Page 1 of 1

Review - Real Pinball

Posted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:13 pm
by Trev
Image Image

‘Real Pinball’ is an old 3DO game (the Japanese version called Fireball was a launch title in that market) and it plays even older. Featuring sparse tables with numerous shortcomings, it’s appeal is limited to basically two types of people … those who really (and I do mean really) love pinball, or those who really (and I do mean really) love the 3DO console. Good thing for it that I fit both criteria (although I’m still gonna give it knocks)

I’ve been a fan of pinball for almost as long as I can remember. Although video games will never replace an actual pinball machine, they are still fun and addictive for sure. My first memorable and enjoyable experience was with the Atari 2600 (who needs real physics? :wink: ) The original NES game was next, and over the years a handful have really stood out to me … Alien Crush for the TG16, Pinball Fantasies for the CD32/Jag, the Pro Pinball series for various consoles, etc …As 3DO is my favorite system (no foolin’) I initially hoped that Real Pinball could be added to this short but sweet list. Sadly, it cannot. If you are forgiving you may have some fun with it, but the game is simply far too lacking in almost every area.

Having read nothing but poor reviews for this game, and being a teen on a budget at the time of it's release means I missed out on Real Pinball in 1994. Being hooked on 3DO’s very own PaTaank (one of the most unrealistic "pinball" game you’ll ever play … but also one of the best! :D ) didn't help either. But I'd like to think being late on the scene hasn't skewed my thinking. Buying it later with pretty low expectations admittedly worked to the games advantage, and I was still able to get a small amount of mild enjoyment from it. Will you? Honestly, probably not.

The opening, full of Japanese images and tunes, should tip you off that no attempt was made to Americanize this game. This is reinforced when you see the names of the tables (called stages) They aren’t actually listed in game which is rather odd, but the manual gives you the rundown on them … Phoenix, Blue Dragon, White Tiger, Black Warrior, and Fire Dragon. The last one is annoyingly locked out in a likely attempt to prompt repeated plays (didn’t work for me)

Image Image

After some long loads the game start proper (assuming you don’t pick the demonstration mode) The first table seemed quite dull to me and, as I would find out, the others are very similar. There is just not much too them. This makes earning points especially challenging when the targets are so limited. The viewing angle is also too low in my opinion. The looks (though colorful) and sounds (weak by 3DO standards) are reflective of Japanese culture and hold little appeal to me, thus failing to mask other flaws.


Ironically, for a game called “Real” Pinball, the speed is quite slower than you might expect. I’d call it slightly odd (my friend the drunken sailor might call it much worse :lol: ) It serves to really disrupt the games flow. Foolish critics were so busy attacking Need for Speed for seemingly not living up to its namesake, but where the heck were they when this game was stinkin up 3DO? :twisted:

As long as I'm griping, I’m gonna complain about the way the ball bounces also. It seems to have a lustful infatuation with the sides of the table (some tables especially) Painfully obvious efforts are made to seek out the dreaded sides, and in that sense it is very far from real. Whether this was a deliberate choice to up the challenge level or just poor programming is a mystery, but it frustrates in any event.

Now I know what some of you might be thinking … ‘Ah, Trev quit your whining … you’re just making excuses cause you stink. Well guess what? I’m not Taco man*! (and everything I said is true too.) A specific example that’ll prove my point is with the side stoppers. Usually appreciated in most pinball games, they are of little help in Real Pinball as they usually just bounce back and forth, left to right as if playing catch with each other. This repeats until time runs out, and its repeated happenings are obnoxious. Don’t believe me? Try it and see.


A press release for this game said that it was for “pinball purists”. What exactly does that mean? To get the answer, I’ll let Real Pinball speak for itself (well, it’s box anyway)

“faithfully recreates the experience of playing a real pinball machine”
“feels like the real thing!”
“Quick, smooth natural ball movement”

Really what can I say? :roll: (I’ll try anyway)

Now, I may not be a pinball purist (by Real Pinball’s definition anyway) but I can say with some confidence that this game is not authentic in my opinion and certainly doesn’t feel like the real thing to me with slow ball movement and questionable physics. I can accept a degree of hype for a game, but outright falsehoods? :? One quote they should have used was “Stuck in the past, and proud of it!” :P

The one way Real Pinball does have something of a sense of authenticity is in the way that it does prompt some repeated plays (at least for me, at least initially) Like an arcade unit quickly sucks up quarters, this game may make you stick around in an effort to best your high score (for a short time anyway)

Real Pinball is not quite as awful as you may have heard (and as my review may make it seem). Still, this is hardly a ringing endorsement. The game does annoy, and some of the choices are almost baffling. With my love of pinball I still occasionally pop in this game for a spell, but with the 3DO having so many good games in its library, these occurrences are rare. Proceed with low expectations only.



P.S. Taco Man is hysterical, and my reference to him was meant in a complimentary way. It is my hope that someday he will review this game also. :)

Posted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:09 am
by bitrate
As always, nice review. :wink:
It's a shame this game didn't turn out better.

Have you given this other Japanese pinball game a go?


Posted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:51 pm
by Trev
bitrate wrote:As always, nice review. :wink:
It's a shame this game didn't turn out better.

Have you given this other Japanese pinball game a go?

As a matter of fact, I have ... :)

Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:01 am
by stienreys
The first picture looks pretty boring to me, and I want to know, others are very similar. Not only is there them.Viewing angle is too low. Looks and sounds that reflect the Japanese culture and is a bit I liked this mask other deficiencies.

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:18 am
by Austin
I finally got around to trying this out, and while the Japanese style, visuals and some of the tunes appeal to me, the physics in this game are so bad it ruins the experience, completely. It's damn-near impossible to aim the ball, and it feels like you are always trying to push it through water. There is virtually no velocity whatsoever in this game. :(

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:05 am
by JohnnyDude
Thanks for the review. I can see how ultimately the game is not horrendously flawed. So, it doesn't have crippling bugs or impossible difficultly. But it sure is dull!

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:25 am
by Trev
JohnnyDude wrote:Thanks for the review. I can see how ultimately the game is not horrendously flawed. So, it doesn't have crippling bugs or impossible difficultly. But it sure is dull!
Your welcome. It's a shame that the games tables or so sparse. I guess if you like that older sytle it might be ok. Maybe I've been spoiled by newer machines with lots of targets and such.