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Pinball Wizardry

Mmmmm PinnyI'm gonna come out and say it: I don't like Pinball. Regardless of anyone's feelings on Pinball, everyone plays it from time to time. I haven't liked Pinball for a long time, but that hasn't stopped me from occassionally playing.

Pinball requires no skill. I'm not just saying this because I don't like pinball, it's true. I've played a lot of pinball and my score never gets better. It goes up and down arbitrarily. Pinball is completely luck. Ninety percent of the game is spent watching the ball bounce around and being excited that you're getting points. Then you watch as the ball falls dead center through your two flippers. What can you do? What skill can you gain that will allow you to be able to hit a ball that's going directly through the middle of the machine? All you can do is press the paddle buttons frantically, knowing that the only thing that will likely hapen is you aiding the ball in its descent.

And what's up with pinball scores? 6 million. 4 billion. 9 trillion. Let's save some numerals and move the decimal about nine places to the left. Even someone with my disgust for pinball, sometimes not even being able to complete a full game, can easily score two to three million points in about 45 seconds. It's ridiculous.

Charlie's Angels... of Pinball!Am I the only one who has no trouble believing The Who's Tommy Rock Opera? "This deaf dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball." Yeah he does. He's a "Pinball Wizard." I've never been listening to that song and thinking, "Hmm, I don't know if I buy that." Of course I do. It's easy to believe. The only help that this "Pinball Wizard" would need is someone leading him to the game. He wouldn't even have to be conscious of the fact that he's playing pinball at all, just impress upon him the importance of jamming the two side buttons repeatedly. I'm sure if I were blindfolded and earplugged that my score would not change any more than it already fluctuates from game to game. A blind Pinball Wizard is about as shocking as a blind solitaire champion. As long as the cards were in braille I'm sure a blind person would do very well.

It's completely a game of luck. Pinball does all the work. What's the contraption called? A Pinball Machine. It's a machine. It's plugged into the wall so that all the stupid noises and bells and whistles and bumpers and such can propel the ball along completely out of the player's control. As far as mindless entertainment, I'm sure it serves it's purpose. No brain activity is necessary to play so that's why we see it in seedy bars and bowling alleys.

Another issue I have with it is that it's usually found in places where there are other more skill oriented activities present such as pool and bowling. These are games that you can increase your skill level the more you play. Who's the guy that's playing pinball at a bowling alley, or in a pool hall or--even worse--in an arcade with real games. Pinball should be the free "on deck" game that you play to pass the time while you're waiting for an occupied pool table or bowling lane.

MarioAnd another thing: Pin-ball. I can see where they're getting the "ball" part from but "pin?" Where's the pin? What's the pin? I don't understand.

All in all pinball has to be the biggest waste of time activity prior to the internet. My advice: save your quarters for your laundry and download a crappy pinball game to play on your home comptuer. I recommend Midnight Madness for Atari, that game was phat!

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