Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Pinball'

Rating:4 User: Digital Prawn

For a 16K effort dating from 1983, this pinball game from Sagittarian Software is pretty playable and addictive.

Whereas many pinball games tend to use a white ball on a dark playfield, this game has it the other way round as you propell a black ball around a very lightly coloured cyan and white play area.

As pinball tables are much taller (longer) than they are wide, they don't naturally fit well on a TV set. Some pinball games get around this by leaving a bit of unused space on either side of the screen and later 16-bit games famously used vertical scrolling.

Here, the chosen solution was to effectively use a double width table which looks rather like two tables joined together, having four flippers in total. In this case, the approach works pleasingly well and at least the entire screen is put to good use.

The animation of the small 8x8 ball sprite is very fast and smooth and the "physics engine" whilst suitably basic appears well implemented.

The game features the usual assortment of bumpers and bonus modes but does seem slightly simplistic when held up against pinball games of later years, certainly it lacks more advanced features and modes.

The power of the plunger is fortunately user controllable, and depends on the duration that the "launch" key is held down. This proves very useful in initially launching the ball to an approximate area of the upper screen.

There is no TILT in this game although it does have a FREEBALL mode that can be activated.

You'll possibly want to play it until the bonus word "SAGITTARIAN" is completely lit up which is quite satisfying to do.

So although we have the choice of far more elaborate and graphically impressive pinball games, even on the speccy, I find this one a quite enjoyable early effort, even today.