Total Nuclear Annihilation – Initial Thoughts

Total Nuclear Annihilation – Initial Thoughts
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Total Nuclear Annihilation – Initial Thoughts
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Total Nuclear Annihilation – Initial Thoughts
Published on
July 18, 2017
Updated on
July 18, 2017
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It is time once again to over-analyze expensive toys!  Below are Five Things We Know, Five Likes and Five Dislikes on the upcoming Total Nuclear Annihilation pinball machine after the artwork was revealed today. For those unaware, TNA was created by Scott Danesi (website here) and is being manufactured by Spooky Pinball.  The game was built like an early ’80s solid state game but with up to date displays and components.  In Scott’s words, it was built to have a “retro-futuristic feel”.  Thoughts below are based on artwork photos released on Spooky Pinball’s Facebook page, on Dead Flip’s gameplay broadcasts found here and here.  For more info on the game you can watch two interviews with Scott from this past week here and here, and Spooky also plans to release their monthly podcast this Tuesday (August 1st) which will have more information on the game.  (Note: Thanks to Charlie and KT for permission to use the photos below and for all they do for the pinball community!  Check out Spooky’s website here, and watch the recently released documentary on Spooky Pinball here.)

Five Things We Know

1. The price point is $5,995

The price seems very fair for this game.  Yes it was designed as an “early 80s solid state type game” so it doesn’t have ramps and some of the things we’re used to seeing, but there are a lot of features included in this game that those early 80s games did not include, like the LCD display, RGB insert and GI lighting, and much more.  $5,995 in 2017 roughly equals $2,000 in 1980, it would be interesting to see what this machine would’ve sold for then.

2. 100% original soundtrack

The music for this pin is all original and is catchy.  Check out some previews on Scott’s Sound Cloud page here.

3. Spooky plans to start shipping before the end of the year

According to the Facebook post, Total Nuclear Annihilation will start shipping in 2017.

4. No limited editions

No need for pros/premiums/limited editions/collectors editions/super limited editions/etc. with this game.

5. More info on time frame coming August 14th

Again according the Facebook post, “on August 14th, KT will send all previous Spooky customers and those who asked to be added to the sales list an email with all the ordering details (deposits, time frame, etc)”.  If interested in purchasing this game, you can send an email to

Five Likes

1. Lighting effects

The lighting effects on this game look absolutely incredible.  Check out just the attract mode here for about 30 seconds (and that was on the white wood version with no artwork).

2. Unique features and artwork

At a time when some new releases seem to be very similar to past games, Total Nuclear Annihilation features a unique theme, unique and beautiful artwork, a unique soundtrack, a unique mini playfield with rollovers and a mini display, and unique ball lock mechanisms to start multi-ball.

3. Backglass, LCD Display and Score Displays

The retro look of the white numeric score displays mixed with the LCD display, along with the backbox art, creates the “retro-futuristic feel” perfectly.

4. The rules

With all the complexity in the rulesets of current pinball machines, which admittedly does help keep a pin interesting in a home environment, it is refreshing to see a machine that looks to have a fun ruleset yet is straightforward and relatively easy to understand.  For an explanation of the storyline/rules, click here.

5. The chaos

The game played pretty chaotic and fast in the streams, and that was just on the white wood.  Now with a clear coated playfield, this game will likely play insanely fast.  And that pop bumper on the right side will just add to the chaos!

Five Dislikes

1. Artwork on the nuclear reactors

It feels like more could have been done on the nuclear reactor area on the playfield.  It doesn’t look bad and fits the retro look of the playfield, but it just seems like more could have been done to make that area stand out more since it is important to the main storyline.

2. Font on the nuclear reactors

Back to the nuclear reactors – the font for the numbers is just ok.  Yes, this is subjective and nitpicky.

3. Simplicity

This machine was designed to be a simpler pin with updated technology, and it pulled that off very well.  However, the simpler design will be a turnoff to some.

4. Sound repetition

Depending on how it is implemented, over time the sounds have the potential to become repetitious.  Or they could just be enjoyable and catchy like the Mario Brothers soundtracks.

5. Cabinet artwork

The cabinet side artwork looks fine but feels like it doesn’t fit the Total Nuclear Annihilation theme as well as it could.

Disclaimer: All opinions are subject to change because I’m fickle with pinball machines the more I play them 🙂