Today on Ninchronicles, we’re going to be taking a look at Pokemon Pinball!
Just as soon as I can find the ball…
Last time I saw it,
it went into one of the bonus stages and-
Hey! Get back here with that!
That’s not yours!
It belongs in a Game Boy!
Pokemon Pinball is a pinball game with Pokemon flavor released in 1999 for the Game Boy Color.
The game was developed by Jupiter with some help from HAL,
most likely due to their experience
making Game Boy pinball.
Can you tell what makes this one different from other Game Boy Color games?
…Probably not, you can’t tell just from the footage.
Pokemon Pinball is notable for being the first Game Boy Color cartridge to have a built-in Rumble Pak,
powered by one AAA battery.
When that ball bounces around, you’ll definitely feel it.
There are two major tables to pick from:
the Red table and the Blue table.
There’s a couple differences in the layouts, but all the points of interest are the same.
Just like in a regular Pokemon game,
your goal is to fill up the Pokedex.
Hey and good news too!
You can do it all with just one copy of the game!
Send the ball through the right lane to turn on the lights down here.
Two lights are all you need,
but three will get you rarer Pokemon.
Then, shove it in the Bellsprout’s mouth
or cram it into Cloyster’s shell.
Hey! Who’s that Pokemon?
Find out by smacking the ball into the Shellders and Voltorbs at the top.
Doing that will fill in a panel of a silhouette done below.
Six hits is all you need and then the Pokemon will reveal itself.
Throw your Pokeball at it until the board says “CATCH!” and then land the final blow.
Even if you have a plain old Pokeball you won’t have to worry about the Pokemon breaking free.
Things are more lenient here.
But if you want better Pokeballs anyway,
you’ll need to spend time turning on all the lights
at the top of the table.
It goes from the regular ball to the Great Ball
to the Ultra Ball to the Master Ball.
Now this whole thing, it’s just for extra points.
But you can have fun using the Master Ball to catch little tiny bug Pokemon
without feeling like you wasted
one of the most powerful items the game.
Oh, why did I ever use it for that Weedle??
I SHOULD HAVE PAID ATTENTI-
Now you can’t rely on just catching
Pokémon to fill out your Dex,
you’re gonna need to evolve them too.
Flip your attention to the leftmost lane and turn on all three of the lights here.
This gives you access to the evolution cave,
a special area guarded by Ditto or…
Because when I want to evolve Pokemon,
I just ram them into Slowpoke’s mouth…
You’ll get a list of your Pokemon, so pick one to evolve and then we can start the Evo mode.
The goal is to collect three of something and what that something is pertains to how that Pokémon evolves.
If it’s because of an elemental stone,
you collect three elemental stones.
If it’s because of leveling, you collect three physical manifestations of experience points.
If it’s because of trading, you collect three link cables.
They thought of everything! Holy cow!
Oh yeah, when you’re in the evolution cave,
the game will put a star next to any Pokemon that can no longer evolve or can’t evolve in the first place.
Don’t let that stop you though, pick ’em anyway if you want to score some bigger jackpots.
You might notice when you start, a roulette of early Kanto locations will begin.
This is what determines your starting area.
Despite being a mere pinball table, you
can move around through the world of Kanto.
To activate the map mode, you’ll
need to quickly hit the sides of the table three times.
On the Red table, that means smacking Digletts.
On the Blue table, that means giving poor Psyduck a headache or hitting this Poliwag button.
I guess this little guy is safe from harm.
After three hits, you have thirty seconds to slam the ball into one of the lanes
and then jam it into the hole to see your next destination.
Between the Red and the Blue tables, there’s quite a lot of unique areas exclusive to one or the other
and even if they sharea an area, there’s still a difference in what Pokemon you can catch.
That’s a pretty sweet reference to how the original games worked all things considered.
Did you notice that lightning meter that fills up when you pass by the spinner?
Once it’s charged, Pikachu will zap a ball back onto the field, if it’s in danger of falling off the table.
There’s some other handy little pinball features if you’re having a tough time,
like the Saver light.
This is often active when you start a new game or if you’re trying to catch a Pokemon,
just so you’re not frustrated if you have some bad luck.
Under the Saver light is the Again light.
This lights up when you’ve earned an extra ball.
Basically, all you have to do is perform certain actions on the table a number of times
and you’ll be swimming in lives.
Every time you catch three Pokemon,
you’ll be offered a chance to do a bonus stage.
which ones you play will depend on
if you’re on the Red or the Blue table.
The Red table’s games are kind of like
mini boss fights.
First, you have to beat up a colony of Digletts to take down their Dugtrio leader.
Next, you’ll be up against a graveyard of Gastleys and Haunters leading up to a showdown with Gengar.
Games on the Blue table focus
on filling a meter.
These include getting revenge on Meowth
These include stealing coins from Meowth
and…uh…collecting lumps from Seels?
Oh this is just cruel!
After you play both of these on either table, you’ll end up in the Mewtwo bonus stage,
where you get to beat him up!
There’s four lights on the bottom
here that spell out CAVE.
This opens up a hole in the middle where you get a fun little slot bonus.
Besides the usual extra points and whatnot,
you could earn a chance to start the Catch’em or Evo modes automatically
or even….Double Pikachu!
Now if you remember what I’ve covered about the original Pokemon games,
you’d know that rather than launching as Red and Blue, the first generation pair was Red and Green in Japan.
So does that mean the Japanese version has a Green table?
That is an excellent quest-
No, it doesn’t.
In fact, that’s on purpose.
The developers were aware that Pokemon fever was catching on around the world,
so they went with a Blue table for all versions.
On the subject of version differences,
the European version offered a choice in how powerful the rumble should be: Mild or Strong.
How does it compare to the other versions?
Well…I don’t know…
Look, I tried importing a European copy of the game, but the rumble just didn’t work.
I guess the motor was broken?
This truly is one mystery that won’t be getting solved.
You can also customize the controls to your liking.
In fact, you can even assign an action to two buttons
or just go all out!
That’s right! Two flippers, one button baby!
Set everything to the A button, why not?
Oh, I know why not.
You might have the European copy
where they decided that this was too much power and just had specific button sets.
Hey, feeling proud of your high scores?
Have I got news for you!
The game is compatible with
Game Boy Color’s infrared port!
You and a friend can send data wirelessly and mix records to see who’s coming out on top!
What the- you just erased all my high scores!
and that’s the power of infrared kids!
Link cable? More like STINK cable!
Am i right?
What’s that? You don’t have a friend with a Game Boy Color and a copy of the game?
Hey, don’t worry about it!
Pokemon Pinball is also compatible with
that Game Boy Printer that you definitely own!
Have a blast PRINTING your high scores!
And that’s the power of the link cable kids!
Didn’t you just call it the stink cable?
You know what, I don’t think I need you anymore,
so you can just get going and I’ll finish this skit myself.
Pokemon Pinball is not only an enjoyable Pokemon spin-off, but an enjoyable pinball game too.
From my perspective, it’s nice to have a goal to be working towards as opposed to just a higher score.
Plus, the Rumble Pak is a pretty neat novelty and it’s nice to see something as early as the Game Boy Color get it.
Of course, rumble isn’t for everyone,
just like poor Psyduck here.