I never believed that pinball could become as popular as it has as of this posting, but Zen Studios has merged Pinball with video games in a way that has rarely, if ever been seen before. Not content to merely simulate real-life pinball tables like other companies have done, they’ve created original pinball tables of their own and thrown in features that would be impossible in any pinball table you’d find in real life. Examples include 3D Models of characters that fight each other, or grab the ball and set it on fire, targets and props that fly around the field, and balls that mimic characteristics of Marvel’s X-Men and Avengers, and in the case of the latter, even affecting how you play the board. In addition, they have a talented musician on their team, as almost all of the songs on the tables are adrenaline pumping, or at least atmospheric. Rarely does the music seem like it was added as an afterthought. That said, Zen Studios has a journey to undertake if they’re going to reach for pinball perfection in the 8th Generation of console video games. Here are a couple of ideas that come to mind, some of which may or may not have been taken from Miiverse (shifty eyes):
Allow for video on the TV with sound from the Gamepad. Being able to do this on Darksiders II set the standard for game audio. Countless times have I woken up in the middle of the night, craving some pinball, but alas, I couldn’t stream the sound to my ears without having to pull the whole game experience down to the gamepad. For those of us who have HDTVs and sleeping room-mates, this is the best way to play.
More forgiving “tilt” mechanics. Whether using a digital nudge or analogue via motion control, the “3 times and you’re out” rule seems a little bit archaic in the face of updating everything else to face off against current video games. When a G.B.C. pinball game can allow the player to nudge the table all they like without a TILT occuring, it feels like an oversight that the programmer could simply not let the table be nudged hard enough to need a tilt rule, or perhaps allow for only especially forceful nudges to set off the tilt measure, like with real pinball machines!
Allow tables to be transferred to the 3DS via Download Play, for easy transporting, and to experience the tables with 3D Visuals. One person took that suggestion a step further and said that the tables transported to the 3DS could theoretically be further downloaded to other 3DSes, as Trial tables (set to kick the player out after a couple of minutes, or after a certain score is reached), to allow the player to promote the game to his or her friends.
Alternatively, sell a 2-pack: I also suggested this for Monster Hunter. Sell the next Pinball game for both Wii U and 3DS in a pack, for 1 price.
Nintendo-exclusive tables. This was mentioned so often on Miiverse that I had to mirror it here. There have been suggestions for tables themed after various Nintendo franchises, The Year of Luigi, Super Smash Bros., the Waluigi Pinball track from Mario Kart, and even requests for Zen Studios to revisit Pinball games that Nintendo and other teams have made in the past such as Pokémon Pinball games, Kirby’s Pinball Land, Metroid Prime Pinball, NES Pinball, the Pin-Bot series, there are really just too many to name it seems.