I’m a pinball fan. there, I’ve said. I love playing actual pinball tables, and I love playing simulated pinball on computers and consoles. My wife and I spent the first two years dating in the early 90s playing a Williams machine named Machine Bride Of Pinbot at the local Pizza Hut. I used to rack up high scores for hours using the bonus/nudge trick on the Atari VCS version of Video Pinball. One of my favorite Atari 800 games was Bill Budge’s Pinball Construction Set (which just might be the greatest 8-bit game ever made). One of my favorite early 90’s PC games was Tristan Pinball. Heck, I even own the Lynx cartridge with the Elivra pinball game on it. A couple years back I bought the the first Pinball Hall Of Fame Gottleib Collection for the PS2 and was very pleased.
When Pinball Hall Of Fame Williams Collection was announced for the Wii last year I thought I had gone to heaven. Williams was arguably the best pinball company to ever make pinball machines, and the highly detailed and exacting simulations from this series promised some of the best simulated pinball action ever. Furthermore, since it is harder to find a working pinball machine in the wild these days than it is find a slot machine wit han open continer on top in Salt Lake City, I was pretty jazzed to have some of my old favorites at my fingertips once again. I waited while the game was delayed for Christmas release, then again as it never showed for it’s rescheduled release near my birthday in January. I waited until the 3rd posted released date of Feb. 13th, and then the updated release date of Feb. 20th. When I finally saw it was supposedly on the “the street” I hit every store in the area and no one carried the game. Even Gamestop, who stocks stuff like Cosmic Family, doesn’t even have it in their system. Yeah, you read that right, Gamestop claims to have never heard of the game.
However, the game does exist. An informal and very positive review popped-up today at the Quarter To Three Forums and the game is listed in-stock at Amazon.com with some great reviews. However the developer Crave seems to have completely disowned it (however they are pushing this), and almost every online review site has ignored the game. So what has happened? How did a fairly high profile release from an established developer coming out in the dregs of February get such shabby treatment? Is pinball, even simulated pinball really that ghettoized these days? If anyone has any information about the fate of this game, please post a comment or write to us. We’d love to follow this story to its conclusion. Meanwhile, I’ll order the game from Amazon.com and wait a week for it to show-up. I’d rather be playing the game tonight, but no brick and mortar store, it seems, in interested in taking my $29.99 from my wallet…and it’d damned shame.