Pinball Construction Set
|Pinball Construction Set|
The box cover for 1983's Pinball Construction Set. The square "album cover" boxes were a popular packaging concept by Electronic Arts, who wanted to portray their developers as "rock stars."
Electronic Arts & Ariolasoft (Europe)
Game creation system
Pinball Construction Set (PCS) is a video game by Bill Budge published by Electronic Arts. It was released for the Apple II and Atari 800 in 1983 and was later ported to other platforms, such as the Commodore 64 and DOS (as a booter).
Pinball Construction Set created a new genre of video games—the "builder" or "construction set" class of games. With PCS, users can construct their own virtual pinball machine, by dropping controls onto a table. Controls included bumpers, flippers, spinners and other standard pinball paraphernalia. Attributes such as gravity and the physics model could also be modified. Users could save their creations and develop custom artwork to go along with them. Tables could be saved on floppy disks and freely traded.
Budge originally published and distributed this game via his publishing "company" (Budge and his sister), BudgeCo. In the competitive publishing era of the 1980s, however, he willingly allowed EA to publish his game when they approached him in 1983, since he didn't really want to be an entrepreneur.
Budge was inspired to program the game after developing Raster Blaster, the first pinball game for the Apple II. He encountered many hurdles in trying to develop an open-ended pinball development tool, mostly because of the Apple's relatively limited processing power and graphics capabilities.
Pinball Construction Set was ported to the numerous home computers of the era, including the Commodore 64 and as a PC booter. PCS went on to sell over an astounding 300,000 copies in all platforms. EA followed with Music Construction Set, Adventure Construction Set and Racing Destruction Set all from different authors.
Computer Gaming World considered the game quite revolutionary, and easy to understand because of its representative icons and drag-and-drop method of constructing a table. The nine-page manual was considered "overkill", since Pinball Construction Set required no programming knowledge; CGW reported that an eight-year-old had no problems creating his own tables.
- Besndard, John (May–June 1983), "Pinball Construction Set", Computer Gaming World: 12, 43
- GDC 2012: The games that influenced our influential game designers from Gamasutra.com
- Budge, Bill. "billbudge/PCS_Atari800". GitHub. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
- GameSpy Hall of Fame from GameSpy
- 2008 Tech Emmy Winners from Kotaku.com