Pinball fans take note, Cowboy Rodeo has ported Digital Illusions' classic Amiga pinball game Pinball Dreams to the iPhone and iPod touch.

Pinball Dreams was an extremely well received game when it debuted on the Amiga back in 1992.  It took full advantage of the Amiga's (then) powerful graphics hardware and offered a realism and playability rarely--if ever--seen before in a computer-based pinball game.  A British reviewer of the Amiga version well describes the significance of the title on the platform.

Pinball Dreams was an enormous success; not only did it top the Amiga best-sellers lists, it's also responsible for selling a sizeable number of Amigas at the same time. But what was it that made the game so different from other pinball games? Attention to detail: Pinball Dreams emulated the real pinball feeling like no game before it. The ball's response is so much more realistic, the layout of the tables is carefully thought out and tied to the theme of the table...So careful were Digital Illusions to catch the real pinball feeling that the beautifully drawn tables (especially considering the colour limitation) even depict the screws that might conceivably be holding the table together. Add to this the great sound effects, the ability to give the table a quick shove (but not too much or you might affect the tilt sensors) and you've got a real classic. Unlike any previous game, you could really believe that there might be real pinball tables just like the four in Pinball Dreams.

Pinball Dreaming: Pinball Dreams [App Store] for the iPhone, like the original, features four themed tables, all of which are available to play from the start:

  • Ignition: Rocket launch, planets, and space exploration theme
  • Steel Wheel: Steam trains and the Old West theme
  • Beat Box: Music Industry, Charts, Bands and Tours theme
  • Nightmare: Graveyard, ghosts, demons, and nightmares theme

The tables are laid out exactly like those in the original but feature mildly improved graphics (thanks to the iPhone's much greater color palette).  The graphics are detailed 2D bitmaps shaded to suggest 3D.  The developer provided us further details in this area:

Everything is basically 0.999:1 to the original Amiga version to the point that we ported all of it from the original Amiga 68k Motorola assembler source code that we got from the original coder, Andreas Axelsson - line by line.

Music and sounds naturally are all original. The only thing we've done is that we "remastered" the table graphics with more colors - you can play in the all-original graphics by entering the setup menu and selecting them from there.

Pinball Dreams features touchscreen controls; a tap to the left or right side of the screen activates the paddles and a tap to a newly emerged ball in the well fires it onto the table.  A quick jerk of the iPhone gives the virtual table a nudge--but be careful, nudge to hard and it's TILT city.  Rotating the device changes the orientation of gameplay.

I am a huge fan of the original and its various sequels and, years ago, spent days playing them on various Amigas.  I can say with authority that the iPhone version is actually more enjoyable than the Amiga original.  All of the nice elements of the original are here, but in a far more convenient (pocketable) package.  What's more, while the iPhone and Amiga feature the same horizontal pixel resolution, the iPhone's display is twice as tall (pixel-wise) as the Amiga's, and so only slight vertical panning of the table is needed to track the ball on the iPhone (where the vertical panning in the Amiga version was extreme [video]).

All that said, it's important to remember that this is a classic title from 1992.  While it provides great gameplay, it's visuals and table theatrics cannot compare to more modern titles such as ZEN's Pinball: Rollercoaster for iPhone and Pinball FX for X360 or Crave's Pinball Hall of Fame for PSP.  And although it does have a retro feel to it, Pinball Dreams does not feel like "an old game."  It offers fast, smooth pinball action that's hard to put down.

Pinball Dreams has already seen a rather positive reception from our forum members, many of whom are now replaying an old favorite on their iPhones and iPod touches.


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

Game Details
Name: Pinball Dreaming: Pinball Dreams (v1.0) Price: $5.99 [Buy]
Developer: Cowboy Rodeo
Size: 2.5 MB
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G
Pinball Dreaming: Pinball Dreams is a faithful iPhone port of the classic 1992 Amiga title.  While it lacks the glitz of modern, 3D pinball games, it offers fast, smooth gameplay and will have special appeal to retro fans out there.

