Blindfold Pinball

While I was creating an audio game similar Skee Ball, which is called Blindfold Vee Ball, I asked the blind testers why they enjoyed playing that game.  Several of them couldn’t remember what skee ball was, until I described it in detail.  Skee Ball is a bowling like game where you roll a wooden ball up a ramp, and then it lands in a hole in one of several concentric circles.  The harder the shot, the more points you get.  You get one paper ticket for each point, and the tickets can be traded to get prizes.

The testers told me they liked that game since the sounds were interesting: the sound of the ball rolling and the sound of the paper tickets being ejected from the machine.  They also mentioned they liked pinball for the same reason – lots of cool sounds and by pressing the flipper button again and again, they kept the ball in motion.

And, of course, once the conversation shifted to pinball, several requested a Blindfold Pinball game.cartoon person playing pinball

To build a pinball game, you need several components:

  • A physics engine, or simulator, so the ball on the screen bounces off of the bumpers and rolls just like a real-word pinball machine.
  • Interesting sounds when the ball bounces into a bumper, with different sounds for each type of bumper.
  • Flippers, so you can flip the ball back up to the top of the machine to keep the ball in play.
  • A scoring system, so the more bumpers you hit, the higher the score you get.
  • A pinball shooter, to first launch the pinball.

The pinball shooter was the easiest to create.  As you drag your finger down the screen, you hear the following sound:

Once you let go, the ball is fired up the narrow channel and into the main pinball game area.  Gravity, emulated by the physics engine, lets the ball roll down towards the bottom of the pinball machine until it either leaves the playing area, or you hit it with one of the flippers.

I’ll go into more details about the bumpers in the next blog.  You can download the game for the iPhone or iPad here: Blindfold Pinball

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