Back in the day, I remember walking to the local strip mall that was just two blocks away from where I lived. I was a bright little tyke, who thought the whole world revolved around Transformers, Duran Duran, Kelly LeBrock, Super Mario Bros, and “Berry Gordy’s” The Last Dragon. You could say that I was indeed sheltered and naÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¯ve about everything, except the fact that I knew what I loved in the world in the mid-eighties, and that everything else was just a distraction to my entertainment leisure. It was a time of noisy arcade centers intermixed with the smell of high quality junk food and the music of Journey. The way that the brightly colored neon could fool you into thinking that the world was all well and fine; despite the impending doom machine of the Cold War and films like Red Dawn.
Anyways, the small strip mall held within it a little mom and pop pizza shop that I would visit on a frequent basis, but only sometimes would it be for pizza. I would walk in with only a few quarters in my possession as I would stand before the great obelisk which was the local Pinbot pinball machine. I vividly remember hearing the robot master saying “now I see you”, just as I was about to dive into overdrive and be creamed by two silver balls at the same time.
The scent of tomato paste and Italian cheese-steak subs penetrated my soul as I would fight the robot to stay alive in order to get the most out of my money. I would not say that I was great at the game, but I can tell you that luck would sometimes be on my side. Many years have passed since then and times have most definitely changed, but I was still always fond of the old days of pinball. Well the good folks at Farsight Studios and Crave Entertainment have filled in a gap in my childhood, but creating the title Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection.
Pinball Hall of Fame is like having a small pinball arcade stashed inside of your Nintendo Wii. The game consists of four starter pinball machines and six unlockable machines making ten game tables in all. The stars of the game are Black Knight, Firepower, Funhouse, Gorgar, Pinbot, Space Shuttle, Taxi, Whirlwind, Jive Time, and Sorcerer. All of which are designed to a level perfection that I thought would be very difficult to believe, but I stand corrected and in awe struck. You can really tell that much love and respect was put into this collection, due to the massive amounts of realistic recreated and finely crafted mechanical obstacles. Every flipper, spinner, bouncer, jumper, and flapper has been rendered on a level that hasn’t been achieved in the past.
As your ball bounces all over the board, I felt that old time feeling return also due to the masterfully recreated music and sound effects that have been done to perfection. I remember going to the bowling alley and playing the pinball game Taxi and thinking that it was all of the best pinball tables ever, due to its complexity. Playing Taxi again on my Nintendo Wii brought back the sounds of bowing balls and the scent of warm toasted pretzels, truly something special.
All of the games play great, and are displayed in a completely rendered pinball arcade that allows for limited movement to each of the ten pinball tables. I only wish that the crazy butt rock music wasn’t being played, music that’s almost bad enough to make you run out of this arcade and dive into the path of a speeding car. Thankfully, you can turn the music off and it will not affect any of the pinball sound effects. This game also offers a four player tournament mode that can be very fun if you have some friends that appreciate the old style of pinball.
Overall, this is a must have for those of you who would like to take the journey to gaming past. It’s like a trip to a time before fanboyism, bloging, global warming, and reality Television (cringe).