While entertaining my Canadian cousin last week, we got in a game of Bowling at Round 1 in Puente Hills, California. Round 1 is a Japanese owned franchise of arcades in America that carry the latest and great games straight from Japan. While checking out some Sega UFO catchers, the sight of a certain blue hedgehog immediately caught my eye. Of course, that being the brand new Sonic Blast Ball.
The game itself is your basic prize ticket redemption game. It works similar to pachinko or (Plinko if you watch Price is Right). There is a small rubber ball going around and around the playing field while there’s a hoop going back and forth in the middle. You have to slap the button at just the right time to stop the hoop and watch as the ball bounce off the pins in the field as it heads to the bottom. Whatever bottom area it lands on is how many tickets you get. If it goes through the hoop though, you get a chance at a bonus spin or increasing your ticket amount by slapping the dial at just the right time. If done well enough, you could win up to 1,000 tickets.
I’ve got video of me trying the game out. Sadly, I committed a major sin in recording this vertically. It’s a vertical arcade table and I was thinking of it more like a photo so that’s how I recorded it. You’ll be happy to know I gave myself a personal flogging for such an atrocity. You’ll be angry to know that I kinda enjoyed it.
At the end of the day, Sonic Blast Ball is nothing special. There’s a ton of ticket redemption games at Round 1 and the only thing that really differentiates this one from the others is the Sonic branding all over the cabinet along with some of the familiar Sonic music. However, if you’re in the So Cal area, Round 1 is definitely worth a visit. Not only for trying out Sonic Blast Ball, but for all the latest arcade games straight from Japan (many from Sega), UFO Catchers, bowling, karaoke, Japanese photo booths and more. It’s like getting a little taste of Japan. Now, I better quit writing this article as I’m starting to sound like an ad.