For as long as I remember I hated Pinball. It’s right up there with games such as Tempest, where no matter how hard I practised, or what hours I put in, I just sucked. My first beating by the flippers came many years ago at a friend’s school party in a town hall. There was (of course) that kid who seemed to have mind control over ball and flippers for what seemed like a good few hours. Well maybe a bit less than that; but still I waited my turn in line, put my pocket money into the machine and some 30 nanoseconds later my game was over.
Somehow a small gravity well had opened up right between those bottom flippers, no sooner had the ball been launched it seemed to have a sentient awareness of where it wanted to go and that was down the chute. This left me scarred for many a year…
Then in 1992 Pinball Dreams landed on the Amiga. Friends were captivated, carefully working out flipper physics, racking up high scores time and time again. It looked gorgeous, music boomed out for hours, seemingly never on repeat, and silky smooth gameplay all added up to something great. Until my turn. “I’ve never seen anyone have such bad luck” became a common utterance from those watching around the 14” CRT back in the day. Pinball Dreams was one of the first games into my “Swapsies” pile to get something I could actually play instead.
Roll on to October 2016, Apple’s Editor’s choice for week commencing 24th October was Pinout, stylish endless pinball action. Ticking all the boxes Pinout is an endless runner but in Pinball fashion. In their words;
“The classic pinball mechanic remodelled into a breath-taking arcade experience.”
With retro nostalgia being the order of the day, some time to kill, an app that’s not only free in terms of price and adverts I figured what the heck, at the very least it will kill a few minutes on a Friday evening.
Before I knew it Saturday morning was upon me, several bottles of beer strewn around me. Time had ceased to exist with the addictiveness of Pinout.
Of course the first few times it was the same old, same old. But it was the “throbbing retro wave beats” which were the hook. As progression was made another song / track played; getting better and better, so much so I wondered if there was an album.
As you make your way through the game, levels become trickier adding an almost puzzler element to it. Whack the ball in some areas and it’ll land further back than where you started. Pinout relies on a time mechanism to add the pressure with PacMac style dots which increase your time when travelled over.
Sub-games help break up time at the table where you control a car against oncoming traffic. The more traffic you avoid the more time you get, all rendered in a blocky LCD display you would easily associate with pinball. I say “games” as despite my best efforts I’ve yet to travel past Level 3. As you can see on my YouTube stream.
Graphics, sound and playability really have come together, how can you not like a game with Tron inspired videos and a soundtrack which makes you want to play more?
As I said earlier Pinout is a free download with no adverts. Yet there is an In App Purchase which allows you to restart from the beginning of your present level, rather than ending up right back at the start of the game.
Go get it.
P.S you can purchase the soundtrack via bandcamp but to me it feels almost like a spoiler for the audio enjoyment coming up on the next level.