For an explanation of this series and my Ranking System read here.

First up for my Fantasy Women of Pinball series is the flyer for the James Cameron’s Avatar table, produced in 2010 by Stern Pinball.

My flyer for Stern Pinball's 2010 JAMES CAMERON'S AVATAR pinball table. Copyright 2010 Twentieth Century Fox and Stern Pinball

Now, before I start getting any angry notes saying that Neytiri and the Na’vi are science fiction and not fantasy, I want to point out that the “fantasy” in Fantasy Women of Pinball is referring to the literal definition of “a creation of the imagination.” So, until someone can prove to me that Neytiri is real, I say my series title remains accurate.

Anyway, I find this flyer really dull. Aside from the table itself, no part of it shows me anything unique from any other Avatar marketing or the film. Don’t get me wrong. I love Neytiri. She’s probably one of the sexiest and bad-ass females to come out of science fiction cinema since Leia choked out Jabba in a metal bikini and Leeloo got wrapped in white tape and beat the crap out of everyone she met.

And the image is certainly a beautiful study of Neytiri. Angled as she is we get a great look of her upper-body and build, her slight chest and muscle-toned arms. Part of her tail sticks out at the bottom-left corner of the flyer (which at first I mistook for a very wide thigh). Her face shows us all the exotic other-worldy blue feline-like features that distinguishes her from her Na’vi brethren.

But she also looks bored. There’s nothing dynamic about her pose over the table. She could have easily been put in any number of poses and expressions that would be better than this; perhaps crouched and ready to battle, as if the fate of Pandora rested on your high score. She could have looked sultry, leaning over as if the player (as Jake?) will be kindly rewarded should his ball work impress her. But instead she’s on the flyer literally as nothing more than a showpiece unrelated to the item being hawked.

Alright, so, the art direction of the flyer leaves much to be desired (it is also one-sided, the reverse is blank white). How does the table itself look?

Equally dull, sadly. Although the angle blocks some of the playfield on the right side, the majority of the table is viewable. I see the standard flippers, bumpers, and spinners. I can only see one ramp, a clear plastic one that runs across the back/top. There is a model of an exo-suit on one side that doesn’t look like it really does anything. Near the left side is an avatar-connector chamber which looks like it opens and closes with a little human Jake inside, but that is the only special interactivity that I can see on the playfield itself. It looks to be a run-of-the-mill table, even lacking much Avatar-themed art, instead being covered mostly with score and bonus indicators.

The only place I really see any Avatar theming is along the sides of the table and the backglass. Of the sides, Neytiri and Na’vi Jake adorn the very front of the table, and the right has a generic Pandora jungle. Once again, Neytiri and Jake’s poses and expressions make them look like they’re posing for a contractually obligated photo shoot more-so than they’re preparing for some great war whose outcome will be determined by your score.

The backglass looks pretty enough, and of course I can’t judge the “amazing 3-D” touted by the flyer. But it does make me ask this; how smart is it to call out a comparison between the effects in the film that legitimized 3-D filming in cinema, and whatever trick of the eye the table is using for its 3-D effect on the backglass? Is there anyway the pinball table could not be found wanting in such a comparison?

Ultimately, this flyer has made me want to…

Look – because I don’t have a rank lower than that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Avatar. But this flyer is dull, telling me practically nothing about the table itself and providing me no unique visuals to re-interest me in the Avatar film or merchandise. Without a description of the table I have to rely on the provided image, which displays a fairly generic playing field with little unique interactivity apparent. Nothing about the art on the table itself is unique or tells a story or drives me to want to see what happens when I play. It is riding purely on the idea that anything associated with the highest-grossing movie of all time (without inflation considered) must be equally successful simply because the name is slapped on it. Unfortunately, that is not enough to get a quarter from me.

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t even bother trying to Look at it…