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Pinball Zone

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Tails: Whatever you did triggered an eruption! And the lava burned away the cloud bank and revealed... something...
Sonic: Hey, I've seen my fair share of pinball machines. I know one when I see one. Were those really part of the original ruins?

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 Spin-Off. 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.:
    • Super Mario Sunshine has a level that puts Mario in a pachinko game. He has to collect all Red Coins present in it, but the surrounding physics of the pachinko machine makes navigation through it (and thus collection of the coins) very difficult.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2: Part of "Melty Monster Galaxy" takes place inside a giant pinball machine, with Rock Mario serving as the pinball.
    • "Waluigi Pinball" appears several times in the Mario series, including as a track in Mario Kart DS and as a level in Mario Sports Mix.
    • Mario Party 5: The minigame Panic Pinball has two pairs of characters playing pinball. In each team, one of the characters is controlling one of the flippers, and both have to hit the ball upward so it can in turn hit objects to earn points, including a slot machine with varying benefitial effects. The team that earns the highest score after 60 seconds will win.
    • Mario Party 6: The minigame Ball Dozers puts one player in a gigantic pinball board with a small ball, while the other three players are placed in another with a big ball; both boards have plenty of small rocks that are obstructing the balls, so the objective is to use hammers to crush those rocks in order to clear the balls' paths into the goal. The solo player has to remove more balls due to working alone, but the ball's small size allows it to squeeze through narrow areas between rocks; meanwhile, the big ball moves slowly and requires the removal of more rocks to proceed, so the three players responsible for it have to team up to remove multiple rocks at the same time. In the end, the minigame is fairly balanced for both factions.
    • Mario Party DS: Bowser's Pinball Machine takes place inside a normal-sized pinball machine that looks huge for the main characters due to their reduced size. It has several contraptions that require careful navigation and planning, because a misstep can completely ruin a character's prospect to become the Superstar.
    • Mario Party 10: Bowser's Painball places Team Mario inside a large pinball table, with Bowser controlling the flippers. Bowser tries to hit his opponents with spiked balls that are launched into the table, while Team Mario must do their best to avoid them. The top of the table has bumpers that can quickly launch spiked balls that hit them back down, while the middle of the table has a barrier that moves around in a circle that Team Mario can use to protect themselves.
    • One of the levels in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a pinball machine.
  • 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.
    • Collision Chaos from Sonic the Hedgehog CD was more in tune with the Spring Yard Zone. It's one of the few pinball levels in a Sonic game without a casino theme. The boss arena of Act 3 is even designed like a giant pinball table, which requires Sonic to use the flippers to propel himself up to the boss.
    • 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.
    • One 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.
    • Sonic Frontiers: A pinball minigame is featured on Chaos Island, where you must beat it with at least five million points to reach the island's Titan. Extra notable that this is a pinball machine powered by the technology of the Ancients, something that Sonic even provides some Lampshade Hanging on why it's here to begin with.
  • 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 (as well as fight Spidey villains Rhino and Shocker), 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 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: Octo Expansion contains a few stages in which Agent 8 must roll around large 8-balls and guide them to the goal. Several of these stages contain a variety of pinball-inspired mechanics, including wireform habitrails, pop bumpers, up-kickers, and whirlpool ramps. While most of these stages have the simple objective of guiding the 8-ball to the goal, others are more creative — for example, one stage has Agent 8 using a long-ranged Charger to manipulate balls on a giant pool table, while another has them use 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.
  • Cartoon Network Racing has Tilt We Meet Again.
  • SSX and its sequel, SSX Tricky, have the Tokyo Megaplex, which the course description explicitly compares to a pinball machine. Specifically, it's a neon-drenched indoor complex where you navigate doors, bumpers, blocks, buttons, and flippers that add up to what many fans regard as the most challenging course in the game, and also the only course in the game with multiple laps, with a wind tunnel (where you can score big air for bigger tricks) taking you back up to the top at the end. Tricky adds some verticality on top, with rails and pipes hanging over the surface.
  • Grapple Force Rena has a level set inside something very pinball themed, with bumpers and chutes and a general pinball shape.
  • Miku Monogatari: Yume to Taisetsu na Mono has Stage 3 - 6, with its first part is based on pinballs. You must use the chutes, bumpers, and flippers to reach the topmost part where a portal would take you to the boss. In Hard mode, the timer for this part is significantly shorter than normal.

Non-Video Game Examples

Anime & Manga

Comic Books

  • 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.


  • 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.

Tabletop Game

  • 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.

Western Animation

  • 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 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.
  • The Magic School Bus: In "Makes a Rainbow", The kids spent an episode in one of these, learning about light, lasers, and reflection.
  • The third episode of Total Drama World Tour has a challenge taking place inside a giant pinball set of a Japanese gameshow.
  • An episode of Turbo F.A.S.T. has Chet competing in a pinball machine as part of a demolition derby.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Waluigi Pinball

A giant pinball machine based on everyone's favorite Smash reject.

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