(Topic ID: 232627)

Does anyone else see Houdini as lacking in several areas?


By harryhoudini

1 year ago



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There are 133 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 3.
#101 1 year ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

I started writing up my comments...I think it turned into a review. LOL Really tho, just wanted touch all the topics.
Interesting thread. I own Houdini and thoroughly enjoy it. #2 in the 'fav' list but the latest "#1 pin" is still in the honeymoon phase, so not a fair comparison. Only been in the 'home ownership' end of the hobby for 2-3 years, but an old school player for longer than I want to admit. However, the great pins of the 90's I missed entirely until I started up again.
I understand the comments. So here's my take on it, from personal experience.
Is it fun? Not if you just want to drop a couple of quarters in it on location. It would suck. It takes thought and skill (both of which I lack) on the shots and rules. While I don't own a lot of pins (9) compared to many on Pinside, the ones I own cover a fairly wide variety. 70's, 80's 90's, and then jumps to >2010. Some easy, hard, great, and not so great. The easiest? HS2. The pin that will wear you down...LAH at times. Another hard one?...JD and it has staying power in the lineup, for sure. Would Houdini be the only pin I own? Probably not if I just wanted a single pin to slap a game on. That would be MM, AFM, TOTAN, etc. - none of which I own.
Artwork: Completely like it, lots of little details if you look for it. But that's me. I have an AS and really enjoy the completely different style of artwork by Donnie. But Houdini's steampunk style is appealing in a different way. Is it photoshopped? Don't know and don't care, but I can tell the artist has a sense of humor which is subtle. Even more so after talking to the AP guys at recent show. A style that I like. Fonts? What's a font? JK. They could use work (more so on the animations than artwork). Would I ever not buy a pin based on fonts? Seriously? Not really on my 'must meet criteria'. If you ever saw my power point presentations, you'll understand why it's not an issue. But if your profession is art related, then I completely get the comments.
Theme? Watch the Houdini series on Netflix, you'll understand the theme much better. Great movie/mini-series. AP borrowed a lot from that flick and it was fun to spot the similarities.
Software: Deep, as expected. Much more to do than I'll ever finish. I'm not that great of player tho. Josh over at AP really listens (and chimes in) to the forum feedback and has been updating despite another game in the works.
Humor: Lot's of quirky humor in the game, doesn't get old. Plus a little friendly humor poked at other manufactures. Jokes in the artwork, voices, animation. I'm sure more to be found.
Animations: Not the same league as JJ. And neither is my AS, AP mentioned they tried to keep some of the animations 'old school'. I'm OK w/it, but I understand some complaints.
Service: A couple of minor hiccups, but AP (Barry) supported me and took care of an issue when he didn't have to. Much appreciated on my end and it won't be forgotten
Play: Not easy, absolutely no doubt about it. I didn't want an easy game. Already have some. AP did a good job of compensating. Miss a shot? You'll likely get something else important (i.e. a 'SEANCE' letter). Generous ball save, 2nd chances, bonus times, multiballs, etc. So I think a fairly good balance. But still, no doubt about it, it is a game you have to concentrate on the shots to get a killer game. It can be frustrating if you aren't having a good night. I don't get many SDTM balls tho.
Sound: lacking in bass...as in 'none'. I added a sub, wow - huge difference.
I mentioned on another Houdini thread, I had my choice of any NIB pin. Don't regret my choice. Wife enjoys it immensely (that's important since she's the fiance committee)
Again, sorry for what turned into a review. Just my 2 cents. Like any pin, not for everybody.

Good honest feedback. I would agree the cabinet, backglass, and playfield art is stunning. Hence my gut shot reason to buy it without playing it. Art is important to me also but the total package just wasn't equal on many categories so she had to disappear. I can totally see what people like about the game and nobody should need to defend that or prove otherwise. Pinball is a very individual hobby. Appreciate the write up.

#102 1 year ago
Quoted from LTG:

Didn't they have a whitewood three Expo's ago, just the playfield on a table, in the room next to Rob Anthony's repair room ?

No, that was JPOP's non-working version. No relation to the current game in any way except theme.

#103 1 year ago
Quoted from jwilson:

No, that was JPOP's non-working version. No relation to the current game in any way except theme.

I think there is quite a bit similar between the two.
Ramp, orbits, catapult and pop bumpers are in a very close locations.