TouchArcade Rating

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    According to the developers, if sales are good, the sequels Pinball Fantasies and Pinball Illusions will land on the iPhone. Fingers crossed.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    According to the developers, if sales are good, the sequels Pinball Fantasies and Pinball Illusions will land on the iPhone. Fingers crossed.

  • Dale

    I sure hope the sequels follow.....this is by far the best pinball on the iPhone, period.

    I thought from the beginning the iPhone/iPod platform would be perfect for pinball and I am so glad it is !

    I love it !

  • Dale

    I sure hope the sequels follow.....this is by far the best pinball on the iPhone, period.

    I thought from the beginning the iPhone/iPod platform would be perfect for pinball and I am so glad it is !

    I love it !

  • http://www.myspace.com/moonsofjupitermusic RM imagery

    Yes, the sequels must come!

  • http://www.myspace.com/moonsofjupitermusic RM imagery

    Yes, the sequels must come!

  • 1337brian

    Never played the original, but this one is awesome!

  • 1337brian

    Never played the original, but this one is awesome!

  • Adams Immersive

    I played all these on the Amiga--would love to play them again!

  • Adams Immersive

    I played all these on the Amiga--would love to play them again!

  • TSP

    Perfect! I remember this from my youth and it is so great! Hope the price drops soon then.

  • TSP

    Perfect! I remember this from my youth and it is so great! Hope the price drops soon then.

  • AntAstrophY

    Wow talk bout flash backs, this game was the highlight of our family's Amiga 500 or was that Amiga 1000?.... i forget. :S. Anyways this defiantly gonna be a must buy for myself and my brother :D
    nice job Cowboy Rodeo

  • AntAstrophY

    Wow talk bout flash backs, this game was the highlight of our family's Amiga 500 or was that Amiga 1000?.... i forget. :S. Anyways this defiantly gonna be a must buy for myself and my brother :D
    nice job Cowboy Rodeo

  • TSP

    If someone could bring Supercars 2 to the iphone it would be awesome!

  • TSP

    If someone could bring Supercars 2 to the iphone it would be awesome!

  • c-Row

    Yeah Baby, yeah! Great news to start off a week!

  • c-Row

    Yeah Baby, yeah! Great news to start off a week!

  • http://www.1112game.com alexandre leboucher

    If I remember well the really good one was pinball fantasy ...

  • http://www.1112game.com alexandre leboucher

    If I remember well the really good one was pinball fantasy ...

  • http://www.talkingfuture.com talkingfuture

    Thats what I've been looking for. A good pinball game.

  • http://www.talkingfuture.com talkingfuture

    Thats what I've been looking for. A good pinball game.

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  • Peter

    Oh I can't wait for Pinball Fantasies! I played that Bilion Dollar Game Show table till my fingers bled.

  • Peter

    Oh I can't wait for Pinball Fantasies! I played that Bilion Dollar Game Show table till my fingers bled.

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    Yes, Fantasies was the queen of all. And I also hope, it will see the light. Until this moment I will spent hours with my new favourite pinball game and perfect port. Dreams is so much fun! Thanks to the devs for porting perfectly and thanks to Blake for bringing this review!

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    Yes, Fantasies was the queen of all. And I also hope, it will see the light. Until this moment I will spent hours with my new favourite pinball game and perfect port. Dreams is so much fun! Thanks to the devs for porting perfectly and thanks to Blake for bringing this review!

  • Jim

    Yuck. The name appears as 'Pinba...eams' on the iPhone.

  • Jim

    Yuck. The name appears as 'Pinba...eams' on the iPhone.

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    @Jim:
    Yes, my only complaint too:
    They should shorten it.

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    @Jim:
    Yes, my only complaint too:
    They should shorten it.

  • gibbo

    Excellent. I remember playing this for hours years ago.

    Bring on Pinball Fantasies please - that was the best.

