Spider-Man, Spider-Man! Does whatever a spider can — but can spiders play pinball? Gottlieb decide to answer that question in 1980 with a hearty yes!
The Amazing Spider-Man was brought to solid-state life in the spring of 1980, sparking the imagination of kids in arcades everywhere. The Amazing Spider-Man was a cut above the rest during an age where pinball saw a substantial explosion in popularity and IP-related games.
Spider-Man Meets Pinball
The Amazing Spider-Man was Gottlieb’s System 80 machines. System 80 machines were advanced pinball machines that were capable of much more than their previous counterparts. System 80 machines introduced multiball, double or triple-level playfields, more intricate sound, and game-play, but they also suffered from battery corrosion and connector corrosion. Many of the System 80 games collectors and players will find today have likely had work done to them to keep them running.
Designed by Ed Krynski with artwork by Gordon Morrison, Gottlieb released a total of 7,625 The Amazing Spider-Man machines out into the world. These beautiful machines invoked the spirit and fun of Spider-Man and included classic characters such as Aunt May, Green Goblin, Kraven, Vulture, Kingpin, Lizard, and — in a fun twist — Black Widow. Absent from the game are Spider-Man’s love interests, making this an all hero and villain game. This wide-bodied 24″ cabinet machine allowed up to four players and featured 4 flippers, 4 exit lanes, 3 kick-out holes, and 2 drop targets, to name a few.
A Hot Item
This machine is highly sought after by collectors and is also hard to find for sale. In 2017 one sold for $2,489, while a year prior another machine sold for $1,758. Finding this game for under $1,000 is hard, but not impossible. Private sales for this machine are more common than finding it on eBay, and if you’re lucky you might find a machine that has already had parts replaced or upgraded. Replacement parts are easy to come by and are inexpensive if you happen to find one in less than good condition.
If you’re looking into this machine as an investment piece, you will likely be sitting on this machine for a while. If you can find a working game in good condition, expect to pay in the $1,500 range. A working game in perfect condition will go for more than $2,000. This is not a game you should buy with the intention of immediately flipping. The longer we move away from the year 1980, the more valuable this machine could potentially become.
This was also not the last time Spider-Man would appear in a pinball machine. Decades later he would come back into the pinball world thanks to Stern Pinball. In 2007 Stern released their Spider-Man machine, this time based off of the Sam Raimi movie universe. Stern’s Spider-Man is one of my personal favorite games and deserves its own post for another day. By comparison, the Stern Spider-Man is much easier to find, though it will not be as affordable as the Gottlieb one.
It also goes without saying that Spider-Man is not the only comic book hero to grace a pinball machine! Let us know in the comments below which superhero-themed pinball machine you’d like to see us cover next — and as always — happy collecting!
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