mmcirvin


Matt McIrvin's Steam-Operated World of Yesteryear



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Last night I went ahead and backed the ST:TNG kickstarter and I also finally bought and downloaded Pinball Arcade for the iPad.

I wasn't sure exactly what to expect or how similar the experience would be to actually playing pinball, but it's pretty good. The one biggest difference is that hitting the flippers takes slightly longer on the iPad than it does on a real pinball game, I assume because in real life your fingers are already on the buttons. Once I got used to that, and switched to a display mode that didn't do as much zooming around, I was in pretty good shape.

As near as I can tell the only game that comes prepaid with the iPad version of Pinball Arcade is 'Tales of the Arabian Nights'; I think you have to pay to unlock the others. Part of the 'Arabian Nights' theme seems to be based on the William Tell Overture.

I see that the original plan was to release 'Twilight Zone' in November, so we'll see if they meet that goal or not (on any of the platforms).

I remember that when my friends played the ST:TNG game when I was in college, the ideal situation was thought to be to have a wingman who would read the stuff on the digital display while you concentrated on keeping track of the ball.
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Yeah, the bundling varies from platform to platform.

On XBox Live Arcade, you pay for the four-table core pack when you buy the game.

On Android, the game is a free download, and all games are sold individually as well as in packs; it doesn't come with any fully unlocked, but there's one rotating "Table of the Month" that you can play for free with ads.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

As for differences from real pinball, the main things people complain about have to do with advanced flipper and nudging techniques.

On a real machine, there are all kinds of subtle ball-handling tricks you can do by very briefly pulsing the flipper, or very briefly releasing it while it's held: ways of stopping a speeding ball and catching it on the flipper, passing the ball from one held flipper to the other, separating two balls that are held on the same flipper, etc.

If you're really good at ball control (which I am not, really) you can make most of your shots from a caught ball, give yourself time to think and get much more consistent aim. If you can exert this level of control over two balls at once, you can keep a multiball mode going as long as you like while you set up jackpot shots. Some tables, like Bride of Pinbot and Creature from the Black Lagoon, are built around two-ball multiball modes that emphasize the ability to hold this level of control for a long time without losing either ball.

Some other pinball sims that don't attempt to simulate real tables, like Zen Pinball/Pinball FX and especially the old Pro Pinball series on PC, have been generally ahead of The Pinball Arcade in enabling this stuff. But TPA is gradually catching up. The flipper physics seems to be tweaked on a table-by-table basis, though, so the newer releases tend to have better physics than the older ones. I think the last Android release may have gone back and tweaked some of the earlier ones.

(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

I always giggled at "Thank You Mr Data Bonus".
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One evil thing about Star Trek: TNG was that it was one of the few pinball games to have buy-in to continue ("I'm sensing you want to continue!") I didn't even realize this at the time, but apparently you had to buy in twice before it even put you on a separate high-score list.

Anyway, that's something that might be lost in the Pinball Arcade version, because, unlike its predecessor Pinball Hall of Fame, TPA doesn't have any actual concept of credits. The tables are all set to free play, and the replays and specials are set to award extra balls (real pinball machines usually have this last option as an operator setting, but you rarely see it in reality unless you're in some jurisdiction where the gambling laws forbid awarding free games). So I wonder if they're going to do anything with the buy-in feature, and, if so, what.


Edited at 2012-09-08 01:24 am (UTC)
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

..."Thank You Mr. Data" was great, but for some reason the line I always found hilarious was Jonathan Frakes saying "Q! We don't have TIME for your GAMES!" in the most Jonathan Frakesian manner imaginable.

(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

They just announced that they've got the rights to do both of the Elvira pinballs, "Elvira and the Party Monsters" and "Scared Stiff". Cassandra Peterson is apparently enthusiastic about the project, which made it relatively easy to negotiate.
(Frozen) (Thread)

Bride of Pinbot! I really need to get this for my ps3.
(Frozen) (Thread)

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