Digital or real tables? , i like both and yes it depends a lot on the actual title, a crap title is a crap one either if it is digital or a proper one.
Pinball games can be a pain in the ass to rate as playability depends on the playstyle of the actual player, for instance, there are games that i simply will never master even though i am way above the average pinball player and another player, beginner or not will master the table in a matter of minutes.
This game is a prime example of why digital pinball games took ages to get popular, most games before this one was quite bad and this is another one of those boring ones with a ball physics that feel so bad that it is almost funny how they managed to push this one out in the early 90s.
Rubbish music and graphics certainly don’t help either.
This is yet another of those pinball games that they decided to throw in a lot of unneedy features as they probably felt that digital pinball games get boring too fast. There’s a Breakout type of clone in here as well as some other rubbish parts, sadly all of them as bad as the actual pinball part so it is not worth it.
Verdict: The only positive thing about this game is that i have it in my game collection and that it is mint condition.
Time Scanner. – Activision.
This is another strange release, an Arcade port of a Digital Pinball game and the worst part was that the game was quite bad too.
I can’t actually remember where i bought this one, but i do remember how much i disliked it when i tried it the first time on a pirated copy.
Laggy framerate and awful ball physics and with typical quick ported graphics from the Atari ST version probably.
Verdict: Not much good about this game, the box is nice looking but that is all.
Pinball Mania. – 21st Century Entertainment.
This has to be one of the largest let downs in Amiga pinball game’s history, the game was heavily hyped from the get go and one of the reasons why people fell for it was due to the publisher. The publisher was 21st Century Entertainment and that was the same who had already published Pinball Dreams/Fantasies and Illusions.
What most failed to realize until release was that the developer was the budget/PD developer Spidersoft, the same team that had made that awful Cliffhanger game a few years earlier.
I never bought the full game for various reasons but one of them was due to the fact that i was given the bundle version from a friend for free, i do regret it now that i didn’t buy the full version as it is getting very hard to find now.
Verdict: Horrible graphics, shameful music and retarded physics and worst of all, boring as hell!. Shame on you 21st Century Entertainment.
Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends: Pinball. – Alternative.
This was the 3rd and last Amiga game from Spidersoft, and it is indeed the best of the 3. It does not mean a lot due to the awful quality of the two others, yet i still have to say that this game had the potential to be quite ok as it was fun yet far from trying to be serious. Most kids i have shown this to over the years have enjoyed it for what it is.
The box design is ok enough, colourful and easy to spot but i guess it sold badly when it was released due to the declining Amiga market.
Graphics, design, and tables work for kids and not too easy for grown-ups.
Verdict: Average fun, a budget game with a budget price, it could have been much worse.
Pinball Dreams. 21st Century Entertainment.
This is where the Amiga went from invisible in the pinball world to being one of the best platforms ever for Digital Pinball games. Pinball Dreams was a prime example of how good a pinball game could be if one put a lot of effort into it.
Pinball Dreams was developed by Digital Illusions who is known as D.IC.E. today which is the same name with a C.E behind.
There’s quite a good story behind this game and worst of all this game could have been left for dead as 21st Century Entertainment rescued the game from another publisher who tried to ruin the game with adding other types of games into it. Digital Illusions did what they could to not listen to the old publisher and that was a good idea in the end, the game got released and it was a prime example of a complete game, there was no need for more stuff in it.
Pinball Dreams came with a wonderful ball physics engine, pixel-perfect graphics and the perfect pinball music. The playability of the game was so good that i played the game for years and i still do today and that goes for the 3 other games following this one.
Verdict: Incredible game for its time, pixel-perfect scrolling, music, and graphics was state of the art back then.
Pinball Fantasies. 21st Century Entertainment.
Pinball Fantasies was released a year or so after Dreams and it was no letdown, the game offered everything from earlier and added a whole lot more to it. Fantasies went to become a bigger hit than the first game and it was clear that Digital Illusions was the kings of pinball games.
A catchy soundtrack, wonderful graphics and even better gameplay with even more advanced ball physics made this game the best digital pinball game on any platform to its date.
My box is quite squished as my sister accidentally sat on it, depressing.
Pinball Fantasies came with a huge poster just like Dreams did, i never used mine so it is mint and that is good as they are getting quite rare now. Both games also came with serial number register cards and bonuses was sent to you if you registered your copy.
Verdict: Simply wonderful, memorable just like Dreams and i play it even today.
The one feature the fans asked for back when both Dreams and Fantasies came out was that they wanted a hard drive installer feature and a bundle table release. Special Edition came out and it did miss the actual table add-on feature but both games were included and as a bonus, there was an HDD version included for those who had registered the game.
Not much to say really, the game packed a thick manual and that is about it in regards to the actual changes to the game(s).
Not many Special Edition and Limited Edition versions came out on the Amiga so when there is one released than one just had to try and get it. Shame i did not have the cash to get all i found back in the day…
Verdict: Huge collectable value, why i bought it?, HDD version and the idea of getting table addon disks and yes i did not know that it was just 2 games bundled.
