Jurassic Park’s pinball tables are a fantastic adventure 65 million years in the making

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God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs. Man creates a set of pinball tables based on said theme park dinosaurs which then proceed to gobble up all of his shiny balls in the process. Dammit people, we’ve been down this road before! Your game developers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should create a trio of pinball tables featuring the greatest apex predators of a bygone age.

So here we are. 25 years later and the original Jurassic Park is still a landmark movie. It’s Stephen Spielberg’s signature style at its finest, the first chapter in an enduring legacy that continues to rake in dollars to this day. With Jurassic World proving to be a billion-dollar blockbuster and a new sequel on the way in the form of The Fallen Kingdom later this year, Pinball FX3 is back with a licensed tour inside of the park.

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Only without the benefit of having the attractions attempt to eat your face off. Following on from last year’s Universal Classics line that featured Jaws, Back To The Future and ET: The Extratesticular tables, developer Zen Studios offers three new dino-themed tables: A trip back to 1993 with Jurassic Park Pinball, a more recent journey to the Cretaceous era with Jurassic World Pinball and a free-for-all brouhaha in Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem.

Like most licensed tables from Zen Studios, the end result is a trilogy of detail. Of tables featuring quotes from the films that play out with the whack of a paddle (albeit by other voice actors), with mini-games hidden within them. “When we started on the Jurassic World table, it was a very careful conversation,” table designer Tom Crofts said to Polygon.

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We started with a table where the player was a visitor coming to Jurassic World after the events of the movie. But after two weeks, they actually pushed us to use the license more.

That’s an idea which the team has actually managed to successfully translate into their design. Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem in particular, has you using a Stegosaurus to pelt pinballs at Velociraptors for extra points, while the Jurassic World table features those sneaky carnivores stalking you as your progress further up the ladder of what the game has to offer. Basically, it’s a collection of pinball tables that feels more interactive than ever before. “The big thing for us was to get the interactions with dinosaurs into the table,” Crofts explained.

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Rather than have these massive dinosaurs only on the side of the tables, we have the T-rex, we have Indominus Rex [a fictitious species cooked up for the movies] moving on the tables.

And it works! The Jurassic Park collection may just be my favourite series yet, as all three tables play out like a fantastic love letter to a film franchise that defined many a generation. It’s the kind of game that suits anyone who spent a childhood collecting biweekly Dinosaur magazines and had to resist the urge to eat the bones of a glow-in-the-dark T-Rex model.

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A fantastic collection of nostalgia and history, 65 million years in the making.

Last Updated: February 21, 2018

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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