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Random Thoughts & Pictures

Elvira and the Party Monsters is a game I became acquainted with after years of attending various pinball shows. I'm a big fan of System-11 games and I like themes that are goofy and whimsical. Party Monsters is right up my alley.

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I acquired this game from a private seller near Gloucester Courthouse, VA on August 2, 2014. I have a bunch of Williams System-11 games, but this is my first Bally System-11. This title tends to sell for a premium due to the popularity of the theme. I almost gave up on it. I like games that are fun, but I try not to get caught up in paying a lot for a particular title just because everyone else thinks it's collectable. At the time there seemed to have been a run on Party Monsters with lots of WTB posts popping up on Pinside. The seller happened to dig up my old WTB post and the deal worked out.

The game appears to have sat unused for many years. The seller found the game, got it working, but then only owned it for a few weeks before deciding to upgrade to a Scared Stiff. Personally I prefer Party Monsters, but then I'm more of a System-11 kind of guy.

The best aspect of the game is the playfield. It's in pretty good shape thanks to full Mylar. There's a bit of wear around the BAT inserts and up the right orbit. But I'll call it better than average and more than acceptable. The plastics are mostly okay, but I have a new set from CRP ready to go. The ramps are functional, but not great. The Monster Slide is pretty beat up, but the game came with a better one I may install. Ultimately I hope to get a complete set of new reproduction ramps (which I now have!).

The translite has spots of washout thanks to the GI bulbs. But I already had a translite-to-backglass conversion mirrored backglass from Classic Playfield Reproductions. Sometimes I buy stuff from CPR for games I don't own, but think I might own in the future. Coincidentally, the backglass arrived only two days before I realized I'd be getting this game. The cabinet decals are mostly good, except for around the legs. The left side is faded, but the right side is bright. The coin door looks complete except for the missing coin mechs.

Everything has matching serial numbers except for the CPU board which looks to be from a different Party Monsters and the left display board which looks to be from a Mousin' Around.

PARTY WITH -- ELVIRA AND THE PARTY MONSTERS

This game came with the infamous modesty decal. Unmolested examples of this decal appear to be somewhat rare. Most were tossed. After all, who in their right mind would actually apply the decal? Well this game did in fact have the decal installed on the translite. But by the time I got the machine the decal had been removed. It was all curled up so I stuck it in a transparent sleeve. The decal is show below. The second picture shows the decal held up against the translite.

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Modesty decal.

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Modesty decal held up to the translite.

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Shown above is the four page promotional flyer for Elvira and the Party Monsters. Click for larger picture.

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The four page flyer folds open to reveal this 17" by 22" poster. Click for larger picture.

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Large topper included with the CPR reproduction plastics set.

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Promo plastics included with the CPR reproduction plastics set.

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Promo plastic (random eBay pic - not mine).

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Promo plastic (random eBay pic - not mine).

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Promo hologram (random eBay pic - not mine).

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Promo hologram (random eBay pic - not mine).

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Promo buttons (one on right is Dr.Dude, I think).

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Ten page, 5½" x 8½" Operator's Handbook.

I would have thought there might be some patents associated with Party Monsters. There are some unique mechanisms such as the Boogie Men mech and the B.B.Q flip-up targets. And I believe this was the first game to have the "Jumper Bumper" style thumper bumpers. But all I found was the patent for the Bally style flippers. Party Monsters was not the first game to use these flippers. Nevertheless, the patent is by Party Monsters game designer Dennis Nordman.

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Click thumbnails to see patent images.

Game designer Dennis Nordman produced a series of party themed games including Party Animal (1987), Elvira and the Party Monsters (1989), Dr. Dude (1990) and The Party Zone (1991). In collaboration with artist Greg Freres, The Party Zone includes elements from the previous three party games. In the center of the backglass (below) are several characters from Elvira and the Party Monsters. Apparently they were not able to secure a license to include an image of Elvira herself. Nevertheless, that silhouette in the background looks suspiciously like Elvira holding her hotdog fork.

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Center backglass close-up from The Party Zone.

I like collecting tidbits of trivia about the games I own. For a lot more trivia reguarding Elvira and the Party Monsters check out the EATPM section at robertwinter.com.

In 2014 Classic Playfield Reproductions released a mirrored backglass for Party Monsters. The game was originally equipped with a translite. This was one of CPR's translite-to-backglass conversion projects. Apparently the screening process is completely different from how the original translite was printed so the backglass doesn't end up being an exact match. For example, Elvira's flesh tones look more washed out. Also the background behind Elvira is more washed out and some of the mist detail is lost. On the other hand, the colors look more vivid. The added mirrored accents are neat in person, but pretty impossible to highlight in pictures.

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Translite (left) compared to the CPR backglass. Click image for larger picture.

Some people prefer the original translite over the new backglass, but the choice for me was pretty easy as my translite wasn't in great shape. It was washed out to the point where I could see individual GI bulbs. The new backglass does a much better job of dispersing the light.

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Old translite.

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New backglass.