White Water


Wedgehead PDX - White Water pinball machine

Pinball Spotlight Series:

WHITE! WATERRRRR! Released in January 1993 by Williams, this is a prime example of a 90s Bally/Williams golden era pinball machine. It’s an unlicensed, original game with a goofy theme, that is flawlessly integrated into a spectacular “world under glass.” WH2O was designed by the great and continuously under appreciated Dennis Nordman (the man has been fired from so many companies so many different times, it would be pointless to illustrate them all here, but he deserves better damnit!). Dennis has a brilliant creative mind, and his games always feel fresh and different from one another. He makes some of the smoothest and most unique ramps in pinball, and I am on record as saying that WH2O’s far left “Waterfall” ramp is the best in pinball history. You heard me right, it’s every ramp that you have ever loved, but better!
It has a beautiful, unique and asymmetrical layout with the best utilization of an upper playfield in pinball history. There’s an awesome interactive ball diverting Sasquatch (modeled after Dennis’ own appearance) and a one flip chance at two different shots up top. Flubbed it? Whoops, gotta get send it back up and try again (and again, and again).
The toys, ramps, and plastic canyons really put the game’s theme integration over the top. It has my favorite all around art package in pinball history as well, done by John Youssi operating at his peak. Sound and original music by another pinball legend, Chris Granner makes the game experience completely engrossing; there are unique song clips for each raft class!
Listen, I could go on all day about this game. Disclosure: It’s my all-time favorite. By a lot. But I will try and stay composed with a whiff of my dignity intact, and finish it up here. It’s simply an all-time classic pin that feels like nothing else before or since. It’s a fantastic example of why many people look at these B/W games from the 90s as the high water mark (pun intended) for pinball design. It fires on all cylinders, and is a sterling example of creative design ingenuity.
Awww crap! I didn’t even mention the topper! Or the perfectly balanced rule sheet, or the cabinet art, or the whirlpool, or the vacation jackpot, or the …, …, …