World Cup Soccer (Bally, 1994) was the first machine I chose to restore from the eight machines I purchased during our recent pinball adventure. World Cup Soccer is a game that is approachable and a fun theme to play, especially for novices and non-pinball people. Looking at the playfield, you can understand why. It's got a giant soccer ball in the middle of the playfield and a goal with a goalkeeper guarding it. Way cool! You can instantly understand one of the key parts of the game: scoring goals.
Out of my eight new machines, I decided to start restoring World Cup Soccer first simply because it appeared to have the fewest things wrong with it. After the relatively relaxed and enjoyable experiences of getting The Getaway and Demolition Man up and running, I had some serious work ahead of me if I wanted to get all eight machines up and running. Getting a relatively easy machine fixed and out the door was my main goal (pun intended).
Initial condition report (click on sections below to view details)
Good condition overall.
Timber in good condition. Some small scuffs and marks.
Decals in average condition. Yellow colours faded. Graffiti on the right side of the cabinet.
Translite in good condition.
Good condition overall.
Playfield was very dirty.
Consumables (rubbers and lamps) dirty and in poor condition.
Playfield artwork in above average condition. Minor saucer wear.
Plastics in average condition. 1 broken. Cracks in left ramp.
Playfield mechanisms/toys in average condition. Soccer ball worn.
Excellent condition overall.
Average condition overall.
Machine booted and could start a game.
Most coils were not functional.
Playfield and backbox wiring in good condition.
Printed circuit boards in good condition.
Overall, I was pretty happy that I would be able to get this machine up and running without too much hassle. So I started disassembly.
Like Demolition Man, World Cup Soccer is a pain to pull apart due to the large ramps that cover the playfield. The main ramp on the right, made up of two separate pieces, goes from the left side of the upper playfield, around the back panel, and down to the right inlane. It's huge, and you need to remove it before you can do anything else on the playfield. Again, patience is key here, so make sure you take plenty of photos of how the ramp connects to various parts of the playfield, and make sure you have a large, free table to put the ramp down on after you remove it from the game!
The mini playfield on the left ramp can be tricky to disassemble as it has wires that snake through the main playfield. Make sure you disconnect them from the main wiring harness underneath the playfield and guide them through as you pull the mini playfield off. The goalkeeper doesn't really need to be taken apart as the playfield can be cleaned and disassembled around him. Here are some images of the disassembly process.
After disassembly, the game went through my standard restoration process to get it playing and looking like new. During the restoration process, I dealt with a number of issues, described below.
Tips & Troubleshooting (click on sections below to view details)
Worn soccer ball
The soccer ball (part no. 23-6709) is the most eye-catching playfield toy on World Cup Soccer. The soccer ball on my game looked to be original. It was yellowed, heavily faded, flaking off in some spots, and generally really ugly. I tried repainting it but it was impossible to draw the black lines straight and it just didn't look right.
Replacement balls are available (Marco). I installed one and the difference between new and old is night and day. The new balls really lift the look of the game.
Soccer ball topper
There were actually a few soccer-themed games released in the mid-1990s, including World Cup Soccer (Bally, 1994), World Challenge Soccer (Gottlieb, 1994) and Flipper Football (Capcom, 1996). World Cup Soccer has a soccer ball on the playfield. Flipper Football has a soccer ball (part no. A-00809) mounted on the side of the backbox, making it look like the goalkeeper on the backglass is lunging for the ball. Really cool. If you're a fan of the Flipper Football soccer ball, you can actually buy purchase the Flipper Football ball (PSPA) and attach it to World Cup Soccer. Works a treat!
Gold versus chrome legs
On the original game flyer, World Cup Soccer has gold legs. Some would argue that standard chrome looks better in combination with the lockdown bar and side rails. Others argue that the gold matches the wireform on the playfield. When I bought this game (along with the seven others I grabbed at the same time), all of the legs were mixed together and I never actually realised I had a gold set. I installed standard chrome legs on World Cup Soccer and was happy with the result so I left them on the game. Gold legs seem to tarnish and wear more easily than chrome legs do, losing their lustre and turning a yellowy-gold colour. Chrome stays shiny for longer, and it looked pretty good on World Cup Soccer, so I left it as-is. For the purists, brand new gold legs are available (PSPA, Mr Pinball).
Scratches in speaker panel
There were two huge gouges in the speaker panel (part no. 31-1420-50031), which were pretty obvious when the display was on. I tried a few things to eliminate the scratches including Novus and a couple of other polishing compounds, but nothing worked; the scratches were too deep.
I considered buying a brand new one (Planetary Pinball) but postage costs were a killer so I didn't bother. A few months later, one popped up on eBay. I put in a bid and won - hooray! This one was a good buy because the speaker panel was new old stock, with the original plastic wrap still on the front! The panel was brand new underneath and looked great compared to the scratched up old one. Plus, it came with speakers and wiring so it was plug-and-play once the old one was removed. Just goes to show - you never know what parts will come up for sale in the future.
