Lost in the Zone

Even More Recommended TPA Tables for Beginners and Beyond (DLC Packs 8 - 11)

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It's time to get current on my coverage of recommended TPA tables again. For thoughts on earlier tables in TPA, see Recommended TPA Tables for Beginners and Beyond and More Recommended TPA Tables for Beginners and Beyond (DLC Packs 5 - 7).

Difficulty is rated by pinballs, 1 being stupid easy and 5 being blood-on-the-cabinet tough.

Twilight Zone (2.5 pinballs, 5 for the real table): Pat Lawlor's magnum opus has been severely defanged for TPA, although the recent removal of the barrier between the bumpers has helped restore a smidge of the challenge. It's still quite an enjoyable experience with unique toys such as the Powerball (a non-magnetic pinball) and Powerfield (a mini playfield where you flip using magnets instead of physical flippers), an intricate ruleset, and multiple things to shoot for pretty much all the time. TZ also has its Lost in the Zone wizard mode, which while being cheapened a bit by being entirely too easy to achieve, will make quite an impression on players the first time they see it. Definitely worth the price of admission. Just don't play the TPA version and then expect to mop up on the real table.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (4 pinballs, 3.5 for the real table): In contrast to TZ, I feel ST:TNG actually came out a little bit harder than the real table, in that my high score on the TPA version is on par with my real high score instead of being 10X higher like the other tables. Note that the absolutely evil outlanes are not a bug - the real table is infamous for its outlanes. However, out of all the tables, ST:TNG comes closest to feeling like the real thing physics-wise, and the theme is nearly perfectly integrated into the gameplay. Again, it's worth the extra bucks for this one.

Attack from Mars (3 pinballs): Probably the anti-TZ, as in TZ is all about control amid a crowded playfield and AFM is all about flow and openness. It's a little easier than its brother Medieval Madness, but shares the same over-the-top presentation: smacking an alien upside the head with an extra ball never gets old, and neither will the "SUUUUUUUUUUUPER JAAAACKPOOOOT!" voiceover.

Genie (3 pinballs): A Gottlieb widebody with a surprisingly complex playfield for the late 70s, and nice for relaxing: The table is floaty (which is intentional; the real Genie is floaty as well) and pretty mild-mannered compared to its contemporaries. Beginners: Ignore the 3M wizard goal; it's out of sight for all but the very best players. Also, feel free to turn down/off the sound, the bleeps and bloops can get grating after a while.

Dr. Dude (4 pinballs): I have a feeling this one is going to go the way of Harley-Davidson. The theme is irritating, the voices are irritating, the sole focus on multiball is irritating, the multiball itself is irritating and the number of cheap drains is irritating. Give it a try as some people do like it, but if you want to give this one a miss, I won't complain.

Firepower (4 pinballs): This table, like Black Knight, is famous primarily for historical reasons. Also like Black Knight, game times on this generally aren't very long. Those outlanes are brutal, about as bad as ST:TNG's. Unlike Black Knight, Firepower is not riddled through with bugs and art issues (although FarSight has announced that Black Knight is eventually getting a do-over with emulation this time). All in all, a solid table from the early 80s.


  1. Pinballwiz45b's Avatar

    (right after)

    "OH BABY!!!" XD
  2. smbhax's Avatar
    Hmph Firepower is famous with me because it's just a heck of a lot of fun! : P
  3. Heretic's Avatar
    Ill bleep and bloop you! I like early ss nosies lol
  4. ScotchYeti's Avatar
    How is Firepower? The reviews in the forum are a bit mixed. I loved the PHOF versioni! Seeing it bundled with Dr. Dude makes me thinking twice if I should get it...