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Pinball Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Rating: 50%
  1. 1982
  2. 1983
  3. 1984
  4. 1985
  5. 1986
Pinball
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Pinball Pinball Pinball
  • Review Score:

  • C
There is an argument that suggests that it's impossible to review classic video games. After all, context matters and technology has advanced to such a point where the whole concept of criticizing old games feels
pointless. Although I strongly disagree with this premise, I find it nearly impossible to give Nintendo's Pinball the fair shake it deserves.

This is an early generation Nintendo Entertainment System, back when companies could get away with simple one-word titles (see: Golf, Baseball, Tennis, etc.). As such, Pinball is a barebones attempt to recreate the flipper action on a home game system. The results are predictable: Bad graphics, sparse obstacles and unrealistic physics. By today's standards, Pinball is a terrible game.

Pinball (NES)

Of course, back in 1986 there was nothing like Pinball. Oh sure, we had seen a few attempts on older consoles, but nothing looked this good and played this fluidly. We didn't care that the ball didn't have the right amount of weight or how floaty everything felt. With nothing to compare it to, Pinball was an instant hit that helped bridge the generational divide.

There is one table in Pinball, a simple mishmash of random objects and animals. The top level has a slot machine, bumpers and two curious seals. In the bottom level you hatch chickens and collecting poker cards. Complete tasks to change the table color and earn bonus points. Outside of that, there really isn't a whole lot to do in Nintendo's Pinball. No bosses to fight and no multi-balls to watch out for, just one very basic pinball table.

Pinball (NES)

Players can change the difficulty by increasing the speed, though neither fast nor slow reacts like a real pinball table. The competitive two-player mode is the only extra found in the game's barebones menu.

The graphics are understandably poor and the sound effects do their best job to annoy. Despite the unrealistic physics and the lackluster table, I ended up having a good time racking up the points in Pinball. There isn't enough depth here to keep you going for long, but I can see why people were so excited back in 1986. Like silent films a century ago, Pinball is a good first attempt. You can really see what Nintendo was aiming for all those years ago.
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