Pinball Wizard

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RAM Requirement: 768k RAM

Control: Mouse and Keyboard

Release Status: Abandonware

Year: 1987

Publisher: Accolade

Developers: ERE Informatique

System 6 Compatible: Yes

Hard Drive Installable: No

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Pinball Wizard was created by ERE Informatique for Accolade around 1987(?).

Accolade had it listed in their 1987 catalogue, but only for the IBM-PC and Atari ST. InCider magazine listed it for the IIGS in its games issue in May 1988. I hoped for years the game existed, and more recently I found out that it does.

Pinball Wizard was meant to fill the yawning chasm of available pinball games for the IIGS, the only ones previously available being those classic 8-bit Apple II pinball games such as David's Midnight Magic, Raster Blaster and Night Mission. But they were no real substitute, when they only used 4 colours and 1-bit sound, were they?

According to the accompanying cracker's message, this version became public in 1991. It claims that the IIGS version of Pinball Wizard was finished but I'm not entirely sure. If I had coded it, I would have given the excuse it wasn't finished. The ball follows no physical laws that I'm familiar with. I've even began to wonder if it hasn't been programmed with its own unique AI! Some of the tables are like watching Christmas tree lights, as opposed to playing a pinball game. The accompanying unofficial doc mentions that some tables are sensitive...a bit of an understatement. And whoah, the ball sometimes disappears! Accolade said this was a feature, not a bug, that feature being a "Stroboscope" effect. Luckily, there is some hope for those actually wanting to play some pinball as opposed to watching a darting ball and flashing lights. Some tables are playable (though not great) but if the tables are too "sensitive" then just crank up the built-in pinball table editor to change it. This editor is actually pretty neat, allowing you to place table objects, allocate scoring and draw backgrounds for the table.

However, it could be said that's what lets the game down also. Any fool can piece together a table and save it...playing it is an altogether different story. There doesn't seem to be any coherent game strategies inherent in any included table with Pinball Wizard; irksome table designs! Multiple flippers do not maketh a good pinball table. Maybe ERE had flipper envy?

I don't know why Pinball Wizard for the IIGS was buried and never released: maybe because Midnight Magic, Raster Blaster and Night Mission were much more fun. How embarrassing for a game that came more than five years later.