#104 1 year ago
Quoted from jwilson:

No, that was JPOP's non-working version. No relation to the current game in any way except theme.

Thank you for correcting me.

LTG : )

#105 1 year ago
Quoted from LTG:

Thank you for correcting me.
LTG : )

Doesn't happen often but it does feel good to correct you! lol

#106 1 year ago

THEME: I love Houdini. As an amateur magician and magic historian, I thought they did the theme justice. If any game is a "world under glass" Houdini is right there with the stage mech, pop-bumper lock and chains, the milk can catapult, a magic shop, magnetic magic hands, incorporating Houdini's silent movies and metamorphosis chest. Add in his famous illusions, escapes, exposing fake-Mediums and I think Houdini (the machine) has captured the many dimensions of the man.

TOYS: Give AP credit for some trying some new things (or at least improving on old ideas). The catapult into the chest goes way beyond what anyone else has done in terms of pitching a ball into another mech. The API Theater bash toy/mech is not the most exciting mech ever created but it ties into the theme well and is more interesting than many recent Stern mechs. The use of magnets under Houdini's hands is absolutely brilliant.

MUSIC: The music by video game veteran Matt Kern is fantastic. Absolutely A+++. Composition and production quality is top notch. Here is a refresher

https://soundcloud.com/matt_kern/houdini-1-1?in=matt_kern/sets/music-2018

CALLOUTS: are OK. The primary voice actor did a great job and used the only recording of Houdini to mimic his vocal style. The narrator does a good job as well. The other callouts are not great but not terrible.

ANIMATIONS: First the bad... shitty, lame graphics that looked horribly dated. Fonts are terrible. The good... through these rather lame animations, Houdini does a great job of making the modes seem like you are doing something. They tie the shots to executing the illusion or the working through an escape... and that part is very well done. I'm hoping API gets the message on just how poor the finished animations are instead of being defense about it.

GEOMETRY: It certainly isn't the most wide open game but there are hard, tight shots on almost every game worth owning. I love the layout.

ART: Stunning, absolutely stunning. The detail on the backglass and playfield is amazing. I love the Houdini eyes.

LIGHTSHOW: Excellent and getting better with each release. I also think Houdini has one of the best modes in pinball... The Man From Beyond. Freaking crazy mode in a dark room.

BEST use of a small LCD screen on any playfield in my opinion... tells you how much time you have left, what to shoot for and provides mode selection without having to take your eyes off the playfield.

#107 1 year ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Doesn't happen often but it does feel good to correct you! lol

You live long enough. You might get the chance too.

LTG : )

#108 1 year ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Alien. Was never a single flipping white wood in the entire years of development. Houdini at least had the excuse that the entire thing was done in 4 months, an impressive feat in and of itself. Even if I join the majority in not caring much for the end result that was quite a trick to pull off.

There was. Dennis' original layout got one, but it was quite far into development before mine got the same. Playfield visuals were already at an advanced stage, so it could be argued it wasn't 'white'. :p

#109 1 year ago

The 'flaw', if you want to call it that, is less that the shots are tight, and more that they're intimidating. When I looked over Houdini at the UK Pinball Party in August, I was hesitant at first to try it at all because of how close the tighter entrances are to the flippers. This actually makes those shots easier as it makes the shot angle from the flipper more forgiving, but the tradeoff is that any brick is going to feel like a potential death sentence.

I had similar misgivings with Funhouse originally with its close STEPS targets, heightened by a playfield that was (for the time) difficult to read and a gameplay style that was fairly abstract. It took me a long time to learn to like that game, but I got the chance to because Andrew owned a really good one - that had a Diamond Coat playfield and was set up HARD - and eventually after much practice, frustration and luck, was able to more consistently kick his high scores' ass on it. I expect a Houdini experience would be along the same lines.

#110 1 year ago
Quoted from jgentry:

That's a huge stretch. There are quite a few people that would love to have one in 10 days. Seeing as Spooky has delivered about 30 in six months that doesn't seem likely. There is also only 2 spot listed on pinside and both are in the 300's.

Not a stretch. Just here on Pinside in the last 60 days, two machines have sold (one for $6500, one for $6600), and two low spots sold (one 45 and one 114). And that's just Pinside, which is only some percentage of the AC/NC market. If you really wanted one, you could have one in roughly 10 days unless the software becomes so hot no one wants to sell it (unlikely).

