03 September, 2016

On Eight Ball tables

The arrival of the Eight Ball Deluxe pinball in the FarSight arcade got me naturally thinking about the previous 8-ball simulations, the one by Amtex-Littlewing. In my previous post I was commenting on the slight differences in appearance between the Littlewing and the FarSight implementation. That got me thinking. Eight Ball Deluxe is one of the greatest classics and thus it should have been integrated in the Visual Pinball collection. I went over to the VP forum and, bingo, eight ball was there. But then it was time to look around for the real table. Fortunately the internet pinball database has plenty of photos and thus I could find a very nice one. So, first the real table:

This is the reference. Compared to this, Littlewing's table looks rather crude. But one must keep in mind that in 1993 millions of colours were still a dream and Reiko-san did probably her very best

The table of visual pinball is a beauty. I think it is an exact recreation of the real table and since the image quality is better it looks better than real.

FarSight's tables pales by comparison to the latter. It is too dark (probably they had to do this in order to keep their ridiculous standard ball visible). 

Moreover the three upper lanes are covered by a plastic that is less transparent than the one in the real table or in the VP one (Littlewing had simply done away with that). I don't how this feels to you, but for me it somehow gets in the way of the game. I prefer it when the targets are crisper and, given the inherent difficulty of Eight Ball Deluxe, even such asmall detail can spoil your mood.

Since I started interesting myself in Eight Ball pinball tables I looked up the history of the table. Apparently is was part of a series of three. First came Eight Ball, in 1977, 

the success of which spurred the creation of Eight Ball Deluxe, in 1981, with a richer gameplay and finally Eight Ball Champ in 1985.

Of the three, Eight Ball Deluxe was definitely the most successful and it remains to date (correct me if I am wrong) the only real pinball for which two different digital versions do exist.


  1. There are at least two more pinball tables with two different digital versions: Cue Ball Wizard and Haunted House. Both of them are in Farsights Pinball Arcade and in "Microsoft Pinball Arcade" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Pinball_Arcade

    1. Many thanks Lars.
      In fact I have a (somewhat lame) excuse for ignoring this. Microsoft Pinball Arcade was a Windows-only release and although I was aware of its existence I was not familiar with the details.

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    1. It's great to make a visual comparison and it's obviously the most suitable for a visual medium but I would love a gameplay comparison for myself. That's imho the most important part of any game. I didn't notice the plastic covers in the PA version until you mentioned it. So I guess it didn't bother me while playing it. But you are right. It could have done with a more transparent version or with none at all. I guess it's a preference of team Farsight. If modding a table could be part of a pro version it could make it more interesting. Then it's a choice to leave the covers in or out.

  3. The best visual pinball versions (there's two outstanding table creators that make tables for VP) are much much superior to Pinball Arcade..that would make at LEAST three digital versions; Amtex/Little Wing, PA, and VP of which there's at least two versions.. although, as best I can remember only one REALLY good one. And it IS good. The two or three people that keep coming up with these tables I just can't recall their names, but I simply can't figure out where they get the time. These guys are much better than anything TPA has EVER put out...
    After my HD crash I lost not only my entire blues music library but my windows partition too, withy all my visual pinball tables :sigh: