(Topic ID: 105685)

What makes a game challenging to you? (poll)


By mof

4 years ago



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  • 78 posts
  • 35 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by RyanStl
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “What makes a pinball game challenging to you?”

    • When I struggle to keep the ball in play more than a few minutes -- (defensive) 58 votes
      48%
    • When I can't reach or defeat the wizard mode -- (offensive) 63 votes
      52%

    (121 votes by 0 Pinsiders)

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    cyclone.jpg
    cyclone-vs-afm.png

    There are 78 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
    #51 4 years ago

    I seek a perfect mix between both, I think you can't think of it just as defensive or offensive in a vacuum.

    For a pin to be perfectly challenging for me following conditions must be satisfied

    1. It has to have enough physical shots on the playfield that matter in progression of the game. That makes substance of what is there to do in that particular game. Your topic has started me thinking about a metric theory of comparing pinball games.

    Physical shots present on practically every game are: left loop, left ramp, right ramp, right loop, some lock, hole or saucer. most rules are based so you have to shoot those regularly. Some pins have so much more, some are poorer in design.

    Their existence builds up offensive part of the game and their placement and geometry punishing bad shots with drains builds up defensive part of the game. but only if you have to shoot them to accomplish anything meaningful. for instance: bookcase in TAF is integral part of the game, but left side greed targets are irrelevant, redundant and nobody needs to shoot them to progress. No way out hole on Whitewater is integral part of the game in locks and getting on the upper playfield and spotting hazards, but bigfoot hotfoot targets are just sideshow, not integral to gameplay and you ignore them letting them collect bricked shots and ricochets.

    I tend to value complexity in games that have many things to shoot for. I get bored easily. Analyzing I came to conclusion that many games have up to 9-11 things to do in general of which 5 or 6 are important. I don't mind chopping some wood as long as there is wood to be chopped. Fish Tales dissapointed me in not having much meaningful stuff to do in that beautiful art package that it offers.

    here are some examples:

    Bram Stoker Dracula has only 4 integral shots in it: castle loop, tunnel, coffin ramp and lane which mist ball traverses. you collect locks in these shots, start multiballs, collect jackpots and stack jackpots in them, collect awards, collect bats. It also has 6 auxiliary shots that add to the experience but you can avoid those and still play a normal game: skill shot switch, rollovers, bumpers, video loop, altar (because of rats), center target (get castle lock while ball saver is on). I don't count inlanes as you don't shoot for those. there are also two completely irrelevant shots just for bricked shots and ricochets - asylum and left targets. Total of 10 playable + 2 irrelevant = 12

    Addams family on the other hand has 6 integral shots: chair, thing ramp (which doubles as thing eject since it leads to that), bear ramp, side ramp, bookcase, vault (slightly off and not same as bookcase). it offers 6 sidegame shots: swamp, trainwreck target, thing eject skill shot (you can use center ramp for this ingame), right loop, cousin it target (only used in one mode), left loop through bumpers. Total of 12 playable shots.

    Shadow has 9 integral shots: left ramp, right ramp, inner loop, battlefield shot, battlefield paddle (its unique but lets count it as a one shot to be played), sanctum, khan saucer, start mode saucer, left loop. 2 shots are auxiliary: right loop (not a jackpot shot, not a setup for inner loop and you can collect mongol on the left loop), diverters and inlanes(lets count them as one thing, and theoretically you can play a game without engaging them and randomly finish khan for that 1 scarf requirement), mongol targets and special mongol target are irrelevant, basically just brick shot. Total of 11 playable things.

    Congo has 7 integral shots that make gameplay: left ramp, gray lane, left loop, MAP saucer, MYSTERY saucer (video mode and diamont hunt multiball access), gray gorilla lower playfield (again unique counted as one thing), zinj rollovers to light mystery. Other 7 shots are: volcano ramp (IMHO fault in rules not requiring you to have to shoot jackpot here), mine shaft, amy rollovers, satellite targets, perimeter target, skill shot targets (also skill fire), left outlane (skill shot and skill fire). Hippo lane is random and unshootable. Total of 14 things to do.

