Sunday, July 28, 2013

Confession Time - I Don't Really Like Pinball

I'm in that sort of weird period of time where I want to play something, but just about anything I could -want- to play is long-enough of a commitment that it'll go right through the time in a couple weeks when Dragon's Crown comes out.  This is not good, because I'm going to play Dragon's Crown because it's going to be awesome, and I'm going to be a Wizard and everything is going to be wizard.  (I tried to find something appropriate for that reference and it failed.  Definitely not wizard)  Anyway, instead of playing through Muramasa Rebirth on Fury (which I did unlock, thank you Chance, it took some doing, but I re-did the boss fight as Momohime on Chaos and it was awesome), slapping Persona 4 Golden back in (because honestly, one play isn't enough), getting rid of Virtue's Last Reward and replacing it with BlazBlue (which is hard because I love VLR even though I platinum'd it) or even just playing Shin Megami Tensei IV or Pokemon Conquest on my 3DS XL (which I'm loathe to do because I hate holding that thing all day from Animal Crossing) I decided "Hey, I got Pinball Arcade for Vita with Playstation Plus, so let's try that."


This....I'm not going to say it was a mistake, but, er, I'm just....I'm really not a fan.  I've played Pinball in the past and I haven't really enjoyed it then despite knowing that I should by all rights, but it has never clicked with me.  It's far too busy, especially when you have tables like the above pictured, the flippers always seem to make the ball go where I don't actually want it to go, and far too often have I been subject to watch in hopelessness as my ball hits one of the side 'gutters' and I simply cannot stop it or recover it.  It's akin to pouring out a glass of water in front of a prone man dragging himself through the desert.  Like throwing table scraps to a dog while someone starved watches on.  Like making really bad metaphors and making you read through them to get to a point.  My point is that on far too many occasions, my ball was thrown into a gutter through no fault of my own, and it's agonizing and all I can do is flip the flippers with fury unchecked while I mutter curse words to the electronic voice shouting out about Shrunken Heads or Bigfoot or traveling to Africa or shut the fuck up, RipleyJust shut up.

Anyway, one of the gripes I do have with Pinball Arcade is that it has a....rather unintuitive start-up if you're walking into it without really knowing anything.  Because I opened it, got through the title screen and saw "Season One Tables" and "Season Two Tables" and went "hmm, that's odd" and just went into Season One, looking around until I saw the Star Trek:  The Next Generation table.  Interested, I clicked on it and was informed that I could buy it or a table pack for value and I didn't have a damn clue what was going on.  It was only after going back to the initial options and looking at the third one over "My Tables" that I actually understood what was that whole bit actually was.  Obviously, they want to sell you some more tables and that's perfectly acceptable but....I don't know, maybe make option number one "PLAY THE TABLES I CURRENTLY OWN BY SOME MAGIC".  Maybe.  It might just be helpful.  Just a bit.  Perhaps.  Tiny bit useful.

Pinball Arcade initially comes with four tables - Black Hole, Ripley's Believe it or Not!, Tales of the Arabian Nights and Theatre of Magic - all of which have their own themes and quirks that admittedly do make them rather interesting in design if nothing else.  It's thanks to this that I understand the enthusiasm for Pinball Machines in general, as they're rather intricate, amazing little things that have had an inordinate amount of thought, creativity and love put into them.  Black Hole, for instance, is a space-themed machine and it has a spot in the middle that you can kind of see, but it's kind of dark, presumably being the "Black Hole".  At a certain point, you can get your ball into an area where it'll drop into a -lower- area of the machine that lights up under that glass spot, revealing an inverse pinball machine.  Rather than rolling towards you, the ball rolls -away- from you while the flippers are switched as well, making it all a crazy, interesting perspective twist that is really cool on its own merits.

All of the tables have their own little thing like that which I can like or dislike (as stated above, the Ripley table is just far too busy with all the stuff on it) on merit, but there is the whole matter of playing it.  No matter how awesome a table is structured or built, I'm still just watching a ball roll around until I can hit it with a flipper and then until I can hit it with a flipper again until inevitably it rolls into the "lose" sections while I'm basically unable to do anything about it because it went right between the flippers (happens more than you think), goes into one of the 'gutters' or just zips by so fast that it doesn't even care that I hit it and instead uses that momentum to fly down faster or something I don't even know.  Perhaps it's simply because I got my fill of Pinball as a young'n with Sonic Spinball (a damn brilliant game if I may say) or perhaps it's just because I'm missing the point, but it just doesn't grab me.  It's a shame, really, because in theory it should be enough to hold my attention, but unfortunately not.  Now I just have to figure out what to do with my time until Dragon's Crown.

I will probably end up playing Pokemon Conquest because it's Pokemon and Sengoku-era Japan and HOW CAN YOU SAY NO

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