April 27, 2023

If You Liked That, You’ll Love This: Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game

There was something truly great about seeing the origins of one of the best games of my youth. Seeing the inside-baseball details of how a simple little program from the Soviet Union could become a worldwide phenomenon was fascinating. And while the movie I’m suggesting maybe doesn’t have the international flavor, it does have another origin story of a beloved game–pinball. And like in Tetris, you’re going to learn a lot more about pinball and its history and the people who made it than you ever knew you wanted to know.

Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game is half-documentary, half-dramatization, with a dash of romantic comedy thrown in. It all adds up to a charming little look at New York City in the 1970s and one nerdy writer who became the best pinball player in the city. While the star, Mike Faist, may not have the star appeal of Taron Egerton, and the story may not have the political intrigue of Cold War politics and the fall of the Iron Curtain, there is still an undeniable charm to this tale. There is an authenticity to having the subject of the story, Roger Sharpe, recount the story and then see it dramatized. There is a fun charm to learning about the different techniques of pro pinball players, seeing all of the different boards and machines, and learning about the history of the game. And I’ll admit, I grew up when arcades were still popular, and pinball was one of my favorite games to drop quarters into.

So if you’re ever nostalgic for the dings and whistles of pinball machines, if you enjoyed learning the backstory of popular games from a few decades ago, and if you’re into seeing history dramatized on the movie screen, then give Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game a try.

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