The CD version was released around the launch of the CD32 and it added AGA graphics and CDDA tracks, it turned a truly amazing game into an even better game and by the time this release was out, it had become a classic game.
The game had a few more features added, NVRAM savegame system and joypad support and an even better opening than before. It was clear that Digital Illusions didn’t want anyone to steal their throne just yet.
Verdict: An already amazing game got better and is certainly one of the best games on the CD32 platform.
Pinball Illusions AGA. – 21st Century Entertainment.
Pinball Illusions was the last game in the pinball series from D.I.C.E. and it was also the last game they ever did for the Amiga and by the release of Illusions the publisher 21st Century Entertainment more or less decided that they would cut all publication and development on the Amiga.
It all sounded grim and it was grim too but there was one good thing about this and that was that the game was and still is incredible and while it was a step in a different direction in terms of table designs it still had a lot of soul to it and the gameplay was so good that they actually released the game on many platforms including the PlayStation.
Ball physics had yet again gone up a few notches and same with the fps and scrolling, pixel-perfect graphics along with an incredible music soundtrack.
The game boasted an HDD installer and an upgrade form for the CD32 version which i opted for and the publisher sent it to me, funnily i actually sent money in the envelope directly to them. (i had no bank account..).
Verdict: Best game in the series from Digital Illusions, everything was perfect!. still is. A real gem in my collection.
Pinball Illusions CD32. – 21st Century Entertainment.
The CD32 version is basically identical to the AGA version except for the Music which was CDDA tracks.
Box and registration code system is the same too.
Verdict: Same as the AGA version, fantastic game. One of the best games on the CD32. A true classic and a nice final game for the developer on the Amiga.
This is the best pinball game on the Amiga and dare i say the best digital pinball game out there.
The publisher decided to drop the Amiga after Illusions but when this new developer called Liquid Designs popped up out of nowhere with Slam Tilt, well they just had to publish it as it was simply too good to ignore.
Slam Tilt came out in 1996 and by then the Amiga had stagnated, sales had gone down and there was a lot of uncertainty of what was to happen with the brand so a lot of developers and publishers had already left the Amiga, so the release of Slam Tilt was a big deal and one that wowed the fans.
Slam Tilt had some nifty features and yet it still worked on barebone AGA machines.
The ball physics in the game almost made every other game before it looks like a cartoon pinball, this game was such a huge step up from the other games that it was almost as good of a generation jump as when Pinball Dreams was released 5 years earlier.
The graphics were pure AGA quality with many good features like many different multiball systems and other features like flashing lights and ramps as well as lanes made the game stand out even more than its competition.
The music on all 4 tables was so good that i still know em inside out and yes i can do that with several of the tables in the Pinball series before it yet it is still a good example of the quality.
I must have spent over 100 hours in this game and i have scored so high that it took me hours upon hours in 1 game to achieve them.
Slam Tilt is not only the best pinball game on the Amiga, i think it is one of the best games ON the Amiga period!.
Verdict: Absolutely AMAZING, one of the best games on the Amiga and to this date the best Digital Pinball game that i know of.
Pinball Brain Damage. – APC-TCP.
PBD was released a few years after Slam Tilt and it was a pretty big release for its time, the market was dry and fewer and fewer games came out. All pinball fans on the Amiga was very excited when news came out that the game was in print phase and articles started to pop up on Top Of Pin and similar sites for pinball games.
Very little information had been released about the game before the game and all we knew was what we had read in a few magazine previews.
I was pretty late when it came to buying the game, shame on me!. The reason for this was due to the fact that i never got the game to work on my Amiga 1200 060 etc setup.
A few years later i decided to buy both versions of the game (see below for CD) and give it both support and put them into my collection. PBD had by then been patched and now worked on my setup and much to my surprise the game was actually quite good although very far from the quality of Slam Tilt.
PBD had an OK physics engine with OK graphics and sound, the game felt good but it also felt like a lesser game than its later competition and this was getting typical on the Amiga games released around the same time, developers were getting low and motivation was also low.
PBD is not as good as any of the D.I.C.E. Pinball games nor Slam Tilt but i still think it is quite enjoyable and worth my precious time in the world of Pins.
Verdict: A good attempt and an ok game but it should have had more dev time and maybe some help from past pinball game designers on Amiga.
Pinball Brain Damage CD. – Apc-TCP.
The CD release of PBD was quite the waste of a CDrom really, the specs needed to be the same and the print of the CD was bad as well as that the game had severe issues being run from the CD.
With the fact that the game required a lot meant that the game is impossible to run on the CD32 so the only reason i see for buying this game back then was if one hated the floppy drive.
Hard drive install is required on both versions anyway.
The game is identical to the CD version.
Verdict: Same as Floppy version. Yet pointless to many due to the medium.
EDIT 2018: Some of this blog is gone, for some reason, the coverage of Pinball Prelude (It’s in the screenshots still) disappeared, i will add this.
Ok, that was all, my Pinball collection and yes i know i am missing some but i am not sure if i really need them due to its quality.
Thanks for reading and feel free to click the Like button on both the article and my Blog.