• Tag Archives Pinball
  • X-Men Pinball

    X-Men Pinball – Stern Pinball

    Released in 2012, The X-Men Pinball Machine isn’t really all that retro except that I consider pinball to be retro in general. It hasn’t changed all that much over the years, certainly not in recent years. There are not huge numbers of pinball machines made, probably in part because they are so expensive. A refurbished X-Men will set you back about $7000. Used ones go for $3k to $4k on average. I’d love to have a pinball machine but I’m not willing to drop that much cash on one.

    There are three versions of this game. There is the “PRO” version which is just the normal version and then there are two “LE” versions (for Limited Edition). For the limited editions there was a Magneto version and a Wolverine version. As far as I can tell, they were all basically the same but the limited editions had unique artwork, some unique lighting and other features not found in the “PRO” version. There were only about 500 of the limited edition versions made.

    If you are a fan of pinball game then you will probably like this one and if you are a fan of The X-Men AND pinball then you’ve probably found nearly the perfect game. This one generally gets ranked pretty well among pinball games. X-Men is made by Stern and while there are still a few pinball manufacturers around, Stern is probably the best and most well known. They are still making new machines but new releases are not frequent.

  • 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.