Saturday, October 05, 2013

Android Games I Really Like #1

Yes, I'm a gamer. Yes, I have both a smartphone and a tablet. And these both happen to be Androids. Although... I must make clear that this is not saying that Android is better than iOS or vice-versa. It's simply that I've had an Android device for so long that it would be like starting over if I were to switch. I tend to think that 75% of users of Android or iOS feel the same way about their given system and stick with it because they've invested so much into them.

So, with that out of the way, let me run down the ten Android games I currently play and why.

1. Pinball Arcade/Zen Pinball - Okay... this is really two. I'm a big fan of pinball and these are genuinely the best emulators on the market.

Pinball Arcade (by Farsight Studios) is chock full of tables based on real pinball machines by the likes of Williams, Gottlieb and Bally. At the time of writing this there are 37 tables to choose from! Tables are released in packs (usually two to a pack but sometimes one) and are separated into two seasons that can be purchased as bundles for a slight discount.

Tables on Pinball Arcade (in order of release):

Tales of the Arabian Nights (Williams, 1996)
Ripley's Believe it or Not! (Stern, 2004)
Black Hole (Gottlieb, 1981)
Theatre of Magic (Bally, 1995)
The Machine: Bride of Pin*bot (Williams, 1991)
Medieval Madness (Williams, 1997)
Cirqus Voltaire (Bally, 1997)
Funhouse (Williams, 1990)
Gorgar (Williams, 1979)
Monster Bash (Williams, 1998)
Black Knight (Williams, 1980)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (Bally, 1992)
Taxi (Williams, 1988)
Harley Davidson 3rd Edition (Stern, 1999)
Elvira and the Party Monsters (Bally, 1989)
No Good Gofers (Williams, 1997)
Scared Stiff (Bally, 1996)
Big Shot (Gottlieb, 1974)
Twilight Zone (Bally, 1993)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (Williams, 1993)
Attack from Mars (Bally, 1995)
Genie (Gottlieb, 1979)
Dr. Dude (Bally, 1990)
Firepower (Williams, 1980)
Cactus Canyon (Bally, 1998)
Central Park (Gottlieb, 1966)
White Water (Williams, 1993)
Space Shuttle (Williams, 1984)
Pin*Bot (Williams, 1986)
Centaur (Bally, 1981)
The Champion Pub (Bally, 1998)
Whirlwind (Williams, 1990)
Flight 2000 (Stern, 1980)
Goin Nuts (Gottlieb, 1983)
Terminator 2 (Williams, 1991)
Teed Off (Gottlieb, 1993)
Haunted House (Gottlieb, 1982)

I first became interested in Pinball Arcade on the PS3 and had already purchased several of the tables through the Playstation Network. I was a bit hesitant at first of playing pinball on my tablet because I had gotten so used to the controls of the console. I still prefer the PS3 for multiplayer as I don't like passing my tablet around but for a more personal experience, it comes the closest to the real thing.

Jive Time and Sorcerer (from the Pinball Hall of Fame: Williams Collection) and Ace High, Victory, El Dorado and Strikes n' Spares (from the Pinball Hall of Fame: Gottlieb Collection) can't be too far away and there has been confirmation of the Addams Family pinball game being ported in the near future.

If you go to the Wikipedia link, you can see even more information about the upcoming tables.

Tales of the Arabian Nights comes free with the download and most packs run about $5 a piece. Season 1 is about $29.99 and Season 2 is $39.99.

Zen Pinball does mostly all-original tables with more modern features like animated characters on the screen/table. They started out with a handful of tables but didn't really gain notoriety until they landed a deal with Marvel Comics to produce tables based on their properties. They increased their prominence by adding Star Wars to their stable soon after.

Currently, Zen Pinball has a total of 23 tables (with 3 more on the way):

Sorcerer's Lair
Excalibur
Epic Quest
Tesla
Paranormal
Shaman
Wolverine
Fantastic Four
Thor
Captain America
The Avengers
World War Hulk
Ghost Rider
Blade
Civil War
X-Men
Moon Knight
The Infinity Gauntlet
Fear Itself
Iron Man
Star Wars: Episode V
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Star Wars: Boba Fett

Upcoming:
Star Wars: Episode VI
Star Wars: Starfighter Assault
Star Wars: Balance of the Force

The initial app download gets you Sorcerer's Lair and the rest of the tables are priced at $1 or $2 each.

As far as missing games go, Zen still hasn't added El Dorado, V-12, Plants vs. Zombies, Mars, Street Fighter 2, Ninja Gaiden or Earth Defense to the tablet (even though their Youtube video here stated it was released two months ago).

Zen has some remarkable tables but they also have a cumbersome approach to releasing their games. There's three separate apps the tables are available on: Zen Pinball HD, Marvel Pinball and Star Wars Pinball.
For simple folks (like me) that want just one app, Zen Pinball HD would be the way to go. Although... there is one catch... The Spider-Man table is only available on the Marvel Pinball app.
Fortunately, all three Star Wars tables are available on both SW Pinball and Zen Pinball.

Another hindrance to Zen Pinball is that even though you can play your tables offline, you still need an internet connection to track or gain achievements. And the less we talk about Swarm, the better.

Pinball Arcade plays fine without an internet connection and you only need to connect to update or download new tables.

I was going to attempt to list all ten games in one post but had no idea that this one would run so long. We'll have to come back to dig out the other nine.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go play some pinball...

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