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Crafting a custom Metallica pinball table with Linux, love

We've explored what it takes to collect and refurbish existing pinball machines, but what if you want your own, custom game? Creating a one-of-a-kind pinball experience is a much different beast, but we were able to catch up with Wade Krause and Tanio Kryce, two men who put together a special table for some big pinball fans: Metallica.

"[Singer] James Hetfield saw the Hellacopters game that [artist Dirty Donny] and I made a few years ago and he wanted us to build him a custom game," Krause told Ars. That was the genesis of the project, but it takes real ingenuity to take an existing machine and modify it so that both the art and the play matches the feel of a band. Here's how they Krause and Kryce pulled it off.

Start with a good machine

First, "we brainstorm some ideas and find a suitable game," Krause explained. "We wanted a solid state game because of the sound, no dot matrix display because reprogramming it was just not in the budget." They decided to start with a game called Earthshaker.

"The shaker motor was a big plus on Earthshaker," said Krause. "The crowd roars when it is activated. Earthshaker is a fun game as well; playability is a big factor."

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