Amateur Tips #4: Shoot the Castle!

Welcome to the fourth part of my continuing series of tips by a novice, for novices.  This time I’m going to share with you my secret method for approaching any pinball game.  Stepping up to a machine you’ve never played before?  No idea what the rules are beyond “hit stuff”?  Or just too nervous to try anything fancy?  No problem.  The only three words you need to remember are shoot the castle!

Medieval Madness castle

Shoot at this thing, but try to avoid landing your ball on top of it as Joseph has done here.

Most people learn this strategy first by playing every beginner’s favorite game, Medieval Madness.  The reason this game is so friendly to novices is that it goes out of its way to help you identify the castle by making it look like a giant castle.  Thus, people naturally fall into using the STC strategy.  The secret I can now reveal to you is that nearly every game has a castle.  The designers just try to cleverly throw you off by not making it look like a castle.  So your job, stepping up to a new machine, is to figure out what the castle is.

Some tips for identifying the castle

The classic castle has at least some of the following characteristics:

  • It’s near the center, and so can be shot from either flipper
  • It’s large and easy to hit
  • It’s near the back of the playfield
  • Hitting it repeatedly gets you something, even if it’s not an optimal strategy

To get you started using this strategy, I have prepared a field guide for identifying the castle in the games at The Avenue.

GameThe castle looks like...
Attack from MarsThe flying saucer
Monster BashFrankenstein
World Cup SoccerThe goal
Junk YardThe crane/wrecking ball
Tales of the Arabian NightsThe Genie (alternate castle: the lamp)
Austin PowersThe time machine
The Simpsons Pinball PartyThe garage
GetawayThe Supercharger
Lord of the RingsThe ring (secondary castle: the Balrog)
Addams FamilyThe castle is really hard to find in this one. It's probably up the center ramp somewhere.
Indiana JonesWARNING: Indiana Jones has no known castle and thus should be avoided at all costs.

I’ll see you next time… and remember, shoot the castle!   You learned it here first!

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