Harry Potter Pinball
A Computer and Electrical Engineering Senior Project
Jordan Haws, Joshua Lake, and Tanner Olsen
Before the days of Halo, Portal, and the like, there existed another popular means of gaming: arcade games. Many of those born before the mid-1990’s can think back and remember games like Pacman, Galaga, Frogger, Dig Dug, and among them the classic pinball machine. It is a machine consisting of various electronic and mechanical components; microprocessors, circuit boards, solid-state electronics, semiconductor chips, dot matrix display boards, speakers, electromechanical relays, solenoids, flippers, bumpers, and more all work together to make a successful pinball machine. Indeed, the pinball machine is an electronic masterpiece of the late twentieth century. However, video and computer game technologies have advanced drastically over the last twenty years. They now dominate the market while the classic pinball machine has faded into the shadows. Pinball is now enjoyed only by enthusiasts and those who occasionally venture to some venue in their community that still houses these bulky and pricey machines.
For our senior design project, our team will design and construct an electronic pinball machine from scratch. Doing so will test our knowledge and skill-set obtained from a wide variety of subjects that we have studied during our time as undergraduate students. Additionally, it will be fun! It will be constructed similar to existing modern pinball machines. The finished product will demonstrate our mastery of fundamental undergraduate classes and provide entertainment for family and friends in the years to come. In addition, we plan to put a twist on the classic game. The play area of our pinball game will host a wide variety of obstacles and interactive parts the same as any other pinball machine; however, our pinball machine will reconfigure its playfield between levels, adding increased interest and challenge to the classic game. Moreover, this will be an opportunity for us to learn skills that may be of use in our future careers.