We asked a huge pinball fanatic a few questions about the gaming genre he loves. Introducing Glenn Percival aka Torgo, founder, podcaster, writer and all round figurehead of www.PSNation.org Torgo is a huge pinball fanatic who loves nothing more than to talk pinball to anyone who is interested. A true pinball fan. We took the chance to ask him a few questions so he could share his knowledge with the world.
Welcome To JoypadAndMe Torgo
Jedi Junkie) What started your love of pinball?
Torgo) That’s all we had when I was a kid, especially growing up in Wisconsin. Arcades were scarce, and arcade games back in the day weren’t consistently very good. Sure, we had Shakey’s Pizza or the Bowling alley, but most of the tiem there was a pinball machine available to play.
Jedi Junkie) How long had you been playing pinball before you realised your skills were above average?
Torgo) Well, I really don’t think that my skills are anything impressive, but I do get obsessive. I’m actually better in the digital representations than the real thing most of the time.
Torgo) Both, and I firmly believe that the digital tables are helping keep Stern alive as the last remaining Pinball manufacturer. The physical tables are something truly to behold, especially with the complexity of the designs, and the miles of wire that are house inside. Unfortunately though, they’re incredibly tough to maintain. The digital games and tables do a great job of emulating a dying genre, but at the same time, especially with Zen’s offerings, allow for designs that couldn’t even exist in the real world. The other great side-effect is a resurgence for the popularity of Pinball in general, allowing a new generation to discover this wonderful genre.
Jedi Junkie) What do you consider to be the best console for digital pinball games in regards to the feel of the table and your control of the ball?
Torgo) Well, Farsight has done a fantastic job of translating the tables they’ve done in The Pinball Arcade mostly, but their physics are still a bit off from the real thing, as they are in Pinball FX 1&2, Zen, and Marvel Pinball. But, Zen Pinball 2 is really close to what you’d expect in the real world, and the fact that all of the old tables convert to the new physics engine is truly outstanding.
Also, you can’t overlook Last Gladiators Pinball, and the Japanese-only sequel Necronomicon for the Sega Saturn from Kaze, whom also made Akira Psycho Ball for the PS2, which is also pretty fantastic.
Jedi Junkie) Which game do you consider to have the most realistic physics?
Torgo) Zen Pinball 2 and the Kaze games. The Pinball Arcade is getting there, but not yet.
Jedi Junkie) What makes a good pinball table in your opinion? Features, theme etc?
Torgo) It can be many things, which is why everyone has a different favorite. The theme can many times be a huge factor, but other things like the playfield design, the flow, and even how the game might interact with the player (FunHouse is a great example of this.)
Jedi Junkie) Do you prefer high scoring tables or the much tougher but lower scoring tables?
Torgo) That doesn’t really concern me since high or low scores as a whole are arbitrary. Some older tables scored in the tens, while some newer ones, when they finally included digital screens, could finally allow scores in the millions. That’s not to say that I don’t want a high score, but low or high scoring in terms of how the scoring is set up doesn’t matter to me at all.
Jedi Junkie) When you play, do you use a particular setup ie. personalised control layouts, camera view etc?
Torgo) For digital tables, I like to be able to see a wide-angle view or from above a bit so that I can see the entire table. That’s why I always love playing on the PSP and Vita, since most of the games on those platforms allow to use the screen vertically, allowing for the entire table to be on the screen.
Jedi Junkie) Do you see digital pinball games taking advantage of motion controls or touch controls?
Torgo) They already do. both The Pinball Arcade and Zen Pinball 2 use both functions quite well.
Torgo) Wow, that’s not fair. It would be either Funhoue, The Twilight Zone, Indiana Jones, the Addams Family, Family Guy, South Park and a few others for real machines. Digitally, The Last Gladiator is fantastic, and there are a few Zen Tables that I really love like Epic Quest, World War Hulk, sorcerer’s Lair, Spider-man, and uggh, there’s so many! Nah, can’t answer that.
Jedi Junkie) If you were to design your own table, what would be the three most important aspects you would add?
Torgo) A great theme I think. The tables that I attract to almost always have something so unique that I can’t pull myself away. Also, my table would definitely have a comedic theme for sure.
Jedi Junkie) Are you excited for Pinball FX2 and Zen Pinball 2?
Torgo) I have and love both. Zen Pinball 2 has been in my hands for a couple of months, and I can’t stop playing with the new physics. It really is THAT big of a difference. Also, having all of the tables with the new physics, and all converted for play in 3D, yeah, it’s pretty awesome.
Jedi Junkie) When you play, do you react to what transpires on the table or do you see what’s going to happen before it actually happens?
Torgo) That’s called “The Zone,” and it’s quite elusive. Yeah, you can definitely have those games where everything just comes together, but I’ve never found a way to do that on a regular basis unfortunately/
Jedi Junkie) Last question, do you know who Tommy is? 🙂
Torgo) LOL! That blind guy?!?!
Thank you to Torgo for taking part in this interview and chatting with us. As you can tell this is a man who loves his pinball.
Torgo can be found at www.PSNation.org and podcasts on the PSNation show every week.
Photos courtesy of Google Images.