Early on, video games and pinball machines collided. Not a literal collision, like in the old you’ve got your chocolate in my peanut butter commercials. But, instead they collided in the sense that many arcades featured both pinball and video games. It was merely a matter of time before the creation of video games that replicated pinball.
And, it is easy enough to envision a discussion taking place at the GCE corporate offices in 1982.
CEO: Lenny, I’m betting kids everywhere would love to have a pinball machine at home. But, the machines are huge. We can make a pinball game for the Vectrex and kids will love it.
Well, it seems Lenny wasn’t known for his witty repartee. But, he may have been a competent video game designer, and Spinball was released in 1983. And, it is a capable pinball game. Decent sounds and okay graphics. The ball looks like a ball (impressive with the vector technology) and the physics are pretty good. Controls are adequate, with buttons for the flippers and the joystick providing the ability to nudge the machine. But, that is awkward if you’re used to using your left hand for left flippers and your right hand for right flippers.
The game features just one board of pinball. And, well, it gets old after a while. It certainly wouldn’t be fair to compare this 8-bit game to more modern fare. But, other games of the era simply have the ability to hold one’s attention for longer. Now, I’m no pinball wizard, so that’s merely my opinion. But, I found this game a fair enough pinball translation, but one that was easy to walk away from.