You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

Suzanne Ciani Welcomes You To Xenon permalink

My earnest admiration for pinball machines goes back about a decade, when I inherited a 1990 Data East The Simpsons. The backglass and playfield art are mesmerizing. Open it up and I am daunted by the viscera, and even now am only capable of jiggling the power supply to get things working again. The pinball renaissance has been underway here in Seattle for some time. Arcades have been popping up everywhere, hosting tournaments and serving ice cream (as in the case of the Full Tilts, who recently named a flavor “Mudhoney” after the local band) or beer (Add-A-Ball, John-John’s Game Room, Flip Flip, Ding Ding, etc.). We have a museum and a wonderful zine. I was bummed to miss out on the NW Pinball and Arcade Show earlier this month because I wanted to play an Orbitor 1 again.

I’ve always been drawn to Bally’s Xenon (1979). That art. That voice. Well, as Skill Shot points out in their May 2014 issue, that voice belongs to composer Suzanne Ciani, the first female voice ever featured in a game.

xenon backglass by stefan ulrich.jpg
The backglass from Bally’s Xenon. Music and sound by Suzanne Ciani, art by Paul Faris. Photo by Stefan Ulrich.

xenon flyer.jpg
The flyer.

Ciani is responsible for all of Xenon’s sounds, some of which she intended as the game reacting to the player. A short, delightful doco about Ciani’s involvement with the game:

Seek it out. Try the tube shot.

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2 Responses to “Suzanne Ciani Welcomes You To Xenon” 

  1. Gordon2 Says:

    Thanks for the shout out. If it makes you feel better Orbitor 1 wasn’t at the pinball show this year. It was last seen at Add-a-Ball (they bought it) and it’s currently in the shop for repairs (I think).

  2. Katie Miles Says:

    That’s good news! I’ll look for it at Add-A-Ball.

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