#111 1 year ago
Quoted from Pdxmonkey:

I think there is quite a bit similar between the two.
Ramp, orbits, catapult and pop bumpers are in a very close locations.

The shot geometry on JPop's version is WAY out of natural alignment compared to the finished AP product. You can see it instantly with a trained design eye.

#112 1 year ago

When I design a layout, I start with a default of the optimum width of any shot to be two inches / 50mm with a short leading edge, but there's a lot of flexibility to this. I judge the difficulty of the shot, particularly the outside ones, by placing a ball on the base of the flipper and drawing a line from the outside edge of the ball to the bottom of the outside leading edge of the shot. Extend that line, and draw a perpendicular one from the inside shot opening to it. An outer orbit can look tight but as long as this distance is at least 54 - 55mm, and the shot wall isn't too oblique to the natural angle of the ball meeting it, it should feel quite natural to shoot and flow. Anything under 45 - 48mm is the kind of tightness I'd reserve for special payoff shots, especially ones near the back.

#113 1 year ago

Good thread here and interesting discussion and input by many.

I have a friend that has a Houdini and I had a chance to experience the machine for a couple hours one day. I am not that great of a player and while I found some shots hard they were still doable. But I agree with some posters here the game would have probably been a bit better if maybe one less shot was built in the game and the remaining shots were a tad wider. Overall I like the way the game presents itself and plays.

I have thought about getting a copy of the game myself.

The only thing that I would maybe take issue with is the way AP has handled the power issue for game owners. Sending the owner the part needed vs a credit or voucher and charging them for the part to fix the machine would buy a lot of goodwill. Those owners might be more inclined to buy another title in the future from AP if they just provided the service part free of charge or even at a very nominal fee to cover the shipping as the part needed isn't a cheap item and might not be needed on all copies of the game - or may be related some to home outlet voltages ? I'd still think providing the part free of charge is the right thing to do and worth the goodwill it would yield.

Maybe I will see this game in my collection one day.

#114 1 year ago

Does anyone else see Houdini as lacking in several areas?
Well No. Could it of been better?, Yes.
I see the the that the thread question applys to every pin. No game is perfect.
But once you learn it, its damn fun pin to master.

#115 1 year ago

Houdini is absolutely a players game, w/ the challenging shots & the incredibly deep rule set. This title offers a boatload of objectives that are extremely fun w/ progression towards the four different tiers. There is calculated strategy w/ the stage, jail escapes hurry-ups, film & combo modes. With the séance & trunk multiball, this adds a layer of game plan of when to start & what mode to stack. Say what you will about Houdini because this title is exceeding the expectations in the rules category.

The layout is exceptionally unique w/ consideration to the unyielding shots & design. Though one might dismiss this distinctive machine as being too hard, w/ proper setup & practice w/ muscle memory this title is a shooters dream. To hit any shot on Houdini takes practice, but the overall achievements w/ progression is practically perfect pinball!

The art, light show, sounds & LCD graphics are all quality w/ the incorporation of the theme. The color coordinated light show even depicts what mode column one is currently playing w/ each mode category having it's own color. The sounds are spot on w/ the grainy sounds that were performed by a voice actor that actually studied Houdini's voice. The art is time period recollect, as the art adds a dimension of mystery & danger. Though the LCD doesn't offer a modern video clip of your favorite scenes, it does incorporate a spot on image of that time period.

Overall, Houdini is a very unique pin that goes outside the box. This title shines in the unconventional bracket & is a well needed change that offers the pinball community an alternative. Change is inevitable & Houdini is absolutely a top tier pin! Though I wish you well in your pursuit of the perfect machine, look no further folks Houdini is pinball at it's finest!

#116 1 year ago

Here is my last observation on wether Houdini is a machine your general pinball player likes, wants, or would fight to own or win...

TL;DR

At Expo this year, at the API booth, they had a bank of Houdini’s where you could play and if you were tops in their little tournament, the prize was a new Houdini machine. Now, there was a wall of like 6 or 8 Houdini machines, and you could play Houdini free and try and win a free Houdini. For almost the entire time the vendor hall was open, they could have set a single Houdini machine out at their booth, put a sign on it that said “play and win me” and they would have had more action on that one machine than they had all weekend on the bank of machines they had set up to run this mini tournament. I really felt sorry for API, because every time we walked past their booth, they would have possibly only 1 person playing a Houdini, the rest of them sat empty and unplayed, yet all the machines at Stern, CGC, JJP or anyone showing off a new pin like TBAG, Kingpin, Mafia, Spooky etc... their machines almost always had a line waiting to play them.

