Back in the 90s, there was a Doctor Who pinball machine, and I know because I played it. I know I saw one of these machines on two different occasions. I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw the first one, but the second one was at a burger joint in Bloomington, MN that has since folded, been replaced by another restaurant which folded, then got replaced with a Culver’s. I had just started dating this awesome guy, who knew I was into Doctor Who, so he took me to the restaurant so I could play the game. It was cool. 😉 And we kept dating, and now we’re coming up on our 16th wedding anniversary. So I’ve always wished I could find that game again.
Now it seems my wish may come true — in digital form. FarSight Studios, which has made videogame recreations of classic pinball machines under the Pinball Arcade label, is embarking on their latest project, which is a digital conversion of the Doctor Who pinball machine. It’s not just a ROM and a simulation of the game. They actually take one of the machines, in as good condition as they can find, and strip it down, meticulously photographing and documenting as they go, to create exquisite 3D models of each part, until they have the entire thing faithfully rendered in their game engine. Only then do they move on to the actual gameplay logic, followed by careful finetuning of the physics engine, and final approval from the people who made the original machine.
The Doctor Who game is a particularly detailed and complex pinball game. I remember sucking mightily at it, but I remember the Time Expander playfield that comes up and gives you new things to do. And all seven (at the time) Doctors are featured as well, with gameplay changing through each Doctor. It’s really a wonderful game, and I can see exactly why they want to do it.
Trouble is, it’s expensive. They have already begun the negotiations, and the BBC and other parties are all lined up to give them the right licenses. Well, “give” is the wrong word. They will have to pay for the licenses. They must license “Doctor Who” itself from the BBC, the game and its artwork from the original manufacturer, the likenesses and voices of all the actors behind the Doctors . . . it adds up. And that is where Kickstarter comes in! The total cost of all the licensing is $72,000. Overage from their last Kickstarter pays for part of it, and they hope to raise the rest here. I’m buying in — will you? 😉