Pinball!

This is what happens after I work on papers all day and need a break. 🙂 I suppose I could do something else productive, like say update my blog or actually accumulate a halfway decent score, but oh-look I’m doing that now! (The blog post that is)

I’ve enjoyed playing pinball since I was tall enough to actually stand over the machine and reach the flippers. Something about breaking the high score present on the machine, realizing that this score is impossible to beat without years of training, and then settling to beat my own score has always been a favorite pastime of mine.

That and multiball. Oh yes, MULTIBALL. Because let’s face it, nothing in life is more exciting than hitting the flippers over and over again and watching 3 pinballs zoom around the machine accumulating tons of points while the pinball machine goes crazy. A fascinating display of lights and sounds that only lasts for a few seconds before the balls all fall out of play because you hit the flippers over and over again instead of actually concentrating on hitting them properly.

But I’m not here to discuss pinball strategy. Just to pass along a few fun pinball games for the bored or nostalgic fans out there.

3d Space Cadet Pinball

If you own a windows computer from within the last 15 years or so, then you are familiar with this game. If not, click on your games window and go play it now. It’s waiting for you. Patiently. Space Cadet is a pretty simple pinball game with somewhat erratic physics, but there is no better way to get through a boring class or paper then refueling and accepting target practice training.

Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection

A fun little trip in the wayback machine, the Williams Collection brings back several tables from Williams Electronics during the pinball loving 80’s. That said, these tables contain fairly simple designs without all of that fancy video screen stuff you see in modern day tables. The game does faithfully recreate all of the rather silly sound effects which is nice though. It should be noted that these tables are quite tough (especially the one pictured above, Black Knight) as you have to remember that this was made in a time when pinball machines, like all good arcade devices, existed for the soul purpose of draining every last quarter in your worldly possession.

However, as simple as the machines may appear, most of them have the ability to trigger multiball, so naturally it’s OK in my book. Also if you play the Wii version, you can activate tilt very easily by shaking the wiimote. Now you can actually pretend you are ripping the pinball machine to pieces when the pinball goes straight down between the flippers!

Zen Pinball (PS3)

This is not a philosophical look into skill shots. Rather Zen Pinball is a pretty cheap and fun downloadable title (11$ for 4 tables with additional downloadable tables just a few dollars each) for the PS3 that my parents picked up. I noticed this while I was taking a study break and suddenly 2 hours passed before I realized what happened.

While I generally dismiss downloadable games as cheap thrills, this one I’m willing to mark in the exception category. Each of the initial tables + one that was purchased (Excalibur) are extremely well-designed and contain realistic physics. Unlike Williams these tables are also not out to screw you. Seriously, some of the ball saves (the pity feature that brings your ball back into play one time if you lose it right after deployment) will last upwards of 20 seconds after launching if you’re not playing well. They also contain lots of fun video effects that closely resemble modern day machines. If you want to relive the fun days of modern day pinball I highly recommend picking this one up.

Anyway, writing about pinball time is over. Now it is back to work time. Then multiball time. 🙂

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Filed under Misc. Reviews, Reviews

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