Out of enough submissions to make your head spin, this was the best.
The Samurai of Pinball
By Vitor Takayanagi
Since the announcement of the contest, I’ve been thinking about a different type of game to make use of the Revolution controller, since RPG, Adventure, RTS, FPS, etc were already analyzed by many. So I came upon two types of games that I really like and weren’t analyzed: Puzzles and Pinballs. I’m particularly fonder of Puzzles than Pinball, but I couldn’t think of any good or original ways to use to the Revolution controller in a Puzzle game. So I looked at Pinball games and one idea came to my mind: What if the controller were the flipper? A single Flipper in your hands to hit the ball in any direction you want? So here is it: The Samurai of Pinball.
Before I explain the Gameplay concept, I would like to tell the tremendously nonsense story I made: Will (random name I just picked), one of the greatest Pinball gamers ever, was playing an old Pinball machine in an Arcade, when suddenly a lightning bolt broke through the ceiling and hit him and the machine. When he wakes up he is inside a gigantic Pinball machine holding in his hands one sword that resembles a Flipper. He starts walking and a strange invisible wall blocks his way; he is trapped inside a small area. Then a voice is heard: “Do you think you’re good enough to Pinball?” Then the ball is shot inside the table and goes straight his way – and so the game starts.
As the story progresses, Will meets other Pinballers trapped inside this Pinball World and they must find the truth behind this world – they must find the God of Pinball, the one who controls the Pinball World.
The Story is not going to be the strong point of this game. Actually, my idea is that the Story becomes so nonsense that you just stop and say “What?”
Gameplay and Controls:
OK, how does this game work? Simply put, you play as Will inside the Pinball table, in a third-person view, hitting the Pinball in any direction you want, making points. There is a delimited area in which Will will be able to move (the Moving Area), and that area is near the out-hole. Well, it’s where the Flippers used to be, but the only Flipper is Will’s sword.
As you probably notated, Will’s sword is the Revolution controller itself, and after any movements you make with the controller, Will repeats your move, hitting the ball in any direction you want. Depending on the way you hit the ball, it goes in a different direction and with a different effect. For example, if you hit the ball with a right-to-left horizontal move, the ball will go to the left; if you add a twist, it may gain an effect and make a curve in its trajectory. That way, you would have an absolute control over the ball, sending it wherever you like – and mastering effects would help hitting a specific bumper to get even more points. You would also have to hit the ball in order to keep it from falling in the out-hole – like any other pinball game.
What if you don’t hit the ball and the ball hits you? Well, Will loses some life points, and when they reach zero, you lose. And some different effects may happen depending on the ball – a very heavy ball would run over Will and go straight to the out-hole; a light one would be bounced back to the table.
That’s how you hit the ball, but it’s not just that. This game would use the nunchuk-analog-control accessory to move Will inside the area where he is trapped, and the size of the area would vary from table to table. You would want to move Will to throw the ball at different spots and to get more freedom to protect the ball from falling in the out-hole.
The buttons would be used this way:
Now let’s see the Gameplay’s aspects part by part:
Flipper : It’s a sword, really. It may not seem so original, but it’s a sword imitating the shape of a Pinball Flipper. But there wouldn’t be just one kind of Flipper; as the game progresses, more types became available like a longer-but-weaker Flipper or a larger-but-unable-to-do-effects-on-the-ball Flipper.
Ball : It’s a gigantic Pinball. In Story Mode each table would feature a different ball, in which you would have to pick the best Flipper to use on each ball, according to your strategy. Different balls react differently to the way you hit them and to the way they hit Will. For an example, a heavy ball goes slower and doesn’t get many effects, but it’s easier for you to follow its moves and it gets more points on some types bumpers; and so on.
Tables : Like any other Pinball game, there would be many different tables, with a large amount of variances besides the usual “amount of stuff you can hit with the ball”, such as larger out-hole, slippery floor, more than one out-hole, teleporters (for the ball and for you), and so on. Also, each table features a different Moving Area. There are also two different Tables from the usual inclined tables, they are:
Moving Area : As explained, it is the area where Will can move inside the table, varying from table to table. For example, the slippery table would have a bigger area, so you can move more and slip more, and so on. Some tables would even feature a “free area”, where you can go anywhere you want.
Out-hole : Where you lose the balls. Depending on the table, it may have more than one. Also, depending on the stage, it varies how many balls you can lose in the out-hole.
Bumpers and friends : They give you points. I don’t want to explain each type there is, but the idea is that there would be as many types as possible, varying from table to table.
Plunger : It’s what launches the ball into the table. To throw a Ball in the game, hold the D-Pad down as long as you want and release it – the more you hold, the stronger it comes.