    Indiana Jones has 8 integral shots: mode saucer, path of adventure playfield, left ramp, right ramp, left loop, right loop, ENT target set (doubling function as a lock), captive ball. other shots include bumpers and rollovers. Im probably wrong, but I see rest of target banks on the side same as BSD left target bank - something to be completed by accident. Many modes are packed in those loops and ramps. 10 things to shoot for.

    2. It has to have rules that integrate shots existing on the playfield into goals of playing. Scoring in Dr. Who has sonic boom loop having so much more impact on score than other things that it turns it into 1 trick pony. all other things in that game become less relevant and degrade both pin complexity and its monetary value. they all started (pins in general in the 90s) as, what, like $3999 machines when they were new and some of them skyrocketed like MM, TZ and some dropped to be cheaper B/C list fodder like DW.

    Good rules improve offensive part of the game and making players shoot more for dangerous shots improve defensive part as well.

    Good rules should be both complex - having many things progress into different stages, and to be good in using shots right, for example BSD makes best usage of limited number of shots with great rules and stacking.

    I like recent Stern rules, meaning I like Lyman and Keith rules. Out of my price range though.

    3. Scoring has to be balanced not to push players to chase only one strategy with most reward vs risk. Good example: the shadow, congo everything scores similarly, AC/DC - lots of different strategies. bad example: terminator 2 - every one chases only multiballs ignoring the rest of that beautiful playfield.

    4. preferably (but it is rare) game has to have some non-linearity meaning not having to pursue same goals in same order every time.

    sorry for a long post. interesting topic. thinking about it all the time.

    #52 4 years ago

    I chose defensive since I like short games. I played LoTR at PHOF and it lasted forever! STTNG used to be my favorite game until I made it to Final Frontier, then it just started taking too long to play a game. The same thing happened with Donkey Kong (my all time favorite arcade game). Once it started taking 45 minutes or more to play a game, I quit playing. I just don't have the attention span to play one game that long.

    It is kinda sad that I like the brutal games, because I am a terrible player. I enjoy the rush of starting to get a little deeper in the game though, and it keeps me coming back for more abuse.

    I think most location pins have the replay and match settings set way to easy (which I think is the default setting). I am not good at any of the games, but I get a lot of replays. I almost always leave credits on a pin when I leave just because there are too many free games. I don't think it has much to do at all with skill. My best game on Metallica is 79 Million, and I get a free game at least every other game, not that it matters at all at home.

    #53 4 years ago
    Quoted from Ika:

    I seek a perfect mix between both, I think you can't think of it just as defensive or offensive in a vacuum.

    Fantastic post. Great read.
    I like your distinction between integral and auxiliary shots.
    -mof

    #54 4 years ago

    There definitely needs to be an element of chaos or I tend to lose interest in games pretty quickly.

    The "power" magnets in Addams, or the spinners in Whirlwind are two that instantly come to mind. Games that have a lot of shots that return the ball directly to the flippers are the ones that don't stay long.

    Wizard modes can only do so much for a game if it doesn't have a challenging shot layout.

    #55 4 years ago
    Quoted from MrDo:

    There definitely needs to be an element of chaos or I tend to lose interest in games pretty quickly.

    Good point.
    Playing through chaos is why I'm a huge fan of multiball, (as well as games with magnets/randomizers.)

    -mof

    #56 4 years ago

    I'd like to keep the voting open, and move things forward a step.

    What design elements make for a good defensive layout?

    What design elements make for a good offensive layout?

    -mof

    #57 4 years ago

    Voting is currently at: 34 vs 34. Very cool.

    I realize 68 votes is a very small sample size, but it's rather interesting to think that in 2014, pinballers may be split down the middle in appreciating an offensive or defensive layout more.

    -mof

    #58 4 years ago

    I'll start by answering what I think makes for a defensive layout.

    In geometry, the radius of a circle is the length of a line segment from its center to its perimeter. In pinball, the objects that the ball can collide with are:

    1. posts
    2. targets
    3. toys
    4. ???

    I would call these: hazards

    In short, I would say that a defensive layout is one where the "hazard radius" is very small, and in an offensive layout, I'd say the hazard layout is very big.

    I would compare two playfields where you feel like you have a very short playfield -- Cyclone -- to a wide open playfield where all the hazards are far away -- AFM

    If we were to compare the distance from each hazard in AFM to each hazard in Cyclone, we'd see that the "hazard radius" in AFM is much bigger than in Cyclone.

