|Microsoft Pinball Arcade
|List Price: $34.95
Our Price: $1.04
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You'll flip more than seven classic pinball machines that look, sound, and play like the real thing. Go for the high score on one groundbreaking table from each decade--from the 1930s to the present. The widest variety of tables, realistic ball physics, and striking graphics all add up to wickedly fast action for current and prospective pinball wizards.
Microsoft Pinball Arcade is a collection of seven licensed tables that represent the evolution of pinball in America. A state of the art physics model and realistic graphics make for the most authentic pinball simulation on the PC ever.
- As Real as it gets.
Along with the Pro Pinball series, This may be the best pinball simulation available for the PC.
However, where the Pro Pinball series of games only contain one table, and are typically modeled after 90's era machines. None of the Pro Pinball machines ever existed.
Microsoft, however brings us 7 machines in Pinball Arcade that ACTUALLY existed.
Now for those young folks to whom "Video Modes", Ramps, and complex scoring schemes, are blase' you may find that this collection isn't for you.
However for those of us born in the 60's or earlier, or Electro-Magnetic Pinball junkies you won't find a more enjoyable collection.
The sounds and action on each of the tables is shockingly realistic. In many cases, I forget I'm not playing an actual machine.
From the 30's, Baffle ball is actually a precursor to pinball. Like the little pinball games of your childhood, the object is not to "keep" the ball in play, but by using proper force on the plunger and nudging, try to maximize your score for 10 balls.
From the 40's, Humpty Dumpty, looks more traditional, but the object still is not to keep the ball in play, but rather use the "flippers to direct the ball to higher scoring regions. This game has most of the recognizable features of pinball but again emphesis is on positioning the ball, not keeping it in play.
From the 50's Knockout is a cute machine with a neat boxing ring in the center. The object to knockdown your opponent as many times as you can. Here the flippers are in the traditional orientation, but there is a "bar" at the mammoth exit hole that gives you virtual invunerability for a time. Once a certain score is achieved for the ball, the bar drops, and your ability to keep the ball in play for an extended time is very limited.
From the 60's Pinball now has most of the components many of us recognize. Thumper Bumpers, Rollovers, roll over buttons. Slick Chick does not have any side exits, but makes up for that with a farily wide center hole, and an insidious "gobble hole" in the center of the playing field.
From the 70's, Spirit of 76 is the archtypical 70's era pinball machine. The flippers have grown to be larger and more powerful. A trio of Thumper Bumpers in the center really can accelerate the ball. 8 Knockdown targets and multiple rollovers exist. The sound effects on this table are spot on, and is easily my favorite.
From the 80's Haunted House. In reality, this table was extra wide sporting two pairs of flippers at the bottom. The table was the first to incorporate a 3 level design with an "upstairs", Main Floor, and "Basement" beneath the main table seen through clear plexiglass on the main table. It was also one of the first machines to use LED's for scoring. This game is fun, but the need to have an unobstructed view of the "basement" makes the table feel bare, as all the scoring opportunities are on the perimeter of the table
From the 90's, Cue Ball Wizard is the typical chatterbox Pinball machine with ramps, elevated ball "tubes" and very complex scoring modes, designed to force the player to aim his shots. Unlike earlier tables, it's not just keeping the ball in play, but getting through all the modes that get's the Big Points.
As this game was developed in 1998, there should be no problem getting the game to run smothly on a current machine. All these tables are rather challenging and can lead to rather short games. It's a shame that you don't have configuration menu that allows you to set number of balls per game, and replay scores, as you would be able to do owning a REAL pinball machine. However, it seems here that Microsoft here is attempting to simulate how it is to play these machines in an Arcade, even down to the point of having you insert money into the machines to play.
Real Pinball machines can cost thousands of dollars, and especially older machines, often have worn out components that are hard to find or replace.
Microsoft Pinball gives you 7 accurate pinball machines in your PC, and you never have to worry about replacing a light bulb, or Flipper relay....more info
Cool game. 7 fun "machines". Great price. Yay!...more info
Boring! Not worth the price of the CD it is on. Only a nostalgic pin-ball junkie might appreciate this....more info
- Just as real but should be upgradable
Its great!!! I mean I was surprised of the detail and sound, you actually feel like it's the real one, but it should be upgradable, cause once you played it a few days you start to get bored of the models featured in this software....more info
- Realistic pinbal for your computer
I love pinball, anytime, anywhere, anyhow. This may not be the best, but it is a high quality, realistic and most important fun to play. With seven different tables it's hard to get bored. For the price you can't beat it....more info
- Excellent execution - why only Gottlieb?
