Balls of Steel is a pinball computer game developed by Wildfire Studios and released on December 12, 1997. It is the only title to be published under the Pinball Wizards label, a division of Apogee Software (today known as 3D Realms).
The game's original box art showed a female hand holding a large pair of pinballs, above the phrase, "Come play with our balls." It came with five tables:
- "Darkside", with space troopers fighting against aliens attacking a space research station.
- "Barbarian," depicting a Heroic Fantasy hero out to retrieve a set of magic gems.
- "Firestorm," featuring a runaway Mad Bomber attacking a city.
- "Mutation!," about a runaway genetic experiment that has mutated into a killer monster.
- "Duke Nukem," based on the manly video-game star.
All of the games are played from a top-down view, either via a vertically-scrolling playfield or with the entire table visible. "Darkside" was available for free to play in the shareware/demo version of the game, while a sixth table, "Devil's Island" (about explorers seeking a gold treasure on a tropical island) was released separately by Wildfire Studios. The game's realistic physics and highly interactive and imaginative tables have been lauded by fans, who rank its games among the best Digital Pinball Tables since the Pro Pinball series.
When the game was originally released, it was possible to upload high scores to the WorldScores server for global rankings. This feature has since been discontinued.
For the trope about testicular fortitude, click here.
This Video Game contains examples of:
- Barbarian Hero: In "Barbarian", obviously.
- Blob Monster: Featured in "Mutation!"
- Bloody Hilarious: It's a 3D Realms game, after all.
- Captured by Cannibals: Happens to one of the explorers in "Devil's Island".
- Convection, Schmonvection: Invoked in "Devil's Island", which includes shooting pinballs down a lava tube and into a volcano.
- Double Entendre: A phrase such as "Come play with our balls" was clearly meant as this.
- Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: The "Big Ugly Head" on the "Devil's Island" table.
- Elemental Powers: "Barbarian" requires the player to collect the Earth, Air, Water, and Fire elements.
- Excited Show Title!: "Mutation!"
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: "Mutation!"
- Heroic Fantasy: The pinball table "Barbarian" has this trope in mind.
- Hungry Jungle: "Devil's Island" is set here.
- Incredibly Obvious Bomb: The bomber in "Firestorm" is holding up a bundle of dynamite sticks.
- Lamprey Mouth: The red alien on the "Darkside" playfield has a circular orifice full of sharp teeth.
- Ludicrous Gibs: A common feature of many of the tables, especially when you hit roaming monsters with balls.
- Mad Bomber: The antagonist of "Firestorm".
- Pinball Spin-Off: One pinball table is titled "Duke Nukem", which is based off of Duke Nukem 3D.
- Rated M for Manly: As 3D Realms put it, "No lame circus, zoo, or cutesy themes here! We're talking blood and gore, with animated creatures getting splattered by your ball and laser cannons dishing out hardcore destruction."
- Scary Scorpions: "Devil's Island" shows a giant scorpion interrupting a Human Sacrifice ritual.
- Spelling Bonus: Many, including M-U-T-A-T-E from "Mutation!", F-U-S-E and B-O-M-B from "Firestorm", A-L-I-E-N in "Darkside", S-K-U-L-L in "Devil's Island", and G-E-M and K-E-Y in "Barbarian".
- Spiders Are Scary: "Devil's Island" has spiders scurrying around the playfield, as well as a black widow's web at the top of the table.
- Timed Mission: "Firestorm" requires the player to visit various locations to stop bombs before they explode.
- Top-Down View