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Pinball Zone

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A level where either the hero or some proxy takes a trip through a massive Pinball machine, or some other area sharing features with one. The typical style is the inside of a pinball machine, with all that brings. Expect metal pinballs rolling around or being destroyed, flashing neon lights, flippers and bumpers, with loud party type music in the background. Is often a Casino Park area or a Bonus Stage.

If the entire game is devoted to putting a popular character into a pinball machine, then it's a Pinball Spinoff. See also Pinball Gag.

Video Game Examples

  • Wario Land 4 is the Trope Namer, though there weren't actually many pinball elements in that stage.
  • Aladdin (Virgin Games) included the whimsical "Inside the Lamp" level, in which Genie heads and hands served as flippers.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
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  • Milla's Dance Party in Psychonauts definitely has shades of this—especially the raceway level.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Almost every game in the series has at least one level where Sonic is buffeted about by flippers, bumpers, and the like (usually within levels decked out with a full casino theme, starting with Spring Yard and moving on to Casino and Carnival Night Zones), and Sonic Spinball was devoted entirely to the idea of Sonic being the pinball. The in-series tradition may have started because, since Sonic can curl into a ball and move rapidly and the series already featured him careening wildly around loops, through the air, and off of springs, putting him in a pinball machine wasn't much of a stretch.
  • Sonic Mania has the twist of setting the requisite bumper-filled Zone inside of a movie studio, called Studiopolis Zone. In addition to bumpers, the level features many callbacks to oddities that Sega has produced, such as the Segasonic Popcorn Machine, and Gallop Lotto referencing Daytona USA. The elements make a return, in a different form, in the Wild West stage Mirage Saloon Zone, which contains a number of stage elements found in the aforementioned Collision Chaos.
  • Sonic 1 Game Mod, Sonic the Hedgehog Megamix, upgrades Spring Yard Zone to City Outskirts Zone, adding in faster sections and loop-de-loops in the process.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep gives us Pete's Rec Room, an area in the underground section of Disney Town that features a giant pinball machine in which the characters can climb into the plunger and launch themselves into. While in the pinball machine, a spherical barrier appears around the character (making them the pinball) and the player controls the flippers with the shoulder buttons.
  • The Incredible Machine 2 contains pinball levels, complete with flippers, bumpers, and the pinball itself. You can also make your own.
  • Level 42 advanced on Marble Blast Gold is set in a giant pinball machine. It's very hard to play, given that you have to hit the bumpers just right, and the level's set at a 45 degree angle.
  • The Pinball hole in the Apple IIGS classic Zany Golf.
  • The Marvel villain Arcade tried to kill Spider-Man and several X-Men by throwing them into a deadly giant pinball machine. Marvel Ultimate Alliance features said pinball; you have to reach a high score by hitting the right targets, at which point the flippers open to let you through and balls start raining from the sky.
  • Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2 culminates inside a pinball machine.
  • MadWorld's casino level has bumpers all over the place. Not for the player character to move themselves in, but to redirect thrown enemies to extend combos and earn more points.
  • Parodius Da! has a pinball-themed stage, whose boss is a cross between a Gradius Core and a pinball machine.
  • Nitro Ball, an obscure run-and-gun shooter by Data East, is set in a world inspired by pinball tables.
  • Sweet Tooth's Carnival of Carnage in the rebooted Twisted Metal.
  • In the Capcom Shoot 'em Up Section Z, Section O is filled with flippers and deadly pinballs that bounce around the screen.
  • In The Fairly OddParents: Shadow Showdown, the penultimate section of "Vicky Strikes Back" is centered around what is essentially pinball.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures Buster Busts Loose, at one point during the Buster's Sky-jinks level, Buster reaches a pinball temple, which he must climb up to collect an important item Calamity Coyote left at the top. If Buster collects all the colored balls, then pinball flippers will appear, which can help him on his way up. When Buster does reach the top, the item is revealed to be the script for the next episode, which leads to the final level of the game.
  • The Mega CD version of Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin has Mysterio placing Spidey in a giant pinball machine after shrinking him.
  • "The Go-Go Bowing Road" in Graffiti Kingdom has a pinball-themed room, complete with giant flippers and pinballs that try to crush the player.
  • Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion stages contain a few stages in which Agent 8 must roll around or manipulate large spheres. One stage is a long path containing wireform habitrails, pop bumpers, up-kickers, and whirlpool ramps. Another one has Agent 8 man a cannon to operate a simplified bingo machine.
  • Slap City has Bumpertown stage, the "second-most dangerous place in the city". Bumpers are everywhere in this stage, and they are capable to knock over fighters and deal some damage.
  • Stretching the trope to its limit, someone following the RP Gnet Let's Play of Limbo of the Lost compared one long, tedious sequence in an Absurdly Spacious Sewer to playing pinball... in an incredibly bad Point And Click Adventure made with assets stolen from better games. Given the amount of time the player spends being bounced around from badly-Photoshopped location to poorly-animated cutscene and back without any idea what the hell is going on, it's not a bad metaphor.

Non-Video Game Examples

  • The kids from The Magic School Bus spent an episode in one of these, learning about light, lasers, and reflection.
  • Extremely rare comic book example: one chapter of Iznogoud has the protagonist trapped in a pinball machine wasteland.
  • The Marvel villain Arcade likes to throw captured super-powered individuals in a deadly giant pinball.
  • The third episode of Total Drama World Tour has a challenge taking place inside a giant pinball set of a Japanese gameshow.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The Sonic Sat AM had an episode that put Sonic in a pinball machine, presumably inspired by his game counterpart's frequent pinball adventures.
    • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog had an episode that was clearly inspired by Sonic Spinball, and he ends up in a giant pinball machine in "Robotnikland".
  • In Dragon Ball, Pilaf's castle contained a huge pinball Death Trap.
  • In the "Soos' Really Great Pinball Story" segment of the Gravity Falls episode "Bottomless Pit", Soos, Dipper, and Mabel get trapped in Stan's old pinball machine, and they can only escape by manually turning the machine off.
  • An episode of Turbo F.A.S.T. has Chet competing in a pinball machine as part of a demolition derby.
  • In the Action Man (2000) series, the episode "Out of the shadows" features Alex and Brandon participating in an extreme sports competition set in a giant pin ball-shaped playing field.
  • In Wakfu, the Feca Demigod Black Bump's temple is actually a giant pinball table where gigantic marbles bounce against the walls, pillars and his own barrier in an attempt to crush his enemies. He's Hoist by His Own Petard when Yugo and Amalia manage to redirect the balls against the unprotected stone floor, breaking it open.
  • In Doctor Who Meets Scratchman, Harry's idle thought about Scratchman and the Doctor playing pinball for the universe inspires Scratch to trap them in a giant pinball game. When Sarah Jane points out that this isn't even a contest, Scratch plucks a couple of other thoughts from Harry and it becomes a giant pinball game that is also a Human Chess match and a game of skittles.
  • One of the rooms (The Tommy Memorial Room) in the User Friendly Dungeon of Splannng in the Dungeons and Toons setting for Toon. The Animator is advised to describe the elements of the room without saying what it actually is, and wait for one of the players to say "We're in a giant pinball machine!" before activating it.


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