Pinball is the original arcade machine. Back in the old days this was the thing to play. Soda Pop shops and bars were filled with pinball machines. Adults would slap down change just to play them for hours. There were no Nintendo’s or Microsoft Xbox’s. Just a long case cabinet with a glass cover, inside was the guts that consisted of many lights, noises and gadgets. A small silver metal ball and two flippers was your controller. But this was a long time ago, and today in this weird twisted world we have made for ourselves, pinball machines in arcades is about as scarce as a dog with six legs.
The developer FarSight Studios has managed to recreate these pinball cabinets to perfection on all three gaming consoles. There are seven officially licensed Gottlieb tables that date from the 1950’s all the way to 1990. The tables are Big Shot, Ace High, Central Park, Genie, Black Hole, Victory and Tee'd Off. There is also an un-lockable table that you can get, making the table total 8. Each table is beautifully has been re-crafted on the Microsoft Xbox, Sony Playstation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube. Pinball Hall of Fame also supports Xbox Live. You will not be able to play online, but you can upload your highest scores to show everybody. Pinball Hall of Fame also supports up to four players. So you all can take turns seeing who can score the highest points. Sadly the other two do not support such features.
The developer FarSight Studios has managed to recreate these pinball cabinets to perfection on all three gaming consoles. There are seven officially licensed Gottlieb tables that date from the 1950’s all the way to 1990. The tables are Big Shot, Ace High, Central Park, Genie, Black Hole, Victory and Tee'd Off.
Now for some reason, I have been throwing in E3 with almost every one of my reviews. So why should I stop now. We were at the Crave booth and were shown this title. Crave has been releasing many good budget titles for $20. And pinball games are pretty scarce these days on the big three. But I was quite impressed with the detail of the game. How the developers managed to give the pinball machines a look of realism. The Xbox version looks great. Everything is nice and detailed. You can even see the reflection of the glass while you play. Each pinball machine is made up of a finely crafted 3D model. When you start the game they are all sitting in a small room, much like an arcade. You can move around and select which pinball machine you want to play. Once you select the pinball machine you want to play, you will see the whole machine in front of you. You can look at the pinball machine in a variety of fashions. One is a high view of the whole machine. The best view is the one that follows the ball.
You use the analog stick to shoot the ball. I was using the Xbox controller, and the flippers were activated by simply pressing the Left and Right buttons on the backside of the Xbox controller. You can also tilt, but it results in the flippers not working until next turn. The sounds are straight from the old machines. The machine makes blips and bam sounds, and you even have some voices on some of the pinball machines. The thing that might bother some about Pinball Hall of Fame is that there is nothing more beyond the selective pinball machines that are packaged in this game. Once you play them, there is really nowhere else to go. You can go back to the same ones over and over again, but after a while you want more. Most of the pinball machines are plain and simple, lacking the monster bells and whistles. The problem with this though is the developers really did re-create these machines. And the sad part is that most of the older pinball machines did not offer the bells and whistles that came later in the pinball machines life. Some are very fun though, like Tee’d Off and Black Hole were great. They had some added extras like extra flippers and places you can shoot the ball to see some cool stuff.
The Bottom Line:
Pinball Hall of Fame offers old-school pinball gamers a chance to relive the past and save a few coins in the process. The game clocks in at only $20. That really is not bad for a game like this. I used to enjoy pinball when I was a child. And going back to something like this really brought back memories. Pinball was cool a long time ago, but sadly the age of arcade cabinets pushed the pinball machines all the way to the back of the arcade. If you want to play a pinball machine now your best chances are to go into a smoky bar to find one. This game is not for everybody though. Some people may not be able to sit there and try to score points by trying to knock a silver ball around a bunch of obstacles. Pinball Hall of Fame looks good and it plays good, and at $20 you can’t really go wrong with such a title. It may give more pleasure to the older crowd the Halo-Heads out there. Check it out.