The Kinetics of Pinball

The man behind such pinball greats as Fun House, the Addams Family and The Twilight Zone, Pat Lawlor, recently sat down with Gamasutra to discuss the history and design of pinball games.

The interview covers a bunch of topics, but most interesting is Lawlor's take on pinball kinetics.

There are obviously many aspects involved in kinetics. Every designer has differing goals for the "feel" of the game. Usually these goals are a result of the kinds of games the designers like personally.

Things to consider are, in no particular order:

1) Middle shots are easier for beginners.
2) How to mix stop and go shots with nice return flow shots.
3) How fast is the overall game? Very fast games are very difficult for beginners.
4) When a shot is missed, what happens to the ball? Is it a bad, clunky thing? Does the ball come back in my face?
5) Are these shots just "there," or do they represent something from the theme?

All of this talk about kinetics got me to thinking about how very different video game development it must be to design a pinball title. These people have to think about machinery, automation, physical player space, not to mention fun.

GameSetInterview: 'Rudy's Father Speaks - The Pat Lawlor Interview' [Gamasutra]


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