Sad news hit the wires today that we’ve lost another legend in pinball, this time it is Barry Oursler. He had been battling cancer for the past 9 years; He was 70.
Barry started his pinball career in 1978 by working for Williams, where he designed Phoenix, and he continued to design games up until recently. As far as I’m aware, he most recent designs were Queen (originally made for Heighway Pinball) and Food Truck (designed for Deeproot pinball), with the former being picked up by Pinball Brothers. As he had been hired by American Pinball, they were the ones to send out a press release announcing his death but I am not sure what game he might have been working on for them.
Perhaps his most significant design was Space Shuttle, which from what both Pinballnews and the press release state, was a game that saved pinball around that time (it was the first solid state pin to feature a toy, something that is all but expected in games nowadays). I have that machine and for pinball, it still does fairly well, better than you would think for a game that’s almost 40 years old. I hadn’t realized that fact until reading the release. I never had a chance to meet him but as Roger Sharpe said, his designs will stand as a testament and legacy to who he was. Here’s a video I threw together of Space Shuttle, although I only realized after I’d edited it together that he also co-designed Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which I also have on hand:
The PinballNews link has the best details I’ve been able to find; RIP Barry and Godspeed.