Star Wars (Pro) – Majestic Amusements Great Yarmouth
Location: Majestic Amusements, 47 Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth NR30 2HF
Pinball Table: Star Wars (Pro)
Pricing: £1 a Game – 3 Games £2
On a trip to our local seaside resort, Great Yarmouth, I simply couldn’t and wouldn’t overlook the opportunity to seek out and play some pinball, after all, think of all that square footage offering a plethora of potential pinball placement. It was a hot and sunny day, so the optimism to find something was high. The seafront was busy, but as a town Great Yarmouth has changed significantly since its golden years. Once a vibrant go to destination, famed for hosting, amongst many global superstar acts, The Beatles at its ABC Cinema not once but twice in 1963. Unfortunately, like many seaside resorts, it’s gradual decline into nostalgic preservation over cultural dominance could be eerily likened to the fate of the coin-op arcades that litter it’s frontage. Of the entire boulevard of arcades, filled to the brim with gambling machines, dance machines, the occasional rail shooter and the lesser spotted arcade cabinets – I was only able to find three pinball machines, this Star Wars Pro, a Ghostbusters Pro (both residing in Majestic Amusements) and a Stern CSI.
Star Wars as a licence for a pinball machine excites me, especially on a modern Stern machine, with its large video screen to bombard me with great clips from the films that the Stern licence had surely acquired, it HAD to be amazing. Growing up I was completely blown away the day my day suggested we picked out Star Wars from the local video shop – for the next two weeks Empire and Jedi followed as our weekly evening ritual of renting videos allowed and by 6 months later I was avidly watching the films and had turned my hand to collecting any LucasFilm toys I could afford with my pocket money. I was ready for this.
The machine was quite interesting, a screen adorned the playfield offering even more clips of the game and iconic imagery and toys jumped out at me and bit at my nostalgic strings. The Death Star, The Falcon, TIE Fighters and characters were set over a 7 shot layout with drops and targets to boot. This game looked complicated and it was.
Apart from complicated, this machine looked clean, very clean. So to add to my hype, I was positive that the operator was looking after their impeccably chosen to title and to have a Ghostbusters next to it.. well, this was my childhood thrown into a pinball shaped bowl and whisked for 5 minutes.
I coined up the game and began to play, well, began to make some choices, the game is set around making choices of which character and which story arc you want to choose for them, each one offering a different path to take on the game. I didn’t really understand it so I chose and continued to play. The flippers felt responsive enough, all the lighting was working, no dead switches I could reasonably tell of and yes, that licence had bought lots of iconic callouts and video to the screen. Beautiful. In saying all of this, something wasn’t right, the feel of the game was off. The cause of that feel being off? The operator had bolted their game down to a bench instead of having it on legs!
I cannot stress how much this changes how a pinball machine plays, it is absolutely night and day not being able to nudge a machine at all. Nudging is such a huge part of my game and to not be able to do it at all, made it almost unbearable at times. The frustration welling up from not knowing. If you try a big move for a save, you may save it, you may not, you may well tilt out your bonus, but you know. Here, when a ball drains, you might have had any one of those three outcomes, but taking away such a fundamental element of pinball just isn’t acceptable. It would be like seeing The Beatles play but telling Harrison and Lennon they can only have 4 strings on their guitars.
This place could have had another £10 off of me easily, I wanted to find out more about the Star Wars game, it was clean, all the mechs, switches and lights were great and this would have easily taken 5 out of 5, if it was on legs. Taking it off of legs and bolting it down, just ruins the experience. In this state it looked like pinball, felt like pinball, but played like a virtual pin, and even on those you can nudge. Given this, I can only give this game a sad 3 out of 5.