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(Topic ID: 257731)

What "bad" game would turn into a "great" game with better rules?


By JodyG

11 months ago



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  • 64 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 months ago by TRAMD
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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    #51 11 months ago
    Quoted from TwilightZone:

    Monopoly is the first game that pops into my mind. It gets so boring yet the layout is really good. I think even a minor change would make it much better and that change would be stacking. If the game allowed stacking, I think it would be alot more interesting.
    Judge Dredd, while not a bad game, could be so much better with better rules. It has a fantastic layout and is fun to play as is, but it would be so much better if the layout was better utilized.
    Johnny Mnemonic, again not really a bad game, would be so much more with balanced rules. I own one and really enjoy it, but the spinner is the thing to light and hit. Nothing else comes close. The modes are fun, but not worth enough points. Back in the day, I was hoping the guys that did the Matrix would release it as a kit. I love the layout of JM -- it's brutally fast -- and the Matrix looked fun.

    I think JD is pretty balanced. There are a good number of modes compared to a lot of the 90's DMDs and they have you shoot all the shots on the playfield. Good use of the drop targets in modes and for lighting locks too (at least IMO). I feel like the modes are all pretty valuable relative to the way the game scores and worth playing out. It's definitely not much deeper than any of the other 90's DMDs but I'm curious what you don't like or would want to see changed. I love JM too but totally agree with you on the spinner scoring, but nothing in JD strikes me as unbalanced as something like that.

    #52 11 months ago

    Scared Stiff... Not a bad game, but could be awesome with better code.

    #53 11 months ago

    Seem to have narked off the Creech fans more than the Star Wars ones. I mean, I do *want* to like Creech, I love how they used the license as a springboard for a different theme entirely and what they've got with the whole '50s drive-in culture' vibe, but... eh. It's like standing outside the window of a restaurant that won't let me in. A challenging multiball is all very well, but when you've only got one multiball with two balls, there are multiple hoops to jump through to get it compared with its contemporaries and it may not last more than a fraction of the time you need to get anything out of it, then the game's just a slog. Sorry.

    #54 11 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Join the club, one of the best MBs ever.

    You added too many words, the best MB ever! That Super Jackpot with a maxed out multiplier is (insert rated R comment of some sort), nothing feels better in pinball. What I appreciate so much about CFTBL and Fish Tales is those games make you earn your jackpots compared to a lot of games that every shot becomes a jackpot once you start multiball.

    #55 11 months ago
    Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

    A challenging multiball is all very well, but when you've only got one multiball with two balls, there are multiple hoops to jump through to get it compared with its contemporaries and it may not last more than a fraction of the time ...

    Quoted from Tsskinne:

    hat I appreciate so much about CFTBL and Fish Tales is those games make you earn your jackpots compared to a lot of games that every shot becomes a jackpot once you start multiball.

    Yeah that pretty much sums it up; some people enjoy a really hard task and some don;t click with it.
    I've never "blamed" anyone for not liking Creech becasue even with a few things to do it's a very focused game. Not for everyone.

    #56 11 months ago

    Wheel of fortune. Great layout and shoots awesome but got boring quick. Too much stop in the gameplay with the contestants guessing letters.
    Currently playing sharkeys shootout. Would be a homerun game if the rules were even a little deeper. Great layout that shoots good and has some cool features but has already run it's course after 2 months and ready for something new.

    #57 11 months ago
    Quoted from dirkdiggler:

    Currently playing sharkeys shootout. Would be a homerun game if the rules were even a little deeper. Great layout that shoots good and has some cool features but has already run it's course after 2 months and ready for something new.

    Sharkeys and Gottlieb Barbwire, pretty good shots but not many rules, Barbwire is worse.

    #58 11 months ago

    Pretty much all the Sega games.
    I own Godzilla, and it could be soooo much better.

    #59 11 months ago
    Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

    Creech *should* be more fun than it is, but the multiball is a total dud. Nothing about the rewards makes much of the game worth the effort.

    What???

    You can slay the game with multi-ball. That is how you play it.

    1. Get lots of shots to bumpers and jack up that jackpot value.
    2. Get multi-ball.
    3. Increase playfield values by hitting left ramp and spelling C-R-E-A-T-U-R-E
    4. Save girl.
    5. Get the jackpot.
    6. Hit bumpers to get super jackpot lit.
    7. Get the super jackpot. This will be a ton of points and is a rush as it takes a few steps to get there and with only two ball multi-ball you cannot lose a ball at all.

