Zen Pinball's Most Wanted
September 22, 2014
Zen Studios has created something special with its Zen Pinball / Pinball FX platform, and thanks to our modern day system of buying downloadable expansions, the company can offer up new tables on a regular basis. In addition to original tables like Paranormal and Sorcerer's Mansion, Zen has created some amazing pinball tables based on popular franchises such as Star Wars, The Walking Dead, Street Fighter II, and the many properties under the Marvel Comics banner. That's all well and good, but I have a few suggestions for new table collections. Allow me to share the top five pinball table sets on my personal wish list.
Zen already has an arrangement with Capcom to license Street Fighter II, so why not take the next step and produce a Mega Man table? I envision a single table loaded up with encounters with Robot Masters rendered up in full 3D glory so they can move around the table as objectives change. Complete missions to earn new "weapons" which are worth point multipliers. Perhaps spelling out the letters B-A-S-S triggers a multiball mode. It all builds up to a battle against Dr. Wily as the final challenge, and I'm counting on the whole experience to include remixed arrangements of the franchise's best music.
FOX Animation Domination
Just as a deal to produce Star Wars pinball tables led to an entire series of unique experiences, I envision a collection of tables based on the animated properties airing on the FOX network. I imagine a table featuring The Simpsons centering around life in Springfield and showcasing its memorable locations such as the nuclear power plant, the elementary school, and Moe's Tavern. I want a Family Guy table focusing on Brian and Stewie's many adventures. Most of all, I must have a table based on American Dad. The whole concept of missions practically writes itself as Stan Smith embarks on CIA assignments. There's plenty of opportunity here to put together memorable material.
The interactive nature of Zen's tables make a Ghostbusters installment a perfect fit. Ghosts could zip around the table at will, zigzagging from place to place as if taunting the player with the promise of points for striking one with the ball (henceforce known as "trapping"). Add in the franchise's iconic sound effects for the proton packs and other ghostbusting gear as well as appearances from the films' major antagonists including Gozer, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Terror Dogs Zuul & Vinz Clortho, and Vigo the Carpathian and I know we have a winner. Also, just an idea: Slimer multiball.
Back To The Future
Great Scott! The structure of this table is obvious: three tables, one for each film in the franchise. The first table builds towards the climax of the lightning strike at the clocktower in 1955 as the final mission with previous goals involving the Enchantment Under The Sea dance and reuniting Marty McFly's parents, while the second table focuses on the world of 2015 and all of its futuristic gimmicks. The third table, naturally, is set in 1885 and concludes with the train hijacking necessary to accelerate the DeLorean up to speed to return to 1985. If Zen really wanted to get fancy, they could reskin the tables each time the setting changes; the table based on Back To The Future II could sport looks based on 2015, Biff Tannen's 1985A, and 1955 depending on when each mission takes place. I want bonus points for knocking Biff into a manure truck.
Above all else, I want Zen and the BBC to team up to create a Doctor Who table. I've been wishing for this one for years and have even pitched it to Zen staff during interviews. The possibilities are limitless; Zen could produce one table per Doctor or focus on tables for the Doctor and his enemies, and of course we can't leave out the companions. Picture a Dalek invasion table where hazards are constantly trying to exterminate the ball. Let's see a table where the Cybermen are on the march across the table and smacking one is worth points. How about an appearance from the Weeping Angels where the creatures move towards the drain whenever the ball is rolling away from them? Maybe we can go totally crazy with a table that allows for thirteen balls of play, one for each regeneration. And, of course, the ball must be launched into action with a shove of the sonic screwdriver. C'mon, Zen, put in a call to the BBC and make this one happen!