It’s easy to imagine that pinball is a dying game that can’t compete with modern forms of entertainment. Yet, a look at some of the most recent games inspired by this classic shows us that it’s still available for modern players in different formats.  

Gottlieb Pinball” (CC BY 2.0) by el-toro

New Games That Merge Pinball with Other Formats 

Perhaps the best example of how pinball has moved with the times comes with the games inspired by it. These aren’t straight pinball games but mix elements of pinball with other ways of playing. The rise of augmented reality and virtual reality is certainly helping to give us creative new approaches to classic games of this type.

We can note strong pinball influences when we play Plinko Go in an online casino. This simple gambling game by 1×2 Network involves a ball being dropped from the top of the screen and moving down through the pins. The prize amount is then based on the amount of the multiplier where the ball lands.  

This game is surprisingly similar to the original pinball machines from the 1930s, where the ball moved through a set of pins to the scoring area. The players didn’t have flippers to try and keep it in play for longer back then. This basic gameplay once flippers were added has become firmly entrenched in popular culture. 

The Pinball Machine with Fake Blood and Movie Scenes

The release of a new pinball machine by Stern Pinball Inc. gives us a chance to assess the current market. Their JAWS machine is based on the 1975 movie by Steven Speilberg about a shark that terrorizes the New England coast. We can see how the industry has changed with the introduction of stand-out features like the original John Williams score that Speilberg thought was too simple, as reported by Classic FM

JAWS also builds a lot of original movie footage into the gameplay, making it far more of a multimedia experience than pinball machines in the past. Keith Elwin designed JAWS, having previously created pinball machines based on Godzilla and Iron Maiden. This new game has the added allure of a bucket that releases fake blood onto the playing area when hit.  

Digital Pinball Gets More Varied

The new Star Trek machine isn’t the first time that the crew of the USS Enterprise have been put into a pinball setting. However, the difference is that the latest game based on The Next Generation is available for Pinball FX as a digital version. 

Created by Zen Studios, it’s based on the original table of the same name and features Captain Picard in a battle against rivals such as the Romulans and the Cardassians across eight missions. Original sounds from the popular series are included to add extra authenticity.

As we’ve seen, the future of pinball appears to be heading in the direction of a greater level of diversification. This means all of the categories we’ve looked at could expand as new games are inspired by pinball and multimedia or digital versions incorporate the latest technology seamlessly.