Hungary-based Zen Studios, known for years worldwide for its solid Pinball FX series, is taking a little detour and it really looks as if you need to come along. The place they’re going may be temporarily sun-less, but it’s still quite stunning. Operencia: The Stolen Sun is out now on the Epic Games Store and Xbox One family of consoles and is coming on March 31, 2020 for Steam, GOG, PS4, and Switch and I’m betting it’ll be a welcome surprise to those who think the developer is all about recreating and enhancing some excellent classic to their own newer modern digital pinball tables.
Nice. Here I was, wondering if I should buy up those import PS4 pinball collections that have gone out of print and *ding!* Zen Studios ends up with the Bally/Williams license. The developer has just published four tables available NOW on PC, (via Steam as well) Mac, PS4, Xbox One and Switch, with the classic 1992 table Fish Tales available for free across all platforms. I recall that one as being a high scorer with even beginners able to rack up tens of millions of points on three balls. The table also had flippers slightly smaller than standard ones, so it was actually easier to lose balls thanks to the super fast action.
An apt title if there ever was one, Infinite Minigolf ($14.99 on PSN) is yet another successful attempt by Zen Studios to monopolize all your free time. While it’s short on included courses (three variants with scaled difficulty with two more on the way), a fairly easy to use course editor will hook you in and extend the lifespan somewhat, um, infinitely. The pick up and play appeal is high right out of the gate so casual to expert players can hop in and start putting away within a short amount of time.
In fact, the game relies so much on players just diving in that it eschews any sort of tutorials or tips popping up in your face every few seconds. Of course, I’m not sure many gamers groove on announcers blabbing away while they’re trying to sink a 30-yard putt around a spinning radio control 4×4. But this game is almost too calming with the super-clean HD art, relaxing mall muzak score and cheery-looking generic characters. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. This is exactly the sort of game to relax with after a crazy day (or after watching the evening news, ha-ha).
So yes, it’s officially ALIEN Day and if you’re a fan of the franchise with some time and a bit of disposable income on your hands, there are a few ways to get involved in the festivities today.
The Alien Anthology page on Twitter has a big deal contest where video questions about the film pop up like chestbursters and you can answer them for a chance to win some awesome ALIEN to Prometheus-themed merchandise from what’s looking like every company that makes officially licensed swag based on the series. Continue reading
I’m surprised that Zen Studios isn’t getting more attention as pinball pioneers of the digital age, what with pinball making a big resurgence in a few places around the U.S. of A. that cater to all comers. Anyway, their latest smash table set, South Park Pinball is coming to the Wii U on December 11, 2014 via the eShop for $4.99 (€4,99 and £3.99 in Europe and the UK respectively). Two VERY fun tables are here to tackle, fans of the show should be pleased with all the references from the series’ long history and even better, the game is rated E10+, so parents can buy this for their kids and not worry about any content issues. Of course, if you let your kids watch South Park and watch it yourself, you know what you’re all in for. I actually did a review for another site, but need to shake the busy brain-tree here and write up one for this site. I’ll get on that this week, as I’ve a draft sitting on my laptop that just needs tightening up.
Okay, let me get back to work here – it’s going to be a loooooong day (thanks, packed inbox and other fun and non-fun stuff happening here)…
Well, well, well… the eternally entertaining Zen Pinball 2 gets yet another great table (no surprise there), but this one is TWO tables in one. South Park Pinball drops onto PSN, Xbox Live and PC via Steam tomorrow, so you’ll get South Park: Super-Sweet Pinball and South Park: Butters’ Very Own Pinball Game to play around with and wave in the faces of your jealous non-Zen Pinball 2 non-gaming friends. Oh yeah, and the set is also those annoying tablets and other mobile devices that get stolen right out of your hands on public transportation in major cities, too!
The folks at Zen say that the South Park two-table pinball pack launches this week for $4.99/€4,99/£3.99 on PC and consoles, $2.99/€2,69/£1.99 for individual tables on Mac. On mobile platforms (the ones that keep getting stolen, man!), South Park pinball costs $3.99/€3,59/£2.49 for the standalone app and $1.99/€1,79/£1.49 for individual tables through the Zen Pinball app. Me, I’m sticking with the Vita version because I play mostly at home and no one is stealing my Vita from there unless they take me with it, grrrrr!
Yeah, soooo… this is a thing that’s actually happening, but as that post title says, I’m completely okay with it. Thankfully, it’s coming from Telltale Games, Skybound and the digital pinball geniuses at Zen Studios, so it’ll at least be familiar and faithful to fans of the episodic game series. The funny thing is I believe this is the only Walking Dead game to NOT get a Mature rating. Pinball isn’t inherently “violent” at all… unless you’re the type to get into fist fights over who gets to go first. Er, anyway… Press release below the jump – the game ships out his summer, but will be shown at E3 this year if you happen to be attending and need something a wee bit different and unusual to play around with.
Zen Studios does it again, dropping a new, cool pinball table onto PSN and XBLA for Zen Pinball fans. This one will have special appeal to Star Wars fans, as it’s Episode V themed and as you can see above, packs in plenty of detail and familiar characters from the film and fun cinematic stuff to make you lose a few balls over as you’re ogling them instead of paying attention to the rest of the amazing play field when these sequences end. Of course, pinball is easy to pick up for anyone who can hold a controller, so this one has wide appeal to all ages (E10+ rating aside). Zen also has a Boba Fett table coming and will reveal more next week, so pop back in to see what’s up (and yes, you can expect a certain line from Return of the Jedi used as a joke title for that post or somewhere in that post…).
While I truly miss the days of beating feet to the arcades every weekend with a roll of quarters to check out the latest pinball (and arcade) games, a few very dedicated developers who were also fans of the old school such as the mighty Zen Studios have been keeping the flame alive digitally. Thanks to some incredible simulations that take up a hell of a lot less space than an actual Pinball machine, yet manage to pack in all the thrills, you whippersnappers can play to your hearts content in the comfort of your living room and get the same thrills. Well, save for the flat out cool factor an actual hefty hunk of American made metal, glass and well-wired circuit boards brings to your living room. Hell, I bet that damn 60″ HD setup you have is where that pinball table WOULD be. Wait, what? You have a 90″ TV? Eeek. Well, good for you.
Anyway, Zen Pinball 2 (or Pinball FX2 for you Xbox 360 owners) has been getting some AMAZING updates. Here’s the latest one coming your way next week: Plants vs. Zombies Pinball, based on the popular and hilarious PopCap games. Three bucks for your PS3 or Vita (yes!), 240 MS Points for your 360. That’s a recommendation right there if I’ve ever written one. Poke around PSN or mosey around Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade in a few days, whip out that wallet and add PvZP to your collection.
I hadn’t thought about this much as frankly speaking, I’ve actually not been paying too much attention to the classics I grew up with until recently. They can take care of themselves in terms of their familiar gameplay and assorted visual styles holding up, but things are certainly a lot more grim on the technical side. Nostalgia is indeed wonderful when it does what it does and makes you smile, but today’s gamers are getting the shorter end of the stick despite having better, faster (and yes, more expensive) ways to play games.
Sure, today’s fast-moving technology is great and all, but sometimes “vintage” is more acceptable for some things for a few very key reasons. According to a press release I got from the fine folks at Dream Arcades yesterday, the lack of new CRT’s is probably going to affect their bottom line at some point (and sooner that they’d like) and will probably signal the death of another central core of vintage gaming history…