Pinball Construction Set

I tried to find a version with more colors, but the Internet just wouldn’t budge.

Review Date: January 26, 2021

Release Date: That day on the calendar in 1983

Platform: Atari 800

Developer: Electronic Arts

Genre: Creation

Do you think having eight balls on the table is a bit much?

Anecdotes: Wait, this game came out in 1983? I swear I was still playing it in 1985, even later. I played this quite a bit. As a kid, this allowed me to subvert all of the basic tropes of pinball; there were no limits to what I could make. I made unloseable tables, ridiculous bumper traps, empty tables, flippers everywhere, and my personal favorite, a table loaded with ball holders to put tons of balls of it. I took two permanent things from this game: the word “Bonusx,” which I still intentionally mispronounce to rhyme with Starbucks, and the 2 color scheme. When I did a little Internet research, I noticed that we had an IBM copy of the game. Some are black and white, some are full color, but ours was just black, white, and two other colors. Go figure.

Description: The game is essentially video pinball. The experience varies widely in the creative genre, but the idea is to make a table and play it.

There are the tools; have at it!

Positives: The sounds are a bit goofy, but charming enough.

Negatives: This is quite the disappointment. The memories I had were the IBM version, which blows this one away. First off, there’s a colored border, but everything else is black and white. There aren’t even shades. It’s just two colors. The Atari 800 is capable of much more and much better. Empty space is black, objects are white, but when two objects collide, they show up black. There really aren’t a whole lot of interesting things to choose from. The premade tables appear to be missing, so a table will have to be made in order to play. Sometimes, that just takes too long when wanting to just play pinball. After all that wait, a game is started, but players will quickly realize that the game is full of glitches. For example, the ball will be stuck on top of the ball holder or the balls that fell into the ball hole will stay on the screen. Skip this version. There are better out there.

Grade: F

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