    #60 11 months ago
    Quoted from freakandgeek:

    7. Get the super jackpot. This will be a ton of points and is a rush as it takes a few steps to get there and with only two ball multi-ball you cannot lose a ball at all.

    Exactly. Average player might get it say, one game in fifty. The other forty-nine games will be deeply unsatisfying. I just don't find that fun, because there's not enough else to the game to offset it. Compare with the Big Bang on Party Zone - I've got that once, and it was awesome, but I don't begrudge all the times I didn't as Party Zone has other high-point strategies and features to offer. You also get to try for the Big Bang a lot more often.

    #61 11 months ago
    Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

    Exactly. Average player might get it say, one game in fifty. The other forty-nine games will be deeply unsatisfying. ...

    Ahhh I see what you're saying. I've read aboot the plight of the average player but don;t have much experience myself.

    #62 11 months ago
    Quoted from littlecammi:

    I am waiting for someone to suggest Munsters as needing better rules.
    And then Who-dey to defend Munsters as being good as-is.

    In advance of who-Dey, I’ll go on record defending Munsters “as-is”.

    Straight forward, simple, volatile and fast as hell with virtually no stacking makes it a go to game when playing head to head with friends.

    I think it achieves it’s intended goal of T2 style gameplay.

    #63 11 months ago
    Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

    Seem to have narked off the Creech fans more than the Star Wars ones. I mean, I do *want* to like Creech, I love how they used the license as a springboard for a different theme entirely and what they've got with the whole '50s drive-in culture' vibe, but... eh. It's like standing outside the window of a restaurant that won't let me in. A challenging multiball is all very well, but when you've only got one multiball with two balls, there are multiple hoops to jump through to get it compared with its contemporaries and it may not last more than a fraction of the time you need to get anything out of it, then the game's just a slog. Sorry.

    Like Steve Ritchie says.... Play Better!

    I find more people that think CFTBL is too easy, but that's typically because they haven't played one really set up well (ie. hard)

    #64 11 months ago
    Quoted from gliebig:

    It's obviously not a bad game, but I think MM could have been much better code wise.

    Blasphemy

    #65 11 months ago
    Quoted from Coolpinballdino:

    TOM I know it's a fan favorite but if you want all you can do is shoot left orbit.

    My dude there is a code update that came out about 2 months ago that fixes that. Check out the Soren updates on TOM. It's impressive!

    #66 11 months ago
    Quoted from T7:

    Like Steve Ritchie says.... Play Better!
    I find more people that think CFTBL is too easy, but that's typically because they haven't played one really set up well (ie. hard)

    I've only played it in home use tournaments, so it would be set up hard. But 'too easy' and 'too hard' together both point to the same issue - that multiball is all that really counts and there isn't enough side content to provide much of a middle ground. Like I said; I want to like it and I'm sure more rules and balance would achieve that.

    #67 11 months ago
    #68 11 months ago

    Just about every game ever made could use improvement (of course there is that time vs money issue for manufacturers!)

    #69 11 months ago

    For certain!

    Also, Fish Tales. So, so poopey.
    And not as bad a FT, Star Wars Trilogy. Yeah, that one.

    #70 11 months ago

    T3 comes to mind for me. Its the first pin I ever owned. Many years a go, I called Stern for some tech support and the person on the phone asked how I'm liking T3 and mentioned too bad about this pin being unfinished (it was suppose to have 2 more modes and additional weapons to collect). The pin was well done, but once I found out about the incomplete software the thought that came to mind was "wow, what could have been"...

    #71 11 months ago
    Quoted from snyper2099:

    Also, Fish Tales. So, so poopey.

    Wow, I actually think the rules for Fish Tales are really good. You have the stringer which lights Monster Fish (fun single ball mode), catching fish to start Feeding Frenzy (fun single ball mode), Stretch the Truth to start Rock the Boat (fun single ball mode), a cool physical ball lock for multiball, and perhaps the best Video Mode in pinball. I think the only things I'd change are as follows:

    1) I wish there was more skill in the Stretch the Truth. Essentially you have X seconds to spin the spinner as many times as possible. For example, a good hit might advance you from x1 to x3. A second strong shot might advance you from x3 to x5.

    2) I might add a little more variety to the tournaments.

    Tropical Fishing - Complete X ramp shots.
    Fresh Water Fishing - Complete X pop bumper hits, which are access from either orbit.
    Deep Sea Fishing - Complete X captive ball shots.

