If you’re a fan of the Bally/Williams’ golden age of pinball machines, you might want to act fast to secure some great emulated facsimiles of some of the era’s best tables. The Pinball Arcade has announced that the license holder for 61 Bally/Midway titles that make up the heart of the collection has declined to renew its contract. After June 30, you will no longer be able to buy those tables inside the game, though existing owners will continue to be able to play the tables, and they will still receive support, meaning there’s no reason not to grab the ones you want before they’re gone.
The Pinball Arcade‘s emulated versions of full-sized pinball tables are a great substitute for pinball fans not able (or crazy enough) to purchase their own full-sized pinball machines and for those not lucky enough to live somewhere with easy access to real playable tables (residents of Portland, Oregon, can stop reading now). The officially licensed tables on The Pinball Arcade all have the original rules and sound effects and are available on a wide range of platforms, from phones to consoles to PCs.
The physics engine can’t possibly duplicate the feel of a full-sized physical game, but it does a pretty good job. The emulated tables are also a great way to learn the rules for games you might get a chance to play later in person at a local spot (those lucky Portlanders win out again).
The Williams and Bally games in the emulated collection include early solid-state classics like Fathom and Eight Ball Deluxe as well as popular favorites like Attack from Mars, Scared Stiff, and Medieval Madness. The Pinball Arcade will still contain older titles from Gottlieb and Data East and modern games from Stern, but the Bally/Williams era is regarded by many as pinball’s golden age, with a balance of accessibility and challenge and a wide variety of game concepts.
Here are a handful of titles I can personally recommend as Ars’ resident pinball nut. A full list of the tables leaving on June 30 is below as well.
Attack from Mars as seen in The Pinball Arcade
Centaur as seen in The Pinball Arcade