Behind the Scenes: Designing the Dominos Pinball Machine

I attended a seminar in Houston featuring some of the design team behind the Dominos Spectacular Pizza Adventure pinball machine. Yea, yea, I know. But I was there and I recorded the seminar, so if you’re interested here’s some info on the process which led to that machine…

I got a chance to play the game and I was not very impressed with it. But then again, I don’t honestly think this is a game for pinball enthusiasts. It’s a marketing thing for Dominos. Along those lines, it’s very cool. I absolutely love pinball machines being promoted and used for promotion. So that’s a good thing.

But as a pinball enthusiast, I thought the game was somewhat lackluster. The DMD animation was not on par with other games, the sound effects were invasive and chaotic. There were a lot of tight shots on the game – I think the designers added too many shots so those shots are more narrow – and that’s where I think the design fails. If you’re targeting this game to non-pinball-enthusiasts, it should be easier; it should be flashier, but this game is hard to play. In any case, they had most of the games sold before they even started production — such is the pre-order model. So there you have it.

However, if you’ve ever wondered what goes into licensing and approval to make a pinball machine, this panel discussion goes over the process and the design changes and challenges. Pretty interesting…

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