Electron User1st July 1987
Published in Electron User 4.10
It is good to see more firms getting involved in budget priced software and Alternative Software have now joined this growth industry with a pin-table simulation.
Just as on a real pin-table, the controls are simple. The spacebar is used for the plunger which pushes the ball onto the table. The speed of the ball can be varied by adjusting the time you hold down the spacebar. Once in play, the ball bounces off the various obstacles.
These obstructions not only decide your score, but make rapid changes to the speed and direction of the ball. When it falls to the bottom of the table, you can push it back using Z and ? keys that control the left and right flippers.
With subtle use of the flippers, you can aim the ball to the bonus channel at the left of the screen. Success will cause mayhem to break out as numbers and colours flash everywhere and a bonanza of sound occurs. You should also aim to get the ball to pass through each of the channels at the top of the table so that the letters B, O, N, U and S all change colour and give your score a healthy boost.
Inevitably, the ball will either fall down one of the drains at the side - you can do nothing about this - or you'll miss a ball with your flippers. In either case you can now move on to your next ball.
Altogether you get five balls, and the game is for up to four players. Each competitor uses one ball in turn and all aim to reach the high score table.The nature of a pin-table does not make for exciting animated graphics. Video Pinball has a tidy screen and the simplicity of the action makes for smooth but rapid movement. You can slow the game if you wish by selecting the BBC Micro option.
The choice of colour - white ball on a yellow background - is poor, both in colour and black and white. Sound effects are rather good. The bleeps and buzzes have an authentic flavour, but there should be an option to turn them off. No method exists within this software, although *FX210,1 before loading will kill all sound.
I have one criticism of the pin-table - it is not possible to catch a ball on the flippers to get real control over direction. That apart, Video Pinball is a good simulation and quite addictive. The style of the software is somewhat dated, but at £1.99 represents good value for money.