  • gibbo

    Excellent. I remember playing this for hours years ago.

    Bring on Pinball Fantasies please - that was the best.

  • http://www.clicmultimedia.com.ar Ignacio

    Can't wait to get pinball fantasies!!! It's a MUST!!!

  • http://www.clicmultimedia.com.ar Ignacio

    Can't wait to get pinball fantasies!!! It's a MUST!!!

  • McDughf

    Cool,
    I 'm Gonna Hold Out Till Fantasies Comes Out.
    Keith McTeeth And The Billion Dollar GameShow - Awesome!

  • McDughf

    Cool,
    I 'm Gonna Hold Out Till Fantasies Comes Out.
    Keith McTeeth And The Billion Dollar GameShow - Awesome!

  • TKO

    Wohoo! Awesome! Saw the article, clicked on it, scanned for the Apps-Store link, clicked, bought (minor flinch at price), played .. W00t!

    Wow, this is *exactly* the same as the original. (I know, I still play it today.) And it's got landscape mode. Perfect perfect. ..okay, you have my permission to start on Fantasies now. :)

  • TKO

    Wohoo! Awesome! Saw the article, clicked on it, scanned for the Apps-Store link, clicked, bought (minor flinch at price), played .. W00t!

    Wow, this is *exactly* the same as the original. (I know, I still play it today.) And it's got landscape mode. Perfect perfect. ..okay, you have my permission to start on Fantasies now. :)

  • http://www.alex-hardy.co.uk Alex

    This makes my inner 14 year old very happy :)

  • http://www.alex-hardy.co.uk Alex

    This makes my inner 14 year old very happy :)

  • TomHagen

    Cool, but what I'd really love to see is a faithful port of SlamTilt! My personal favourite pinball game of all times :) Amiga Rules ;)

  • TomHagen

    Cool, but what I'd really love to see is a faithful port of SlamTilt! My personal favourite pinball game of all times :) Amiga Rules ;)

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  • c-Row

    Slamtilt? Count me in! Dreams was a classic which its sequels couldn't quite live up to, but Slamtilt was pure brilliance!

  • c-Row

    Slamtilt? Count me in! Dreams was a classic which its sequels couldn't quite live up to, but Slamtilt was pure brilliance!

  • Bob Eller

    Wow....on my way too the store! I definately want Pinball Fantasies. It was PF that pushed me to go out and get another Amiga so I could play it!!

    Thanks for the port, glad I retired last year. Plenty of time to play!

  • Bob Eller

    Wow....on my way too the store! I definately want Pinball Fantasies. It was PF that pushed me to go out and get another Amiga so I could play it!!

    Thanks for the port, glad I retired last year. Plenty of time to play!

  • BenG

    Wow, great idea. Just bought it and can't wait to get Pinball Fantasies and the even better Absolute Pinball ported to the iPhone...

  • BenG

    Wow, great idea. Just bought it and can't wait to get Pinball Fantasies and the even better Absolute Pinball ported to the iPhone...

  • c-Row

    So, just had a short game of Ignition and Beat Box, and what can I say? If you even slightly loved the old Amiga version, this is exactly what you are looking for! I just felt at home immediately - all the familiar sounds, the tables, the specials, the music (!!!)... and landscape mode is the most delicious icing on this fabulous cake.

    Now waiting for Amiga classics. Battle Isle, anyone? :)

  • c-Row

    So, just had a short game of Ignition and Beat Box, and what can I say? If you even slightly loved the old Amiga version, this is exactly what you are looking for! I just felt at home immediately - all the familiar sounds, the tables, the specials, the music (!!!)... and landscape mode is the most delicious icing on this fabulous cake.

    Now waiting for Amiga classics. Battle Isle, anyone? :)

  • Mark V.

    I bought this game from the iTunes store yesterday. It's definitely the best pinball game on the iPhone/iPod touch so far. It's very crisp graphics are beautiful. Developers would do well to port older games to the iPhone...I personally want to see all my Dreamcast games on the iPhone (but I won't hold my breath).

