Pinball Hall of Fame Hands-On

Walk down the arcade hall of fame with Crave's new pinball action game, coming soon to a PSP near you.

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Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection
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If you've been yearning to relive some arcade action from yesteryear on your PSP, Crave may have you covered with Pinball Hall of Fame. The game delivers 12 classic pinball tables from well-known manufacturer Gottlieb, some of which never even made it to wide manufacturing. Toss in some other little gameplay points of interest, a game-sharing option, and a little tour of Gottlieb's history, and you've got a solid-looking portable pinball package.

Pinball that fits in your pocket--that's what you'll get with Hall of Fame.
Pinball that fits in your pocket--that's what you'll get with Hall of Fame.

The pinball action in Hall of Fame is totally straightforward. You use the analog stick to launch the ball, then the shoulder buttons to control the flippers, and once the ball is in play, you can use the analog stick to tilt the table (though tilting too much will cost you a ball). There are several camera options available for play, from a close-up ball-chase camera to a wider angle that shows you most of the table at once. Our favorite feature of the gameplay, though, was the ability to turn the action on its side, making the PSP display the table vertically and thus showing a whole lot more of the action at once. Playing in this mode isn't too awkward, since you use the triangle and X buttons to operate the flippers, and we found this perspective to be preferable to the default one.

To access the tables in the game, you'll move through a 3D virtual arcade full of each available machine. In between the pinball tables, you'll find some carnival-style curiosities, such as a fortune-teller, a love meter, a strength test, and so on. Playing some of these will net you credits that you can apply toward pinball, while others are just there for fun. You can also take a virtual tour of sorts of the circa-1970s Gottlieb manufacturing facility. This mode consists of a series of black-and-white photographs that let you see how many of the company's more famous tables made it from concept to manufacturing to delivery in the arcade.

Pinball Hall of Fame is looking like a good way for pinball junkies to get their fix on the road. You can even bring in a friend, since the game-sharing option will let you upload the current table to a friend's PSP. Once you're both playing, you can see each other's scores being updated in real time so you can get a sense of who's better. Pinball Hall of Fame is due out on the PlayStation Portable in late November.

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