Olympic Goblin (Phenix Pinball) report (part of Flip Expo 2018 report)
Posted on April 21, 2018
While Pinball Magazine usually doesn’t review new pinball games, it is always interesting to play new games and report on them. Just before Flip Expo 2018 I had the chance to play Phenix Pinball’s Olympic Goblin. Pinball Magazine reported on this game two years ago, from the same event, when it was still in early development. Since then the game came a lot closer to a finished product, although it’s not completely finished at the moment.
Olympic Goblin is intended as a simple game, a throwback to the days of electromechanical pinball in terms of rule sets: easy to understand, difficult to master, but with a modern twist. Just like on most electromechanical games, most of the rules are indicated on the playfield. On Olympic Goblin mostly in a visual way. The game is about a green Goblin character who is apparently competing in some Olympic tournament, although the sports practiced aren’t actual Olympic sports. There are the following game modes: Get the pigs, Win the race, Eat em all, Beat em all, and the victory stage. All modes are played in order. The game starts with Get the pigs.
Above the flippers is an image pictured of the Goblin grabbing two pigs. The pigs, and most other collectible animals, are represented by drop targets. There are three banks of each three drop targets on the playfield; one on the left, one in the middle at the top, and one on the right, opposite of the drop targets on the left. To Get the pigs the lower drop targets on the left and right bank start blinking, as do the pigs portrayed in the image above the flippers. Shooting the lower left drop target collects the pig pictured on the left, and vice versa for the right pig. The pigs, and other animals in other modes, don’t have to be collected in order. When both pigs are collected a short fanfare sound is played, the drop targets reset while the ball is still in play and the second mode starts immediately: Win the race.
Again the concept is similar: this time four drop targets will be blinking and need to be collected. When completed the game moves on to the next round, Eat em all, where five drop targets on the left side of the playfield need to be shot. When completed the game moves on to Beat them all, where five drop targets on the right side need to be completed. When you get to the podium modes all drop targets need to be completed to complete a stage on the podium. When completed these stages also award an Extra Ball or other awards.
At the top of the playfield are four rollover lanes named Corrupted Judges. The goal is to collect all four. Unlike the game modes, these rollover lanes reset after every drain, so ideally they must be collected on each ball. The rollover lanes can be moved around with lane change. Each collected rollover lane enables an increased lit score for certain pop bumpers and rollover lanes further down the playfield. What’s interesting about that is that each rollover lane is connected to certain popbumpers or rollover lanes, but when using lane change the lit increased values also move around across the playfield. So in order to collect 1,000 points at the inlane leading to one of the flippers, you have to flip a few times to light up that inlane first. Obviously, when more top rollover lanes are completed, the less lane changing is needed to illuminate a certain lane that the ball is about to roll in to.
As far as game rules, this is about it. There is no multiball or wizard mode. An easy to understand concept, probably fun for kids to get acquainted with pinball. The game is likely intended to be operated in arcades, camping sites and redemption game centers. A ticket dispenser would be recommended to make the game more interesting for such redemption centers. Tickets could be awarded for completing each mode, where the number of tickets awarded increases with each mode. But at the moment such ticket dispenser isn’t part of the game yet as ticket dispensing games are not allowed in France.
Also interesting to notice is that the game has two “slingshots,” one above each flipper, but they don’t contain a kicker. Despite the lack of a kicker the do bounce the ball around quite good.
Ever since the first images of this game were published the artwork has been criticized by many. Yes, it’s a different style than we’ve been used to on most modern pinball games, but the game isn’t trying to compete with those games. What matters is whether kids find it attractive. Pinball Magazine also found out that due to the use of a PinSound audio board, the music and sound effects are fully customizable. It might even be possible to send in custom artwork and have that applied to the game.
Flip Expo was held April 21 and 22 in Le Treport, France. Other new and uncommon games present at the show include: Total Nuclear Annihilation (Spooky Pinball), Rob Zombie (Spooky Pinball), The Big Lebowski (Dutch Pinball), The Jetsons (The Pinball Company), Alien LE (Heighway Pinball) and Pirates of the Caribbean (Jersey Jack Pinball). JJP’s Jack Guarnieri is also present at the show.