  • Mark V.

    I bought this game from the iTunes store yesterday. It's definitely the best pinball game on the iPhone/iPod touch so far. It's very crisp graphics are beautiful. Developers would do well to port older games to the iPhone...I personally want to see all my Dreamcast games on the iPhone (but I won't hold my breath).

  • http://erikveland.com Erik K Veland

    Just played the shit out of this game during lunch break. Graveyard still annoys the crap out of me after all these years. Yet it's still the one I play most. Go figure!

    Extremely nice old school port that is just as playable today. My only gripe is that the pause function needs a bit of a timer, way too easy to lose the ball coming out from pause. Also a lot of stuttering sometimes have caused me to lose a few games :/

    Now bring on Pinball Fantasies next! That game is the shiznit!

  • http://erikveland.com Erik K Veland

    Just played the shit out of this game during lunch break. Graveyard still annoys the crap out of me after all these years. Yet it's still the one I play most. Go figure!

    Extremely nice old school port that is just as playable today. My only gripe is that the pause function needs a bit of a timer, way too easy to lose the ball coming out from pause. Also a lot of stuttering sometimes have caused me to lose a few games :/

    Now bring on Pinball Fantasies next! That game is the shiznit!

  • Sami S

    Yes, it's the perfect port from the amiga version and in my opinion, one of the best iphone games at the moment - for me worth the 5€ for music and nostalgia alone.
    Only gripes are that sometimes left flipper stucks at up-position, (re-touch releases) and tilt is pretty much unusable (you could easily save balls with tilt on keyboard)

    And, as everyone else says, bring on the Pinball Fantasies!

  • Sami S

    Yes, it's the perfect port from the amiga version and in my opinion, one of the best iphone games at the moment - for me worth the 5€ for music and nostalgia alone.
    Only gripes are that sometimes left flipper stucks at up-position, (re-touch releases) and tilt is pretty much unusable (you could easily save balls with tilt on keyboard)

    And, as everyone else says, bring on the Pinball Fantasies!

  • c-Row

    Yeah, tilting seems somewhat useless. I tried shaking the iPhone furiously in mid-game, but I didn't notice any effect, nor did I lose the current game for trying to. Maybe an update could bring tilting to the middle part of the display so you could just tap it easily?

  • c-Row

    Yeah, tilting seems somewhat useless. I tried shaking the iPhone furiously in mid-game, but I didn't notice any effect, nor did I lose the current game for trying to. Maybe an update could bring tilting to the middle part of the display so you could just tap it easily?

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  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I've been bothered by the choppiness of most of the linked-in videos of the original Amiga version of Pinball Dreams. It's worth noting that the game was _glass_smooth_ on the base Amiga (circa 1985) and was an impressive thing to behold.

    I recently wrote out disk images for Pinball Dreams on the Amiga and took a video of all four levels of the game that I've posted to YouTube. It's a bit flickery as it's a PAL game (50Hz) and my cam is running at 60Hz I believe. Still - have a look. It demonstrates more fluid gameplay than the other videos I've seen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR7Tw2nnlw4&fmt=18

    Have a look.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I've been bothered by the choppiness of most of the linked-in videos of the original Amiga version of Pinball Dreams. It's worth noting that the game was _glass_smooth_ on the base Amiga (circa 1985) and was an impressive thing to behold.

    I recently wrote out disk images for Pinball Dreams on the Amiga and took a video of all four levels of the game that I've posted to YouTube. It's a bit flickery as it's a PAL game (50Hz) and my cam is running at 60Hz I believe. Still - have a look. It demonstrates more fluid gameplay than the other videos I've seen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR7Tw2nnlw4&fmt=18

    Have a look.

  • http://satansam.co.uk James

    Oh that's just brilliant! I played this game so much when I was a kid. I hope they've retained the same music and sounds and not "arranged" them.