    This leads to less risk on the shots, more reaction time, longer ball times, and an overall much easier game. (To be fair to offensive-minded players -- easier in terms of ball-control)

    I'll put up some playfields shortly to demonstrate.

    What else beyond a smaller "hazard radius" can lead to shorter ball times and more chaos?

    (to the game designers) If there's a more widely-used term than "hazard radius" when designing a game feel free to share with us what you guys use in the industry.

    -mof

    #59 4 years ago

    Here's how I view a defensive versus an offensive layout...

    key:
    Red = physical hazard
    Dotted Blue = the "form of the space"

    When I play a pinball machine, my brain forms this imaginary BLUE LINE.

    I look for the most bizarrely-shaped, and dangerous looking playfields. That's the challenge I look for. I ask, "How the heck will I navigate this thing?"

    Here's an example of how I compare Cyclone vs AFM... (defensive vs offensive layouts)

    If you were still on the fence with deciding whether you are an offensive or defensive player, look at these two layouts, perhaps consider -- which one you'd rather play, and why?

    -mof

    cyclone-vs-afm.png

    #60 4 years ago

    Thats how you tear down a game at first encounter?

    Thats actually rather impressive. I never once looked at a game like that until after reading your post. When I step up to a game I formulate projection lines from the flippers out to each shot. Then I play and test my "line of shot" to each shot in the game. After that I adjust and try again. Once I get a couple of shots down I take into account risk/reward for each shot. This is when I bring up how likely a miss to each shot will result in a drain or loss of control. Even further I take a solid shot and see how unpredictable the outcomes are. (Stand up or drops and what those lite in the game)

    So first is playability. Then its how easy a shot is. After that rules come into play.

    I see what you are forming with you "maps." A game like cyclone seems like its going tk have quick reaction times meaning you have to play defensive after each shot. The layout on afm is more forgiving on reaction time allowing you to set up an offensive.

    Interesting.

    #61 4 years ago
    Quoted from Jabbles180:

    Thats how you tear down a game at first encounter?
    Thats actually rather impressive. I never once looked at a game like that until after reading your post. When I step up to a game I formulate projection lines from the flippers out to each shot. Then I play and test my "line of shot" to each shot in the game. After that I adjust and try again. Once I get a couple of shots down I take into account risk/reward for each shot. This is when I bring up how likely a miss to each shot will result in a drain or loss of control. Even further I take a solid shot and see how unpredictable the outcomes are. (Stand up or drops and what those lite in the game)
    So first is playability. Then its how easy a shot is. After that rules come into play.
    I see what you are forming with you "maps." A game like cyclone seems like its going tk have quick reaction times meaning you have to play defensive after each shot. The layout on afm is more forgiving on reaction time allowing you to set up an offensive.
    Interesting.

    Jesus...I just play.

    #62 4 years ago
    Quoted from Jabbles180:

    When I step up to a game I formulate projection lines from the flippers out to each shot. Then I play and test my "line of shot" to each shot in the game. After that I adjust and try again. Once I get a couple of shots down I take into account risk/reward for each shot. This is when I bring up how likely a miss to each shot will result in a drain or loss of control. Even further I take a solid shot and see how unpredictable the outcomes are. (Stand up or drops and what those lite in the game)
    So first is playability. Then its how easy a shot is. After that rules come into play.

    Your approach sure makes sense to me -- I think I have the same approach when playing a new game for the first time. Rules/scoring are the last thing I pay any attention to.

    First things I try to answer are:
    1. Which shots are the most fun and feel good? (Why should I play this game again?)
    2. Do those fun shots have any risk? (How well did the designer/engineer balance risk/reward?)
    3. What's the ball control like at the flippers? (Playfield/rubber check more than anything)

    I rarely read the rules or ever learn them.

    For example, last time I played METLE I focused on the electric chair shot (like the saucer shot in AFM), until I could make it over and over. At first I was worried about the SDTM ball return like what I see in AFM too frequently. I wanted to figure out how much risk there was on the shot. After 15-20 shots on Sparky, I was no longer afraid to take the shot. I had faith that I could regain control most of the time. But that's my approach. I would take another 100 straight shots on Sparky until I really had a good sense of how frequently I felt the "game" took control away from me on the shot due to the PF design.

