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Formation was put out by Genco in July of 1940 prior to the USA entering the war. It was a popular game featuring an asymmetrical playfield, which was actually a bit revolutionary for that period. Dick Beuschel in his book Pinball 1 names Formation as one the 100 most collectible machines. Beuschel explains in his book (which by the way is highly recommended if you are at all interested in the origins of the game of pinball, etc.):
Artwise, Genco screwed up, but who was to know in that unenlightened age before the importance of aircraft identification? The one to seven attack planes are Northrop A-17A two-seaters, painted sort of semi-Army, but funny. The large transports are the civil Douglas DC-4 prototype, never sold to the military. But the biggest goofs are the fighters on the playfield, both French, based on drawings in early 1940 issues of Flying Aces, a popular magazine, with Dewoitine D.520 at top and the earlier D.510 at lower left, the latter in U.S. insignia.
Formation was converted into at least 4 different games, making it one of the most popular games targeted for conversion during the war. P & S Machine converted into a game called "Torpedo Patrol" (anyone ever seen one or have a picture?) in April of 1943 (or possibly earlier). This same company also converted Formation into "Bombardier" just 4 months later (however, P & S also created a game called Bombardier from "Follies", so there appears to be at least a bit of confusion here). There is also evidence that Formation was converted into a game called "Dive Bomber" in 1943, although I don't know who did the conversion and it doesn't seem to be as prevalent in the ads. Finally, another mystery conversion, "Nite Club" was performed but when and by whom is unknown.
Then there are mystery games like "Sluggers" by Genco, which exists but doesn't show up on any game list. The theme of this game is baseball. Two are known locally in the Toronto area, and I believe the playfield is identical to Formation. After a lot of digging I managed to find a couple of references to this game. It appears to have been converted by Westerhaus into a game called "Invasion". Part of the problem in finding information on this game is the fact that Gottlieb had a game called "Slugger" out in the late 30's, and you couldn't always rely on operators and distributors on pluralizing their game names properly in the ads.
Back to Formation, another neat thing about it is the fact that Genco produced the game with two types of bumpers - both spring and plastic types. My Formation has spring bumpers.
For the record, my Formation came Bill Morrissey who purchased it from John Popadiuk who says he got the game from Rochester, New York. I had to do a lot of wiring work to get the game semi-operational. A lot of wiring was torched in a transformer fire at some point in its lifetime.
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