Pachinko has a long history in Japan and the Pachi Para series is currently in its 17th installment making it one of the longest-serving franchises in gaming today, yet its been Japan only. That is until the PS3 arrived making the region free blu-ray discs available for import. Well, after a long time with the game I finally feel I’m able to give a verdict.
Pachinko for those who are unfamiliar with the game, is a form of gambling in Japan where literally hundreds of pinballs are flipped into a machine and trickle down lots of pins bouncing off them as they go. Should you get some into the centre area a slot machine spins and if you match three in the slot machine you win.
The PS3 version of course is just for points, not prizes (although the trophies are rewards to get). You can choose from 20 tables and have AI battles against opponents or going online against other players although you never see them. All you get their sound effects and scores on the right hand side of the screen. The only real input you have is the power dial to determine how powerful the initial shot of the pinball is. Everything else is pure blind luck. It will make you think that by hammering buttons, flicking backgrounds and having lucky tables will play a part but it really doesn’t. In some ways this makes the thing charming, in others it completely removes any game element you think you actually have.
With Pachi Para 16 its all about collecting and seeing. You can collect various trophies for scores and matches, the songs that play and little mini movies when you do well can all be fun to look for. It says a lot that sometimes you’re prepared to sit and wait for quarter of an hour just to see if the mermaid pops up again! The way the fish wink at you when you line up two together and thirds just a slot away – it’s teasing you. It’s this that makes Pachi Para succeed in being an utter time-wasting addiction. It’s one however I keep coming back to and is perfect for just leaving on while you’re doing the dishes or cooking the dinner as when someone screams “SUPER LUCKY!!!” you can quickly run in and see what you’ve won.
~Completely unique to the western world
~Ultra cute graphics and music
~Not really any input from player means you can feel removed from the game
Pachi Para 16 is my first foray into Pachinko. I’ve enjoyed the experience but in order to go for other Pachinko games I’d want to go for something completely different machine wise. For me, it’s about collecting and seeing the strange movies that appear and if they stay the same in different machines in the series, then there’s not much for me to look out for elsewhere.