BlahCade 271: Top 10 Zen Originals We Always Play

Jared Morgan Jared Morgan Follow Jan 21, 2024 · 5 mins read
BlahCade 271: Top 10 Zen Originals We Always Play
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They may not be the best, and they may not be our favorites, but these are the top 10 Zen Originals we always have a game or two on when booting up Pinball FX.

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Show notes

Here are our Top 10 Zen Originals that we naturally always play

Epic Quest

For Chris, this could be a real pinball table. There aren’t many fantasy effects elements on it that couldn’t be done in real-world pinball.

For Jared, the humorous and light-hearted theme makes it very accessible. The callouts don’t get tired even after hearing them for the 10th time, and the game has depth if you want to get to the wizard mode.

Wild West Rampage

Chris admits he isn’t good at this table, but this is very Addams Family in its layout.

For me, the mini playfield is the fun part of this game. It’s a spell-o-rama of doom, but you can shoot happily away on it. Just not for that long before you want to move on to something else.

Jurassic Park

Chris and I love the callouts, and the layout of this table has fun, flowy shots. You can just step up and play this as it lies and not have to think that much.

This reminds me of the Data East pinball of the same name but with more fun rules. I didn’t include this because I only focused on the Zen Originals category in the game. Still, I would have definitely put this on my list.

Curse of the Mummy

I love this game because of the upper playfields and their fun bash toys. The modes are a light version of spell-o-rama (about three shots a piece), but they are stackable. And you can stack them in Multiball, which causes chaos on the playfield and creates compelling scoring opportunities.

Chris made the point that the camera zoom does take you out of the moment, so cabinet play might be a bit strange unless they have addressed this issue.

South Park: Butters

Chris just loves Butters as a character, which flows into his love for the table. Accurate voice callouts from the game and key memes from the show are present.

I would step up to Butters if presented with South Park and Butters side-by-side. This table shows a deep understanding of a character in a franchise and how the table producer can dive deep into that universe.

A Samurai’s Vengeance

This was my pick because it looks incredible. It does have its challenges with the entry into the upper playfield from the sheath. This table is like the Bally The Champion Pub table, but with Samurai.

Chris' dislike for mini-playfields sours this one for him, and I take on his point that the entry to the upper playfield from the lower mini-playfield is frustrating until you can dial in the shot. You can’t trap and shoot, so it feels like you are monkey-flipping up there in some cases.

Castle Storm

Chris loves the great lighting but still has no clue what’s happening. The game has some strange angles and odd shots for Chris, but he still loves it despite these criticisms. It is a spell-o-rama, but the rules tell you how to get the most out of it. Chris has no issue with the mini-playfield on this table, which is saying something.


I’m so glad that this table has made a return. With the new lick of paint and time to review the rules (which you need to do), it is a really satisfying table to sit down with and progress.

Sorcerer’s Lair

Everyone knows this table, and the rules are well-explained in the rulesheet. But the difference here is that the on-playfield rules are very well explained through visual extras instead of insert lights. It is easy to learn but quite hard to master.

Chris just can’t get into this table. Even though he’s played it since Pinball FX2, he still can’t get into it.

Verne’s Mysterious Island

This game is great in Time Challenge mode. This gameplay mode is an excellent way to get your head around the rules, and after you get your head around it, you want to explore it more in regular modes.

But it does have its issues. Small and uninformative insert lights and indistinct callouts like "catch those critters" don’t help with table comprehension. You need to memorize the rules for this one, and the playfield lights and callouts trigger that recall rather than lay out the shots you need to make.

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