    When you lock your third ball to start multiball, you can choose the tournament you want to enter first. During each of the tournaments you can re-lock balls in the reel, this act as a multiplier for the current ball(s) in play, so you can have X2 or X3 playfield value. Kind of like the Snake in Metallica, balls will only stay in the lock for X seconds.

    3) Maybe also make it so you have to complete all tournaments, catch four fish, stretch the truth for all four fish, and light all the captive ball awards to light the Super Jackpot.

    That might sound like a lot of changes, but really as is Fish Tales is already one of my favorite games. Fairly simple, but still a challenge to master.

    #72 11 months ago
    Quoted from Pahuffman:

    What about the combo and hyperspace? I suppose everything is personal preference, but I'd rather have balance than one easily repeated shot.

    The ramp awards Millions, is the jackpot shot in Tri-Ball, awards Hyper Space, integral part of Empire, part of the Combo, and lights Extra Ball on the 18th ramp shot. In addition, every 5th shot will light the Force if not lit already.

    -1
    #73 11 months ago

    chadh What is the primary barrier that prevents people from creating new rules for Williams / Bally games? Is it something with copyright, really difficult, or something else? I would pay $100+ for improved code on quite a few games. Sometimes, they don't even need to be "bad games". It might just be fun to have options.

    #74 11 months ago
    Quoted from lpeters82:

    What is the primary barrier that prevents people from creating new rules for Williams / Bally games? Is it something with copyright, really difficult, or something else?

    This has been covered many times over the years, but basically you'd have to decompile the code and try and decipher it. You have zero access to the original dev environments and code.
    In many cases it would be easier to harvest the game assets and rewrite the code from scratch in a modern framework that doesn't have the limitations of the original system.
    This is why Cactus Canyon Continued and Bride of Pinbot 2.0 were different hardware.

    This is why the Data East rom hacks are a lot of work and don't change things in profound ways.
    This is why the "tournament ROMs" for early solid state games each require a lot of R&D to create
    (and we're oh so lucky to have people done the work for all of the above, bless you all)

    #75 11 months ago
    Quoted from lpeters82:

    That might sound like a lot of changes, but really as is Fish Tales is one of my favorite games.

    Fish Tales is a supreme example of 'less is more' and knowing when to stop. It's a game that's greater than the sum of its parts in both the design and the rules, and when you actually look at the playfield, you realise how little there actually is to shoot at for shots and targets, but not in a limited or barren way. That takes real skill to pull off.

    #76 11 months ago

    Scared Stiff & TOTAN - I have never understood the high "A" list pricing on these two. The code makes them too easy, limiting the replay ability in a home setting. With a code upgrade, the potential is there for greatness.

    While not bad games as is, Games with linear code that would be better if randomized:
    Roadshow - travel locations
    World Cup Soccer 94 - TV awards
    Dirty Harry - Safe house awards

    #77 11 months ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    I always thought the System 80B games were pretty okay. Simple, but ok.
    It’s not until you get to System 3 where things turn messy. Random awards, spammable shots, catch-up, Etc. They tried too much too fast and didn’t take the time to refine what would otherwise be cool idea implementation. People love to hate on them, but a lot of their decks are really fun to shoot otherwise.

    On Big Hurt, if you flip the switch to Tournament Mode it does away with the catch up bonus and ball save. You still have the slot machine-style pop bumper awards, but it's a start. I assume other System 3's have the same Tournament Mode--what does that not fix in order to make the game more balanced?

    #78 11 months ago

    Scared Stiff is a pretty basic game, but I enjoy it. Nice if there are also other games to choose from in a bank.

    I removed the adjustable posts at each outlane and turned off the extra balls. Makes getting through the Stiff-o-meter more rewarding and certainly adds a challenge for earning Spider Multiball.

    The safest way to play it is of course coffin mb all day. If a player is skillful at plunging and has the ability to consistently hit the beast ramp to light locks and to make the coffin shot, there really is no danger. Love stacking it with double trouble and getting the criss-cross ramp shots going and hearing "oooh, I'm having multiple jackpots!"

    But yeah, it's not very complex, and that's fine

    #79 11 months ago

    Silver Slugger (Premier 1990, first of the street level series). I would name it my favorite single-level playfield layout but I sold the game since even when I owned 10 games it was tenth in terms of the rules. Two key changes:
    1) Scale back the mystery awards from the kick-out holes so they only give you one of the three single-ball modes (current rules the mystery awards either give you ball locks for multiball, one of three single-ball "modes" that are timed and worth big points, or a variety of other awards). Those modes are all reasonably balanced.
    2) Multi-ball is no longer a mystery award. The mystery holes remain the ball locks but you need to activate them. Clearing the drop targets in sequence (game already supports that objective for lighting the left kick-back) and prime a ball lock. It's a dangerous objective. Do it again if you want to go for a three-ball.

