The Pinball Arcade has been on just about every console known to man, but the PC version has been lost in limbo. There have been all sorts of things causing the slowdown, such as the Steam Greenlight process, the game consoles taking precedence, etc, but the result has been a whole load of nothing. This wouldn’t be a problem except the current console generation is coming to an end, and while a PS3 (as a representative console) should keep working as long as it’s being taken care of, it’d be nice to retire it eventually. The Pinball Arcade isn’t just a game, it’s also a platform for digital pinball restoration, and I’d like to be able to keep buying new tables for it for as many years as they’re being released. Steam is perfect for this and doesn’t have any inconvenient timing in regards to the console upgrade cycle. The sooner it’s released the better, and now The Pinball Arcade on PC has taken a giant step forward to finally seeing the light of day.
After a couple of hours of play the little bugs that are part of checking out a beta become impossible to ignore, but the heart of the game shines through. Issues with crashing, certain shots being far too easy to make, missing bits of art, and other details will be cleaned up as development progresses, but the feel of the table physics is good. Whether it’s a modern marvel like Attack from Mars or a vintage table like Central Park, the basic ball movement feels good. There’s a few places where the physics are off, or a ramp is too forgiving, but with the sheer volume of tables available that’s to be expected. The Pinball Arcade is going to launch with its full backlog of at least 34 different pinball games available, following the same model of the first four tables where the basic pack has four machines and the rest are sold separately. Whether packaged together or bought piecemeal, that’s still a ton of content, and the beta is to make sure it all gets tuned into shape.
It’s been a long time coming and there’s still work to do, but The Pinball Arcade’s PC version is well along the way. The release date is still unknown, though, and it’s hard to even get a rough idea on availability. It’s going to be a bit longer, but what promises to be the definitive version of The Pinball Arcade has finally showed signs of life.