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Midnight Magic - The Atari Times

Midnight Magic

Experience the magic!
by Darryl Brundage

January 12, 2005
Wow. Oh wow. Oh wow oh wow oh WOW! (Or in the words of the near-insane father Frank on tv's Everybody Loves Raymond, "holy CRAP!")

THIS is what a pinball game for the 2600 should have been like, NOT Video Pinball.

Video Pinball was a bit fried. It was too easy for me personally, there wasn't much to do with the playfield, the physics of the ball was screwy as anything ('course adapting a pinball game to a video screen was still pretty new back then), and getting extra balls and all wasn't much of a challenge.

But Midnight Magic really rocks! It wipes away the sore feeling from Video Pinball (why didn't Atari just port their arcade Video Pinball here?) big time. When I told one of my penpals from Australia (no, not the insane Croc Hunter, although I wouldn't mind hearing from his attractive wife, though) that I was obtaining it through a trade, he said I'd love it, since it "shites" (heh) all over Video Pinball.)

And he was right. Coming out years before as a legendary game for the Apple computers, Midnight Magic (hey, how come on the title screen it's spelled "Midnite"?) actually gives you INCENTIVES in order to enjoy it, which it instantly became one of my all time favorites for the Atari 2600 library, which is not an easy thing to do (yeah, I was THAT impressed!). And it gives you these incentives through racking up your point multiplier.

Knocking down all of the drop targets at the top of the screen will increase the multiplier, and not only are you rewarded with the ability to increase your score exponentially that way, but the playfield also changes color with each increase, which is a pretty neat touch. (This might've helped the "arcade" version of 2600 Pac-Man out, maybe, by having the ghosts change color...and then disappearing altogether, ha ha. Come on, it wasn't really Pac-Man anyway!) It's amazing how you might not even hit 30,000 after several games, then you can get lucky and rack up that multiplier and end up with games in the one or two hundred (or more) thousand range, which is how real pinball games go anyway, at times (and all I need to complete this near-arcade experience are out of order signs on some nearby machines, an attendant that's nowhere to be found when the change machine won't take my dollar bills, dammit, and a screaming kid or two being dragged off by Mom the Monster when they DON'T WANT TO GO!).

The action is also fairly real with a spinner, the gravity and all, plus you get four flippers, which kicks so much pinball butt for the 2600 it's not even funny. Heck, this is making me REALLY want to pop in the game and play it right now as I write this, but I'm currently without a tv; grrr. (Must...continue...fighting...urge...to dump on credit card while in debt...must...fight...)

The only real small drawbacks that I have with this is that there's not a lot on the playfield to aim at; also getting the (*#! ball where you *want* it to doesn't always happen. Some of the sounds get old fast, since they're taken from Adventure, Berzerk, and other 2600 games, so we've been there before, but at least the controls and especially the flashing visuals when you've increased the multiplier are nothing short of amazing for the 2600 (although the sounds when this happens ARE actually quite good, and just the regular game graphics are also decent).

So, anyone want my copy of Video Pinball? Snirk snirk...actually, it's not for sale: I can't wait to have my first victim check it out, see how fried it is, and then I'll pop in THIS. They'll be amazed!

Not bad, especially since I traded Home Run for this sucker, which, yeah, *I* was the one who hit the home run in that deal.

So enjoy this while you can, since pinball machines are, in the real world, dying out, along with arcades, unfortunately. But at least this isn't too difficult a cartridge to locate though, and it's pretty obvious why.

Midnight Magic

(c) Atari

Midnite or Midnight?
Is this not the sweetest pinball game you've ever played (on a 2600)?
Flipper, flipper, faster than lightening!
Midnight Magic
System: 2600
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 90%
Sound & Music Score: 70%
Gameplay Score: 90%
Control Score: 100%

Final Score: 95%

Reader Comments for Midnight Magic

Oh WOW indeed! by technoshock11 on 2008-01-13 12:05:52
Excellent pinball game for the A2600. This is probably my #3 A2600 game (after Ms. and Jr. Pac-man). I give it a 95% too!
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