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Thread: ...I have a hard time playing Pinball Arcade after Zen Pinball.

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    Member BennyJackdaw's Avatar
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    ...I have a hard time playing Pinball Arcade after Zen Pinball.

    The tables in this game are very well made, and I have fun with every single one I bought so far. ...But when Zen Pinball sells all these deep tables with lots of features for one/two bucks, it's hard to justify paying five bucks for much simpler tables in Pinball Arcade. I know there are LOADS of liscensing issues involved with Pinball Arcade, but still.

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    Senior Member xAzatothx's Avatar
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    Zen tables look nice - but I've never been able to get into them. I much prefer the tables and physics on TPA (not withstanding the bugs). Personal preference - so play what ever makes you happy.
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    Junior Member Phil_194's Avatar
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    I played Zen Pinball for a few years, but I developed a new way of thinking and that is if you want a true pinball experience stick with TPA or Visual Pinball, simply because they play more like the real thing. Depends if you want accuracy or are willing to sacrifice realistic ball physics for a deeper ruleset. I would say TPA has definitely benefitted from recreating already thoroughly tested pinball tables. I find Zen tables interesting, but the ball feels kind of dead to me which makes the experience a bit underwhelming. But to each their own dude.
    "Pinball is about... about a sort of satisfying feeling when you're playing the game when you're flipping it up, flipping at the ball." -Pat Lawlor.

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    I found Zen first and played it exclusively on my first iPhone (2011; I was late to the party). But as soon as I found out about TPA in 2013, I was all in. As great as many of the Zen tables are, the nostalgia factor for the real thing beats it every time. I still purchase Zen tables from time to time for properties I'm interested in, but I don't play it nearly as much as TPA.

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    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Zen has the polish, no two ways around it. And I've gotta say, with FX3 and the matchup or tournament options, I've been playing it way more than ever before. However, I agree that the main advantage TPA has is with both nostalgia and truly tested pins. Nothing beats seeing what an actual ball will do on an actual table. Heighway Pinball found this out with Alien, where the whole thing was done on CAD and never went through whitewood, but then had to be tweaked all the same. Another issue Zen has is with their DMD. They throw up all this info about the shot you should make next, but never put the ball in a capture situation so you can actually read what the DMD says! Drives me nuts. I have the same issue with Jersey Jack Pinball in that their screen has so much info on it, you can't just do a quick glance up and comprehend.

    Interesting experiment would be to find someone with no real world pinball experience, and then see if they have a preference of Zen or TPA.
    I'm just sayin'

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    Senior Member shogun00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shutyertrap View Post
    Another issue Zen has is with their DMD. They throw up all this info about the shot you should make next, but never put the ball in a capture situation so you can actually read what the DMD says!
    Personally, I rarely ever pay attention to the DMD and just follow the light cues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shutyertrap View Post
    Zen has the polish, no two ways around it. And I've gotta say, with FX3 and the matchup or tournament options, I've been playing it way more than ever before. However, I agree that the main advantage TPA has is with both nostalgia and truly tested pins. Nothing beats seeing what an actual ball will do on an actual table. Heighway Pinball found this out with Alien, where the whole thing was done on CAD and never went through whitewood, but then had to be tweaked all the same. Another issue Zen has is with their DMD. They throw up all this info about the shot you should make next, but never put the ball in a capture situation so you can actually read what the DMD says! Drives me nuts. I have the same issue with Jersey Jack Pinball in that their screen has so much info on it, you can't just do a quick glance up and comprehend.

    Interesting experiment would be to find someone with no real world pinball experience, and then see if they have a preference of Zen or TPA.
    shutyertrap, I am your person, save a little Gorgar in or around 1980. Preference definitely with Zen, although not by that much. Since life does not have enough free time, I almost always fire up Zen when I sit down to play. I get to TPA only if time permits. I do play Zen the most.
    Last edited by steven120566; 11-18-2017 at 06:06 AM.

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    Senior Member ScotchYeti's Avatar
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    ZEN is far more appealing as a multisensory experience and good popcorn entertainment. From a pinball perspective it suffers from being so ramp and loop centric, having these super long ball times and having ultra hard wizard modes.

    You know, on one hand you feel entertained and in control, but as playing through the game modes takes forever, loosing the balls will happen and only the best will ever reach the wizard modes.

    TPA is different but offers a far better pinball experience. The tables are fun, varied and the challenge makes you coming back for more.

    You can see what happens when tables are too easy: Junkyard, Harley, Scared Stiff. They quickly become boring. Zen can counter this with atmosphere and animations, and they do it well. But this is not pure pinball anymore.

