Country settings on WPC cpu boards

Williams exported their pinball machines all over the world, and their WPC pinball machines are adapted to this.
Not only are there the obvious electrical differences (110/220 volts), but even the software and certain settings would change depending on what part of the world a game was set for.

Where to adjust the country settings

Selecting what country the pinball machine is made for is done on the cpu.
On the first generation of cpu boards (WPC-89) this is done by installing (or removing) jumpers.
WPC-S and WPC-95 cpus make it much easier, a block of dip-switches has been installed. You don't have to cut or solder anything (and physically change the board), just set each switch in ON or OFF position.
Here's an article with more information about the different boards used in Williams pinball machines.

WPC-89 board
WPC-89 cpu board.

The jumpers to set the country settings are at the center top in the picture, between to the connector for the displays and the ASIC (large square IC). (Note installed in your machine it is rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise).
The jumpers installed are zero-ohm resistors, on this cpu they look like thick white resistors. The row is labelled W11 to W18 on the board.

export country settings
Zero-ohm jumpers, this game is set to Export.
Take care of how they are numbered: from the right to the left (while the manual lists them in opposite direction).

Here is a close-up picture of the zero-ohm resistors. On this board they look like regular resistors. These were used because they could be installed by a machine. When you want to add new jumpers, you can just use a piece of wire to make the connection.
If there is a resistor/wire present, it is set to ON. Nothing installed = OFF.

A-17651 cpu security board
On the A-17651 WPC-S security cpu board, the jumpers have been replaced by a block of 8 dipswitches (red plastic). Photo by Erik Kleijn.

A-20119 WPC-95 cpu board
The red dipswitch block looks the same on the A-20119 WPC-95 cpu board, it just moved to the far left side in the middle of the board.
SW1 is at the top, SW8 at the bottom.

It is safest to switch your pinball machine off before you change the position of any dipswitches, doing this while the game is on could confuse your cpu..
Note that when you change the country settings, the game will start up with a 'FACTORY SETTINGS RESTORED' error message. All your settings will be erased, including highscores. So do not experiment with this when you want to keep your highscores.

Valid combinations for country settings

The inside page of the cover of a WPC pinball machine manual has at the top an overview of the valid combinations to what you can set the cpu. Note this list in your manual is not complete - there is also a 'USA2' and 'Export' setting (see below).

CountryW15 / SW5W16 / SW6W17 / SW7W18 / SW8

For all combinations the first dipswitches/jumpers are set to: SW1 and SW2 are OFF; SW3 and SW4 are ON.

Note that France is also selected when only W17 is OFF (and W18 is on) - as you would expect when you follow the combinations for Spain/Europe/Germany (each time 1 jumper off). It also works like the manual indicates with both 17 and 18 off.. the software probably stops checking when it finds W17 is off and ignores the last jumper ?

As far as I have noticed, there are no differences between USA and USA2. So when you have a WPC-89 cpu set to another country and you want to set it to USA, you do not have to solder wires in to get it to American settings.
You can just cut resistors W15 to W18 and the machine will default to USA2, which is more easy and safe to do.

The export setting is not documented in the manual anywhere, but it works. Some games in Europe are set this way, probably games for Australia (and other parts of the world) were default set to this.
As far as I can see, it's similar to the Europe setting - the most general with specific localisations disabled.

export country settings
CPU set to general Export country setting.

Now you learnt how to change the country settings, let's find out where it all has an influence on.
This is only a global overview. The changes in the software could be set by the programmer of the game. Some games may have more or less changes implemented than others. Some are only present in specific WPC-S or WPC-95 machines.
If you find interesting changes that have not been documented here for some specific games, please let me know.


The one most important reason why people change the country jumpers, is because they define what language the game will boot up when it has lost its settings. When the batteries are empty, or you've upgraded an eprom, .. the language all menus will be in are the default language for the country it's set to.
When it's set to german, you'll get a nice FABRIKDATEN EINGESTELLT message instead of 'FACTORY SETTINGS RESTORED'. You can always go into the menu (take the manual with you, language is somewhere under A.1).



Country settings Germany and France will have all their menus translated. Spanish seems to be a mixture between english and spanish - some instructions are in spanish but most words and menus are left in english (this may be different from game to game). All other settings (USA/Europe/Export) have english menus and attract screens.

