Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Pinball Arcade Tournament Beta Impressions

2600 here taking a look at the tournament beta in Farsight Studio's The Pinball Arcade for the iOS.

Farsight has been working on a tournament mode that allows people to compete on a set group of pinball tables. For the beta, you are given a time frame where you can play the tables as many times as you want. You have to play the group of tables located in the tournament section of the menu. You can't just have your all time high score submitted (thats what leader boards are for), you have to earn it within the tournament section and timeframe. Your position in the rankings is based on how your score compares to others participating. Your position is then converted into points. Presently the lineup includes Tales of the Arabian Nights, Ripley's Believe it or Not, Black Hole, Theater of Magic, and Big Shot. Pretty straight forward.

Farsight has been doing a good job making tweaks and improvements with each tournament. First, they have fixed some of the issues with scores being uploaded. I took part in the first public beta and had quite a few issues with my scores properly uploading. I played all the included tables multiple times and still finished with an overall score of 0 points. So far with this current beta I have had no issues with my scores uploading. Second, it is nice that, just like with the leader boards you can cycle between overall standings and my score. Farsight's data system is also pretty fast and updates about every 5 minutes.

Personally, I would love to see the option to start your own tournaments work their way into the final version. It would be great to be able to set the tables, the timeframe, and even who could play. This could possibly be done how a lot of multiplayer computer games are done. You could create a tournament, set the parameters, and attach a password so only those you want to play can play. Another possibility could be through invites through Facebook. Either way, being able to set up an Arcade Hunters tournament would be pretty sweet.

I have been enjoying playing in the tournament beta. I feel that this new mode will breath some fresh air into The Pinball Arcade. Personally it has given me a reason to play some of the pinball tables I have overlooked. Tournaments also provide another reason to come back and play besides just beating a personal high score or your Facebook friends high scores. For me, it provides some fun tournament playing to fill the void between actual in arcade tournaments. Which brings me to a point I feel I need to make. As awesome as this is, it is in no way a replacement for an actual pinball tournament. Nothing can beat being amongst other people, competing, trading tips, and interacting with some of the best players in the world. With that said, this does fill the void between tournaments and could possibly become something that is played at live gaming events if the feature to create and run your own tournament makes it into the final version. Either way, Farsight seems to be working hard to raise the bar (again) for virtual pinball.


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