    That's really all it would take. You could add in a way to earn a chance for the extra ball or maybe make certain spinners (the game has three!) worth more at certain times, but the two above changes would have made the game worthy of Mordor.

    #80 11 months ago
    Quoted from Agent_Hero:

    I assume other System 3's have the same Tournament Mode--what does that not fix in order to make the game more balanced?

    I don’t have a ton of System 3 experience, but my Lights Camera Action doesn’t have a tournament setting. No matter how you have the settings, random Mystery awards can range from A measly 5,000 points for one player, and a game-breaking 1 million points to another.

    Super Mario Bros does away with the catch up and slot machine awards in tournament mode, and mystery will always awards “super” when hit, but then that takes away a pretty significant part of the game away, and quick shot is still overpowered.

    #81 11 months ago

    Agreed with most, if not all, of the Gottlieb's. If I had to choose one game it would be Class of 1812.
    Multi balls are given out like candy and takes away the novelty of the chicken clucking overture (still absolutely hysterical).
    The scoring of the stiffs was just based off of switch hits and nothing more.
    The rule set should have been collecting stiffs by shooting the scoop after completing some objective. After collecting all of the stiffs then proceed to the multiball.
    An excellent layout, fun and spunky take on a monster theme, great sounds and music, unique toys with a chattering teeth and beating heart.
    An otherwise excellent game completely ruined by terrible rules.

    #82 11 months ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Scared Stiff is a big one for me. That game is fun to shoot, but it’s so boring to play more than a few times.

    set it up harder

    #83 11 months ago

    BOP
    vegas
    class of 1812
    cactus jacks
    indiana jones (williams)
    pinbot
    roller games (sudden death unfair in tourneys)
    NBAFB
    NBA
    BK2000
    JY
    Mustang (stern)
    heavy metal meltdown
    BR
    STTNG
    ST (DE)
    BTTF
    TMNT
    Checkpoint
    ** any other de game where ramp all day is the "how to play" feature.
    etc

    #84 11 months ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    I don’t have a ton of System 3 experience, but my Lights Camera Action doesn’t have a tournament setting. No matter how you have the settings, random Mystery awards can range from A measly 5,000 points for one player, and a game-breaking 1 million points to another.
    Super Mario Bros does away with the catch up and slot machine awards in tournament mode, and mystery will always awards “super” when hit, but then that takes away a pretty significant part of the game away, and quick shot is still overpowered.

    quick shot- unplug right inlane switch. it makes the game playable in a tourney bcuz it forces you to actually play modes (and choose the correct modes) and score well in multiball.

    #85 11 months ago

    What would it take to refine the code of these Gottlieb games? I know it’s got to be possible. Soren has done it with System 11 titles and WPC games. I know there are mods out there for the system 80B games. I can’t imagine it being impossible to make edits to System 3 games either.

    #86 11 months ago

    Kings of Steel would be a fun player if you couldn't exploit the right target, though I've been thinking of something like a Gottlieb kicking target to put in there to spice things up.

    #87 11 months ago

    I second Barb Wire. If code that made sense could be written for it it could be amazing.

    #88 11 months ago
    Quoted from cait001:

    This has been covered many times over the years, but basically you'd have to decompile the code and try and decipher it. You have zero access to the original dev environments and code.
    This is why the "tournament ROMs" for early solid state games each require a lot of R&D to create

    A lot of the knowledge translates from one game to another since the framework is the same. I think in some cases not having access to the original development tools is a blessing as "modern" (i.e. 2006!) cross assemblers on the PC are way better than vintage stuff from the 80s.

    Quoted from slicknick13:

    Kings of Steel would be a fun player if you couldn't exploit the right target, though I've been thinking of something like a Gottlieb kicking target to put in there to spice things up.

    Some people swap the center target and the right one. Jim Belsito added a one way gate and a return to the shooter lane on the one he used in INDISC last year (you can see the stream in twitch I think the channel is iepinball). What would you want the target to do instead? KoS can be a really bonus heavy game if you shoot the drops like I think the designer intended, but as we know, people just hit the right target over and over again instead. It would be relatively simple to kneecap it with something else.

