A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Pinball Arcade is a pinball game that features authentic recreations of real tables from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and the '00s. Not only do they feature accurate physics, they also perfectly recreate the looks and sounds of these tables. But because some of these pinball machines were made more for bars than arcades, some tables are not for younger kids, especially kids who might be scared by pictures of Dracula, monsters, aliens, or Elvira. Though some versions of this game come with a bunch of tables, others are actually free, but you have to buy the tables either individually or as a "season" set. You can also play these table against others via your system's online service, which can expose them to inappropriate content.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
THE PINBALL ARCADE brings back the fun of vintage pinball tables by perfectly recreating tables from the 1960s up through the 2000s. With more than 50 tables to chose from, all boasting realistic physics, authentic visuals, and sound effects, this has something for both hard-core pin-heads as well as someone who's never known the joy of flipping a flipper. It also offers brief histories on the tables, as well as the option to purchase newly recreated pinball machines on a regular basis. Though some versions of the game (such as the PS4 one) come with a dozen or so tables, other versions (such as the Xbox One edition) are free but only come with one table, so users will have to purchase and download ones they like.
Is it any good?
For serious pinball fans, The Pinball Arcade is a digital dream. Not only does it bring back the fun of classic pinball tables from the '60s up to the '00s, but it does so with the real physics, mechanics, and sound effects intact. It also offers a wide variety, as currently more than 50 tables are available, with more being added all the time. They even include little histories on each table, with fun facts for fans. You also can try out these new tables for free on some systems. But the real fun comes when you pull back the plunger and let the balls fly like you did when you were a kid -- or last week when you went to that new arcade and pizza restaurant that just opened.
That said, The Pinball Arcade isn’t without flaws. For starters, many of these tables were designed to get all your quarters, so the difficulty level on some of them can be rather steep. Also, because the original tables didn't let you turn the music down or off, you can't do that with these versions either, which can be kind of annoying when you're playing a table with particularly bad or just dated music. The game's menus also are a bit unwieldy if you own more than a dozen tables. These are minor issues for pinball fans or players curious about these machines, and the depth of The Pinball Arcade makes this a fun way to pass the time with friends and family, without having to rely on a change machine.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how pinball can be fun and challenging without being violent, story-driven, or even competitive. Can you think of reasons why more pinball games aren't made?
Families can talk about the role pinball played in the history of video games. How do you think pinball games led us to arcade games?
Families can talk about the role pinball played in their lives. Does anyone have fond memories of going to an arcade to play pinball? Is there somewhere near you that has real pinball machines you can play?
- Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Xbox One, iPhone, iPod
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: FarSight Studios
- Release date: April 23, 2015
- Genre: Arcade
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: November 01, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.