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    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven120566 View Post
    shutyertrap, I am your person, save a little Gorgar in or around 1980. Preference definitely with Zen, although not by that much. Since life does not have enough free time, I almost always fire up Zen when I sit down to play. I get to TPA only if time permits. I do play Zen the most.
    Interesting. I obviously grew up playing the real things, so TPA had the advantage there. Also, with early Zen tables, the ball felt super heavy and there was no bounce to be had which bugged me a bit. So I played TPA 90% of the time and Zen would get a burst of play here and there, usually when a new table came out. Since FX3, I have found myself playing it 70% of the time and it all has to do with the tournaments and matchup modes. Pinball is most fun when competing, and Zen has really captured that. Leaderboards don't excite me, but seeing a score pop up that I'm about to beat while playing? Oh hell yeah. A whole slew of new user tournaments every day? Sure, why not pop in for a couple. Matchup is very similar to the TPA tourneys, which I find to be grind fests and have completely stopped playing. I'm not at that point yet with Zen, if only because the 3 minute timer keeps the scoring within reach.

    I should mention too, had a friend over yesterday and wanted to show him something in TPA. He has never played it before, was navigating through the menus with mouse and keyboard instead of my controller. He got so frustrated trying to exit a table and then the game itself because identifying the correct button to select and even finding it wasn't intuitive to him. I've been playing the game since the beginning, so I'm used to it. This is the first time I've seen first hand what others on this forum have complained about. He also was highly disappointed in having to exit the game to get to the launch utility to then set up graphics rather than being able to do it in game. I'm right there with him on that front.
    I'm just sayin'

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    Hmmm, for the real pinball feeling, I go to the Dutch Pinball Museum. Over there they have about 80 tables which you can play on as long as you like. TPA & SPA don't even come close. Not in atmosphere, nor in physics. I've played multiple tables both IRL and on TPA, but there is no way to compare it.
    And don't get me wrong: I like playing pinball on computers/consoles. I own all seasons on TPA, both packs on SPA, all tables in ZP2 and FX3. I like the Audio/Visual experience of the ZEN tables. And the physics are more "arcade" style, making the ball easier to control.
    SPA & TPA have the advantage of existing tables, which is fun... but nothing beats a real table. Period.

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    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFHFony View Post
    Hmmm, for the real pinball feeling, I go to the Dutch Pinball Museum. Over there they have about 80 tables which you can play on as long as you like. TPA & SPA don't even come close. Not in atmosphere, nor in physics. I've played multiple tables both IRL and on TPA, but there is no way to compare it.
    And don't get me wrong: I like playing pinball on computers/consoles. I own all seasons on TPA, both packs on SPA, all tables in ZP2 and FX3. I like the Audio/Visual experience of the ZEN tables. And the physics are more "arcade" style, making the ball easier to control.
    SPA & TPA have the advantage of existing tables, which is fun... but nothing beats a real table. Period.
    I don't think anyone would ever say digital pinball is better than real. There are ways though to at least approximate it, whether it's through the physics of the game or the community interaction while playing.
    I'm just sayin'

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    Quote Originally Posted by shutyertrap View Post
    Interesting. I obviously grew up playing the real things, so TPA had the advantage there. Also, with early Zen tables, the ball felt super heavy and there was no bounce to be had which bugged me a bit. So I played TPA 90% of the time and Zen would get a burst of play here and there, usually when a new table came out. Since FX3, I have found myself playing it 70% of the time and it all has to do with the tournaments and matchup modes. Pinball is most fun when competing, and Zen has really captured that. Leaderboards don't excite me, but seeing a score pop up that I'm about to beat while playing? Oh hell yeah. A whole slew of new user tournaments every day? Sure, why not pop in for a couple. Matchup is very similar to the TPA tourneys, which I find to be grind fests and have completely stopped playing. I'm not at that point yet with Zen, if only because the 3 minute timer keeps the scoring within reach.

    I should mention too, had a friend over yesterday and wanted to show him something in TPA. He has never played it before, was navigating through the menus with mouse and keyboard instead of my controller. He got so frustrated trying to exit a table and then the game itself because identifying the correct button to select and even finding it wasn't intuitive to him. I've been playing the game since the beginning, so I'm used to it. This is the first time I've seen first hand what others on this forum have complained about. He also was highly disappointed in having to exit the game to get to the launch utility to then set up graphics rather than being able to do it in game. I'm right there with him on that front.
    What is super cool is that they have both achieved what they wanted to. If you love what the real, old, tables are about, TPA did it justice. As much justice that can be done simulating real pinball. And Zen, well, they started with digital pinball. And they also have done it justice. Although they are different, together they leave no room for any type of other gaming in my world lol.

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