24 September, 2017

Out of the blue: Tristan and Crystal Caliburn update

I was going to post the article on LIttlewing below on September 19th. But then I left for short vacations and it had been impossible to post the article as initially planned. I had to do it upon my return on the 23rd. While I was away my friend Marco sent me an email announcing something surprising: an update to the iOS version of both Tristan and Crystal Caliburn had surfaced. And, lo and behold, when I checked my iPad the two updates were there.

These are the versions 1.9 for Tristan and 1.5 CC2 and what really matters is that they are 64-bit versions. This means that they will be running even when one updates to iOS 11. (For me this means next month, when I buy a new iPadPro, the 10.5" version).

Those are great news. Since Littlewing folded there have been (quite understandably) no updates of the various pinball games, with as a result the disappearance of all PowerPC Mac tables except for Monster Fair, Fairy Tower and Mad Daedalus. Alas all three tables are compiled for 32-bit processors which means that we will be unable to play them in MacOS 10.14, the successor to High Sierra. Unless, Fujita-san surprises us again, but I wouldn't hold my breath. At best we might see an update of the AppStore-distributed Tristan. As you probably know, if you have read my post, Fujita-san is out of the pinball business and works fo Google in the US. So, let's count our blessings and continue playing the two surviving Littlewing pinballs. They are here to stay.

23 September, 2017

A Littlewing eulogy

Every year, when September arrives, I cannot help reminiscing Littlewing and the days when digital pinball had a future. Alas, for reasons I have already explained Littlewing folded five years ago and we lost a real pinball wizard. 

I remember when Tristan first came out, the excitation, the infatuation with this simple but, oh so realistic, game. I remember its superb graphics and the hours spent trying to integrate the small physics cheats Fujita-san had implemented in order to make the game more interesting. Littlewing thrived for quite a few year (well, perhaps not thrived, managed to survive is probably closer to the truth) but then one day they decided that enough was enough.

The rest is history and a great loss for the digital pinball world.

08 September, 2017

Ah, the balls of Farsight

I know. I'm always complaining about FarSight while I should be recognising the fact that they are the only active digital pinball provider today. Be that as it may there are positive and negative things in what FarSight is doing and whenever I find something that irks me I cannot keep quiet. So, I am going to write once more about the balls of FarSight pinballs. Well, look for yourselves. On iOS some brain-damaged designer decided that the table was reflecting and so we have a reflection of the ball accompanying it. (Was it meant as a shadow? If this were the case things are even worse).

The funny thing is that this shadow-reflection is absent from the MacOS version of the table. Why, of why, did they have to do this?

On a more positive tone now, I recently stumbled upon the new fluorescent balls offered by FarSight. and I must say that I love them. There are 7 of them with various colours and for once the reflections of the table on the ball are absent. For a given table it is always easy to find a ball of suitable colour and thus most of the previous problems go away. Were it not for the stupid reflection. Come on FarSight. Drop the reflection and I will never complain about the ball visibility again.

01 September, 2017

World Champion Soccer by FarSight

We have by now reached a point where the only thing that happens in the digital pinball scene are the monthly releases by FarSight. As long as this lasts we'll have a fresh table every month (and I will have something to write about in this blog). So this month's table is World Champion Soccer (a pinball initially released as World Cup Soccer).

And it's a beauty. It's rare that I love a table so much at first sight. Champion Soccer did captivate me from the outset. The gameplay is very interesting and I find the generous scoring a very nice feature. There are plenty of things to do and the sheer pleasure of scoring a goal is unique. It does not take much to obtain a multiball and once you get there you can obtain easily high scores. Also I got to play the game with the new balls and this is definitely a plus. (I will be writing about the new balls offered by Farsight in my next post).

I don't know if this is due to the summer slow-down but I start being worried about the state of digital pinballs, be they iOS or MacOS. It's been months since something came out from a source different from FarSight. Is the end of digital pinball in sight?