Pinball Spotlight Series:
Here’s Spooky Pinball’s Total Nuclear Annihilation (TNA)! This game was originally developed as a homebrew game by its creator Scott Danesi. He has said that he created it just as a game for himself to play with his friends. Scott is a big fan of system 11 games from the late 1980s, and wanted to create a faster playing game with a special focus on the sound and light shows.
TNA is a very cool modern mashup of a classic flat (or street-level) playfieldfield without ramps, but with a modern LCD screen, color changing RGB LED lights, and the best sound system ever put into a pinball machine. It captures the speed and intensity of something like Firepower, but with even better sound and light. Scott not only designed the layout and mechs in the game, including an ingenious physical ball lock on the playfield utilizing inline drop targets (forever known now as the Danesi Lock), but he also coded all of the rules, orchestrated the best lightshow in recent memory, AND COMPOSED THE ENTIRE ELECTRONIC MUSIC SCORE!!! Scott is a renaissance man, and TNA is a showcase for all of his talent and drive.
TNA started as a homebrew project, but quickly became a full prototype game that Scott brought to Pinball Expo in his backyard of Chicago. It was a bigger hit at the show than he anticipated, and it led to him streaming the game on Jack Danger’s popular Deadflip Twitch channel. Interest exploded, and the demand for a production run of TNA began to grow. Luckily for all of us, Charlie at Spooky Pinball stepped in and agreed to take the prototype game and make it into a full production game.
Spooky Pinball is a small family owned and operated boutique pinball manufacturer based in Benton, WI. They have been making small runs of games since 2014, and are a fantastic and scrappy small company well deserving of their own dedicated Pinball Spotlight from me later on. Partnering with Scott to build production TNAs was a dream pairing for both companies. Both are small-scale, dedicated do it yourselfers that dream big and are able to leverage their passion for pinball to deliver fun and innovative games to the pinball marketplace. They made 550 TNAs, and we have one of them in our pinball room now!
The goal of TNA is to light and destroy reactors 1-9, and reach total nuclear annihilation at the end of the game. They start out pretty simple to complete, but each subsequent reactor requires more shots to destroy, nicely ratcheting up the difficulty level the higher you climb. Scott’s incredible soundtrack keeps the adrenaline pumping all the while. But probably the coolest new feature to pinball is the inclusion of Co-Op play. This allows you and your friends to compete together against the machine! Each player plays their balls sequentially, like usual, but instead of the game resetting for each player, progress in reactors and multiball carries over player to player, and all scores are shared. It’s a very cool feature, and one that I hope is emulated in more games going forward. But make no mistake, it’s still a challenge to destroy all reactors, even with the assistance of multiple players. And just announced is Scott and Spooky’s next game : RICK & MORTY!!! Come play TNA while you wait for that title. Good Luck, Don’t Suck!