A Drop Target is a little plastic target found on pinball machines. As its name implies, when a drop target is hit by a ball, it drops down and gets removed from play until some set of conditions makes it pop back up again.

Hitting a drop targets usually adds little to your current score but advances one's end of round bonus score. Some games require drop targets to be all dropped for a big bonus. Other games require you to drop an entire bank within some given time frame triggered by another action, like getting a ball in a kickout hole. Some games require drop targets to be hit in a specific order.

While most games feature drop targets in banks, sometimes drop targets are placed individually. The idea is they protect some other scoring device like a kickout hole or a ramp.

The first pinball machine to feature drop targets was 1962's Vagabond by Williams. The drop target was invented by the head of Williams pinball division Steve Kordek. Kordek was no stranger to evolving pinball into the game we know today. He was the first to create a pinball machine with two flippers at the bottom of the playfield, one on each side of the drain (the arrangement universally used today). The game was called Triple Action, released by Genco in 1947. Previous to Triple Action, pinball machines typically had six flippers evenly space out on either side of the upper playfield.

Drop targets are extremely popular with some segments of the pinball playing population and attempts have been made to create games based around the drop target. A notable, early drop target oriented game is Jumping Jack, released by Gottlieb in 1973. With the exception of two bumpers, it's pretty much all drop targets.

Another drop target laden machine is Bally's Mata Hari (1978). It had four bumpers up top, two quad banks of drop targets, and an open center and lower play field, allowing the player to set up long, satisfying drop target shots. The initial production run of Mata Hari featured a dagger on the backglass with some German writing. Apparently people found the dagger with its cryptic German message unsettling. (Why? No one who speaks German could be bad!). The German script was removed from later production runs.

In 1979, Gottlieb introduced something called "Remotrip" drop targets in a game called Pinball Pool. Remotrip drop targets were arranged in dual banks. If you hit a drop target in one bank, it would drop along with its corresponding target on the other side.

The most drop targets ever featured on a game was 20, found on Gottlieb game 2001 (which was released in 1971). The game pretty much involved knocking down all 20 drop targets (mounted in 4 banks of 5). Gottlieb carefully designed it so not all targets could be dropped simply by a well-aimed flipper shot. One had to play the bumpers and kickers properly to get all targets.

Return to The Pinball Dictionary

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.