Pinball Zone

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Bouncy fun!

A level where either the hero or some proxy takes a trip through a massive pinball machine, or some other area sharing features with one. The typical style is the inside of a pinball machine, with all that brings. Expect metal pinballs rolling around or being destroyed, flashing neon lights, flippers and bumpers, with loud party type music in the background. Is often a Casino Park area or a Bonus Stage.

If the entire game is devoted to putting a popular character into a pinball machine, then it's a Pinball Spinoff. See also Pinball Gag.

Examples of Pinball Zone include:

  • Aladdin included the whimsical "Inside the Lamp" level, in which Genie heads and hands served as flippers.
  • Waluigi Pinball and Bowser's Pinball Machine from the Mario series, and Pinball Zone from Wario Land 4.
    • Part of "Melty Monster Galaxy" from Super Mario Galaxy 2 takes place inside a giant pinball machine, with Rock Mario serving as the pinball.
    • Super Mario Sunshine has a level that puts Mario in a pachinko game.
    • It even has its own game: Mario Pinball Land for the GBA.
  • Milla's Dance Party in Psychonauts definitely has shades of this—especially the raceway level.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series is the undisputed king of this trope. Almost every game in the series has at least one level where Sonic is buffeted about by flippers, bumpers, and the like (usually within levels decked out with a full casino theme, starting with Spring Yard and moving on to Casino and Carnival Night Zones), and Sonic Spinball was devoted entirely to the idea of Sonic being the pinball. The in-series tradition may have started because, since Sonic can curl into a ball and move rapidly and the series already featured him careening wildly around loops, through the air, and off of springs, putting him in a pinball machine wasn't much of a stretch.
    • Collision Chaos from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
    • There was a pinball stage in the casino (Casinopolis) during Sonic Adventure as well.
    • Many of the pinball zones in this series are casino themed.
    • Casino Night Zone returns in Sonic Generations. In the 3DS version it is the stage representing Sonic 2, whereas in the Play Station 3/360/PC version it is a pre-order bonus that later got released as DLC, and acts like a mix of the original level with the Casinopolis pinball stages.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep gives us Pete's Rec Room, an area in the underground section of Disney Town that features a giant pinball machine in which the characters can climb into the plunger and launch themselves into. While in the pinball machine, a spherical barrier appears around the character (making them the pinball) and the player controls the flippers with the shoulder buttons.
  • The Incredible Machine 2 contains pinball levels, complete with flippers, bumpers, and the pinball itself. You can also make your own.
  • Level 42 advanced on Marble Blast Gold is set in a giant pinball machine. It's very hard to play, given that you have to hit the bumpers just right, and the level's set at a 45 degree angle.
  • The Pinball hole in the Apple IIgs classic Zany Golf.
  • The Marvel villain Arcade tried to kill Spider-Man and several X-Men by throwing them into a deadly giant pinball machine. Marvel Ultimate Alliance features said pinball; you have to reach a high score by hitting the right targets, at which point the flippers open to let you through and balls start raining from the sky.
  • Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2 culminates inside a pinball machine.
  • MadWorld's casino level has bumpers all over the place. Not for the player character to move themselves in, but to redirect thrown enemies to extend combos and earn more points.
  • Parodius Da! has a pinball-themed stage, whose boss is a cross between a Gradius Core and a pinball machine.
  • Nitro Ball, an obscure run-and-gun shooter by Data East, is set in a world inspired by pinball tables.

Non-Video Game Examples

  • The kids from The Magic School Bus spent an episode in one of these, learning about light, lasers, and reflection.
  • Extremely rare comic book example: one chapter of Iznogoud had the protagonist trapped in a pinball machine wasteland.
  • The Marvel villain Arcade likes to throw captured super-powered individuals in a deadly giant pinball.
  • The second episode of Total Drama World Tour has a challenge taking place inside a giant pinball set of a Japanese gameshow.
  • The ABC Saturday morning version of Sonic the Hedgehog had an episode that put Sonic in a pinball machine, presumably inspired by his game counterpart's frequent pinball adventures. Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog similarly had an episode that was clearly inspired by Sonic Spinball.
  • In Dragon Ball, Pilaf's castle contained a huge pinball Death Trap.