    Outstanding pinball game. A classic indeed :)

    Now give us Pinball Fantasies too!

  • http://satansam.co.uk James

    Oh that's just brilliant! I played this game so much when I was a kid. I hope they've retained the same music and sounds and not "arranged" them.

    Outstanding pinball game. A classic indeed :)

    Now give us Pinball Fantasies too!

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I really love this game.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I really love this game.

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  • my name

    aha ...
    Just nothing's better then a real amiga ... who needs these remakes / clones?
    should better spend their power in to next generation amiga, then ripping peoples off....

  • my name

    aha ...
    Just nothing's better then a real amiga ... who needs these remakes / clones?
    should better spend their power in to next generation amiga, then ripping peoples off....

  • TKO

    James, you'll be pleased to know the music is exactly the same as it used to be. ..And if you put the graphics back to the original style, even the games menu will be as the old one was (exactly the same.) I only wish there was an option for the original scrolling intro and music. Pinball Dreams had two music tracks for the title screen: one when it's first loaded (so it's combined intro/title music), and one when coming back to the title screen from a game ..we only have the second one at present. Would be nice to have the first.

    So, after playing it a whole lot I think this is just about perfect. This game is perfect iPhone far. It's my most-played iPhone game by far. But as people have said: tilt is useless. Make it a tap ..maybe in the middle of the screen. I used it a lot on the original, and miss having it. Sometimes flipper-presses are missed, or stick. It's rare, but annoying. I think the tap-logic in this game needs some fine-tuning.

    ..But it's still brilliant. Waiting for Fantasies and Illusions now. And try to find who owns the Slam Tilt rights. That was the only other Amiga pinball game to rival the Dreams/Fantasies/Illusions series.

  • TKO

    James, you'll be pleased to know the music is exactly the same as it used to be. ..And if you put the graphics back to the original style, even the games menu will be as the old one was (exactly the same.) I only wish there was an option for the original scrolling intro and music. Pinball Dreams had two music tracks for the title screen: one when it's first loaded (so it's combined intro/title music), and one when coming back to the title screen from a game ..we only have the second one at present. Would be nice to have the first.

    So, after playing it a whole lot I think this is just about perfect. This game is perfect iPhone far. It's my most-played iPhone game by far. But as people have said: tilt is useless. Make it a tap ..maybe in the middle of the screen. I used it a lot on the original, and miss having it. Sometimes flipper-presses are missed, or stick. It's rare, but annoying. I think the tap-logic in this game needs some fine-tuning.

    ..But it's still brilliant. Waiting for Fantasies and Illusions now. And try to find who owns the Slam Tilt rights. That was the only other Amiga pinball game to rival the Dreams/Fantasies/Illusions series.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I wrote out the three disk images for Pinball Fantasies to floppy (for my Amiga) yesterday and enjoyed playing a few rounds on those tables. Hopefully it will make it to the iPhone, as well.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I wrote out the three disk images for Pinball Fantasies to floppy (for my Amiga) yesterday and enjoyed playing a few rounds on those tables. Hopefully it will make it to the iPhone, as well.

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  • Vesuri

    @TKO: Actually the port does contain both music tracks. However, since the intro itself is not shown (mainly to make it faster to get into the beef) the "intro track" starts playing from the "scroller" part when you launch the game, but it indeed is the original "intro track" - just not the very first three patterns. When you return to the menu from a table you'll hear the "menu track".

    The tilt control could use some fine tuning - it's there and can be used, but causes the table to tilt too easily.

  • Vesuri

    @TKO: Actually the port does contain both music tracks. However, since the intro itself is not shown (mainly to make it faster to get into the beef) the "intro track" starts playing from the "scroller" part when you launch the game, but it indeed is the original "intro track" - just not the very first three patterns. When you return to the menu from a table you'll hear the "menu track".

    The tilt control could use some fine tuning - it's there and can be used, but causes the table to tilt too easily.

