|I liked this recent official-basketball-themed entry from Stern, and probably simply because it made a silly wish come true; walking up to it, a friend and I were remarking on the pictures of NBA players on the playing field, and noticing Kevin Durant was on there, I joked "man I want to play as Kevin Durant"! And behold and lo, when you start the game, you can select what team to play for, so picking Durant's team, Oklahoma City, the digitized game announcer voice played voice clips throughout the game as if I was somehow Durant playing a basketball game. This has nothing to do with pinball gameplay, of course, but it was a fun touch, and somewhat impressive considering how many teams you can choose from.|
The wooden basketball court surface sticker over the playfield gives the table the air of an old EM pinball machine, which I found irrelevantly charming.
The actual stuff you do with the pinball seemed okay, but nothing particularly special; I was *not* particularly a fan of the main ramp, which leads up to a little plastic hoop, which the announcer treats as you shooting "3-pointers"; you have to hit the ball with considerable velocity just to get it up the ramp, and it tended to skip right over the hoop; I guess there's a trick to it that I just wasn't getting; on the other hand (yes I know that was too many semi-colons), you can hit it from a more oblique ramp as a "free throw," and that seemed to work much better.
The most obtrusive gimmick would be a magnet controlling a large area right in the middle of the playfield; any ball coming down the middle will get deflected suddenly as it falls down the table. Because the magnet isn't visible, this takes a lot of getting used to, and I'm not sure I'll really ever get to like it, because it pretty much disrupts any nice long descending ball (it seems to be off when you're shooting the ball, though?). On the plus side, it *does* make it tough for the harsh center passage to drop a ball straight down the middle.