Silverball Studios (previously Cunning Developments, then Fuse Games) was a UK Video Game company best known for their various digital pinball games.
As Cunning Developments, the company received critical acclaim for their Pro Pinball line of digital pinball games for the IBM Personal Computer. Whereas earlier computer pinball games used a scrolling top-down playfield, the Pro Pinball titles used pre-rendered views of modelled pinball tables, providing photorealistic graphics, fast action, and complex rulesets that rivaled the Real Life Pinball games of the time. After developing four Pro Pinball games, the company tried to branch into console gaming with Endgame for the PlayStation 2, which was quickly ignored by critics after its release in 2002.
Out of the ashes of Cunning Developments came Fuse Games founded by Pro Pinball developers Adrian Barritt and Richard Horrocks. Seeking to show off their talents, they developed a prototype video pinball game with Nintendo's famous plumber, then pitched it to Nintendo of America in Seattle. Nintendo was sufficiently impressed to sign the company, and their demo became Mario Pinball Land. Fuse Games went on to develop more games for Nintendo, but went into voluntary liquidation in 2009 when some of their shareholders departed.
The company reformed a month later as Silverball Studios, serving as a developer for Barnstorm Games to create titles for a variety of platforms. In 2012, the company attempted to revive the Pro Pinball series through Kickstarter, recruiting veteran pinball designer Pat Lawlor to develop a new table for the series. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter project failed to reach its funding goal; the studio then went into liquidation, and has been fully absorbed by Barnstorm Games.
Games produced as Cunning Developments:
- The Pro Pinball series:
- Endgame (a light gun shooter)
Games produced as Fuse Games:
- Mario Pinball Land
- Metroid Prime Pinball
- Active Health with Carol Vorderman
- Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon
Games produced as Silverball Studios:
- Thomas and Friends: Hero of the Rails
- Mensa Brain Test
- Frogger Pinball