The Top Ten Video Pinball Games in the History of the Universe (Part 3 of 10)

By: Krooze L-Roy

Click HERE for the Rest of the List

#8 – Kirby’s Pinball Land

Admit it. You suck at pinball. It’s not your fault, really. Pinball hates you. You might be on fire for your first ball, and then right when you start to think you’ve got it all figured out – SDTM (for you pinball neophytes, that’s when your ball goes Straight Down The Middle, without you even having a chance to hit it). Just a fluke, you say, as you pull the plunger back on your final ball. SDTM. Fuck. It can get frustrating.

Kirby has always been the slut of the videogame world. The slumpbuster. When Jaquio sends you back to level 6-1… when Bowser cockblocks you from getting some time alone with the Princess…when Pinky and Blinky double team you half an inch away from that last pac-pellet; there’s always Kirby, with open arms, ready to take you in. He’d always put up just enough of a struggle to make it worth it, just enough to make you say “see, I am good at videogames.”

Based upon this long-winded introduction, you can probably guess what the first thing I’m going to say about Kirby’s Pinball Land will be – it’s easy. Even in the off chance that you’re your ball does manage to go SDTM, get this; that’s not necessarily the end of that ball (and when I say, “ball,” I of course mean Kirby himself). There’s a brief timing-based challenge every time the ball – uh, Kirby, goes down the tubes, enabling you to reverse his momentum and fling him back up into the action. You can do this at least a couple of times (with increasing difficulty) before the game risks making you cry by finally ending your ball. There’s also a save feature in the game, and believe me, you’d be well advised to use it, otherwise you could be playing all night on a single credit.

Even without these features though, the game would still be pretty easy. Kirby moves rather slowly (typical Kirby speed) and the game is pretty generous about giving you extra balls. Table nudging is also fairly easy to pull off, though it’s rarely necessary.

But, as with most Kirby games, the low difficulty does little to diminish the fun factor. The three tables (which are all three Gameboy screens high) are fairly wide open (some would say barren), and while there’s little to distinguish the tables thematically, each individual screen offers a unique challenge. There are also boss battles, and some of these are actually fairly challenging. Hey, it can’t all be milk and honey, even with Kirby.

Best Table: Wispy

Also check out: Revenge of the Gator. This was Kirby creator Hal’s first attempt at tackling the silver ball for the old monochromatic Gameboy, and a lot of the ideas that would be later used in Pinball Land originated here. RooG is a bit more of a serious take on pinball, albeit with a lighthearted and original alligator theme. It’s also about ten times harder than Kirby’s game, which is a good thing for when Kirby’s rotund body, which was providing you with immense pleasure mere moments earlier, suddenly fills you with guilt and disgust. Hey, we’ve all been there.

Click HERE for the Rest of the List

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~ by Krooze L-Roy on September 17, 2007.

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