13 August, 2014

What is an acceptable digital pinball?

I know that many readers will not agree with my sayings, but, given that I am constantly commenting on pinballs it seems fair to state clearly, once and for all, what I consider an acceptable digital pinball.

For me a digital pinball is acceptable if a) it is a simulation of an existing real pinball or b) an electromechanical pinball could be really built from the template of the digital one. Everything else, to my eyes, are either pinball-based games or, even, just games with flippers.

Notice that I am talking only about acceptability. I am not saying anything on the pinball’s quality. A pinball may well be acceptable but pure junk. On the other hand pinballs that I do not consider acceptable may have quite decent physics and an enjoyable gameplay.

In the first category we have all the Farsight pinballs, the Zaccaria family of ASK Homework (available only on iDevices), 8-ball Deluxe and Royal Flush by Littlewing (yes, I am convinced that it’s them who developed the second one), even Bronco pinball on iDevices. This is also true for many, many tables developed for Visual and/or Future pinball, which, unfortunately, do not play on the Mac, unless one install Bootcamp and launches Windows.

In the second category I would place all Littlewing pinballs, and most of the early Gameprom ones. But the pinballs which par excellence could be built based on the digital template are the ProPinballs. Just have a look at the details entering in the construction of Timeshock:

Here is another one:

Zen pinballs are not acceptable for me. Even the one pinball that I enjoy most, Plants vs. Zombies. I do like it but I am aware that it is not really a pinball. 

Does the classification above mean that all unacceptable pinballs are to be outright rejected. Not at all! The PvZ pinball is a good example of the contrary. However every pinball that does not look a priori acceptable to me will have a hard time getting a positive review. I know I am biased but after all, in this blog, I am supposed to give my personal opinion and not something sugary and politically correct. 


  1. First.. congrats on 2 years!! Also, the only thing that ever matters is one's personal opinion, when it comes to tables. With me, for instance, the electromechanical tables are by FAR the best, and the ones I ply on for the longest time. They're also the least common on OSX. Farsight has maybe a half dozen, the pool themed one , and a few others exist, but despite a few of us making requests for more on their forums, the response was that they said "they don't sell", so Fireball, and 8 Ball Dlx aren't likely to appear any time soon. My Windows install is corrupt and I haven't got a repair disc (unless anyone has a copy of scandisk and autocheck handy) so I haven't been able to access Visual Pinball, which is by far the best source of the old EM pinball recreations. REally, I wish Farsight would make more of those. Zen could never pull it off as ther pinball is just too far apart from classic tables to ever get close...

  2. I was sent a video was sent a video last week of the new physics for Zaccaria tables (ask homework). I'm not sure if your a fan of EM tables but they have done a nice job of recreating their tables from the late 70's into the 80's. They are worth some time playing. Especially once the new physics patch is released. From what I understand they already sent the major update to Apple.