Williams Junk Yard
One of Williams recent games. It's not so popular or even known, as it also has a low production run and games produced around it (Scared Stiff, Cirqus Voltaire, ..) are much more popular.
Game rules are not very deep but also not an easy game. Especially the outlanes can be drainmonsters ! Junk Yard is not a game you can just walk to, start playing, and shoot everything that's lit. Well, you could of course, but then you probably won't earn many points or get you to the final mode. Strategy is very important in this game. You have to find parts (junk) to construct different tools and vehicles (as illustrated by the blueprint drawn in the center of the playfield, so I hope the game you play has a clean playfield). Once you've constructed something you will play the associated mode/adventure.
Featured in the game are a devil and angel who give you tips on what to do. A nice touch are the slingshots, these are lit by controlled lights, so either the angel or devil can be lit (opposite to both slingshots always lit on other pinball games).
Videomodes are nice on this game, there's a specific mode in which you have to shoot the dog with a toaster, but the game can also start a mode featured in other pinball machines, i.e. from Attack from Mars.
Once you know the rules the game is quite nice to play. You need to know the game rules and follow a specific strategy to get anywhere in this game. Or be very lucky and just hit the wrecking ball a lot.
I noticed most experienced players don't like the game when it's available in competitions. Probably because they like games in which they can control the ball at all times, ie where ramps nicely bring a ball back to the flippers so you can make another shot. The crane shot is important in this game but is also an unknown factor, you never know in advance if the ball will come back nicely or have some weird spin on it and drain. Sometimes a newbie who just shoots at the crane earns more points in this game than an experienced player who actually aims at targets..
The layout of the game is very very very open. The middle of the playfield is just open until completely in the back of the playfield. The jackpot shot at the back end is also one of the longest shots available on a pinball machine (probably except for Black Rose).
Junk Yard is not a bad game, it's just different. You have to make an effort to learn it,
and appreciate games in which you have to think to play.
An operator we know once told us Junk Yard is a game for 'smart' locations,
you need to have a strategy and understand what junk parts to select. This game didn't
do well in bars where there's a 'dumb' audience that likes a 'shoot everything lit'-game.
Rules aren't that complicated (collect parts of junk to create something so you can start a mode), but I guess that on a dirty location game with burnt out lights, you just collect parts at random. On a clean game however you'll notice the schematics are drawn on the lower playfield and when you're able to select a part, the associated light will go on so it's easy to pick what you need.
Don't forget to shoot the sewer hole to start adventures ! I remember when I played this game in a pub the first time, for some reason I never made this shot..
The theme could also have been better in my opinion. You're an inventor trapped in a junk yard and try to escape. To outer space ? With the help of an angel and devil ?? And what's the toilet for ?
Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Bought the game as my wife likes to play it. Shopped it, then she played it and when she got bored with it we sold it. Don't really miss it, I can even hardly remember playing it. Wouldn't mind playing it again (it's a long time) but it wasn't a keeper for me.
Things to look for when buying
The bend plastic with car wrecks behind the crane is usually broken and very expensive if you can find one for sale.
Sample games had a magnet under the crane but this is not used in the software.
Regular production games have a flasher in that location.
This game has no pop-bumpers.