Pinball 101

Thu 10/29/2009

Okay, let's talk about a REAL pinball movie: Pinball 101.

This movie has been in the works for years and years and was just released this month. Jon got me a copy for my birthday and it tragically arrived on the same day that I was leaving for San Francisco. We watched it the night I got back, and let me tell you, this DVD is jam packed with all sorts of tips, tricks and secret pinball knowledge. To get some idea what it's like, check out the trailer.

The playing time on the DVD is 70 minutes, and I would say a good 30 minutes of that is filler. There are some rough animated sequences which don't add much to the film and there is a LOT of footage from the "ball cam", a digital camera on a tiny remote control car that drives through various pinball machines, so you can see how everything works. It's definitely interesting to watch, but I'm not sure how much it helps you improve your pinball game.

The real core of the film is the instructional segments, which give you detailed instructions (using both animation and filmed demonstrations) of beginner, intermediate and advanced flipper skills. Some are simple cradles and passes, some are the craziest ball manipulations you've ever seen. Luckily, in the DVD chapters menu, you can access these sections instantly, if you want to remind yourself of some moves before you go play pinball.

There are also some cool sections on shaking, slapping and hitting the machine, to achieve certain moves WITHOUT tilting the machine. Plus there are specific tips and tricks for a number of popular pinball machines that you might come across in your travels. All in all, I'd say it's definitely worth it if you are currently OBSESSED with pinball (like I am), but might be a little boring if you are just casually interested.

So anyway, Jon and Max and I watched the movie and then the next day we went to play some pinball. It was REALLY HARD. Watching this DVD made me realize that we have been flipping at the ball randomly, just trying to keep it from draining, without any real knowledge of what we were doing. After watching Pinball 101, we now had tips on how to slow down and control the ball, aim it and then shoot it at a target, but to do so suddenly meant THINKING a lot more, which was really hard.

The ball is coming (FAST) and you have to think, "UH... which cradling move would work well here?" So while we might have had a few bad games, it's an investment in new skills which will no doubt pay off in spades later on. In fact, today, I broke my high score on the Episode I pinball machine, getting 125 million points and "J-E" on the third round of minigames. It's still 9 million short of Jon's current Grand Champion score, but it's a step in the right direction! Here's hoping for bigger and better things as we work on the new moves!

1 comment on this entry

that trailer is INTENSE! it did make me want to play pinball, I'll have to track some down in Chicago. I can't believe you've been getting those scores without utilizing some fancy moves.

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