The Pokémon franchise is undeniably vast, from cards and toys to the flagship games that introduce new Pokémon. But the generational games aren’t the only Pokémon games out there — there are so many other beloved games in the form of spinoffs like Snap, Colosseum, Legends, Mystery Dungeon and Ranger. Some, such as Snap, have seen recent additions to their series, while others — for example, Colosseum — have left their fans languishing as they wait for another entry.
Pokémon Pinball is one such spinoff. While the original Pokémon Pinball was released in 1999 for the Game Boy Color, the last entry in this spinoff series, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire, was released in 2003 on the Game Boy Advance, nearly 20 years ago. While it saw a re-release on the Wii U Virtual Console, that will no longer be accessible come 2023. As such, it’s time for another Pokémon Pinball game.
The Nintendo Switch Is the Perfect Place for a Pokémon Pinball Game
The Nintendo Switch is the perfect console to release a new Pokémon Pinball game for. All previous entries in this spinoff series have been on handhelds, but since the Nintendo Switch can effortlessly switch between console and handheld, it still fits with the series standard. The gyroscope function of the Switch in handheld mode can also add a level of challenge to the game — tilt in a pinball game is dangerous, and the new game can either factor in the gyroscope for more intriguing play or include the tilt as an extra challenge to players.
Also, thanks to the 20-year gap, there’s a lot more Pokémon to include in a pinball game. The last Pokémon Pinball game was released in Gen III with the Hoenn Pokédex, which had roughly 300 Pokémon. With the release of Scarlet and Violet, the Pokédex will finally break 1,000 entries. As such, a new pinball game would have a much larger Pokédex to sample from.
This is not to mention that the Switch’s greater capabilities would serve a new Pokémon Pinball entry well. Whether it makes the jump to 3D or remains 2D, the game wouldn’t tax the Nintendo Switch, and with the greater capacity of the Switch’s game cartridges, the game could have more than just a couple of pinball tables and a few hundred Pokémon. And while it may seem like a “simple” spinoff compared to the other games, it’s still a fun concept — and one that can help to scratch the Pokémon itch between generations, allowing for the more complex games such as Legends or the upcoming Scarlet and Violet to have some breathing room. Also, not every game needs to have multiple complex mechanics — some games can be simple but highly entertaining and still keep up the momentum on the Pokémon hype train.
Will there be another Pokémon Pinball game? The 20-year drought suggests no, but it isn’t conclusive. Pokémon Snap was released on the Nintendo 64 and didn’t get a sequel until New Pokémon Snap came out for the Nintendo Switch. Pokémon Pinball is in the same category as beloved spinoffs such as Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon Ranger, but as such, it also has a fan base that would be happy to see it show up as the Pokémon game of the year.