Over 24 years ago, March 1992, Pinball Dreams was released by 21st Century Entertainment on the 16-bit Amiga home computer, receiving high praise and critical acclaim from magazine reviews across Europe. In almost every magazine, the overall ratings for Pinball Dreams were around 80% or higher. The Swedish magazine, Datormagazin (cover dated March 1992), awarded the game a title of ‘Smash Hit’ with a massive 98%.
Stuart Campbell stated in the April 1992 edition of Amiga Power that “Like Cliff Richard, Pinball Dreams, is a game which will never really age, but unlike Cliff Richard, it’s not totally crap.” The game received an overall rating of 87% in that review. So, now it’s 2016 and here we are talking about Pinball Dreams and you’re asking “why?”
Well, it just so happens that the Batman Group (or BG) has just released a preview of Pinball Dreams for the Amstrad CPC, porting it from the 16-bit Amiga. For those who are unaware of the Batman Group, they are best known for the most incredible, absolute awesome Batman Forever demo released for the Amstrad CPC at the Forever Demo party in 2011. They won first prize at the demo party.
The demo has been described by everyone who has seen it, anti and pro Amstrad CPC people alike, as having the best graphics, music, and coding techniques seen in an Amstrad CPC. Trust me, go watch it now. It will blow your 8-bit mind.
So who is this Batman Group and how have they got Pinball Dreams from Amiga to Amstrad CPC? The group consists of members Alejandro (alias Rhino, main coder), Arnoldemu (graphics), David Donaire Sanchez (alias DadMan), Eldrik, Mac, Paulbrk, Rhino, Factor6, Yzi, and McKlain.
Before the release of the Pinball Dreams game preview, the group recently created a utility called Perfect Pix for the Amstrad CPC. This graphics tool has been coded and released by the group themselves and is entirely free to download. What the Perfect Pix utility allows the Amstrad CPC to have three extended video modes to get images of an unusual quality on an 8-bit machine. The result is truly remarkable; just have a look at the preview video of Pinball Dreams for yourselves.
It is a stunning comparison to the Amiga version with just minor things such as speech left out, yet it is incredible to see what the group has produced on the Amstrad CPC yet again. So where to from here? Well, hopefully the Batman Group will release the full version of Pinball Dreams; yes I have my fingers crossed.
More importantly, I hope that the group continue to push the boundaries and limits of the Amstrad CPC. In my eyes, the 8-bit computer was never fully appreciated or given the credit it deserved during the 8-bit era of the 1980s and early 1990s.