As a fan of pinball my hat is off to Microsoft for giving us such a quality pinball game that is based on tables that actually existed.
The physics are very close while the graphics and sound are spot-on (which is no small feat given the size of this ROM). Kudos on the execution Microsoft.
My only beef is that Microsoft chose to use only Gottlieb machines. Gottlieb tables have a place in pinball history but do not represent pinball at it's best. While there are only about 5 Gottlieb machines I would ever pay a quarter to play, there are at least 20 Williams or Bally machines apiece.
The early Gottlieb machines were top notch, Knock out and Slick Chick are included and rightfully so. However, Gottlieb machines migrated to a point beyond challenging in their table designs with very few exceptions. When Columbia bought Gottlieb in the late 70s, their games finally began to refocus on the player instead of the vendor. It proved to be too little too late because Bally and Williams continued to build machines that were arguably more fun.
Microsoft PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE see fit to continue this project and include some really great Bally and Williams machines from the 70s and 80s for us nostalgic folks! ...more info
- Classic pinball at it's best
Think of the room you save by not having 7 full size machines in your house! Plus you get the chance to play on machines that are not that common. Spirit of 76 is a blast, Control keys can be customized... My only complaint is that the "TILT" is very touchy :)...more info
This game is great. Good graphics. Just like a real pinball machine. Fun to play. I enjoy playing this game. The handling is awsome. Cool tables to play on. I've heard people think this game is the best pinball game ever to be made. I hope that when you buy it you have just as much fun as I had....more info
- Here there be PINBALL!
Microsoft Pinball Arcade is the most successful marriage of today's personal computer technology with the experience of playing pinball. Working in conjunction with Gottlieb, one of the world's leading pinball machine makers, the legendary "TETRIS" design team recreates 7 Gottlieb tables, ranging from the passive tabletop "Baffle Ball" to the rowdy, rootin', tootin' "Cueball Wizard". In between, the player can try Gottlieb's first (and thus, not-too-well-thought-out) flipper game "Humpty Dumpty", the animated "Knockdown" (complete with a tiny boxer who hits the mat), "Slick Chick" which MUST hold the record for most bumpers on a single table (9 of 'em), the Bicentennial-themed "Spirit of 76" and the first 3-level playfield game "Haunted House".
The designers have addressed well such items as scorekeeping and the presentation of an uncluttered view. Instead of a scrolling playfield, which induces motion sickness in your humble critic, Pinball Arcade presents a fixed perspective view of each playfield. Incredibly detailed graphics, all the way down to ball and playfield reflections, give the impression, at times, that you're watching a real pinball machine on a TV screen, not a computer simulated one on a monitor. Score counters are placed in unobtrusive parts of the screen. Completing the experience are the actual sounds of these historic machines, from the gentle "ping" of the tiny spheres in "Baffle Ball" lazily bouncing off of a pin to the nonstop banter ("You sure need that ramp shot!") and background music in "Cueball Wizard".
Microsoft Pinball Arcade is the most stunning example of how well today's PCs can recreate the look and feel of yesterday's pinball machines. Let's hope a Williams collection is in the works! :)...more info
- Not bad for what it is, but...
This isn't a bad pinball package at all, but it's definitely not the best available (for that, refer to the Pro Pinball series).
The games are faithfully rendered on-screen, and look and sound just like the originals. The gameplay itself, on the other hand, can be a bit choppy in places compared to the Pro Pinball engine. Cue Ball Wizard, in particular, is very difficult to play -- the sharp angle at which you view the table doesn't help. (If only they'd allowed you to view the tables from different angles...)
The earlier games provide a nifty sense of history for the pinball genre -- but are often not that much fun to play. The novelty may wear off relatively quickly for those used to today's tables.
Well worth a look -- and...it's not a bad value just for the nostalgia factor. If you want a great game as well as a history lesson, however, look to the Pro Pinball games....more info
- Disappointing. There much better pinball games out there.
I thought the idea was a good one... you get to play reproductions of influential pinball games throughout pinball history. However, I have to say that the execution left a lot to be desired.
