Pokémon Pinball: that's how great retro fun is for GBC today!

Pokémon Pinball: that's how great retro fun is for GBC today!

Pokémon Pinball

In 2000, the Pokémon hype was in full swing, so Nintendo was not content with just continuing the conventional role-playing game series, but also launched various pocket monster spin-offs. One of them was Pokémon Pinball; after the title Pokémon Trading Card Game, also for the Game Boy Color, already got its well-deserved honor as a representative for games of this kind in our special on the most important Nintendo games, we're flipping through the area here in the retro area.

Table of contents

1 A new gimmick 2 Journey through Kanto 3 How do you get hold of it today? And although Pokémon Pinball is already 21 years old, i.e. it would be old enough to drink alcohol in the USA, snapping balls is still more fun than expected.

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A new gimmick

To unlock developments, you have to catch monsters and train on the board. Source: PC Games The cartridge for Pokémon Pinball is extraordinary because it needs to be fed with a battery in order to trigger rumble effects. Not really decisive, but unusual; only a few Game Boy Color games had this feature. But now to the game itself: In Pokémon Pinball, your goal is to complete the Pokédex, at this point it still consisted of "only" 151 pocket monster entries. To go on the hunt, you first choose between two game boards, blue and red. The pinball machines differ in structure, appearance and the way in which areas have to be hit. On the red board, for example, you have to maneuver the ball past Ditto into the hole to develop Pokémon, while on the blue board you will find the area at Flegmon. As usual on a pinball table, you operate the two lower levers to move your Poké Ball across the field. If you drop the ball and the rescue timer has expired, you lose one try. Left and right of the levers a Pikachu guards the abyss, if the ball lands on his head, the pocket monster sends him back into play with a shock of thunder.

Journey through Kanto

The high score is important , but the real goal is to complete the Pokédex. Source: PC Games Your destinations are chosen at random. At the pinball table nothing changes when you visit different cities, but the selection of Pokémon depends on where you are. At the beginning you can start in Lavandia or in Alabastia, but you will only reach some places after you have successfully continued your journey, including the Indigo Plateau - where there are of course rarer Pokémon to be caught! To bag the monsters, you first have to activate the catching mechanism on the board. On the red pinball machine, for example, Sarzenia has to swallow your ball. Then you have to hit the bumper six times to reveal the Pokémon, and then poke the animal on the board until it sucks. Although the game is over after a game over, i.e. the loss of the last ball, unlocked Pokémon remain in the Pokédex, so this is about long-term motivation when uncovering all 151 entries.

Double Pikachu is a Random bonus where two Pikachus save your balls for a while. Source: PC Games So that the whole thing is not too easy, you have to be nimble and carry out certain actions on the pinball machine within time windows in order to travel further and thus continue playing. As charming as the implementation and as indestructible the game principle is, the physics of the ball is not completely convincing, which will probably bother pinball professionals in particular and less Pokémon fans who otherwise have no contact with the "genre". In any case, there is a lot in Pokémon Pinball, namely not only the 151 monsters, but also some bonus stages and nice details. For example, when Pikachu uses the thunder shock, he lets out his familiar voice from the anime!

How do you get hold of it today?

To catch Pigeon, we have to hit it with the Poké Ball within the time window. Source: PC Games Pokémon Pinball received good reviews worldwide, despite the sometimes idiosyncratic physics of the ball. Today, however, it is not that easy to get hold of the game - Nintendo has not yet published it again, so the entry for the title on the publisher's website does not even have a screenshot, only the Game Boy Logo illustrated. All that remains is to use original hardware, and that can be more expensive than the roughly five euros that a virtual console title from this era usually costs. You need a functional Game Boy Color and the module, as usual, depends on the degree of preservation, how much money you can get rid of on the used market for shopping - anything from five to 50 euros is conceivable.

Or you play the first and the only successor to Pokémon Pinball, namely Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, which you can at least buy on Wii U and which originally comes from the Game Boy Advance. It further developed the mechanics three years after the original was released and offers Pokémon from the Hoenn region and, of course, new pinball tables. By the way, there is actually a third Pokémon Pinball game, but it is the rarest part of the trio. Pokémon Pinball Mini was also released in Germany for the tiny Pokémon Mini console, which was released in 2002, but it has little in common with the structure of the other two titles. We'd rather stay with Pikachu on the Game Boy Color!

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