So you are itching for a new pinball machine to put in your game room? But you want to get an idea for the game play before you buy it.
Well that can be easier said than done.
Real pinball machines out on location are getting harder and harder to find. And even if you are lucky enough to find a pinball machine in public to play — it likely is not working properly. Most location pinballs are extremely dirty, have lights that are out, or volume too low to hear. Not exactly the best way to get a true feel for how good a game is.
There are re-creations of real pinball machines you can play on Visual Pinball, but the physics and graphics could be much better. Additionally Visual Pinball only runs on PCs (Mac users like myself are left out of the party).
Future Pinball features even better physics and graphics. It can achieve truly realistic pinball simulations. There are many classics recreated for Future Pinball as well. Again though, Future Pinball is PC only. It also requires a fairly new machine with a very beefy graphics card. It won’t even run on my old PC laptop.
There have been games out for the Playstation 3, XBox 360 and Wii that are great. There are games featuring collections of old Williams games and Gottlieb games. But still something is missing and just does not feel right in the act of sitting down and looking up at a TV screen.
Not to mention the family TV is always in competition for use between various family members.
Well finally there is a better way. The Pinball Arcade has just been released for the Apple iPad and Apple iPhone. It is also out for Android.
It is the first iPad pinball game to feature real machines, running their original rules, sounds and the entire package.
Pinball Arcade is currently priced at 99 cents and comes with one pinball machine — Tales from the Arabian Nights. If you want to play added games — you need to buy them separately for $3.99 or buy the entire package for $8.99.
The extra games are Theatre of Magic, Black Hole, and Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. Speaking of Ripley’s…this is the first time a Stern game has been featured in any pinball video game.
The physics and graphics of Pinball Arcade are all top notch. The performance is even superb on an original iPad — which I was a bit concerned about.
If you have played any of the console versions mentioned above, the iPad version is very much the same. You have the ability to tweak some of the game settings, have multiple choices of views, get badges for certain in-game achievements, and can read detailed rules about how to play the game.
Many future added games should be available for download. According to the developer:
“Each month two new pinball tables will be added to the lineup and players will be able to sample free versions of each release (including the launch tables). Paid versions of each table will be available individually or in “themed” packs which will be released over the next several years as downloadable content. “With the licenses we’re acquiring, we’ll be able to re-create nearly all of the highest-ranked tables in pinball history. ”
You can also compete via online leaderboards.
“We are building an online community of virtual pinball players using shared leaderboards, friends leaderboards, and coming later this year, head-to-head online play modes and cross platform tournaments.”
At least until I get around to building a real video pinball simulator, this is going to be my favorite way to test out games from now on.
It also will be my preferred method of getting a pinball fix — when access to a real machine is impossible.
Pinball Arcade is highly recommended for any iPad, iPhone, or Android device owning pinball fans.