Pinball Dreams was a popular pinball simulator originally developed by Digital Illusions and released for the Amiga back in 1992. Upon its release, many consider the game to be the definitive pinball game for its time and the game still holds up quite well 27 years later on. Despite receiving a number of completed ports across the years, none were for the popular 8-bit home computer systems from the 80s, with the Commodore 64 version receiving an uncompleted preview back in 2006.
BG Games Production look to change all this with the imminent release of their port of Pinball Dreams that is designed to run on Amstrad CPCs with at least 128K RAM. The game features the four tables found within the original Amiga version and also includes high score tables and up to 8 player game play.
The four tables on offer include:
- Ignition, themed around a rocket launch, planets, and space exploration. The table features an attractive blend of contrasting red and blue colour palettes that simply ‘pop’ on screen;
- Steel Wheel is the second table which has an Old West theme centering around steam trains. This table contains the most details with its intricate use of rail track graphics and inclusion of a couple of above ground steel rail tunnel paths;
- The third table is titled Beat Box, which carries a theme around the music industry, charts, bands and tours. Featuring lots of colour, a couple of ramps and steel rail paths, this table was perhaps the toughest to play successfully;
- While the fourth and final table on offer is Nightmare, themed around graveyards, ghosts and ghouls and contains a darker aesthetic compared to the bright colours on display with the other three tables.
So Pinball Dreams looks great in still shots but how does it play? Well, I was very pleasantly taken aback with how well the game scrolls. You would be hard pressed to notice a stutter. The ball movement is done real well featuring reasonably realistic ball physics. It is not quite as fast as the original Amiga version but Pinball Dreams for the Amstrad more than holds its own to provide a very satisfying gaming experience.
While it is not possible for it to come anywhere near the fidelity of original Amiga version, the soundtrack on the Amstrad CPC version accompanying each table is of a good standard and does well to convey each table theme, adding to the overall playing experience.
Pinball Dreams is strictly a keyboard affair when it comes to game controls and BG Games Production recommends that Pinball Dreams is played on real hardware using a CRT monitor. Despite this, I also tried the game out on the Retro Virtual Machine 2 emulator and I am happy to report that the game plays very well under this environment with no real noticeably impact in performance.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Pinball Dreams for over a week with family and friends. The game offers a great quick pick up and play experience that never really feels tiresome at any stage. BG Games Production should be widely applauded with the passion that they have poured into their port of Pinball Dreams and I am sure that all 8-bit retro gaming enthusiasts will be greatly impressed with the overall package on offer.
Pinball Dreams will be available as a free download, however, the release date for the game is unknown at this stage. In the meantime, you can find a video preview of Pinball Dreams below.
Pinball Dreams for the Amstrad CPC is a great accomplishment that features high production values and illustrates a clear passion to provide a faithful port of the original Amiga game while providing a fun digital pinball gaming experience at the same time.
Retro gaming journalist promoting NEW C64, Amiga, Amstrad CPC & ZX Spectrum games. Runs the Retro Gamer Nation YouTube channel and is a contributor to RVG and Vintage is the New Old blog sites, Komoda & Amiga Plus magazine and various other publications.