Power Shot : Pressing the A button while hitting the ball gives you a Power Shot; the Power Shot would vary for each Pinballer, and you can use only three times each table/stage. Will’s Power Shot would be a basic straight-line-very-strong-shot that could even break a bumper, if well targeted, for example.
Tilting : Tilting the table is part of playing Pinball, without it just wouldn’t be Pinball. But how do you tilt inside the table? Simple, just hit the floor with your Flipper. If you hit it to your right, you shake the ball to the right; if you hit it to your left, you shake the ball to the left; if you hit it in front of you, the ball goes forward. But to prevent you to accidentally tilting, you must press and hold the B button when hitting the floor. Also, each type of Flipper has an amount of tilts it can hold, as hitting the table wears off the Flipper. If you tilt too much, your Flipper breaks and you lose the round, since you won’t be able to hit the ball.
Running : If the table features a big enough Moving Area, running becomes necessary, as you would be moving more. That’s basically it, hold Z1 button to run.
Targeting : Pressing and holding Z2 button makes Will stop and hold the Flipper with both hands, so you can make a more precise hit on the ball, in order to send it in a specific direction. The only problem is that Will gets less versatile, running the risk of being hit by the ball and you lose the ability to make great effects.
Views : The game would feature two different views: Out-hole View and Upper View. In Out-hole View the camera would be on top of the Out-hole and behind Will. It would move horizontally automatically following Will. In Upper view the camera is outside the table, it’s the normal view you have of a Pinball table, moving vertically following the ball. Since both views are useful during the game, pressing Select sweeps between both views.
Pinballers : Will is the main character, but as games progresses you meet others who were trapped in Pinball World as well. They are selectable in Battle Mode and Free Mode, and some of them have their own Story Mode, different of Will’s. Will would be the basic well-balanced character, but others would differ in aspects such as speed, strength, precision, technique, Power Shots, life points and even special exclusive Flippers for each one. This is how the Pinballers’ aspects work:
Game Modes : The game would present three game modes: Story Mode, Free Mode and Battle Mode, besides an Option Menu and a Scores Menu.
The Stages: Each one would have a different mission, and they make sense in the Story – each one is a step to prove yourself to meet the God of Pinball. I know, this don’t make much sense, but the story is just for fun, not to solve the problems of mankind. I haven’t thought all the missions, but here are some of them: Getting a certain amount of points within a time limit; Hitting specific bumpers in a specific order; Surviving against a torrent of balls; Breaking some parts of the table to unveil some secret; Avoiding some bumpers as they lower your score; Get five balls in the table at the same time (through score and special features of the table); Hit the ball an specific amount of times and get a minimum amount of points; Play only by Tilting until you break inside the table; and so on.
Boss Stages: Out of the fifteen Stages, at least eight would feature a boss or just be a Boss Battle right from the beginning, and some of the bosses are Pinballers you unlock for the other modes. And each boss would have a different way of being defeated, for example: Hitting certain parts of his body; Using Tilting to drop him down on the floor (and them you hit them with the ball); A Goal Battle (explained in Battle Mode); A Score Battle (explained in Battle Mode); Reflecting the ball (a la Phantom Ganon); A Ball-Boss that follows you and you have to knock it in specific bumpers; etc.
As the Story progresses, different tables, Flippers, balls and Pinballers would be unlocked for the other modes. After you complete the game once, other Stories would become available, where you play as others Pinballers, with different tables, different missions, different unlockables and a different version of the Story.
Score Attack: Go for the highest score with three start balls, and you get more as your score rises, it’s classical pinball.
Time Attack: You have unlimited balls, but you have a time limit to high score – when the time is up, your Pinballer stops moving and you just wait as your last ball falls in the out-hole (any points this last ball gets are still added to your score).
Kamikaze Attack: Only one ball (and no more than one), your Pinballer can only be hit once and you can only tilt once (second time you tilt your flipper breaks, no matter what) – just for fun.
Goal Battle : The objective is only one: make the ball inside your opponent’s outhole, using the bumpers and tilts to trick the opponent and score. It could be played with a time limit, a score limit or a ball limit. You also could manage how many balls would be on the table at once (up to five), so the game gets more chaotic.
Score Battle : Your objective is to make more points than your opponent. But there is a trick to it: each player has a personal ball, and every time you hit your ball, every point from “bumpers and friends” would be added to your score– but every time your opponent hits your ball, every point from “bumpers and friends” would be subtracted from your score. There is one more thing: each ball can only fall in the owner’s outhole – if you let your opponent’s ball fall in your outhole, he gets a new ball in the Plunger, and he doesn’t loses anything.
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