr. Zaius...) And you're right sas, the "End Game" sound needs to that quote. I'd also like to suggest that the health recovery items all be made of Soylent Green.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | August 19, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Per Wiki, Paxton is the only person to be killed onscreen by an Alien, a Predator, AND a terminator. Lots of shooting action potential there, Bawlmer.

Posted by: hodie | August 19, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

That's a brilliant observation hodie--I'd forgotten about the Predator. But is he actually killed at the beginning of terminator? He's the one who gives up his clothes and the last time we see him on screen he's alive. Or am I misremembering?

Posted by: sorcerers_cat | August 19, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and will there be an wrong-way alley with Bill Pullman?

Posted by: sorcerers_cat | August 19, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

>>>That deaf, dumb and blind kid is gonna plotz when he gets his hands on this thing.<<<

Well done, Byoo.

Posted by: Liz_Likes_Celebs_Not_Baseball | August 19, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company