I love pinball. I love the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I discovered that pinball designer Mark Seiden created their own Metroid pinball machine and he happened to live near me. I just had to check it out and was able to schedule a meet up. I got to play Mark Seiden’s homebrew pinball machine for a few hours and it was a delight, a truly fascinating gaming experience.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have been playing pinball for a very long time and watched the machines evolve quite a bit. I had two bars: 1) it had to feel like pinball and 2) it had to be fun. Metroid hit both bars and reset my expectations on where homebrew pinball could go. I spent a few hours playing Metroid Pinball, talking to Mark about pinball design, and going deep on the rules for his original game.
“I wanted to design a pinball game that I would never get tired of playing.”Mark Seiden, Pinball Designer
I asked Mark about the metal ramps and rails. I asked, “Oh, did you have someone from the makerspace craft those for you?” Mark laughed and said, “No, I bent them and welded them myself.” This is the moment realized how crazy this was to see and play a homebrew pinball machine. It is a multidisciplinary endeavor. You have to know pinball, pinball game design, game flow, as well as, machining, 3D printing, troubleshooting, electronics, mechanics, sound design, video design, software engineering, and lighting control. Mark started Metroid Pinball years ago all the while sharing his experience live on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and on a Pinside topic thread.
Okay, the gameplay. This homebrew pinball machine is based on Nintendo’s Metroid. Metroid is my third favorite game franchise. Mario, Zelda, and Metroid are my favorite NES games, and Metroid is like a combo Mario and Zelda game. Mark’s pinball game captures the speed of Metroid, the feel of Metroid, and the map exploration of Metroid. The rules are deep. You can start the game in different modes, there are multiple skill shots, and there are many boss levels. There are some surprising features like a side flipper shot, under the playfield ball movement, and satisfying ramp shots.
This is a special time to be into pinball. I just can’t believe what I am witnessing with all of the new games and innovations coming to the market and the rise of new pinball designers. It was truly an inspiring meet up with Mark and I appreciated getting to see what he created in his basement.
Follow Mark Seiden’s epic journey on Pinside.
OMG. I just learned that Mark Seiden joined Jersey Jack Pinball as a full-time pinball game designer! The announcement was made on Jersey Jack Pinball’s Facebook page on October 5, 2021.