Paragon Tutorial

I have many questions regarding Paragon, and while Bowen can answer all of the rule questions and inform me on playing strategies in the following tutorial, he has never given me any answers regarding the awkward situation on this backglass.

First off, in whatever world or reality this pinball machine is located, there are tame winged lions.  I can deal with that.  The second thing I notice is the man riding the lion is absolutely ripped, so I fully expect there to be both anabolic steroids and lots of weightlifting in this world, as I don’t expect someone to bulge quite that much when they’re farming or doing masonry.  Then again, perhaps holding onto a flying lion at 10k+ feet is extremely tiring and works arm muscles in a way I never considered.

Next up, is the man preparing to slice this woman to death or rescue her from some unseen peril?  Given what I can see in the artwork, I suspect he’s trying to kill her.  Why is this scantily clad woman so dangerous, especially considering she’s in chains?  And why is she not more afraid?  And most importantly, why is she wearing a bikini in what is –judging by the information the artwork provides me– a cold and “nippy” environment.

One of the elements that catches my eye are the skulls in the lower left.  Given that this woman is seemingly unafraid, and the flying-lion-man-sword-combo is preparing for battle against her, I can’t help but wonder if SHE is the dangerous one.  Perhaps she is a seductress-siren type, and those skulls on the lower left are her previous victims, lulled in closer by her bikini-clad wiles and then beheaded and had their bones polished with novus.

I bring up one additional concern: does the man have wings too?  I can’t help but feel wings of that size would be wholly inadequate to move that man very far, but hey, my science class never had a section on flying lions either, so who knows. Maybe he uses them like turkey wings-only for moments of panic to fly across a street and cause car wrecks.  The reason I mention these wings is because I’m most concerned about where the giant lizard tail is attached.  I had initially assumed the tail was attached to the lion, but if the man has the dragon wings, then I have to assume the dragon tail would also be a part of that combination.  There is also the chance that a dragon happens to be flying by directly behind the man at a distance, and the dragon tail in the scene is part of the lion.  Judging by the way the man is turned slightly at the shoulders but the wings are not, and the other humanoid woman has no wings, I’m inclined to think there IS a dragon flying in the distance positioned directly behind the man creating the illusion of dragon-man-wings.

Now, looking at this from a different perspective, and after a heated dinner-table discussion, my wife has pointed out that the lion and man may not necessarily be on the same team. Perhaps the man with dragon wings has swooped down and attacked the flying lion to rescue the chained woman.  Or, even more likely, perhaps the man has fallen off of a dragon hovering above the scene in the distance and landed on top of the flying lion who was about to eat the woman.  The woman is unafraid because she saw the man falling out of the sky towards her rescue.

Paul Faris… are you out there?  Could someone please shed some light on this for me?

Oh yeah, pre-register for PAPA 14, and here’s the tutorial!


  1. OldSchoolAl
    April 20, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    You have failed to include the Paragon playfield artwork in your analysis. You can see on the playfield that the man and the woman are together, so to speak.

    I believe she is his slave as evidenced by the chains on her in the backglass. My assumption would be he locks her up whenever he needs to go out. (Doesn’t everyone do that with their woman or is it just me? anyway…) I mean he is somewhat of a beast having wings on his back and she would probably leave if left unattended. Those wings don’t appear that small to me but like you I am no expert in avionics, maybe they are more for show than function. You can also see the lion below the parapet looking up at them roaring. I would say they are fighting over the woman, and hey, she is worth fighting for from what I see! I believe he is grabbing the lion in the backglass in preparation of cutting of his head to keep him from stealing his woman or possibly just killing her in a case of; “If I can’t have her, no one can!” sorta thing.

    As for the steroid use, doubtful, my guess would be fighting off beasts like the lion is a pretty good workout and this is probably all he has done his entire life.

  2. David
    April 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Excellent analysis of a worthy subject. The winged beast-man of this table is indeed puzzling.

    Also, the man pilots his winged lion by yanking on its mane. Now, if I were the lion, I’d be unimpressed by this kind of behavior.

  3. MHS
    April 20, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Excellent analysis. So the man and woman are together; This eliminates many of my questions.

    I still think there is heavy anabolic steroid use. I would think that fighting lions is an aerobic activity more than a mass-building one, but again, I’ve never fought a lion so who knows.

    I’m still really thrown off by the woman’s seeming lack of concern. She looks like she woke up from a nap and couldn’t care less about the situation.

  4. Rob Wintler-Cox
    April 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I’ve owned a Paragon for about 10 years, and my wife the artist has always had this problem with the backglass: Mr. Paragon’s arms and torso are too short for the size of his head. I tried to attempt the argument that his sword-wielding arm is just rendered in perspective, but she pointed out that that’s not possible with his right wing being in the position that it’s in.

  5. Rob Wintler-Cox
    April 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    But to actually discuss the video instead of the analysis of the backglass, I watched the tutorial while I was at Pinburgh and it is excellent as always. Bowen always manages to show me new things about games I thought I knew backwards and forwards.

  6. David
    April 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    This is a great video. Amazing skills!

  7. April 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    First off, good tutorial by Bowen.
    He was playing a tougher Paragon than need be however.

    This Paragon is not set up correctly mainly because of those saucer bounce backs.

    If you look carefully in the bonus saucer area that was giving Bowen so much trouble:
    During the designing of the game, the saucer was originally located more to the inside and needed the clear plastic guide to fall into it. In final production, the saucer was repositioned but the guide was accidentally left in the materials and assembly list. If you leave it in, the
    ball usually hits it and bounces back. Paragon is hard as hell enough without this glitch. It is not how the game was originally intended to play and thus it should be removed. I have restored 4 Paragons and have done the above to all 4 of them. They now play challengingly but fair.

    The second thing that should be addressed to make this Paragon play better is that annoying flipper hop on the right flipper feed. All that needs to fix that is a few taps with a hammer on the lane guide near the upper right flipper and the ball should feed smoothly onto that upper right flipper.

  8. April 24, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks for making another excellent video, Bowen.

    I have a few questions for you, though.

    1. How do you feel about holding up the left mini-flipper when you are in the beast area? Does it give the ball a better chance of exiting via the top as it bounces around that bumper, or does it increase the danger of draining via an out-of-control ball?

    2. Is the special configurable for points and if so, does that change any strategies regarding the multiplier hole, the right-side targets and the waterfall?

    3. From the left flipper, if I am not making the right loop shot consistently, is it a decent idea at all to shoot the ball vertically to go for the Golden Cliffs hole?

  9. bowen
    April 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Good questions.

    1) I actually think you have better opportunity with the flipper down, since you can flail that flipper if you see the ball coming close to the flipper in the Beast area. It’s rare for the flipper to be helpful either way, and the ball is unlikely to clank against the lowered flipper in a way that wouldn’t bounce out.

    2) I don’t know this. The PARAGON special gives 25,000 points… or is it supposed to give 25,000 and a special? No idea.

    3) No, and unaired games demonstrate the failure of this tactic (I tried to demonstrate it, but it failed so badly it wasn’t worth showing). It’s a much tighter, more dangerous version of the right loop shot. And besides, you should be doing everything from the right flipper until a solid game has been established. Ball on left flipper -> get it to right flipper until progress.

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