I’ve been a hardcore pinball fan since I first discovered it in my youth. Something about the bright flashing lights, loud noises and simple gameplay entranced me. A mutual interest of my father’s and my own, we would often venture to the video game arcades in our area and play the few remaining pinball tables that were left. It’s a shame that pinball has faded in popularity over the years, but as with most past-times, there are a few developers hard at work to recreate the magic of pinball via a video game.
One of the latest pinball games, is ‘The Pinball Arcade’ from FarSight Studios, which has recently released on the PlayStation 4. A re-release of the pinball collection that was developed for the PS3, the PS4 version features enhanced graphics and ball physics, making it one of the most accurate pinball simulations ever. Featuring some of the most popular pinnies of all time, The Pinball Arcade will win over those new to pinball, and is a must-have for pinball wizards.
Initially, The Pinball Arcade was a downloadable title, where players could purchase tables they were interested in individually. This retail release of the game, however, sees all of The Pinball Arcade’s downloadable releases from the game’s launch and the first season of DLC – 22 tables in total. Here’s the full list:
- Tales of the Arabian Nights
- Black Hole
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
- Theatre of Magic
- The Machine: Bride of Pin-Bot
- Medieval Madness
- Cirqus Voltaire
- Monster Bash
- Black Knight
- Creature from the Black Lagoon
- Harley-Davidson, 3rd Edition
- Elvira and the Party Monsters
- No Good Gofers
- Scared Stiff
- Big Shot
- Twilight Zone
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Attack from Mars
The collection is made up of some of the best tables from the best pinball machine manufacturers – Williams, Gottlieb, Sega, Bally, Stern and Data East. All of the tables have been recreated as faithfully to their real-life counterparts as possible, with graphics and physics that are incredibly close to the real thing. Any closer, and you’d be playing them at an arcade.
I’ve played every pinny on the Pinball Arcade, and can verify the realism of the numerous tables I’ve played as various times in my life. The Twilight Zone table is just as I remembered it as a child – difficult, and full of dialogue from the TV show. The Star Trek: The Next Generation is another I played frequently growing up, not one detail from the real-life pinball machine has been omitted from its digital recreation.
The Big Shot table comes from a simpler time (the 1970s) and is a prime example of the simplicity of earlier pinball machines, as well as the addictive nature of pinball. I first played it as a novelty and educational experience, but quickly discovered that it hides a fiendishly addictive table beyond its humble appearance.
My personal favourites, however, are the Williams-made Fun House and Gorgar. Both are prime examples of the passion and skill that Williams displayed with each and every game and pinball table they made. I especially love the fantastic sound effects that Williams were capable of, in my opinion, they were years ahead of other rival developers (in terms of sound design).
The Pinball Arcade benefits from modern game design features, such as local multiplayer, online leader boards and a “Hall of Fame Score”. The online leader boards can be filtered to show your PSN friends, as well as the high scores for the selected table from around the world. Thanks to the Pinball Arcade, there’s no argument about who is the best player on The Creature From the Black Lagoon – you can shows off your score to your friends or you can compete online via the leader boards!
The Hall of Fame score, is your combined score across all the tables you own. This helps illustrate your average skill level, and also helps gauge what tables you can improve upon.
This disc version of The Pinball Arcade is also compatible with future DLC for the game.
- Fantastic value, countless hours of entertainment
- The most realistic pinball simulation yet
The amount of fun you have, as well as the amount of appreciation you have for The Pinball Arcade will vary on a number of factors, though these aren’t as exclusive as you might think. If you love puzzle games (due to their accessibility and addictive nature), then I will urge you to check out The Pinball Arcade. If you are old enough to remember playing Pinball (and enjoying it), then I urge you to purchase this title immediately; as a pinball fan, I can easily say The Pinball Arcade is some of the most fun I’ve had in recent memory.