    #89 11 months ago
    Quoted from grantopia:

    I think JD is pretty balanced. There are a good number of modes compared to a lot of the 90's DMDs and they have you shoot all the shots on the playfield. Good use of the drop targets in modes and for lighting locks too (at least IMO). I feel like the modes are all pretty valuable relative to the way the game scores and worth playing out. It's definitely not much deeper than any of the other 90's DMDs but I'm curious what you don't like or would want to see changed. I love JM too but totally agree with you on the spinner scoring, but nothing in JD strikes me as unbalanced as something like that.

    JD's use of the right shooter "air raid" lane seems incomplete, but I agree that it otherwise uses the rest of the playfield well. The main flaw with JD is that the code is a bit buggy. The biggest flaw is that once you have the locks lit it will still let you enter a mode, but left ramps shots award locks instead of credit toward the mode. Then, once you enter multiball it quits your mode and cancels your progress. This really kills the most lucrative mode "Stake Out"--you can rack up a massive bonus and then lose it all when you accidentally start multiball. The code for Super Game is also a huge mess.

    The three main scoring methods (Crime Scenes, Modes, and Jackpots) are really well balanced. I think the MB Jackpots are a little low, but everything is close enough that there isn't really one way to crush the game unless you are good enough to shoot endless left ramps shots.

    #90 11 months ago

    Bally Lost World...man I would pay $50 just to get a different styled bonus countdown or attract mode. Add any depth to the game and it would never leave

    #91 11 months ago

    Although I like WOF and 24, I feel like they could improve with more polish/better rules.

    WOF's software was of course unfinished. The rounds were supposed to have variety and some of the wheel wedges were going to do stuff. Also more wizard modes and multiballs, among other things.

    In my opinion, 24's modes lack variety and because they aren't timed, I don't feel like "every second counts". It'd be interesting if there was a mode where you're trying to disarm the nuclear football, and you're not only timed, but making the wrong shots could spell doom for the player.

    There's also some other things. Like if you spell "CELL" via the inlanes and outlanes when a Cell Phone award is already lit, nothing happens and there's no benefit to the player. This is unlike Mystery in Metallica, where continuing to complete the inlanes/top lanes can make the Mystery award more valuable. The "Escape" lane doesn't do much. The CHLOE targets could do more. Have something for collecting enough red "weapon" shots. The list goes on.

    #92 11 months ago

    Ice Fever...great concept to score goals but the most boring game ever as light spinner and shoot spinner!

    #93 11 months ago

    Transformers could use a re-write. I enjoy it anyway, but the rules could use some help... It's a good shooter though IMO.

    #94 11 months ago

    CSI. One of the best layouts from its era and filled with great toys and good call outs. Alas, the rules were incomplete and need a lot of work.

    #95 11 months ago

    my vote goes to elvira house of horrors. fun to shoot but a center shot piss off basically

    #96 11 months ago
    Quoted from grantopia:

    I think JD is pretty balanced. There are a good number of modes compared to a lot of the 90's DMDs and they have you shoot all the shots on the playfield. Good use of the drop targets in modes and for lighting locks too (at least IMO). I feel like the modes are all pretty valuable relative to the way the game scores and worth playing out. It's definitely not much deeper than any of the other 90's DMDs but I'm curious what you don't like or would want to see changed. I love JM too but totally agree with you on the spinner scoring, but nothing in JD strikes me as unbalanced as something like that.

    Love judge dread. My gripe is the captive balls. Never see anybody aim for them. Be nice to see a big reward for making that shot. I know it gives you a bonus multiplyer but only once, maybe I am mistaken though. Every high risk shot should be made more valuable, the dead end shot in twilight zone for example.

    My belief is that lighting the wizard mode of a game should be the true test, not dialing in one particular shot and exploiting it for obscene points. Therefore.. the shadow is the most complete code of anything I've played. Requires completing almost all the tasks in the game to light it.

    #97 11 months ago
    Quoted from CanadianPinball:

    Bally Lost World...man I would pay $50 just to get a different styled bonus countdown or attract mode. Add any depth to the game and it would never leave

    Well they did, it was called Paragon.

    #98 11 months ago
    Quoted from CanadianPinball:

    Bally Lost World...man I would pay $50 just to get a different styled bonus countdown or attract mode. Add any depth to the game and it would never leave

    Like faster? I find that era bally's bonus countdown was too SLOW.

    I used to just hit the saucers back and forth on that game and play for hours. Great artwork, ho-hum gameplay.

    #100 11 months ago

    I'll throw in a nomination for ID4. Great layout with a variety of cool shots but shallow code.

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