VideoGameCritic wrote:I have two pinballs: Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. LotR (2003) feels a lot heavier because it is older and used better parts. You can tell Stern started to cut corners with PotC (2006). Still, glad to have both because they feel very different. LotR has a rhythm, but PotC is a more rapid-fire style game.
Lord of the Rings is a good one. I've played that one several times over the years and always liked it. Never tried PotC. And I agree with you about Stern... they definitely starting slacking in the 2000s and early 2010s, when they got complacent as the only big manufacturer. Now that competitors like Jersey Jack have joined the fold, it has forced them to step their game back up. Pinball really seems to be having a nice revival right now, after appearing to die off in the late 90s.
X-Files pinball (Sega, 1997) isn't highly regarded, but I think it's very underrated. I've had it for over a year now and still love playing it. Despite being a lifelong gamer, I had always avoided pinballs. I realize now it's because I misunderstood them.. I thought it was boring to just bat the ball around for a high score. Getting my own machine changed that, as I've now realized that most modern machines have objectives to achieve around the playfield. There are still goals I haven't achieved on my machine. As a result, I've really grown to appreciate pinball a lot more in the past 2 years, after not caring at all before that.
VideoGameCritic wrote:I do notice people tend to gravitate towards the pinball - probably because it's such a unique experience. But man, those pinball machines are huge - and loud.
Huge, loud, and don't forget - expensive. My pinball machine cost 4 times as much as the Neo Geo machine. I was pretty shocked to learn that any decent used pinball usually costs over $2000 and the best of the best often cost over $5000 (used). But yes, I definitely notice that they are more appealing to the casual person. Most people enjoy trying out the pinball machine when they first see it at my house. But I don't expect the same result with the Neo Geo--I feel like just gamers and kids will appreciate that. I'd like a Pac-Man machine as my next purchase, and perhaps that will have more casual appeal. But there is something "cooler" and more approachable about pinball over video games, so I think that's part of the appeal. Plus, as you point out, it's a very unique experience and, even though some good pinball video games exist, they can't replicate the feel of playing pinball, the flashing lights, the cool mechanics of the toys on the playfield, etc..