Pokémon Pinball, released for the Game Boy Color in 1999, is a Pokémon Pinball Spin-Off. Players play on either a Red or Blue-themed table (modeled after Pokémon Red and Blue) to earn points and catch Pokémon. Every time a new species is caught through Catch 'em All mode, or evolved in Evolution mode, it is added to the in-game Pokédex. Players can go to different regions to find different Pokémon to catch, upgrade the pokéball for higher scores, and play various Mini Games.
It spawned a 2003 sequel on the Game Boy Advance, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire. Although the game was fundamentally the same, the sequel changed the table layouts, added more Pokémon to the Pokédex, featured the ability to hatch eggs and capture the newborn Pokémon, and offered a shop where you could buy additional game-enhancing abilities.
Tropes used in Pokémon Pinball:
- Anti-Frustration Feature: The Ball Saver, which is activated at the beginning of a new ball and for the first 60 seconds of Catch 'em All mode and Evolution mode. You could also nudge the tables as many times as you want without the threat of tilting.
- Battle Theme Music: The music for Catch 'Em mode, Evolution mode, and Map Move are decidedly more upbeat and hurried. One of them is an 8-bit remix of Mezase Pokémon Master, the anime's first Japanese theme.
- Big Boo's Haunt: Gengar's bonus stage.
- Do Well, But Not Perfect: The final bonus stage, against Mewtwo, is the most lucrative source of points in the whole game, but beating it cycles you back to the first bonus stage, so the best way to rack up a high score is to intentionally fail by one or two hits so you can keep replaying it.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The music that plays on the Blue Field is the same as that of Ecruteak City and Cianwood City in Gold & Silver, which didn't come out until seven months later.
- Flip-Screen Scrolling: Each table is divided into screens, and the screen briefly flashes white each time the ball moves between them.
- Mini-Game: The bonus rounds.
- Missing Secret: You can't actually catch Mew unless you hit it 256 x 4 (1,024) timesnote . Luckily, just seeing it adds it to your Pokedex.
- Nintendo Hard: Diglett Stage may have no time limit, but if you lose your ball, you instantly lose the stage.
- Pinball Scoring: The Mewtwo stage is worth at least 1.25 billion if you beat it. The score counter goes up to twelve digits, and while it's extremely time-consuming to do so, it is possible to max it out if you're patient enough.
- Pinball Spin-Off: Ruby & Sapphire provides the page image.
- Pokémon Speak: Pikachu; everything else uses their regular cries.
- Spectacular Spinning: Spinners appear in both the Red and Blue tables, and getting enough spins charges up Pikachu so he can save your ball.
- Spelling Bonus: G-E-T enables Catch 'Em mode, E-V-O enables Evolution mode, and C-A-V-E enables the center saucer for a random reward.
- Suspend Save: To prevent Save Scumming.
- Timed Mission: Catch 'Em and Evolution modes have two-minute timers, Map Move has 30 seconds, while the bonus modes have either a minute or a minute-and-a-half (except for Diglett Stage, which instead only gives you one ball).
Tropes used in Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire:
- An Ice Person: Kyogre periodically lets out a shockwave that freezes your ball during its bonus stage. Unlike the counterpart moves from Groudon and Rayquaza, this can't be avoided. Instead, you need to hit Kyogre quickly to prevent it from using it.
- Anti-Frustration Features: Several compared to the original: you now have 60 seconds to complete a Map Move instead of 30, Catch 'Em mode only requires three bumper hits instead of six before the Pokémon appears on the stage, and you can lose your ball as many times as you like during bonus stages without penalty.
- Ball-Balancing Seal: Sealeo's (a Pokemon based on the earless seal) bonus stage has it bouncing either a Spheal or a Poké Ball on its nose and into the baskets in the field to earn points.
- Be the Ball: In the Sealeo bonus stage, if you hit a Spheal while it's waddling up a slide, it will get bounced by Sealeo through a basketball hoop. Also, a commercial actually showed Treecko being launched into a pinball machine.
- Big Boo's Haunt: Dusclops' bonus stage, which is a graveyard full of Duskull that have to be cleared out before Dusclops will appear.
- Blow You Away: Rayquaza will periodically fly across the field during its bonus stage, creating a gust of wind that sweeps your ball all the way to one side and generates whirlwinds.
- The Cameo: A few mons from the first two generations appear in the Ruby table. Though extremely rare, they're catchable if you live in Japan and have an e-Reader card.
- Cruelty Is the Only Option: On the Ruby table, you can make Makuhita knock the ball up a ramp, knocking down a Nuzleaf and closing the loop to get a ball upgrade.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Even though Dusclops's Pokédex entry states that it absorbs anything it inhales, it will spit the ball out safely whenever it traps it during its bonus game.
- Hollywood Chameleons: Kecleon's bonus stage is based around this, with Kecleon using its camouflage to go invisible right away and the player needing to either track its movements through visual cues in the environment or grab a Devon Scope to make it visible.
- Lethal Lava Land: The Groudon bonus stage is a cavern where lava glows through cracks in the ground. Groudon protects itself by causing fountains of lava to spew up around it.
- Magma Man: Groudon defends itself during its bonus stage by creating pillars of lava that need to be hit repeatedly to shut down. It also spits a lava bomb that traps your ball.
- Palette Swap: Latios and Latias, the ball savers for the two tables.
- Permanently Missable Content: The event in which Jirachi appears can only happen once per playthrough, so you better not let it escape.
- Pinball Scoring: Subverted. The main tables and most bonus stages score everything in multiples of powers of 10. The exception is Rayquaza's stage which awards you a multiple of 99,999,999 points upon completion, making it the only way to turn those trailing zeros into something else. Also, most actions (especially the bonus stages) will actually net you fewer points than in the previous game.
- Pokémon Speak: Again, Pikachu (and Pichu); everything else uses their regular cries.
- Shock and Awe: Rayquaza will periodically call down a lightning bolt to trap your ball during its bonus stage. This is telegraphed by it freezing in place, leaving it more vulnerable despite the electricity arcing across its body.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Sealeo bonus stage is a frozen table with slides made of ice. The objective is to launch as many Spheal up them as possible to reach the basketball hoop in the center.
- Spelling Bonus: GET and EVO are carried over from the original, but the center saucer is now enabled with H-O-L-E.