Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New STAR WARS Pinball Tables coming from Zen Studios

I've appreciated playing a good game of pinball on a "real machine" since my college days where I diverted a lot of quarters from my laundry money to the Star Wars pinball machine in my college dorm's student lounge.  Unfortunately, it can be cost or space prohibitive to own one in your own home, and you don't see pin ball machines featured at restaurants, movie theaters and other public establishments to play when you are out and about as much as you used to.  In fact there are only 2 manufacturers left of traditional pinball machines, long time manufacturer STERN (whose current table models include Avengers, Star Trek, Transformers, and the Ford Mustang themes) and a new start up company called Jersey Jack Pinball that has the licenses to create Wizard of OZ and Hobbit branded ones.  If you can't play the real thing you may want to check out the video game versions.

One of the leaders in producing digital pinball games is ZEN STUDIOS.  Zen Studios has the license for Marvel Comics and has made some great themed boards for Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, Spiderman & Wolverine).  They also have the license for STAR WARS which I wrote about in an earlier post.  I've downloaded their Star Wars pinball tables on my iPhone and iPad (one complaint is that you can't download compatible tables for each ios format and have to buy the same table twice if you want to be able to play it on both devices) and have found them a fun way to pass some time.  They've had two releases of games so far with each generation of the game being enhanced with new features to make it more fun to play than the previous ones.  The first round of games featured one of my favorite Star Wars characters (Boba Fett),  my least favorite part of Star Wars (The Clones Wars) and the best Star Wars movie (Empire Strikes Back) themed pinball boards.  The second round featured some really impressive boards that included Darth Vader, Xwings versus Tie Fighters, and Return of the Jedi.  Now a third and final round of games is scheduled to come out for Spring 2014 that look to be the most impressive yet.

The new round of pin ball tables by Zen Studios will be titled "STAR WARS PINBALL: HEROES WITHIN" will feature FOUR brand new games with Han Solo, Droids: The Adventures of R2D2 & C3PO, Masters of the Force and Episode IV: A New Hope themes.  From the teasers I've seen they are going to feature more 3D character interactions than past games and a new in-table mini game feature that look really impressive.  The STAR WARS PINBALL: HEROES WITHIN games will be available for Playstation 4, Playstation 3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Steam, IOS, Google Play, Amazon, and the Mac App Store.  The actual release date and information on some of the pinball tables has yet to be announced yet so keep an eye out for game teasers and the date when they will go on sale.

Some images and video of the HAN SOLO game have been made public and it looks to be a blast to play. The game leads off with the famous movie line by the character, "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side", so you know you're in for some classic Star Wars fun.  Include the games theme music as the Cantina Band from the original Star Wars movie and scenes of Chewbacca jumping across the table interacting with your game and this pinball action looks to be a wild ride!

The Episode IV game looks to be geared towards die-hard Star Wars fans too with lots of 3D elements taken from the movie and a great mini-game featuring the trash compactor scene from the Death Star. Check out these screen captures:

This screen capture from Droids also has a classic Star Wars vibe to it:

* Screen captures courtesy of Zen Studios and LucasArts for game promotional purposes.

If you enjoy pinball and appreciate the classic Star Wars movies and characters you'll absolutely want to check out these new Zen Studios games coming out soon. Check out this video trailer from AOL for the new Episode IV: A New Hope pinball game and for more information, visit:  www.starwarspinball.com

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