It’s Dead Flip’s stream / game reveal of Stern’s new Guardians of the Galaxy pinball game. Guest starring players masked as characters from the movie: Zach Sharpe, Jack Danger and John Borg.

I went into this stream getting ready to see some sort of amalgamation of Iron Man and Metallica in both structure and rule set based on what I had heard before. But suddenly, Aerosmith showed up and revealed its contributions to this effort.

Is it “bad form” to note rule similarities between games? Is there a problem with making it clear how:

  • Groot has functions like the Toy Box from Aerosmith, with his holding of the ball(s) and resulting increase of the playfield X for each one captured.
  • The right scoop UPGRADE is the Crank it Up feature from Aerosmith but the shot itself is in a similar position as Metallica’s Crank it Up feature — it a double reverse reference!
  • Rocket’s Kicker is in a similar position as War Machine on Iron Man but has a different scoring element attached to it.
  • The Orbs shot position is in a similar area as the Snake in Metallica.
  • The game has Star Trek and Aerosmith/Kiss inspired Multiballs.
  • The far left dead-end turnaround shot is in a similar position as Metallica’s piston.

Seeing these elements represented again in this new game helps me to learn and relate to this game faster. Code can make similar games play differently. If similar rule elements from other games can be improved in this game, then what’s wrong with saying that this game borrows from previous titles? On the stream it took Mr. Borg himself to break the ice by saying that a certain rule borrowed from Aerosmith.

Example: Dialed IN!

Dialed IN! is a Pat Lawlor, Pat Lawlor game. (Yes, it’s there twice on purpose. That’s not a typo.) There are elements from other games subtly brought forward for this new experience. It’s like a Greatest Hits album brought together and upgraded with an original IP.

  • The Drone Magnet is similar to the Idol magnet on Ripley’s Believe It … or Not! except it’s on the opposite side of the playfield and it has some extra bumping action surrounding it.
  • The kickout below the Quantum Mechanic is similar to the Thing Saucer on The Addams Family that helps prepare you to shoot the side ramp.
  • The attacks from Dialed IN! Electronics, Inc. are like The Power on The Addams Family but more dramatic.
  • The Sim Card hole is like the Electric Company shot on Monopoly, but it’s higher on the playfield. It’s even below the side ramp like on Monopoly, but the Sim Card hole is even harder to hit from the upper flipper.
  • The D-I-A-L-E-D-I-N letters that you need to collect to get to the wizard mode is similar to the R-I-P-L-E-Y-S letters that you get from Ripley’s Believe It … or Not! Except that this time you don’t just get them by completing the mode, you also have to shoot the Sim Card hole to collect each letter.

Despite these references to other games, going by what I’ve seen and heard, most of us are OK with all this and enjoy playing Dialed IN! anyway.

Bonus Examples:

  • Don’t let the fact that Pin*Bot and Jack*Bot are the same game distract you from the fact that they are totally not the same game at all! What a difference code (and a dot matrix display) can make.
  • TRON: Legacy is the speedier, younger sibling of FunHouse.
  • Earthshaker and Whirlwind also could have had a sibling rivalry in 1989-1990.
  • Pro Pinball’s The Web vs. Star Trek the Next Generation – I had thought whoever might try to make the fantastic pinball simulations known as the Pro Pinball series into real games would start with The Web first, since that game and Star Trek: The Next Generation look so similar.
    • For now check out Silver Castle Pinball who are trying to convert Pro Pinball: timeshock! into a real game.

Fun With Bonus is the home of the semi-coherent, misguided ramblings of professional and amateur pinball players.

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