Video pinball can do much better than this.
PLAYERS: 1-4 alternating
RELEASE DATE: July 1991
I’m not sure when console pinball games have every really worked, save for curios like the Crush series, Kirby’s Tilt ‘N Tumble and Metroid Prime Pinball. I think the latter games succeeded mainly because they took the basic element of pinball and incorporated intriguing new features, like multiple screens with Devil’s Crush, tilting the Game Boy with Kirby or using the stylus with Metroid. High Speed, while not entirely a car wreck (bazing!), doesn’t work because it’s simple pinball. Only junkies who can’t afford to have actual tables need apply.
High Speed is actually based off a pinball table of the same name. Apparently, according to the almighty broad-brain Wikipedia, High Speed was quite the influential table. Check out these stats that may or may not be true!
“The game was noted for the following firsts:
First pinball to play a complete song
First Williams pinball game to use alpha-numeric displays
First diverter in a pinball
First “Kick-Big” (kicker and scoop) in a pinball
First use of Auto Percentaging (for replay scores)
First “Jackpot” in a pinball, during multi-ball
- First Jackpot that carried over between games.”
That’s a lot of “firsts!”
I’ve never played the table myself, but I’m sure it’s far more entertaining than its console cousin. You start off with three balls and your goal is to get the most points you can. Besides the traditional flippers towards the bottom, there is one flipper around the top that guides you through the “Freeway.” Go through it seven times and you will slowly change the stop light on the table to “red.” Now you have to get away from the cops, which merely involves you going around the Freeway one more time. When you succeed in this, two additional balls pop out, leaving you to struggle to keep three balls in the air. The longer you do it, the more points you accumulate, but laws of gravity will eventually rule out and all the balls will come down. There are two bonus levels you can play: a racing level (achieved by collecting three helicopters) and a shooting level (achieved by collecting three safes). I never got to either of these levels, no thanks to an ominous yellow cloud that popped up from time to time on the table, and once hit, took my ball down the drain. This was beyond frustrating. Perhaps there was a way to escape from the cloud, but either way, I didn’t really care. I was playing console pinball! And had I not been playing High Speed for this quest, I would have to seriously ask myself why. It’s a sub-genre that doesn’t need to exist.