The ball physics is very poor, and the animation was way too choppy (I have a fast machine, and the other pinball games played much more smoothly). I found myself instantly frustrated with the lack of control I had over the ball and gave up playing it after just an hour.
I'm a pinball fan, and spent the last couple of months buying pinball games and trying them out. Microsoft Pinball arcade scores near the bottom of the list. If you want a great pinball game, get "Pro Pinball: Timeshock" instead. "Addiction Pinball" was also pretty good, and "Full Tilt 2" wasn't bad, but all of them beat this lame program hands down.
Bottom line: I had high hopes for Microsoft Pinball Arcade, and it let me down. Big time....more info
- A must own authentic pinball simulation
Microsoft Pinball Arcade is almost a life like experience. The physics of play are excellent and the visuals are nearly perfect.The application installed and operates very well. It is a compilation of actual pre existing table games. Apparently pinball has changed over the years in many ways. Some of the older tables on this disc are not designed to keep the ball in play because of skill, there might as well be no flippers and in one so called game there isn't any.There are two games that you can keep the ball in play mostly by skill, one that is a combination of skill and luck, and three that the highest score is determined by only the release of the plunger.As this is how the originals were created this application is a rendition of the history of actual pinball games in the era it covers.A great application if this is what you are looking for and a tribute to the table version of these games.
- Very Disappointing
You would think being able to play on a 1931 pinball table would be pretty cool, wouldn't you? Well, in Microsoft's Pinball Arcade it proves to be pretty bad. None of the pinball tables are really that great. The 1931 pinball table, "Baffle Ball", is certainly baffleing to us, with no real guide as to how to play it, you only can guess on what to do, and the best way to go about scoreing points. Game critics tend to say that the best feature about Pinball Arcade is the sound, and I'll have to agree with them on that, but thats not saying much considering the ball physics of Pinball Arcade are frustrating and unrealistic, and the designs of the tables are unimaginative. All in all, the tables are either too easy, or because of the lack of realism, very difficult. It almost put me to sleep the first few times I played it. The ball drifting around the table makes me sleepy just thinking about it. Buy Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey, it's much much better.
- Arguably one of, if not the best arcade game out there for the PC
I first came aware of this game when in LA trying to find work in 2002 while living with friends and came across the game when I installed an old hard drive from an old PC into his new one and that's how I became aware of it and loved it.
I liked the older games such as slick chick, knockout was a very fun game and I will agree, although it's been a few years now since I've played the full game that Humpty Dumpty is kind of confusing and not as easy a game to play due to it's design.
What I do love and others have said as well is that this game is a realistic representation of these old pinball games, down to the reflections, action of the balls, flippers, bumpers etc - and not to mention the sound of said games too. Having lived through pinball games over the years, I was thrilled to have stumbled on this game. Sadly, Microsoft seems to have stopped selling this game a few years back.
I just this morning bought a used copy via Amazon for my own enjoyment and I will agree that it would be nice to have versions for Williams and Balley as well.
While the games represented here are not necesarily the best of the best they are quite fun to play and give a decent history/overview of how these games evolved over the years begining with Baffle Ball in 1931.
Sadly, the heyday of the pinball machine is over but thanks to games like that one can keep the memories at least alive in the virtual world, if not in the real world.
Kudos to MS for coming up with this game.
- Not what you would expect or is it?
The graphics for the game are amazing. If you like the old style pinball machines, you'll like it. You don't have a lot of flashing lights or bumpers, there is not much control. Frankly, if I wanted to play the old style machine, I would rather locate an arcade with these machines. With a plethora of pinball games out and most of them using more modern style games, I would recommend something more in tune with them. It is definately for the pinball fanatic, if they don't want to play on a real machine. Go figure....more info
- Save Your Money
Honestly, the only real interesting game on it is "Haunted House", but it's hard to really enjoy it because the field of view is SO LOW! Also, the Ball is VERY Bouncy, making shooting VERY Difficult. It's really a shame because the game had So Much Potential... if only Microsoft had done it right, but they blew it. :(...more info
- MS Pinball Arcade
I agree with David Wolf about the animation and ball control. However,as one who was a leg-kicking, glass-pounding wizard wanna-be, I must say that all the little design quirks you loved to hate on the original machines are built into these also. I especially love to hate Slick Chick and Spirit Of '76. (That dates me). All in all, Arcade ain't bad but its a shame it isn't a lot better....more info