Outerworld Arcade

Pinball Enters the Video Age

Atari Video Pinball was the first simulation of pinball on a video screen. What a cool looking game. The Black and White monitor faces up while the playfield, complete with flashing red LEDs is super imposed on the screen via a half-silvered mirror.

But the game is not just pretty, its a blast to play as well. It might even pull some pinball purists over to the "dark side" for a game or two or three.

Atari went all out with a real plunger to get the ball in play and a spring-loaded pivoting control panel which allowed the player to physically "nudge" the ball.

Atari Video Pinball Cabinet


Emulation Status:
The game side of Video Pinball is currently working in MAME and emulated well. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for the proper artwork. The current artwork is actually a scan from the flyer and is quite different from the actual in-game art. Because the artwork is lit by a black light, scanning it so that it looks as it should is difficult. Adding to the difficulty is sizing the art so that it matches the on-screen elements of the game, including all the simulated LEDs. Hopefully someday it will be finished and everyone can appreciate this game in all its glory.

Technical Information:
Video Pinball uses the 6502 CPU and the program is stored on proms rather than eproms.

PCB Picture (click for larger image) Video Pinball Main PCB

Atari 2600 Video Pinball BoxAtari 2600 video PinballHome Versions:
Since the arcade version of Video Pinball, there have been tens, if not hundreds, of translations of pinball to the video realm. Some version of pinball has been released for just about every home system since the 1970s.

Atari released an "official"home version of Video Pinball for the Atari 2600 in 1980. It lacks just about everything that makes the arcade version fun. The horizontal aspect ratio of the screen and the anti-gravity movement of the ball makes this a boring and unrealistic pinball game.

Atari 2600 Midnite Magic Screen

Midnight Magic Atari 260 BoxIn 1984, near the end of the 2600's life-span, Atari released Midnight Madness which was a far better and more realistic pinball game. However, it still paled in comparison to the original arcade version of Video Pinball.



Atari Video Pinball Manual

Video Pinball Links:
GGDB | KLOV | Arcade Flyer Archive