- Publisher: Farsight Studios
- Developer: Farsight Studios
- ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
- Genre: Arcade
- Pros: Realistic physics, world-famous tables, a clear love for the game
- Cons: Occassional glitches, small number of initial tables, limited replay value
The initial download of "The Pinball Arcade" is clearly, much like "Zen Pinball" and "Marvel Pinball," designed to be a starting point for a delivery system for future tables. Spend ten bucks now, get four tables, and get addicted enough to buy more as they're released. The first four are all based on real tables -- "Tales of the Arabian Nights," "Theatre of Magic," "Ripley's Believe It or Not," and "Black Hole" -- with an emphasis on bringing something back to players that seems to have gone missing in this generation: the arcade experience.
As simple as its title, "The Pinball Arcade" sets out to serve as nostalgia for older players like myself who can remember days of tokens and eye strain in actual arcades while also reminding younger players why pinball used to be so incredibly popular. The fact is that the real game has gone somewhat the way of the vinyl record and the VHS tape, but games like "The Pinball Arcade" prove that it can still be remarkably addictive. The developers at Farsight set out to recreate their chosen tables with finite detail down to every blink, flip, and tilt.
Consequently, any design complaints should probably be levied at the table creators and not the game developers. So, while I could argue that "Black Hole" is kind of a silly table all around, the same is probably true if you could find it in an actual arcade. By the same token, "Tales of the Arabian Nights" and "Theatre of Magic" are beautiful tables, arcade experiences that truly do allow this player to recall when the pinball section was the first I would go to in an actual arcade. There are moments in "The Pinball Arcade" that are like hearing a song from a band that you haven't listened to in years. If you used to play pinball, you'll remember why you loved it (more so than the great "Marvel Pinball" since that title is more video game and less real-life pinball simulation).