Pinball. Ah, that craze during 1980s/1990s. How fun it was slotting in some coins (oi, easy!), shooting that last ball into the table and frantically trying to flip that bastard up to get that high score. Of course, when video game developers caught onto the coolness of this, they decided the inevitable. And hence, pinball video games were never really... well, any good really.
All that looks set to change though, as Sonic Team have started work on another Game Boy Advance title. Sonic Pinball Party looks like the natural successor to Sonic Spinball, but the way the game is played is worlds away from the semi-platformer-come-virtual-pinball game.
No, Sonic Pinball Party doesn't try out any gimmicks for their Sonic take on the genre (Sonic Team didn't make Sonic Spinball, remember), instead opting for the hardcore style of racking up points the good old fashioned way. In a similar fashion to Pinball of the Dead, there are themed tables, but there already seems to be more than the three available compared to the pinball game based on WOW's hit series.
The groovy thing is, it's not limited to Sonic. There are tables that represent NiGHTS too, and even Samba de Amigo. Some of the cool aspects mentioned was the style and representation of each table - for example, on the Sonic table, Chao would help shoot the ball out into the main table, and you'll find certain zones such as the 'Eggman Lane' etc. NiGHTS supposedly has a similar thing with their NiGHTopians, and the wonderful backdrops of 'Splash Garden' and 'Spring Valley' will apparently be present.
The funkiest feature must be on the Samba de Amigo table though - according to the source, the player will be able to change the background music of the table to such tunes as 'Burning Rangers' and 'Phantasy Star Online'. YOSH!
Promising realistic ball movements, wicked looking tables, a four player mode (including a "Party Mode" and "The Hockey" - o_O), AND the now complimentary Tiny Chao Garden - to link with both Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and Sonic Adventure DX - it looks like Sonic Team will be getting the pinball genre right - only time will tell pending its release.