If you were tired of scratching out tic-tac-toe games on sweaty notebook paper that you passed back and forth in the middle of history class, this 1965 Chicago Coin game was just the thing.
According to Criss Cross Pop Up’s flyer, a player was granted “ten exciting, thought-provoking” shots per game . . . and when tic-tac-toe is made to provoke thought, there’s hope for us all.
The Criss Cross Pop Up cabinet looked just like a pinball machine. Players pushed the button at the front of the cabinet and shot a pinball onto the playing field. Large rubber balls were then launched out randomly onto a nine-square grid, and different combinations received different scores.
Well, some combinations received no points at all, but let’s not dwell on a fate like that. Let’s dwell on things like bonus launches and double scores and special scores when all four corners were hit. That was the frosting on a Criss Cross Pop Up player’s cake, and it kept the kids coming back for more.
The tic-tac-toe, flying ball motif had been around at least since late 50’s shuffle games like United’s Jupiter and Chicago Coin’s own Shuffle Explorer, but the ball grid went out of style after Criss Cross Pop Up.
Thanks to Coastal Amusements’ Pop-A-Ball series, however, the games made a comeback in recent years, and coloured rubber balls can be found bouncing around in many arcades across the USA.