  • TKO

    @Vesuri Ah, thanks! How could I not realise. All the music is there. Awesome. This is among in my top 5 iPhone apps for sure. (and I have 350 of 'em) :) I still wish there were options for the tilt ..I use it a lot on the Amiga. Was great for trying to control what gate the ball went down. I'm now thinking a touch zone at the middle-bottom of the screen would be perfect. It has to be a touch control to be as useful as it was in the original.

    And my one incredibly minor nit-pick.. The multi-coloured Graveyard text looks out of place. I do prefer the classic red-lit lights. ..but I like the enhanced table. I'm torn. :D

    Can't wait for the Fantasies app. ..Hmmmm, then they should release an app that's Dream and Fantasies in one. I'd buy that too. So many ways to make money on this one. hehe.

  • TKO

    @Vesuri Ah, thanks! How could I not realise. All the music is there. Awesome. This is among in my top 5 iPhone apps for sure. (and I have 350 of 'em) :) I still wish there were options for the tilt ..I use it a lot on the Amiga. Was great for trying to control what gate the ball went down. I'm now thinking a touch zone at the middle-bottom of the screen would be perfect. It has to be a touch control to be as useful as it was in the original.

    And my one incredibly minor nit-pick.. The multi-coloured Graveyard text looks out of place. I do prefer the classic red-lit lights. ..but I like the enhanced table. I'm torn. :D

    Can't wait for the Fantasies app. ..Hmmmm, then they should release an app that's Dream and Fantasies in one. I'd buy that too. So many ways to make money on this one. hehe.

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  • Michael B

    Question: nostalgia aside, which is the best pinball app on the iphone? There's Pinball Dreams, Zen Pinball: Rollercoaster, Freeballin', iPhysics Lite, Zen Pinball: Inferno, Wild West Pinball, iTilt Pinball, Pinball, Neon Ball....

    Which are worth getting for a pinball fan? (I have two at home, love Pro Pinball: Timeshock, etc, etc)

  • Michael B

    Question: nostalgia aside, which is the best pinball app on the iphone? There's Pinball Dreams, Zen Pinball: Rollercoaster, Freeballin', iPhysics Lite, Zen Pinball: Inferno, Wild West Pinball, iTilt Pinball, Pinball, Neon Ball....

    Which are worth getting for a pinball fan? (I have two at home, love Pro Pinball: Timeshock, etc, etc)

  • rich_952000

    Just my opinion:

    I have both Pinball Dreams, and Freeballin', and the two form a perfect union of wizardry on my device. PD offers those quick, classic pinball matches with unlimited replayability. The only thing I'd like to see added is online leaderboards for each of the 4 tables.
    FB offers a deeper "adventuring" pinball game. Lots of play modes to suit your liking. Many in game objectives and "hidden" tables. Also, IUGO have nicely implemented online leaderboards.

  • rich_952000

    Just my opinion:

    I have both Pinball Dreams, and Freeballin', and the two form a perfect union of wizardry on my device. PD offers those quick, classic pinball matches with unlimited replayability. The only thing I'd like to see added is online leaderboards for each of the 4 tables.
    FB offers a deeper "adventuring" pinball game. Lots of play modes to suit your liking. Many in game objectives and "hidden" tables. Also, IUGO have nicely implemented online leaderboards.

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  • Wonea

    Great conversion, I'm waiting for pinball illusions which was one I never got to fully play on the Amiga

  • Wonea

    Great conversion, I'm waiting for pinball illusions which was one I never got to fully play on the Amiga

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  • Mick

    This game runs and feels so much better on the PSP, it's a fantastic game no matter what the platform, but the PSP's buttons and positioning of the R/L really replicate the physical playing of a real pinball machine.

  • http://N/A Mick

    This game runs and feels so much better on the PSP, it's a fantastic game no matter what the platform, but the PSP's buttons and positioning of the R/L really replicate the physical playing of a real pinball machine.

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