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April 8, 2005
Pinball: Hall of Fame - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
9/6/2005Crave GamesFarSight Studios1-4$49.95

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The newest table - Tee'd Off.
Another budget title being distributed by Red Ant, and this one looks pretty good. Much like Strike Force Bowling this genre seems to have died off in recent years but Pinball: Hall of Fame looks like quite a respectable title with plenty of tables to play on. The developers, FarSight Studios, aren't newcomers either and have been around since 1988. Over the years they have developed titles such as NCAA '98 and NCAA'99 for Electronic Arts, and puzzle game Mojo! on PS2 among others. Pinball: Hall of Fame is their latest game and is shaping up quite nicely.

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Top section of the Victory table!
What really impresses about this game is that the tables are all based on authentic machines from very different eras. These tables include, with their original release dates in brackets), Ace High (February 1957), Central Park (April 1966), Big Shot (August 1973) , Genie (November 1979), Black Hole (October 1981), Victory (October 1987), and Tee'd Off (May 1993). It's a wide range that really shows off the evolution of pinball machines. Personally I have only played two of these in real life - Tee'd Off and Black Hole, both very fun machines.

In terms of ball physics the developers seem to have it right as the ball reacts as you would expect to object on the tables. The left analogue stick is used to pull the plunger so you can accurately gauge the speed as the ball hits the ramp.

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Selecting your desired machine...
Pinball: Hall of Fame also includes several bonus items such as historical art, fun facts and an bonus unlockable table. Support for up to 4-players will also be includes, however exactly how this works in a game typically played by one remains to be seen.

As you've already seen the graphics are quite nice, but it's not just the tables that are faithfully reproduced on the screen, the audio is also taken straight from the original games for authenticity. The developers have even added in some ambient sound effects as if you were in a real pinball arcade.

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It's only missing a glass of beer.
Any pinball title is going to find some people who knock it for not providing the real thrills of whacking the buttons, bumping the table and spilling your beer on the glass top. I ask them this. Couldn't you say that no games offer perfect recreations of the real world? I mean SOCOM: US Navy Seals doesn't allow you to get the proper recoil from weapons, Madden NFL 2005 doesn't allow you to experience the wind rushing through your helmet, or bone crunching tackles. For me Pinball: Hall of Fame looks like being a very solid pinball title. Expect a release in early June for only $49.95 - that's about $7 per table!