A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Some tables have images of the occult or partying.
Positive Role Models
No role models since this is pinball, but while playing you may defeat monsters, aliens, vampires, Terminators.
Ease of Play
Simple controls, easy to learn.
Violence & Scariness
Game is nonviolent, though some tables are based on scary movies such as Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Bram Stoker's Dracula, and some are inspired by haunted houses, aliens, and The Twilight Zone TV show.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two tables -- "Scared Stiff" and "Elvira and the Party Monsters" -- feature ample cleavage, tongue-in-cheek jokes about TV host Elvira.
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Double-entendre humor of TV host Elvira.
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Products & Purchases
Offers new tables for sale on a regular basis, a Harley Davidson table, and a table based on gambling.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.