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BlahCade 255: Let's Play Pinball FX and Look At Some Festering

Jared Morgan Jared Morgan Follow Feb 20, 2023 · 6 mins read
BlahCade 255: Let's Play Pinball FX and Look At Some Festering
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Whelp, PinFX is here! We look at how Zen went about their "festering" of Bally’s The Addams Family and discuss some of the tweaks made from Early Access. Then we play a bit of pinball, mainly the two new Gearbox titles being Borderlands: Vault Hunter and Brothers in Arms: Win the War pinball.

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Show notes

03:00 - Pinball FX exits early access

It has finally happened! Pinball FX is now available on Xbox and Playstation storefronts.

The tickets we saw in Early Access are now coins. The coins can be used to purchase both the Pinball Pass and for trinkets to decorate your Pin Cave.

There is also a new tutorial that guides you through the opening elements of the game and the new platform features.

There is also a new musical piece that plays at the end of your game that sounds like it shares elements from the Tears for Fears song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World".

The first batch of Marvel tables is available in Pinball FX, and our first thoughts are that they do have improvements implemented. Titles like Doctor Strange have noticeable improvements to shot selection in the game.

11:00 - How did Zen "fester" Uncle Fester

The term festering we use in this segment refers to a practice Farsight Studios used when they couldn’t get the likenesses of certain actors or licenses to show certain art assets that featured in pinball machines.

The technique modified a given image "just enough" that it meant the licensors couldn’t make a claim on the likeness. Given the challenges securing the likeness of Christoper Lloyd’s "Uncle Fester" character, this was the first case of festering in any pinball game.

In this segment, we show the differences between the Bally table, Farsight Fester, and Zen Fester. The changes amount to line changes, different shadowing, and more wrinkles in different spots.

20:00 - Let’s Play Bally’s The Addams Family

This is where we play through Bally’s The Addams Family and show off some of the features.

There is definitely an issue with the THING mechanism timing. The game is consistently triggering a "Dirty Pool" award when the ball is transferred from the sub-playfield box up to the playfield. The issue seems to be a deliberate delay with the THING mechanism to allow the animated hand to duck under the cabinet and appear in place of the regular plastic hand.

The whole hand sequence is super slow as well, which is another example of Zen messing around with game mechanism timings as they did with drop targets on Indiana Jones.

The other issue is THING Flips. A fear we both shared was that the ROM state is not saved, and the calibration of THING Flips is directly tied to ROM state carry-over. It is unlikely that this feature will work reliably at all until the ROM state is addressed in the game.

There seems to be some stickiness in the THING entry ramp beneath the staircase ramp. It seems to be a friction issue or something simple to resolve.

29:00 - Let’s Play Marvel Pinball

There is a good roster of tables in the Marvel re-release, and we got through. As we mentioned earlier, tables like "Doctor Strange" has had some work done to improve how shot-making is called out in the game.

Let’s hope more tables in the collection can be updated in this style as well.

We play through "Doctor Strange" and "Moon Knight" in this session.

42:00 - Let’s Play Gearbox tables

Chris experiences the two new Gearbox Entertainment tables being Brothers in Arms: Win the War and Borderlands: Vault Hunter.

The first table is Brothers in Arms which is designed by Thomas Crofts This is probably one of my favorite Zen original tables in Pinball FX.

Brothers in Arms tank mode
Brothers in Arms playfield view

The second table is Borderlands. This table is designed by Zoltan Vari.

Borderlands table in multiball mode
Borderlands psycho on playfield

This game is very strange to play because it doesn’t really have any mode start hole. You have to shoot around the playfield to start modes. We really had to look at the instructions to even have a hope of understanding how this table worked.

The skill shot mechanism could be spelled-out better during gameplay. Even more frustrating is that the instructions to understand how the skill shot works are buried halfway through the embedded table guide.

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Jared Morgan
Written by Jared Morgan Follow
Technical writer, product person, VR junkie.