Tuesday, April 6, 2010

There has to be a twist

We picked up a Wii game called Pinball Hall Of Fame: The Williams Collection last year. It became Archer's favorite almost immediately. I attribute his interest to the fact that there are many complicated scoring scenarios, all of which are outlined and explained in very extensive rule screens that can be paged through for each table.

I love this game because these are fantastic tables (Funhouse! Pinbot! Taxi!), and because the pinball simulation is absolutely fantastic. Everything has just the right weight, sound, and feel. I don't know how they did it, but it's perfect. I can't quite explain how Archer achieves high scores on the tables when his strategy 75% of the time is just to flip continuously (he does hold the flippers up to receive ejected balls and then aims his shots), but he racks up huge numbers.

At the library the other day, I happened across a big coffee table book about pinball, and Archer was charmed the instant he opened it to find a picture and description of Old Chicago, the first table the author ever played, and one that Archer played several times at our local Old Chicago pizza franchise. He turns the pages looking at the pictures of tables and reading the description of their gameplay for hours.

I'd love to get him more books about pinball, to go along with his insatiable appetite for books about chess. If you have any recommendations along those lines, I'd love to hear them!


Greg Dunlap said...

There are a few books I'd recommend. The Pinball Compendium series (3 books) by Michael Shaloub are excellent, and not just because I'm interviewed in the last one. They're thorough and well done with lots of amazing photography.


If there are any places with actual pinball machines around you, you should get him out there to play some. It is not at all inconceivable that in 5-10 years there will be very few places left to do such a thing. That industry is in pretty desperate times these days.

Greg Dunlap said...

Oh I note now that you have gotten him out to play some. That is awesome. Is he as into playing real live pinball as he is into playing on the Wii?

Doc Thelma said...

Hmmm Debbie Aberbrombie and I spent hours in 5th grade pouring over her "Tommy" fan magazine (given neither of us were allowed to see the movie...)

But that's probably not what you had in mind..

Noel said...

Greg, he likes playing live pinball too, though he's not as good at it. Though the Wii simulations are uncanny, there's a certain amount of ease of replicability in the videogame, since the flippers respond the same way every time. Live, there's more variation. That said, last weekend he played a real pinball table for the first time since going on his Wii binge and he did a lot better than he ever has before.