Decimal signs

A second difference, not really important but something you notice immediately and have to get used to, is the decimal sign used in your score.
In the USA a . is a decimal separator and , is a thousands separator. Thousand and 50 cent is written as 1,000.50
In Europe it's just around - 1.000,50.
Set the country to USA and you'll see a comma in your highscores, select any other setting and you'll see a dot.

comma as thousands separator

American high scores use a comma.

dot as thousands separator
Scores for the rest of the world, with a dot.

I'm in Europe and I'm used to seeing a . in the scores on the dmd. When I set my machine to USA and saw the comma, it just looked weird to me.. and I'm sure americans will think the same but the other way around, as they're used to seeing a , and no .

Attract mode screens

Most other visible changes are in the attract mode screens. Depending on the jumper settings you select, more or less screens are shown when the game is in attract mode.


'SAY NO TO DRUGS' is probably the most known / hated / discussed public announcement that shows up on most WPC pinball machines. Most people aren't interested in having this message in their home environment. It only shows up when the game is set to USA - but some games (Fish Tales and Creature from the Black Lagoon) also show it when set to Europe.


Most games also show 'AIDS IS REAL, PROTECT YOURSELF' when set to USA. Some games show a similar message when set to France: SORTEZ COUVERTS, which translates to 'leave protected'.

Distributor screens

Kunick Group votre partenaire
Kunick Group - your partner.

Most WPC-95 games show during attract mode screen for Kunick Group, the french distributor, when set to France. This does not show up on any other country setting.

WMS hotline
WMS Hotline promotion screen.

This screen with the WMS Pinball Hotline phone number only shows up in USA setting. The rest of the world may not phone them :-)

Distributor menus

A few WPC-95 pinball machines (Scared Stiff for example) even show additional menu settings depending on the selected country.
Set it to Europe and you get a new option under B. Bookkeeping: B.7.
On european settings this is called B.7 Nova data, in german setings it's B.7 Nova Daten.

Nova was the german distributor of Williams. Probably they got this into the software for their own machines on location, so technicians working on the machine (or collecting the cash) could quickly get the bookkeeping information they required. Maybe they even used the printer setting or another tool to hook up to the serial interface ?
There's no new information shown in this menu, but only a collection of counters that are available in other parts under B. Bookkeeping.

B.7 Nova Data

B.7 Nova Daten

Difficulty settings

Apart from the visual differences in attract mode, there are some lesser-known and more important changes between the countries.
It seems Americans can't play pinball very well :-) (and the french neither)

Before everyone becomes angry with me, let me explain.. depending on the country settings, what the pre-sets (under U.Utilities menu), such as extra easy, easy, medium, 3-ball or 5-ball, can select different default settings.
These settings are different for each model of pinball machine, and are sometimes not very obvious. The operations manual for each specific game usually has a table (in the part about the Utilities menu settings) that lists the differences for that specific game.
Usually there are 2 sets of default values: one for german/european games (more difficult), and an easier setting for all others (USA/France/Spain/..)
It seems players on location in Germany are/were better on average than in other countries. To help the operators to earn enough money, the game by default is set a bit harder, so players didn't get extra long game times.

For some games there are no differences (Twilight Zone for example shows both tables in the manual but they're identical), but for others they exist.
On Funhouse for example, the clock starts one hour earlier on European/German games (7 hour instead of 8 on medium settings). Even with System11 games like Diner the difference exist, you even have more chance for an extra ball in the USA than in Germany on that game. And on Rollergames in Germany you only have 15 seconds to make a specific set of shots, while in the USA that timer is set to unlimited !

One final example, Creature from the Black Lagoon. Here are the default settings, taken from the manual:

CFTBL default settings

Set the game for France and suddenly you have less chance of getting an extra ball:

CFTBL France settings

Now is this all important ? It probably is, even for home use. When you are in the USA and you have a re-imported game from Germany, which is still jumpered for Germany (and you changed the text on the display into english) - you cannot really compare your scores to those of a friend who has the same game, but on USA settings.
Especially on large competitions, where more than one machine of a specific model can be used, the organisation has to pay attention that the country settings match. On many competitions the organisation does a factory reset or one of the pre-sets (medium or hard), but as you see these are not identical for every machine.

Currency settings

Another obvious change between the countries are the different types of currency used. Depending on the country jumpers, the game will by default show only specific currency entries (german Marks, french Francs, ..) under A.3 Pricing.
There are more subtle differences, some games allow a buy-in for an extra ball under specific settings, while for other countries a buy-in is not available at all.

Here's an overview of what's possible on Creature from the Black Lagoon when you set it to Germany.
Suddenly you have the choice between new pre-sets, with changes for instance what the special will give (points, extra ball, credit).

CFTBL german settings