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    The Loafer

    This post was originally written as a response in the Elvira and the Party Monsters thread, however I didn’t want to move the conversation away from the updated release.  Therefore, here we are, please feel free to comment, argue and add to the discussion.

    Specific to the EATPM thread:

    Just a suggestion, certainly not a criticism, ok?  The suggestion may be irrelevant if you guys are already excellent pinball players in the real world so please do ignore it if you are “in the know”.

    Now that the disclaimer is out of the way… ;), I would recommend for anyone having problems with the ramp shot to try and think of the drain issue more in the context of real pinball and what would need to be done there to help your situation.  With that said, outside of the obvious “practice, practice, practice”, I can state my own meager skills improved immensely when I started slowing the game down … and the easiest way to do so is by capturing the ball on the flipper, taking a breath and relaxing, before flipping the ball.  Sometimes it’s not possible to capture it and that’s ok, but VPX, like real pinball REALLY rewards ball control and this is the best way to get control, by slowing down the ball.  Doing this causes less “monkey flips” which usually ends up with the ball going all over the friggin place instead of where you want it to.  In a well-designed table with really challenging ramp shots, this becomes uber important!   Even during multiballs, capturing a ball on the flipper usually limits insta-drains as it allows you to focus on less balls and therefore on what you are trying to aim for.


    Ball control is more important than learning the rules, because you might know that hitting X target may trigger a mode but if you can’t hit X target then your game is toast or just ends up being a random experience… which can still be fun, but nothing as rewarding as hitting shots after shots after shot on a hard pin like for example Paragon.

    Naturally even the greats will have games where the pinball gods just give you the middle finger :), but improving your ball control can only lead to a better enjoyment of the game and dumming down the game is rarely the right course of action, so with very little exceptions, stay away from adjusting the physics of the game unless you can see there’s a consensus of sorts that this needed to be done.   Of course, VP being an editor, it’s all good, and like I said, these are just suggestions with the intent to help.


    So aside from improving ball control, learning the ruleset and practicing; what do you, the member, suggest as the correct approach to improving your pinball skillset?


    edit: just wanted to add I’m no pro player, not an expert but I’m an experienced enthusiast.  Take that what you will, I may very well be talking out of my butt :)


    Well said, or you could take a quote from Steve Ritchie on AC/DC table…

    Play Better!!!

    But seriously it’s always risk versus reward on shots, and some shots are just difficult.  That’s Pinball


    Could not have said it better Loafer !


    Great thoughts on improving gameplay.

    I also find that learning the behaviors of a missed ramp shot can be very important. Take BSD for example. A shot that only goes halfway up the left Castle Lock ramp is going straight down the middle every time (at least if you have lightning flippers). A hard nudge to the right as the ball heads back down the ramp is a reliable save. Making a ramp like that takes a perfect shot. You aren’t going to make that shot reliably while flailing.

    On a game with balanced scoring, ramps and center targets tend to be set up as high risk/high reward shots so you have to know there is a risk penalty for missing. This is where The Pinball Arcade has done a disservice to virtual pinball players. After you play TPA for a while you forget that missing ramps is risky or that making a ramp isn’t a 95% guarantee. Real pinball is hard.

    The Loafer

    I wrote in that first post: “Learning the rules is way more important than ball control, because you might know that hitting X target may trigger a mode but if you can’t hit X target then your game is toast or just ends up being a random experience… which can still be fun, but nothing as rewarding as hitting shots after shots after shot on a hard pin like for example Paragon.”

    “behaviour of certain tables/shots”:  Couldn’t agree with you more. That’s why you can’t expect to excel until you’ve played a table at least a dozen game.  I fall into that trap myself, especially with some VP releases where I’ll go “ah, well it’s ok”, then I’m prompted by someone to try it again and I end up playing some more, know what to do and what not to do (especially when ramp shots and centre targets are concerned) and the enjoyment just explodes.

    That’s actually backwards, I meant to say “Ball control is more important than learning the rules, because… blah blah blah”.   I think people got the gist of it anyway from the rest of the paragraph but wanted to elaborate to sure it’s clear how I feel about the importance of ball control.


    Yeah, to the defense of TPA, it has been said that Williams themselves asked for their tables to be more casual friendly; the thinking behind it is that the arcade pins were set to make quarters so the majority of people never experienced all the different modes.   I think this was the official answer when someone questioned the ease of Twilight Zone.   There may be truth in that, only because the license owners of Williams probably aren’t the purist that used to be there back in the day (if they even know what pinball is about).  Whatever the case, it’s a BAD idea but… I can appreciate the business side, if the casual player lasts 30 seconds per ball, will they keep playing and buy new tables?   Again, BAD idea <– note the caps, that means it’s REALLY bad! LOL   Anyway, that’s totally fair for us to think “BS” but it was a semi official response I think on


    I more or less agree with all of the above, ball control and an understanding of the ruleset is major important …… BUT……

    With real and virtual pinball there’s another extremely important factor in play…….be a good nudger !

    I can’t play on a vpin that has NO nudge capabilities, it is THAT important !

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