31 July, 2014

Bright future in digital pinball‽

Last week my friend Marco sent me a link to an article in Game Informer based on an interview with Stern’s director of marketing who was enthusiastic about the future of pinball. He claimed that more and more people are exposed to pinball via digital games. 

He went on to comment on the effect of Farsight:
"Farsight is recreating some of our older tables, and some of the older Williams and Gottlieb tables, and we’ve seen some of the used values of those machines rise. We did a Ripley’s Believe it or Not with them, and then shortly after the release of the table, it was hard to get a used Ripley’s machine. That was a cool side effect, as well”.
Finally he hinted about a possibility that Stern produce their own digital pinballs based on their existing physical models.

Re-reading the article I do not see what would justify a vision of a bright future for digital pinball. If Stern decided to produce their own digital pinballs, well, great. But a pinball simulation is something highly non-trivial and I will applaud only once I see a finished product. 
As to the present of digital pinball, to my eyes, it looks rather bleak. With the disappearance of Littlewing we are left with just two players in the digital pinball world: Farsight and Zen Studios. (To be fair, I should add ASK Homework, who are doing a nice job porting the Zaccaria pinballs). When Timeshock is finished, and if it’s a commercial success, we may have four players. After an initial enthusiasm, most small pinball developers have thrown the towel. (Where they the ones who have spoiled everything by producing unacceptably bad games?). How long have we been waiting for Gameprom’s Red Planet? 

All in all, I am not so sure that the future in digital pinball is bright.

17 July, 2014

Timeshock for iOS is getting closer

I just received an email from the people at Barnstorm Games concerning Timeshock. The mail contained a link to a video of a demo of demo of Timeshock running on and iPad. Here is a screenshot.

It is of course an alpha version and we do not know when it will be available to testers.

On the other hand the same mail was mentioning a new build for Mac testers to be available soon. Still, I cannot say that I am happy concerning the speed at which things are advancing, but there is nothing we can do, so we have to wait. I only hope that the Ultra Edition of ProPinballs will not come to an end with Timeshock: as you probably know, my favourite pinball is Big Race USA.

13 July, 2014

Going to the Casino with Farsight

The new pinball table of Farsight is out and it is a beauty. High Roller Casino is a rather recent table from Stern. It is festooned with various casino games and moreover there’s a (small but perfectly functioning) roulette wheel as well as a slot machine. 

The graphics are very nice and, curiously, I could play this pinball with the standard ball. I tried the black one but I did not notice any improvement in the confort of gameplay. 

The game is amusing with many things to do. The table layout is to my taste with an uncluttered playfield. The ball does not drain too easily and thus one can really enjoy this game. And, by the way, this is the third Farsight pinball in a row that I do like. Either they improved their choice of pinballs or my standards have gone down.

07 July, 2014

FC Barcelona pinball

I am writing this post only because the FCB pinball went free a few days ago. I grabbed it and gave it a try. Had it not been free I would never had payed for it: I am not at all a football fan and do not care for Barcelona all that much.

The one thing that one notices immediately is that it was developped by Legendo Entertainment who have also produced Pure Pinball. Same (good) quality of graphics, same (quite acceptable) physics engine, and I find that FCB has an even better layout than PPP. You even get to shoot at the goalie (a non-trivial task).

I did enjoy playing the game for a while. Those who had downloaded it while it was free, can enjoy a casual play now and then. Should one pay more than two euros for this game? Definitely not, unless one is a FC Barcelona fan.