A couple days ago I wrote a piece with the self-explanatory title “5 Pinball Tables I’d Like To See For Pinball FX 2 & Zen Pinball 2 (But Probably Never Will).”
Now, in the interest of fairness, I present this piece about the five tables I’d like to see for FarSight Studios’ Pinball Arcade, which is available for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Vita.
Except that since FarSight don’t make original tables for Pinball Arcade, but instead recreate real ones that were originally built by Bally, Williams, Stern, and other real pinball machine manufacturers, I decided to put a slightly different spin on things.
Since it would be easy for FarSight to get the rights to one of the original tables from Bally and their brethren, I kept my list to pinball tables that weren’t wholly original, but were instead based on movies, TV shows, and rock bands.
What Is It: Made by Bally in 1978, the first Kiss pinball machine is a classic ’70s arcade staple, and not just because it features “the hottest band in the world.” Which is why, unlike most pinball machines, which only get production runs in the low thousands, there were 17,000 Kiss pinball machines made back in the day.
Why We May Never Get To Play It In Pinball Arcade: While FarSight Studios have made numerous Bally tables for Pinball Arcade, the original Kiss table has never been one of them, and there’s probably a reason for that. What that reason might be, I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the word “money” was involved in some way.
What Is It: Based on the show, obviously, the South Park pinball machine was built by Sega in 1999, but eventually made by Stern after Sega got out of the pinball business. In fact, South Park was one of Sega’s last pinball machine. According to the Internet Pinball Database — and yes, that’s a real thing — only about 2600 to 2800 South Park pinball tables were made.
Why We May Never Get To Play It In Pinball Arcade: Since the machine was later made by Stern, but the design may still belong to Sega, and the rights to South Park games now belong to the South Park guys, this might be a tough one to figure out. Well, unless everyone’s lawyers decided to play nice…yeah, I know, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.
What Is It: Inspired by the band, and the covers of such albums as Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets, Metallica’s 2012 pinball machine is a fan’s dream come true. Well, assuming they’re fans of both Metallica and pinball, of course. Though having played this one, I can actually say that if you love pinball and don’t hate Metallica, you’d like this table as well. (And no, the bootleg version someone made for Future Pinball doesn’t count.)
Why We May Never Get To Play It In Pinball Arcade: Given that this was made by Stern, who’ve licensed their original tables to Pinball Arcade in the past, maybe it could happen. But then, maybe not, since there were only 500 ever made, and in promoting it, the band made a big deal about how this was a “limited edition” machine. Of course, having a virtual version of a pinball machine isn’t like having a real one, but that may not convince the boys in the band.
What Is It: Released around the time Iron Man 2 hit theaters, Stern’s 2010 Iron Man table not only featured images from the movie, but images of Shellhead’s co-stars Black Widow and Nick Fury as well.
Why We May Never Get To Play It In Pinball Arcade: Unlike the others, where the issues would be with the companies who own the rights to whatever the original machines are based on, I suspect the problem with this one is that FarSight wouldn’t even want to make an Iron Man table since there’s already one available for the Zen Studio’s pinball games, Pinball FX2 and Zen Pinball 2. Granted, it wouldn’t be the same table — Zen’s is one they made up themselves — but I could see why it would make this unappealing to FarSight.
THE WHO’S TOMMY PINBALL WIZARD
What Is It: If you really have to ask, I know a great rock album you might want to check out. Made in 1994 by Japan’s Data East, who went out of business a few years later, this table took the most obvious inspiration in pinball history, and still managed to make a fun and original table out of. Well, 4700 of them, anyway.
Why We May Never Get To Play It In Pinball Arcade: While Data East has been defunct since 2003, most of their games are now owned by G-Mode, a Japanese company that makes mobile games. But that doesn’t mean they own the rights to this pinball machine. After all, G-Mode does not own the rights to such Data East licensed games as Robocop or Captain America And The Avengers games, so they may not have the rights to this table either.
THE SIMPSONS PINBALL PARTY
What Is It: Another one made by Sega, and later Stern, 2003’s The Simpsons Pinball Party brought the animated antics of Bart, Homer, Lisa, Maggie, Marge, and the rest of Springfield to bars and pubs. It even featured original dialog from the such cast members as Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Dan Castellaneta (Homer), and Hank Azaria (Moe, Carl, Professor Frink, Comic Book Guy…), while the backglass and cabinet art was done by real Simpsons artists.
Why We May Never Get To Play It In Pinball Arcade: At the moment, The Simpsons license, as far as video games go, is own by Electronic Arts, who are currently making money hand over fist with The Simpsons Tapped Out. So my guess is they wouldn’t give a crap about some eleven-year-old pinball game. Though maybe that will work in FarSight’s favor, since EA might think, “Who gives a crap about some eleven-year-old pinball game?”
Got any better ideas? Let me know in the comments below. Or better yet, tell FarSight Studios.