Broken plastic above ASSIST saucer
The plastic above the ASSIST saucer near the top of the playfield (part no. 31-1925-21) is prone to breaking. Balls bouncing from the pop bumper or rebounds from the goalkeeper can smash right into it. The plastic on this machine was broken and a section of it had been replaced with a piece of polycarbonate. This makeshift plastic did the job well enough, and it was hidden under the left ramp, so it didn't bother replacing it. However, replacements for this plastic are available (PSPA).
Multiple coils not functioning
When I first picked up the game I noticed that some of the coils were not firing. The trough and the TV popper were two that I remember not working. I had a look at the coils underneath the playfield and neither of them were burned up and the plungers moved freely. All of the wires to the coils were intact. This pointed to an electrical problem such as a component failure as multiple coils were affected. The next thing I checked were the fuses. Lo and behold, F105 was blown. This made sense as F105 fuses coils 1-9, and all of the non-functioning coils were in this category. Once it replaced, all of the coils were good to go again. Easy!
Flipper coil incorrectly wired
While playing the game I noticed that the left flipper made a humming sound when engaged. Coils usually make a slight humming noise when energised, especially on older games such as electromechanical machines, but this noise seemed a little louder than it should have. If you ever have a coil exhibiting this behaviour, stop and check it! In my case, I ignored the humming until one game when the flipper just stopped working. Then I smelled something burning. Uh oh! I lifted up the playfield and, sure enough, the coil had burned out.
When I checked the manual, I discovered that the coil had actually been wired incorrectly. The high and low power coil windings had been mixed up, so the coil was being supplied with a full 50 volts when the flipper was meant to be engaged with a lower 'hold' voltage (i.e. when the flipper was being held up continuously). Replacing the coil and rewiring it properly fixed the issue. Lesson learned! By the looks of it, the coil had been in the game for a while. It was a Leisure & Allied Industries coil, and that company hasn't been around for a long, long time. Who knows how long it had been incorrectly wired for!
Noisy soccer ball motor
One issue that seems to plague World Cup Soccers is a loud squeaking noise made by the soccer ball when it spins. In fact, there are heaps of posts on Pinside related to this issue. In normal gameplay, the ball spins whenever the goal is lit, so it can be spinning for quite some time and the noise can get annoying. I removed the gearbox and motor (part no. 14-7996.1) from underneath the playfield and gave them a good clean. The gearbox is riveted shut, so if you want to clean it out properly, you'll need to drill out the rivets and reseal the gearbox with new rivets or screws. I didn't go that far, but I dropped a few drops of a multipurpose oil into the gearbox, which seemed to make it a little quieter. It's impossible to make it silent, but it wasn't a big issue to start with, so I was happy with that. If your gearbox is completely broken, replacements are available (Marco).
Cracks in back ramp
The diverter on the back (left) ramp comes up and out of the playfield and through the ramp (part no. 03-9107-5). Unfortunately, the diverter had cracked the ramp from repeated opening and closing cycles. Luckily, the cracks were fairly minor and the ramp was still intact. I decided to leave the ramp as-is as the damage didn't warrant completely replacing the ramp. Brand new reproduction ramps are available if necessary (PSPA).
Broken goalie plastic
The goalie plastic and decal (part no. 03-9134 and 31-9124-7) get a hammering on World Cup Soccer because so many balls impact them. When I got the game, the goalie was actually intact, and the decal was not in particularly bad shape. I decided to leave them on the machine until the plastic broke and needed replacement. Well, not long after I had put the machine together, exactly that happened - the goalie cracked in half.
Replacements for the plastic and decal are readily available as a set (Mr Pinball). The replacement plastic is actually a flexible material that can bend and absorb ball impacts better than a rigid plastic. Replacing the plastic was as simple as undoing the two screws attaching the plastic to the target switch assembly. Done in under a couple of minutes!
I installed new rubber post sleeves, white rubber rings and black flipper rubbers. World Cup Soccer is a game that really shines with LEDs installed. There are a lot of colours on the playfield and nicely colour-matched LEDs complement this style really well. While I didn't end up ordering any LEDs for this machine, I made up a spreadsheet for the order anyway.
I found some awesome instruction cards at Pinball Rebel. Strangely, there aren't a lot of custom World Cup Soccer pricing and instruction cards around. These were the best I could find that fit the theme and incorporated the game's artwork nicely.
World Cup Soccer is one of those games that is easy to just pick up and play. It is as easy or as challenging as you want to make it. You can shoot for goals all day, or work up the World Cup challenges to get to the wizard mode. I was very happy with this restoration as the machine was in great shape after a simple clean and required a couple of simple fixes to get going. It was a good game to further my repair and cleaning skills on.
Unfortunately I had earmarked this game for sale early on as it was not a theme for me and was not as challenging a game as I would have liked. I hope the new owner (whoever that may be) has as much fun playing it as I did restoring it!
Here you will find logs of our pinball machine restorations, repairs, discussion about general pinball topics, and recounts of our random pinball adventures.
Check back regularly for updates!
Running this website is a hobby for me, just like pinball. I like being able to show my restoration work to everyone so that others can learn from it and learn to fix their own machines. If you enjoy reading the content, please consider donating to offset some of the website's operating costs.