GamesBeat

Pro Pinball shoots into modern age with a little help from designers of the past (UPDATED)

Image Credit: Silverball Studios

Some of the world’s pinball greats have taken to Kickstarter to revive the classic video game series, Pro Pinball.

Released in 1995, the original four tables have sold over three million copies across different platforms. Now Adrian Barritt — a key member of the original gamemaker, Cunning Developments — and his team at Silverball Studios (formerly Fuse Games) have bought back the rights to the successful series and plan to resurrect it with the help of two pinball experts, Pat Lawlor and John Youssi.

Lawlor is the creator of the best-selling table The Addams Family, which has produced 20,270 units; and the most highly rated electronic pinball machine, The Twilight Zone. He’s designing a new table for the series.

“Being involved with this project is hugely exciting,” said Lawlor. “Without the usual economic constraints of the real world, I can explore design strategies that would normally be impossible.”

Youssi's work on Medieval MadnessYoussi — who made the backglass artwork for The Addams Family, The Twilight Zone, and Medieval Madness (pictured left) — is contributing a new backglass design to the game, which the developer hopes to release by October 2013.

Silverball Studios are also remastering the original four tables: The Web, Timeshock! (see the new work-in-progress below), Big Race USA, and Fantastic Journey. Expected release dates are February, April, June, and August of next year, respectively. These will appear on PC, Mac, and iOS, with other platforms coming later — including Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, Wii U, 3DS, PS Vita, Android, and Ouya.

“I think Pro Pinball’s trademark is quality before quantity,” Adrian Barritt, the chief executive officer of Silverball, told GamesBeat. “When Pro Pinball first came out, there were no other arcade games, pinball or not, that ran perfectly smoothly at the resolutions Pro Pinball did. To this day, the 1600 x 1200 resolution visuals we created over a decade ago haven’t been topped in many peoples’ minds. We also created an incredibly realistic simulation to go with those visuals, which is the heart of a decent pinball game. These two things, coupled with detailed and refined table design — like those [the manufacturer] Williams used to make — created a series of games that were and are to many still top of the genre.

“Although what we did back in the nineties has stood the test of time very well, there is so much more we can do now with today’s technology,” he said. “We can make the visuals virtually indistinguishable from the real thing and much more animated. On top of that, the simulation can be improved even further, and I see no reason why these virtual tables can’t play identically to real tables. The prospect of a new table is very exciting indeed.”

The company needs to raise $400,000 by October 5 for the campaign to be successful. Notable rewards for backers include signed box copies of the new and classic tables, the opportunity to appear on Youssi’s backglass, a special T-shirt, metal-plated pin-badges, and more.

Founded in 2002, Silverball Studios has developed pinball games such as Mario Pinball Land, Metroid Prime Pinball, Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon, and Frogger Pinball.


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