Now some would say, well Houdini had been out for a while, and people had already seen it and played it and so the interest would naturally fall on their new title they showed off, Monkeyfest... which did have lines waiting to play it. To this I respond... Exactly, and you can see what kind of interest people had in playing, competing, and winning a free Houdini machine there was, and lets just say, there were a LOT of pinheads at Expo who DIDN’T wany to play and try and win one.
The interest in winning (or owning) one was just not there, as far as I saw, and most of my fellow players I was running around with agreed, something about it just does not make you want to play it. Ymmv.

Here is a video Ffej Knar (Jeffery Rank) made of Oktoberfest... at the end of the video you can see the Houdini machines setting around unplayed... I rest my case.

#117 1 year ago
Quoted from LTG:

Didn't they have a whitewood three Expo's ago, just the playfield on a table, in the room next to Rob Anthony's repair room ?
LTG : )

I heard AP mention they eventually had one to test fit parts.

#118 1 year ago

(to follow)

#119 1 year ago
Quoted from Bublehead:

Here is my last observation on wether Houdini is a machine your general pinball player likes, wants, or would fight to own or win...
TL;DR
At Expo this year, at the API booth, they had a bank of Houdini’s where you could play and if you were tops in their little tournament, the prize was a new Houdini machine. Now, there was a wall of like 6 or 8 Houdini machines, and you could play Houdini free and try and win a free Houdini. For almost the entire time the vendor hall was open, they could have set a single Houdini machine out at their booth, put a sign on it that said “play and win me” and they would have had more action on that one machine than they had all weekend on the bank of machines they had set up to run this mini tournament. I really felt sorry for API, because every time we walked past their booth, they would have possibly only 1 person playing a Houdini, the rest of them sat empty and unplayed, yet all the machines at Stern, CGC, JJP or anyone showing off a new pin like TBAG, Kingpin, Mafia, Spooky etc... their machines almost always had a line waiting to play them.
Now some would say, well Houdini had been out for a while, and people had already seen it and played it and so the interest would naturally fall on their new title they showed off, Monkeyfest... which did have lines waiting to play it. To this I respond... Exactly, and you can see what kind of interest people had in playing, competing, and winning a free Houdini machine there was, and lets just say, there were a LOT of pinheads at Expo who DIDN’T wany to play and try and win one.
The interest in winning (or owning) one was just not there, as far as I saw, and most of my fellow players I was running around with agreed, something about it just does not make you want to play it. Ymmv.
Here is a video Ffej Knar (Jeffery Rank) made of Oktoberfest... at the end of the video you can see the Houdini machines setting around unplayed... I rest my case.

In fairness to API those games along the wall were setup for a tournament which is why they were not being played and the Houdini in the booth was getting attention granted not the same attention as the New reveal OctF game which makes sense. Could they have made those games available, sure. But they also intended to sell those games so no sense getting the snot beat out of them to try and sell them later.

#120 1 year ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

In fairness to API those games along the wall were setup for a tournament which is why they were not being played and the Houdini in the booth was getting attention granted not the same attention as the New reveal OctF game which makes sense. Could they have made those games available, sure. But they also intended to sell those games so no sense getting the snot beat out of them to try and sell them later.

Ditto^^. OctF was the new kid on the block, no surprise there.

#121 1 year ago

Geesh this thread got out of hand, way beyond my level of discussion. Thanks everyone for the feedback, gave me a lot more appreciation for the game.

#122 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Geesh this thread got out of hand, way beyond my level of discussion. Thanks everyone for the feedback, gave me a lot more appreciation for the game.

There's been some good, fair feedback here - from both sides. Didn't go off the rails like a lot of threads. That might be a first...better close the topic before that happens.

#124 1 year ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

Pinstadium sucks.

Good one...I knew that would happen. LOL

#125 1 year ago
Quoted from jgentry:

Everyone will have different tastes and preferences. For me it's one of the worst looking games made in the last 25 years.

