Why you should make it a (late) resolution to care about pinball in 2019

Over the past winter break, I spent an unreasonable amount of time in my neighborhood’s local ice cream/pizza/bowling parlor in Hyde Park, playing a new arcade game they recently got to replace the previous game that held its place, Blue Shift Incorporated and Atari Games’ “Vapor TRX.”

Over the past winter break, I spent an unreasonable amount of time in my neighborhood’s local ice cream/pizza/bowling parlor in Hyde Park, playing a new arcade game they recently got to replace the previous game that held its place, Blue Shift Incorporated and Atari Games’ “Vapor TRX.”

Well, that arcade game wasn’t exactly “new,” unless your definition of “new” reads “something released in 1992.”

Enter Williams Manufacturing’s “Fish Tales,” a pinball game about guys who catch fish and tell tall tales about them. I know you’re chuckling over that, for it is one of the most hillbilly concepts known to man – why would somebody make a game about that?

Pinball, as a genre, is one with a wealth of creativity and imagination, and every pinball table offers something new to … the playing field.

Ha! Got you there.

In our contemporary gaming landscape, where almost everything is either a remaster, a free-to-play game with hefty microtransactions, or a new MOBA or e-sports title trying to capitalize on the success of “League of Legends,” it is always nice to look at something new, even if the art form is older than most modern tastes. 

Pinball has gone through a rather turbulent history, dating back to the days of the Great Depression, when pinball was simply known as an act of “gambling,” much akin to the game of skill that people know it as today. 

Since then, however, pinball has grown more intricate, not just in gameplay, but in the overall design of the tables produced for it. I want to see you try to name another genre of game that allows you to play something based on Sir Elton John – you won’t get very far in that endeavor.

Unfortunately, those opportunities to get into pinball are few and far between these days.

With the decline of the arcade scene in America throughout the 2000s, a piece of American history is slowly fading away with it, too, and while there may be pinball simulators on gaming consoles like Farsight Studios’ “The Pinball Arcade,” nothing beats the real thing.

So, what’s the purpose of this, you ask? Simple.

I want you to put down that controller and go to any of those still-functioning arcades and play some pinball, while you still can.

The barrier to entry, skill-wise, when it comes to pinball, is not significant compared to other games. At the most basic level, all you need to know is that you have two buttons and a plunger to fiddle around with – the more advanced aspects of the genre will come with time and practice.

On top of that, there’s a pinball game for everyone.

You want to play a game about four monsters who try to form a band? “Monster Bash” is up your alley. 

Want to play a game about an actual, real life band? There’s a lot of those, like ones based on AC/DC, Metallica, Aerosmith, the list goes on… And that’s just the beginning of the rabbit hole that is pinball.

If visiting your local “barcade” is the only way to play pinball, so be it. Take that chance to play a piece of American and gaming history, before it goes away, potentially forever. 

Well, that arcade game wasn’t exactly “new,” unless your definition of “new” reads “something released in 1992.”

Enter Williams Manufacturing’s “Fish Tales,” a pinball game about guys who catch fish and tell tall tales about them. I know you’re chuckling over that, for it is one of the most hillbilly concepts known to man – why would somebody make a game about that?

Pinball, as a genre, is one with a wealth of creativity and imagination, and every pinball table offers something new to … the playing field.

Ha! Got you there.

In our contemporary gaming landscape, where almost everything is either a remaster, a free-to-play game with hefty microtransactions, or a new MOBA or e-sports title trying to capitalize on the success of “League of Legends,” it is always nice to look at something new, even if the art form is older than most modern tastes. 

Pinball has gone through a rather turbulent history, dating back to the days of the Great Depression, when pinball was simply known as an act of “gambling,” much akin to the game of skill that people know it as today. 

Since then, however, pinball has grown more intricate, not just in gameplay, but in the overall design of the tables produced for it. I want to see you try to name another genre of game that allows you to play something based on Sir Elton John – you won’t get very far in that endeavor.

Unfortunately, those opportunities to get into pinball are few and far between these days.

With the decline of the arcade scene in America throughout the 2000s, a piece of American history is slowly fading away with it, too, and while there may be pinball simulators on gaming consoles like Farsight Studios’ “The Pinball Arcade,” nothing beats the real thing.

So, what’s the purpose of this, you ask? Simple.

I want you to put down that controller and go to any of those still-functioning arcades and play some pinball, while you still can.

The barrier to entry, skill-wise, when it comes to pinball, is not significant compared to other games. At the most basic level, all you need to know is that you have two buttons and a plunger to fiddle around with – the more advanced aspects of the genre will come with time and practice.

On top of that, there’s a pinball game for everyone.

You want to play a game about four monsters who try to form a band? “Monster Bash” is up your alley. 

Want to play a game about an actual, real life band? There’s a lot of those, like ones based on AC/DC, Metallica, Aerosmith, the list goes on. And that’s just the beginning of the rabbit hole that is pinball.

If visiting your local “barcade” is the only way to play pinball, so be it. Take that chance to play a piece of American and gaming history, before it goes away, potentially forever. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*