The beginning of this year is not really joyful, since we learn again the death of a big name in pinball. After Marco Mandeltort and Lyman Sheats, Barry Oursler has passed away. The cancer he had been fighting for several years took his life at the age of 70.
Barry was a leading game designer. He was responsible for some of the most successful titles of the 80s and 90s. His first hit was Gorgar in 1978, the first “talking” pinball machine. He designed the Joust table where two players faced each other, in 1983.
Grand Lizard, Bad Cats, Hurricane, Cyclone, Dr Who, Brams Stoker’s Dracula, Who Dunnit, Junk Yard… The man lived through the great era, and was a major contributor.
Space Shuttle, another of his creations released in 1984, is also said to be the machine that saved pinball by bringing players back to the bars.
Since the 2000s, he has experienced, like many pinball players, a period of decline. After collaborations with Heighwey Pinball and Deeproot that didn’t yield much, he had just joined American Pinball.
Our pinball legends are getting older. We can expect more obituaries in the years to come.
But pinball is not dead!