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Video Pinball Review

Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
Release Date: 1981 Also On: None

The Atari 2600 made an attempt at just about everything possible. Sports, arcade games, board games, none of those genres were safe from the Atari 2600 treatment. So, naturally, one would expect that pinball would be no exception, and such is the case. In 1981, Atari released Video Pinball. Pinball is a basic concept, but so is Pac-man, released the same year, and Atari managed to somewhat ruin that. Did Video Pinball suffer the same fate? Read on to find out.

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The concept of Video Pinball should be obvious, but I always discuss the concept of Atari 2600 games when I review them, and I am not going to make an exception here. Video Pinball is a pinball game. As such, your control is limited to two moving components at the bottom of the screen. You launch a ball and it accumulates points until it falls off of the screen, something you try to prevent by hitting the ball when it hits your two moving components. After three balls have fallen off the screen, you’re done. The objective then is to get as high a score as possible.

The graphics are fairly simple, but for 1981, they aren’t bad at all. Pinball isn’t a game that needs that many fancy graphics, and the graphics here certainly work well enough. The sound effects work for what they need to do also. The aesthetics for this game certainly aren’t that impressive, but they do get the job done, and this game isn’t the type that needs fancy aesthetics.

True, there’s only one pinball design in this game, but that’s perfectly fine. The design that is there is functional, if not overly creative, and the game is certainly entertaining enough for those people who are pinball fans. The control works well, and the control for the flippers is quite sensitive so you can hit the ball with various degrees of power. However, the ball can sometimes get to moving very fast from hitting other things and catch you off guard, and there’s also a spot on the left side off the screen where the ball can fall off without you being able to do anything about it.

Still, the flaws of this game are minimal compared to the entertainment quality of this game for the true pinball fanatic who is a fan of the Atari 2600. The game might not last forever, but it will last a while and will be something that would be worth coming back to periodically. Therefore, my recommendation is that you should strongly consider buying this game if you find it at a reasonably low price.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.3
Written by Martin Review Guide