Pinball Review

This is a perfect emulation of Pinball. But Pinball wasn't a very good game, even when it was brand-new.

Nintendo's Pinball was among the first games released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and it certainly shows. Even upon its initial North American release it wasn't an impressive game, though for what it's worth, the version that has made its way onto the Wii's Virtual Console service appears to be pixel-perfect.

Yeah. This is Pinball all right.
Yeah. This is Pinball all right.

Pinball gives you one table that takes up two screens. The top screen has a moving target, a lane filled with dots that give you bonus points, and a little slot-machine section that spins up when you shoot the ball into the proper lane. Hitting the moving target stops the reels and gives you opportunities for bonus points if you can stop the reels properly. The bottom half of the playfield gives you a few bumpers, a set of targets that reveal playing cards that create a block between the two flippers when completed, and a row of eggs that hatch when you hit them. If you can hatch all three eggs at the same time, you'll get blocks that prevent your ball from draining via the outlanes. There's also a hole that drops you into a bonus screen. The bonus screen plays a bit like Breakout. You move Mario, who is holding a paddle, left and right. You have to keep the ball in play and attempt to line up colors on a set of rollover targets to eventually free a woman who's at the top of the screen. And that's basically it. You can play Pinball at a higher difficulty setting, but this doesn't make much of a difference. Also, you can play it with another player.

Visually, this is one of the most basic-looking NES games around. That's certainly due to its age, but it most definitely hasn't aged well. The sound is also pretty bare-bones. About the only nice thing about Pinball is the way it controls. By default, you can use the Wii Remote--the D pad moves the left flipper, and you can use either the 1 button or the 2 button to move the right flipper. But if you have the classic controller, you can use the L and R triggers for the flippers, which feels a bit more natural. Either way, though, the game controls just fine.

Unless you have an extremely soft and nostalgic place in your heart for this dud of a pinball game, it's really not worth its 500-point price tag. Save your money for something more substantial.

The Good
A perfect emulation of the original game
The Bad
The original game wasn't all that great when it was new, and it hasn't aged well, either
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

Pinball (1985) More Info

  • First Released 1984
    • Arcade Games
    • e-Reader
    • + 3 more
    • Famicom Disk System
    • NES
    • Nintendo Switch
    Average Rating336 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Published by:
    Nintendo, Hamster
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.