The Single Button Joystick

Tag: Pinball Dreams


by on May.31, 2014, under Amiga, Modern, PC, Retro

21st Century EntertainmentPinball arcades were once havens for criminals. Never a family friendly environment, it would always be a place controlled by the young, whether for good or evil. The arcade was not to last forever though. The glory days of pinball were in the 70s and to put it simply, it transitioned into the mostly electronic arcade games of the 80s.

It was the late 70s through to the early 80s where you could take a date to the arcade! However, I’m not going to talk about the viability of finding or taking dates (or narcotics) to the arcade. What I am going to talk about some Swedish magicians and their pinball revelation.

By the 90s, pinball machines were old hat. Although they still had their place in any self respecting arcadeSteel Wheel, they were definitely not the main attraction. Home computers and consoles were definitely eating into the traditional arcade markets, but pinball machines were not as easy to port over to computer.

Although pinball games had been made for consoles and computers before 1992, Pinball Dreams specifically set out to emulate real world pinball machines. No magic teleporting balls or exploding bumpers, this was sim pinball.

PartylandSwedish developer Digital Illusions would go on to create three more fantastic pinball games; Pinball Fantasies, Pinball Illusions and Slam-Tilt. This is ten years before they became in charge of the Battlefield franchise. Truly they are one of the gaming world’s enduring legends.

Pinball Dreams is one of my formative Amiga memories. The game loads to a crescendo and the title screen shows a fantastic looking pinball table. I asked my friend ‘Is that what the game looks like?’.Fantasies!

‘It looks better than that’ was his terse reply. From that point, I knew I was going to play something special.

Pinball Dreams has four tables, each with their own ups and downs. The best of the four was ‘Steel Wheel’ a western themed table about building a railway. The other tables, in descending order of quality were about a haunted house (Nightmare), a rocket ship mission (Ignition) and a rock band (Beat Box).

Pinball Dreams quickly became one of my favourite games, although I was never very good at it. The super high scores by some players would always elude me.

The Bones!Its sequel (speedily purchase by my mum) was even better. Pinball Fantasies had much in common with its predecessor by also having four tables. Two of them were really good (Partyland and Stones and Bones) and the other two were not so good (Speed Devils and Billion Dollar Gameshow).

Two sequels followed, which sadly weren’t compatible with my now venerable Amiga 500. Pinball Illusions and Slam-Tilt were both made for the superior Amiga 1200.

These were games I always came back to, no matter what advances were made in video game tech, or how many years later it was. A quick few games of Pinball is the perfect way to wind down a video game playing evening. Or morning.


Or lifetime.

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