May 5, 2006
This is the second page of info about new Zizzle games. Click here for page 1.
So I played the new POTC game from Zizzle. Terry from Pinball Life and I paid a visit to their corporate headquarters.
We were playing their sales/engineering sample, and as a result the machine had a ton of miles on it already. I have to spot Zizzle some points because they were willing to let us touch and feel 'their baby' even though it wasn't the entirely finished product, and I'm grateful to them for the opportunity! Because this isn't the finished product, I'm going to do my standard thing of reserving judgement on how it feels until we're a bit farther down the road.
We were not allowed to photograph the machine, except for two limited shots (shown below). Sorry guys, Zizzle's house, Zizzle's rules. (In fact, originally they said I couldn't take any photographs, but I applied some peer pressure and they let me take the two pictures I did take! :) )
Zizzle's take on the machine is that it's a pinball machine that happens to be a bit smaller. And for most of their target audience, they're right. But since you are reading this on what amounts to a "pinball enthusiast" web site, we're both going to have a slightly different take on it. Zizzle is used to upselling toy buyers who normally buy Furbys, rather than downselling to pinball guys. So you really can't fault them for saying it's a real pinball machine. To them, it is. But make no mistake about it, if you expect this machine to feel just like a Williams or a Stern, it just isn't going to happen. It's still a toy, and that idea needs to serve as a grounding point for all observations.
With that out of the way, there is a bunch of good stuff here:
They aren't going to knock you off your socks with their power, but remember: toy. After a ton of miles they were still strong enough to make all the shots, so it's really hard to complain. More to the point, they're miles ahead of the purely mechanical flippers of every other toy pinball machine.
Again what's 'standard' (if there is such a thing) in this area is for no elements to be solenoid controlled, and maybe to have a spinning disc put energy into the ball. (If you're lucky!)
zPOTC is pretty far from that; both slingshots and all pop bumpers put energy into the ball if hit. Because all three pop bumpers fire at the same time rather than individually (similar to the flasers in LOTR's pop bumpers), you're probably not going to get frantic pop bumper action like you would in, say, T2. BUT simply having any action is so far ahead of every other toy pinball machine out there that I can give a pass to using one solenoid for all three bumpers.
Not one ramp with two different ways to go, two physically seperate "you need two molds to make these" ramps.
The top ramp has changed from the previous pictures, and the right ramp was not pictured whatsoever in the previous photos.
As if having solenoids didn't differentiate the game enough, zPOTC has actual to goodness inserts in the playfield.
...individually lit inserts!
I'm sure you can see what that implies...
Yes sir, this is really what makes zPOTC stand out from all the other toy games and starts to give the idea of it being a "real" pinball machine some cred. Unlike every other toy machine out there, what you shoot and in what order you shoot it matters!
With every other toy pin out there, the batteries can fall out in the middle of the game without much ill effect. You simply lift the front of the machine so you don't drain, reinsert the batteries, and you're back in business.
Not so here! While the game isn't going to compete with SDMEWM, it does have rules. I'm not sure how many, but the mode that Zizzle showed was a follow the blinking light left to right mode. Nothing earth shattering until you remember that it's a freakin' toy doing this! No more of the "shoot everything forever" mode that's always in toy machines.
I know a bunch of other random things about the game, and they don't fit anywhere else, so here they are: