Pinball Spotlight Series:
This is 1977’s Prospector. It is unique for a few reasons. First it was built by a short-lived Spanish pinball company named Sonic. Pinball was created and manufactured in the USA for its entire history (and at the time all of them were even based in the same city of Chicago!).
But during the pinball fever of the mid to late 70s, we began to see some short-lived competitors from overseas. Namely Sonic from Spain and Hankin from Australia. Most of the games that these “other manufacturers” made are unimportant and unimpressive games. However, Sonic made the wise decision to utilize Williams pinball parts to build their games, and even took to blatantly ripping off a few of their layouts for their own pinball machines.
The thing that always stands out when playing a Sonic like Prospector, is the quality of the playfield clear-coat. Due to less stringent environmental concerns in Europe at the time, the urethane used on the playfield kept the games from chipping, warping, or losing paint due to years of wear from the ball.
Every Sonic playfield still looks new, and that makes them play fast! Combined with the snappy Williams flipper and spinner parts, and you have an EM (electromechanical) game that plays like a SS (solid state) game. Prospector is usually considered to be their best game, and is currently my favorite EM to play in our collection.
Plus, it has a weird Laurel and Hardy theme. Remember, this is in 1977 and from Spain! Why choose to license two American comedians from 3-4 decades earlier? And why the western theme? All questions that have no answers. But the game is fun and with the smooth playfield and powerful flippers, this game is a blast. Feels great to rip the spinners in the middle of the playfield, and it has two different bonuses to collect.