Sunday, 8 November 2015

Pachinko! (Odyssey2)

To most of us in the west, pachinko is hated and feared: a graveyard where once-beloved franchises and publishers go when they die.  But there is also movement in the other direction, that is, videogames that are themselves based on pachinko machines (though it seems to me that the genre's heyday was in the late 80s on the Famicom and PC Engine, I'm far from an expert on the genre, so I could be wrong.). Pachinko! might be the very first pachinko videogame, and it's a western-developed game, too!

I say "might be" for two reasons, though: the first being that I can't rule out some unknown pachinko game existing on some Japanese hobbyist computer, lost to the mists of time, and the second being the fact that it's a very loose interpretation of the concept. For those of you that don't know, in pachinko, the player controls the speed of many balls being fired into a vaguely pinball-esque table in the hopes that they enter various holes and activate various gimmicks (like slot machines and so on) on their way down.

Pachinko! works very differently, changing the game and turning it into a strange 2-player psuedo-sport. How it works is that there are two players at the bottom of the screen, armed with sticks and seperated by a small green pyramid. Above them are five bucket-like things with numbers between zero and ten in them, as well as a small blue interloper who catches any balls they come across and throws them downwards at a random angle. There's two balls, and they bounce around and get hit by the players' sticks. When a ball is hit by a player's stick, it changes to match the colour of that player, and when a ball goes in one of the buckets, the matching player gains as many points as the number in the bucket. If a ball hits the small green pyramid, all the numbers in the buckets randomise. Unfortunately, it never feels like you have any real control over where the balls go, or pretty much anything that happens in the game. After either player reaches a multiple of 100 points, the screen flashes different colours or a few seconds, before resuming. It doesn't actually end until you stop playing.

Pachinko! really can't be recommended as anything other than a historical curiosity. It's boring, completely random and very basic.


  1. it's funny how you put the brazilian cover for the game on your post! i like how different the wording on them is, depending on the country. for instance the us version has "so much larger than life -- You're right in the middle of the action!" written below the cover art whereas this one has "Action and Emotion with one of the most famous Eastern games!". also the odyssey had this thing where they would, sometimes, change the game's tittle to suit the geographic of the country it was being released on. this game, according to mobygames, was released in italy as "Tiro al cesto" and in the uk as "Basket game".

    Sort of unrelated, but hilariously the game K.C's Crazy Chase was released in brazil for the odyssey as "Come-Come" (lit. "Eat-Eat", which is the slang-ish term for Pac-man over here), and Pickaxe Pete was released as a licensed game from a famous comedy tv show of the eighties.

    1. i just put up the first picture of the cover i could find, since the game doesn't have a title screen to put at the top of the post.
      "basket game" is a really boring title, most of the time when games got localised for the uk back then, they'd get weird titles trying to fit in with british-made games, like the first bomberman game being renamed "eric and the floaters"