    -mof

    #63 4 years ago

    What kind of challenge do you seek in pinball?
    Do you prefer an offensive challenge or a defensive challenge?
    -mof

    #64 4 years ago

    DEE-Fence! DEE-Fence!

    Quoted from mof:

    First things I try to answer are:
    1. Which shots are the most fun and feel good? (Why should I play this game again?)
    2. Do those fun shots have any risk? (How well did the designer/engineer balance risk/reward?)
    3. What's the ball control like at the flippers? (Playfield/rubber check more than anything)

    I rarely read the rules or ever learn them.

    What he said!
    Long ball times should be a rarity. My motto is, "All it takes is one good ball." One.
    There has to be some randomness. I love pop bumpers! Wait, I hate them too.
    Even as I curse the elephants on my Cyclone, I am pushing the button again. (I know some people think Cyclone is easy, but those outlanes punish me.)
    Miss the horseshoe shot on Ding Dong, and it's stdm. But nail it with those short dog flippers, and it's bliss. Bliss should be hard to get.
    Rules? As much as I generally want to worry about is something like Blackjack: Get ahead of the dealer and hit the saucer. Do it again. Light all four suits and rip the spinner and hit the 1000 pop. Hope you're quick enough to stay ahead of those slingshots.

    Although I do LOVE playing TSPP. Go figure. Probably because my ball times are short on it.

    Of course, I suck at pinball. I'm better at fixing them

    #65 4 years ago
    Quoted from fireball2:

    Even as I curse the elephants on my Cyclone, I am pushing the button again. (I know some people think Cyclone is easy, but those outlanes punish me.)

    No chance in France is Cyclone easy... I think Cyclone is one of the top three hardest in my collection. Only semi-safe shot in the game is wide right.

    -mof

    cyclone.jpg

    #66 4 years ago

    40-DEFENSIVE
    40-OFFENSIVE

    Which one are you?
    -mof

    #67 4 years ago

    Depends on the game.

    I like it best when that ball thingy does not go down the little hole until my score is higher than others I am playing.

    Sucks when that happens.

    3 weeks later
    #68 4 years ago

    Defensive pulls ahead for the moment. 43-41.
    -mof

    #69 4 years ago

    Well, if you can't keep the ball in play, you'll never reach wizard modes.

    #70 4 years ago

    What kind of challenge do you seek in pinball?
    Do you prefer an offensive challenge or a defensive challenge?
    -mof

    #71 4 years ago

    I play the game to beat it, keeping a ball in play a long time is part of beating a game. Losing balls quickly isn't the object of pinball, if a machine is difficult, you have to be better.

    #72 4 years ago

    Mof, you should really design a game.
    The way you analize a game is amazing. I think you could bring pinball to a whole new level.

    #73 4 years ago

    meh- i just play for the match

    1 week later
    #74 4 years ago

    What kind of challenge do you seek in pinball?

    Are you more motivated by an offensive challenge or a defensive challenge?

    -mof

    #75 4 years ago

    Tight shots ......like avengers

    #76 4 years ago
    Quoted from Monarca1091:

    Tight shots ......like Avengers

    And XMEN?

    1 year later
    #77 3 years ago
    Quoted from mof:

    Here's how I view a defensive versus an offensive layout...
    key:
    Red = physical hazard
    Dotted Blue = the "form of the space"
    When I play a pinball machine, my brain forms this imaginary BLUE LINE.
    I look for the most bizarrely-shaped, and dangerous looking playfields. That's the challenge I look for. I ask, "How the heck will I navigate this thing?"
    Here's an example of how I compare Cyclone vs AFM... (defensive vs offensive layouts)
    If you were still on the fence with deciding whether you are an offensive or defensive player, look at these two layouts, perhaps consider -- which one you'd rather play, and why?
    -mof
    cyclone-vs-afm.png

    I'd probably go with offensive as they seem to offer more shots, the arc of space is wider, thereby having more ramps, popups, and such. Generally there has to be a good risk and reward, particularly when it comes to getting multiball. I find if multiballs come all to easily, the game will often drag. It also makes the multiballs seem less special.

    #78 3 years ago

    A huge toy right in the middle or just offset.

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