• Tag Archives Pinball
  • Ruiner Pinball (Atari Jaguar)

    Ruiner Pinball, Atari Jaguar.

    Ruiner Pinball is a video pinball game that was exclusive to the Atari Jaguar and released in 1995. This game featured two different tables. The first table is called Ruiner and is obviously where the title of the game comes from. This theme for this table is a cold war setting from 1962. Your goal is to decrease the Defcon level from 5 to 1, launch an attack on your enemy and defend your own country. The second table is simply called Tower and has a fantasy setting in which your goal is to cast three magic spells, destroy the tower and defeat the sorceress. Ruiner consists of two screens while tower has three screens.

    This game received mixed reviews but if you like the video pinball genre and you have an Atari Jaguar then I highly recommend it. Ruiner was criticized for not being much better than video pinball games of the 16-bit era like Dragon’s Revenge but personally I loved those games so that’s not much of a criticism as far as I’m concerned. It would have been nice to see more tables though.

    If you do want to give this one a try, you’ll have to do it on original hardware or try your luck with a Jaguar emulator. Ruiner is exclusive to that system and has never been re-released. Hopefully, these sort of Atari exclusive games will see a release on the new Atari VCS when it arrives.

  • Pinball Jam (Atari Lynx)

    Pinball Jam, Atari Lynx.


    Pinball Jam is an Atari Lynx exclusive that provides digital simulations of two pinball tables: “Elvira and the Party Monsters” by Midway from 1989 and “Police Force” by Williams also from 1989. The Lynx game was released in 1992.

    Pinball Jam got fairly average reviews so I think it really comes down to rather or not you like this kind of game. Like many games for Atari systems (particularly those done by Atari) at the time (starting with the Atari 7800), it feels a little rushed. The graphics are a bit choppy and it just seems like it could have really been a lot better with a little more polish. Having said that, it is still a decent game. In fact, I would argue there was no other pinball game as good for a mobile platform at that time. Of course, if your minimum standard is Alien Crush on the TurboGrafx-16 then you may be disappointed.

    The first table is really the one that makes this game worth having. Who doesn’t like an Elvira themed game? In addition to the superior theme, it also has better sound effects and music including the digitized voice of Elvira herself.

    The second table is slightly simpler. One of the criticisms of this game is that the tables are really too complex for the resolution of the Lynx. I mentioned Alien Crush above and while that game had spectacular graphics, the table layouts were really relatively simple. I think the Lynx could have done a pretty good rendition of that game. Anwyay, despite the slightly simpler layout of “Police Force”, it’s a more boring theme in my opinion. The music and sound effects just aren’t as interesting either. It’s not bad but it isn’t as good as Elvira.

    One other complaint I have with this game is the decision they made to scroll the table vs. just switching to another area of the table when the ball went there. While the scrolling is a good demonstration of the abilities of the Lynx, I think it would have been a little easier on the eyes to do it another way.

    Despite the negatives, this is a fun pinball game and while it may not be worth buying a Lynx for, it is definitely worth owning if you have a Lynx. Unfortunately, other than emulation, there is no other way to play this game. Interestingly, the Elvira table is currently available via The Pinball Arcade, a downloadable pinball game with a large number of tables available for many platforms. However, as far as I know there is no other digital version of Police Force.

  • Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball

    Videogaming Illustrated October 1982 Bally Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball
    Videogaming Illustrated
    October 1982
    Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball

    Ad for Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball from the October 1982 issue of Videogaming Illustrated.

    Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball is a 1982 pinball game by Bally/Midway. It was the first of two pinball games to capitalize on the Pac-Man craze of their video game counterparts. The popularity of Pac-Man in general made this the most popular pinball game of 1982.

    Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball was unique in that it was one of the first pinball games to incorporate video game play even though it was quite simplistic. The video game portion consisted of just a 5 by 5 grid of lights that play would transition to by hitting certain targets with the ball. In this “Vid-Grid Pac-Maze” the player would move Pac-Man (represented by a yellow light) using the flipper buttons to light up all of the lights while avoiding the ghost (represented by a red light).

    Unfortunately, while the pinball portion was a pretty good game, the video game served more as a novelty and disrupted play more than enhanced it. I don’t remember ever seeing one of these though I do remember seeing Baby Pac-Man at least once which was a somewhat similar spinoff also by Bally/Midway.

    The ad above is from the October 1982 issue of Videogaming Illustrated.