Zen Studios alters classic pinball art to protect family-friendly rating
VP says removing cigars, blood was a “conscious decision” to protect all-ages image.
Earlier this week, Zen Studios released its first set of four licensed Bally/Williams pinball tables as DLC for its popular Pinball FX3 digital simulation. That came as welcome news in the pinball community after 60 such licensed tables were removed from Farsight’s competing The Pinball Arcade earlier this year.
But those new digital tables come with artistic alterations the developers say were made “to meet our age rating obligations” for the E10+-rated game. And those changes have some authenticity-focused pinball fans up in arms.
Pinball FX 3’s digital recreations of the iconic Medieval Madness, Fish Tales, and Junk Yard tables feature many modifications to the original playfield, backglass, and side table art. Scantily clad women have been covered up with additional clothes or obstructions. Bloody swords have been cleaned. Cans of beer have been relabeled to be cans of soda. Characters smoking cigars have had the “pertinent items” (as the game’s legal notice puts it) removed from their mouths.
I’m in favour of the modifications. While playing Medieval Madness as a kid just seeing the cigar and the bloody sword was enough to send me into a chain-smoking rampage of knife fighting and edged gang warfare, from which I’m just now recovering from. I’m glad that current and future generations won’t be exposed to such cartoon items and spiral down into the depths that such artwork sent me those years ago. I’m glad someone is finally thinking of the children.