Then you haven’t seen Thunderbirds. Yuck

9 months later
#126 7 months ago
Quoted from NoQuarters:

Good thread here and interesting discussion and input by many.
I have a friend that has a Houdini and I had a chance to experience the machine for a couple hours one day. I am not that great of a player and while I found some shots hard they were still doable. But I agree with some posters here the game would have probably been a bit better if maybe one less shot was built in the game and the remaining shots were a tad wider. Overall I like the way the game presents itself and plays.
I have thought about getting a copy of the game myself.
The only thing that I would maybe take issue with is the way AP has handled the power issue for game owners. Sending the owner the part needed vs a credit or voucher and charging them for the part to fix the machine would buy a lot of goodwill. Those owners might be more inclined to buy another title in the future from AP if they just provided the service part free of charge or even at a very nominal fee to cover the shipping as the part needed isn't a cheap item and might not be needed on all copies of the game - or may be related some to home outlet voltages ? I'd still think providing the part free of charge is the right thing to do and worth the goodwill it would yield.
Maybe I will see this game in my collection one day.

Reread this thread and frankly forgot I posted in it. There are some thoughtful insights and opinions mixed within the thread. Both pluses and minuses. I played my friends Houdini on a couple other occasions since time has passed. I like the game.

A good opportunity has presented itself. I am going to pick up a NIB at attractive discount. I decided that I am going to give ownership a whirl. I will have my game in another week and will be looking forward to playing it.

Has there been code updates over the last 9 months ? What is the latest version of code ? Has anything changed in policy as to upgrading power supply in the game if it is needed ?

#127 7 months ago

My grief is with the animations, they should have been professionally done. Also the Houdini voice, even though it mimics the original sound, its so outdated

Well, I decided to sell my year-old Houdini, for which I paid ca. 8400 EUR. I've put ads on European forums, but I have not received many questions about the pin, even though its like new, with playfield protector and the power supply upgrade and sideblades and my asking price is 6900 EUR at the moment. It has turned out to be quite difficult to be sold. I was a bit surprised about that.

#128 7 months ago
Quoted from NoQuarters:

Reread this thread and frankly forgot I posted in it. There are some thoughtful insights and opinions mixed within the thread. Both pluses and minuses. I played my friends Houdini on a couple other occasions since time has passed. I like the game.
A good opportunity has presented itself. I am going to pick up a NIB at attractive discount. I decided that I am going to give ownership a whirl. I will have my game in another week and will be looking forward to playing it.
Has there been code updates over the last 9 months ? What is the latest version of code ? Has anything changed in policy as to upgrading power supply in the game if it is needed ?

There have been code updates. see: https://www.american-pinball.com/support/updates/

Great game - code updates are substantial. the last update was on 4/7/2019, about 6 months ago.

#129 7 months ago
Quoted from zahner:

There have been code updates. see: https://www.american-pinball.com/support/updates/
Great game - code updates are substantial. the last update was on 4/7/2019, about 6 months ago.

There is another (currently unscheduled) update planned as well but since the game is off the production line, and AP (and specifically Josh Kugler who is the sole programmer) is not actively working on it during regular business hours - it may be a while . That said, the code is actually pretty complete, despite a few missing animations.

I am still flabbergasted by the complaints about the animations. I find them no worse than say Stern’s Aerosmith, and certainly a step up from DMD animation in general. Plus there’s a LOT. Of animations, of modes, of multi balls, of mini wizard modes, of interesting shots, of challenges! The game is packed with stuff, there’s no question.

#130 7 months ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

Pinstadium sucks.

What’s a better game Houdini or Oktoberfest?

#132 7 months ago
Quoted from Sebastian88:

What’s a better game Houdini or Oktoberfest?

Houdini.

#133 7 months ago
Quoted from Sebastian88:

What’s a better game Houdini or Oktoberfest?

The two play so differently this is hard to answer, as you'll see in my avatar I may be a little biased towards Houdini but I like them both a lot.

Houdini, tighter shots and getting to Trunk MB and starting FILM modes may be difficult for new / casual players but SEANCE is definitely achievable and results in some pretty crazy magnet / ball interaction. Players can get frustrated by hitting all the SEANCE targets which are pretty close to the flippers. MAGIC stand-ups do award progress toward what you need or what mode you are in so there are some cheap bones thrown in that way.

Oktoberfest has some easier to hit shots and starting Tents should be achievable for anyone but choosing steins and tents could be confusing and monotonous for casual players. Starting Corkscrew MB is relatively achievable especially if the stein to help light the locks is chosen. This won't necessarily lead to the most points but MB is usually what any casual player is looking to get going. It also has some equally or even harder shots, particularly the Beer Barrel ramp.

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