58 - Pinball Dreams (Amiga)

Easily one of my most-played Amiga games, Pinball Dreams is still my gold standard when it comes to videogame pinball. Its own sequels offered more tables and increasingly enhanced visuals, but the basic feel of them remained the same - which is to say that the ball behaviour and control felt absolutely right - for a videogame. It also helps that I love every one of the tables on offer here.

This was the Amiga at its best. Colourful, detailed graphics that moved at speed perfectly smoothly, a collection of great tunes that not only complemented the tables but - importantly - didn't grate over time, and an essential responsiveness of control. Other pinball games have come along in the meantime but every one I've tried has left me cold in one way or another. Some fail on the physics, some try to merge the worlds of pinball and videogames and fail to do justice to either. Pinball Dreams and its sequels have a feel all their own... an ideal fusion of the game of pinball and the interface and visuals of a computer game. My own experience of real pinball has unfortunately mostly been the victim of wonky, ill-maintained tables lurking in pub corners, so Pinball Dreams always provided a comfy guarantee on that score.

I still play it regularly, and I even fire up the Amiga and load up my still-working discs from over a decade ago - trying to best the 'Graveyard' highscore my best friend thoughtfully saved onto my high-score table.

One day...!

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