I suffer from an obscure mental malady- whenever I pass a pinball machine, I feel exceedingly compelled to engage in at least one quick game. I could be late for an appointment or ravenous for a meal, but the urge for pull the plunger almost always wins. The impulse is especially strong for tables I’ve had no experience with; the lure of a untested machine is as irresistible as the siren’s call.
Although the steep price of real estate in Southern California prohibits me from having a property large enough for pinball arcade, the capabilities of today’s consoles allow for a satisfying simulation of the diversion. One of our recent favorites for the Playstation 3 was Zen Pinball, which offered players four high-resolution tables, and accurately modeled physics. Recently, the developers made an additional table available for download, inspired by the classic coin-op, Street Fighter II.
With a host of recreated samples from the immortal brawler, along with a handful of nostalgic animations, the Street Fighter table may evoke feelings of arcade nostalgia. Highlights of the board include a Blanka model with an electric aura, a B-29 likely piloted by Guile (although he typically prefers the far more contemporary F-16), and a looming statue of Akuna. With a competent table design, the download is well worth the $2.49 price of admission.
The current pinnacle of pin sims is Crave’s skillful Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Edition, due to its accurate physics modeling and painstaking recreation of ten classic tables. While Wii owners were able to enjoy the game, 360 and PS3 owners were neglected. On September 22nd, that omission will be corrected when Crave releases an updated version of the game for the two overlooked consoles. Beyond the high-def makeover, the title will include three additional tables: Medieval Madness, Tales of the Arabian Nights, and No Good Gophers.
Those without thousands of dollars of disposable income or lots of vacant space will be happy to know that the thirteen machines on the Pinball Hall of Fame: Williams Collection will set them back around forty dollars. That seems like a very small price to pay to own a piece of American arcade history.