Mystery Science Theater 3000 Pinball Peril (Based on Taito’s “Polar”)
RELEASE DATE: September 8th, 2021
EMULATOR: Visual Pinball 10.6 or higher, PinMAME 3.3 or higher
ARTIST(S): Mark Paulik (based on JPSalas’s “Polar” table)
HARDWARE: Windows PC with an Intel i5 Quad-Core processor with a Nvidia GTX 960 or higher graphics card (Recommended)
SOFTWARE/OS REQUIREMENTS: Windows 10, 64-bit
Anyone who is anyone can tell you how much I love “Mystery Science Theater 3000”. A couple years ago, I wrote one of the longest articles I’ve ever written, ranking every single episode from Seasons 1 all the way to 12, covering 30 years of one of the most beloved TV comedy shows ever made. At about the same time, Stern released “Elvira: House of Horrors”, a table many pinball fans thought should have been an MST3K table. I, personally, wanted to make an MST3K table but I lack the time and the skills it takes to make something so complex. Along comes Mark Paulik, an artist and table designer with his own MST3K table…but will it win over long-time fans of the show?
This is one of the best re-skins I have ever seen. Paulik’s art is amazing and his drawings of each of MST3K’s many characters, robots, and movie victims are as colorful as they are amazing. The small details are incredible. Pearl’s VW bus, Jonah’s towing ship, and the SOL are all found on the table and the plastics look real. The Mike and the Bots can even be found riffing on the title of the game (“They spelled Pearl’s name wrong!” says Crow) at the bottom apron. The only downside is that none of the toys are interactive.
Here’s where the game suffers: the audio is severely out of balance and needs work. The game comes with a media pack which features about a little over a dozen MST3K audio files from the show. These are songs, riffs, and bumper tunes from the show. There’s no central musical ditty while you play. It’s simply a playlist of this audio and it doesn’t always fit the action. Secondly, there are callouts taken from the show — but the music tracks are so loud, you can barely hear them. From what I CAN hear, Gypsy says a few things, the doors to the SOL can be heard shutting, and I think Crow says “MIKE” a few times but I can’t be sure.
No animations, no PUP Pack and that’s a shame because there’s so much content from the show that would fit a pinball game. There IS an after-market B2S backglass file you can get from the VPForums but there’s only a digital readout and not much else to look at.
The game plays perfectly and the physics are second to none. The ruleset, however, is based on Polar’s ruleset, which means that you’re essentially just knocking down targets for multipliers and this gets old fairly quickly. It’s truly a shame because there are so many parts on this table which are attractive and talk a good game. Missing from the game is any semblance of the theater riffing. I would have liked to have seen some sort of playfield which somehow simulated the theater room…but, perhaps I’m asking too much.
“Mystery Science Theater: Pinball Peril” is a gorgeous game to look at and might be fun for kids — but, beyond looks and presentation, the game is surprisingly shallow and the replay factor just isn’t there. Still, any MSTie would be incredibly happy to have this in their collection and might appreciate the old school pinball action.