Show Game – Play:Expo 2014

So I’ve mentioned ‘the show game’ moniker in a previous post. It’s that one game I’ll discover/rediscover at a retro gaming event which I find myself returning too throughout the event so much so that it become synonymous with the event itself.

For Play:Expo 2014, the computer game I’ve picked as my show game is a fairly modern release on the Commodore 64.

Blitz 3000

(here played on Jason Kelk’s ‘Old School Gaming’ pimped C64 (which you can read about here – )

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I loved Blitz on the Vic-20, a game I played over and over again back then and still load up from time to time on my Vic. It’s very simple yet this updated C64 version was so much fun and messes with your mind. ‘One more go’ it kept calling!

Out of fuel and steadily descending –  can your bombing skills clear a path so you can land without crashing into Mrs and Mrs Xenomorphs new domed kitchen extension?



and because Play:Expo is Pinball heaven, my Pinball showgame is…….hmmm, this is quite a tough. I did play an awful amount of time on Bally’s Fathom purely because I adore the table art….

80’s pinball art rocks!

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….and likewise on Gottliebs Robo-War and TX-Sector for their sci-fi  artwork, fast gameplay and uber cool cyclon-esq robotic voices.

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But because of the fun a few of us had playing mini competitions, my Pinball show game has to be –

Black Knight 2000

I’m a bit of a fan of the original Black Knight table and I also play a heck of a lot of its digital counterpart on my iPad courtesy of the Pinball Arcade app. Black Knight 2000 is a much faster game and retains some of the features from original including the useful Magna save to keep you out of trouble on the right hand lane. Completing a rapid succession of  fast loops is a real buzz but pales in comparison to  lighting King’s Ransom –  multiball madness!

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Black Knight Pinball emulation.

After getting hooked very quickly on Black Knight pinball table at Play:Expo a few ago I’ve been itching to get it up and running in Visual Pinball. Of course, nothing comes close on the original Williams table but until the next pinball event (or indeed if a Black Knight pinball machine just so happens to appear on eBay and at a budget that suits my pockets) emulation will be more than enough for that BK fix.

After downloading and configuring Visual Pinball/PinMame and all the requisite files, I’ve actually used up my user account downloading limit for today at so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to try some of the full screen HD tables 😦 However, I’ve found a few early Black Knight tables on another website which you’ll find screenshots below. They’re not as graphically stunning as some of the FS Black Knight tables but all of the same game mechanics are here.


So, can I beat my meagre highest score achieved on the real table?



Black Knight is a such a great table to play because it’s not overly complicated, there’s plenty to shoot for and great opportunities to increase your score with different target groups, multipliers and bonuses. The top level table (which I read Black Knight was the first pinball to introduce this feature) provides two more flippers and more scoring chances. Also, if the ball lock has been previous enabled on the lower table, shooting the top left area three times will activate multi-ball mayhem and a huge reward if you can keep all three balls going.


Another feature of Black Knight is the Magna Save. When activated a magnet stops the ball from falling down the left/right out lanes which, as you can imagine, is damn useful if you’re about to loose a ball. You’ve got to be quick on the buttons to activate it though as the feature isn’t lit for very long. On the real table, you have two buttons next to the flipper buttons, but in Visual Pinball it’s just two keys on the keyboard so I’ve remapped these to be close to hand.

…and the bit that first drew me to this table in the first place, that 80’s retro voice of the Black Knight! So cool and this VB tables has them all included.


Here’s a shot of the original table – apologies for the crappy image, my iPhone isn’t the best camera in low light.

..and here’s the altered table – missing a few texture though.

After about an hour of playing, the best I could do was just shy of my high score but after a one particular game where I was down to my last ball and hady 420,000 on the scoreboard when i got multiball and managed to keep all three balls going until just under my high score. The last ball kept going and so i was able to get multiball again and at the end i’d surpassed my personal best.

I’ve also been playing the awesome creation of the Black Knight table on my iPad thanks to the Pinball Arcade app – I brought table pack no.4 which also includes The Creature from the Black Lagoon which is another table i enjoyed at Play:Expo



The only problem I have with this version of Black Knight is that the top left flipper is almost hidden from view and so I often mistime it’s use…which is a shame as its this particular flipper that you’d use the most to access multiball.

Still, it looks great and apart from that minor quibble, it plays really well with the touchscreen controls and iPad tilt to tilt feature.

Black Knight – iPad.


Once I’ve picked up the HD tables tomorrow I’ll try it on that mini pinball table project I’ve been working on.

Until then, I’ve got a score to beat!