- Publisher: Crave
- Developer: FarSight Studios
- ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
- Genre: Pinball
- Pros: Addictive gameplay; great ball physics; 13 tables
- Cons: $40 MSRP; needs more stuff
Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection is a collection of 13 classic Williams pinball tables. If you ever went to an arcade in the 80’s or 90’s, you probably saw at least one of these machines there. The machines include, Gorgar, Space Shuttle, Black Knight, Funhouse, Firepower, No Good Gofers, Jive Time, Sorcerer, Tales of the Arabian Knights, Taxi, Pinbot, Whirlwind, and Medieval Madness. If you played any of these machines in real life, the digital re-creations are pretty much identical to the real deal. They all have the same quirks as the real thing, such as an extra wide drain or frustratingly cheap outlanes or a particular flipper that occasionally gets stuck. This is real deal, oldschool pinball, and that is awesome.
The game offers an interesting menu in that it looks like a real arcade and you move around the arcade from table to table. There are a few modes including normal high score play, the Williams Challenge where you play each table and have to meet high scores to advance, and a tournament mode. Each table also has unique goals, and completing these goals earn you achievements and open up free play for the tables. It is a nifty system that keeps you coming back. When you finish all of the goals and earn all of the achievements, there are also Xbox Live leaderboards you can try to top so you’ll be playing this game for a long time to come.
The gameplay is straightforward, pure pinball. The left and right triggers on the Xbox 360 controller control the left and right flippers and the right stick controls the plunger to put the ball into play. You can also shake the table by moving the left stick around (handy to jostle the ball around if it is heading straight toward the drain or somewhere else you don’t want it to go), but don’t do it too much or you’ll “tilt’ the machine and will be penalized. Once you have the basics down, it is just a matter of learning the objectives of each table (yes, pinball is an objective based game) and figuring out how to maximize your score and playtime per credit. This learning process is completely addictive and wonderful.
The physics of the ball deserve special mention because if the physics weren’t just right the game wouldn’t be anywhere near as enjoyable as it is. The physics feel pretty much perfect and are as close to real pinball as digital pinball will ever get. You don’t quite get the same thrill of banging on a real machine and standing in a real arcade, but darn it, its close.
Graphics & Sound
The sound is one of the most distinctive things about pinball machines and arcades in general, and the sound in this game is 100% accurate and authentic. Every obnoxious voice clip and sound effect from every table is present and accounted for.