So just how did we get Scared Stiff anyway?

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That's a very good question. There are many things that are considered, tried, modified, and thrown-out, during the development of a pinball game. This page will describe some of the stuff that almost made it into the game now known as Scared Stiff.


Development Artwork

The most overlooked part of any pinball is usually the artwork; this is quite ironic as the artist spends just as much time (often more) hunched over a desk as the programmers and designers do. Have a look at some of the original sketches, and clay models that became the tools to get you Scared Stiff!



The skulls (which now sit in the back-right corner of the playfield) originally had red LEDs as eyes. Rolling through a skull roll-over lane would light one pair of eyes ("Wake the Deadheads!"). Lighting all six pairs of eyes would award the Return Of The Deadheads tale.

The LEDs had to be removed because of cost issues, and two flashers were placed behind the skulls. The white and blue flashers give the skulls a nice eerie feel, and the Deadhead tale is now awarded after only three roll-over lanes instead of six.

Breaking Deadhead

Break the Deadheads

The Pile-o-Skulls looked quite cool with all eyes lit (yes, they would even blink occasionally), that we felt something different was needed on the skull roll-over lanes as an alternative to the Family Album. The idea was that all Deadheads were awake, and now it was time to break some Deadheads. The various animtions for this included a skull smoking a stick of dynamite, which exploded; and Elvira stepping down onto a skull, crushing it to dust.

This idea was only slightly developed when we decided to remove it. The ROM was quickly filling up, and it simply wasn't as amusing as the Deadhead Album. Also, with only three roll-over lanes needed to collect the tale (instead of six), most people only saw two Family Album jokes; since there were close to ten of these, and only three for Break the Deadheads, the choice was obvious.

A Sample Animation is available.


Removed Deadheads

The Deadheads you see in the game are only a selection of what was intended. There is limited space for dots and speech, so we had to lose some Deadheads along the way.

Some of the deadheads that didn't make the cut: Block Head, Egg Head, Gear Head, Machine Head, Muscle Head, Pin Head, Talking Head, Hot Head, Little Head (this became Shrunken Head), Richard Head, Red Head, and Knuckle Head.

Spider Web icon

Advance Stiff-o-Meter

At one stage, it was possible to advance the Stiff-o-Meter during the regular game. The Scared Face on the Spider Wheel would advance one level, and the right ramp would spot levels. People expressed concern that this was too confusing, so Team Stiff decided to take it out. Playing Stiff-o-Meter became a great deal more exciting once there was no other way to advance it!

The Coffin

Watch for Coffin Kickout

There are very few games that devote precious ROM space to an animation for a lock kickout, however this animation was initially intended for the kickback. When we pulled the kickback out of the game (we didn't feel it was really necessary with the auto-plunger) we were all sad to see this animation go. After much searching, it was decided to try it on the Coffin kickout; once we saw how good it looked there, it had to stay!

A Sample Animation is available.

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All text and images © Copyright 1996 Midway Manufacturing Company.
"Scared Stiff" is a trademark of Midway Manufacturing Company.
"Elvira", "Mistress of the Dark", and all images, designs, and likenesses of Elvira are trademarks of Queen "B" Productions.