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Gaming: Star Wars Pinball hits the Switch; Stadia goes first party; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Star Wars Pinball for Nintendo Switch

The Star Wars Pinball series is about to get a whole galaxy’s worth of new fans. Developer Zen Studios, who’s been releasing new Star Wars-themed pinball tables like clockwork since 2013, revealed this week that all the pinball games it’s made so far for the series will be bundled into one big Nintendo Switch game coming later this year.

Long available on PC, mobile, and other consoles, Star Wars Pinball spans all the way from 2013’s Boba Fett and Empire Strikes Back releases to last year’s lineup, which included a table themed around Solo: A Star Wars Story. Nintendo shared a teaser video to go along with the announcement:

In addition to the regular tables (there are 19 in all), the Switch game will also feature enhancements including a new vertical play mode (so you can literally flip your Switch sideways), a jukebox mode for the game’s soundtrack, and a career mode that lets you pad new stats on top of your previous achievements. 

Unlike previous digital-only versions, the Switch game will be available both via the Nintendo eShop as well in stores, as a good old physical game cartridge. With the release date set for Sept. 13, you should be a lightspeed pinball wizard just in time for Star Wars: Episode IX to arrive in theaters this December.

Google is inviting a ton of comparisons between its upcoming Stadia games platform and YouTube, not the least of which is the data giant’s plan to develop first-party original games that — much like Cobra Kai does for YouTube — could entice gamers to pony up for a monthly subscription.

Google’s Jack Buser recently told US Gamer that the always-online service will certainly be home to plenty of other makers’ games — but that Stadia also will be home to Google-developed titles, as the company takes its first serious steps toward in-house game development.

Pledging that more details are coming this year, Buser said that “Google is essentially starting a first party effort” for original games to reside — possibly as exclusives — on Stadia, as well as hosting a wider diversity of third-party games available on other platforms.

How many games are we talking? Buser wouldn’t get specific, but told US Gamer that Google wants people to view Stadia as a service that makes games just as accessible — to just as many people — as Google’s YouTube already does for videos.

“I will say, you can think of Stadia a lot like YouTube. So our vision really for the Stadia service is that wherever you're able to enjoy YouTube is a potential place where you can be enjoying Stadia,” he said, adding that Stadia is targeting YouTube-like reach for “high fidelity triple-A games” to make their way into “billions” of gamers’ hands.

Details on Stadia’s full launch plan are still light, although we know that the key to the whole experience will be the Stadia controller, which will serve as the portal for the whole experience via its built-in wifi. Google plans to debut the service sometime before the end of 2019.

Finally, what does a Final Fantasy auteur do for an encore? If you guessed making a role-playing game about Paralympic athletes, then you’d be right (and we’d be a little freaked out by your intuition.)

Fresh off his departure from Square Enix, Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata and his newly-formed JP Games studio have revealed The Pegasus Dream Tour, an RPG billed as the first ever to take as its setting the world of Paralympic sports. 

Via VG24/7, Dream Tour is a joint effort between Tabata and the International Paralympic Committee aimed at raising awareness for the Paralympic Games. Virtual sporting events will “take place inside a fantasy metropolis known as Pegasus City,” via the report, where athletes will wield special abilities known as “Xtra Power.”

Beyond that, details are still light — but expect Pegasus Dream Tour to release on a variety of platforms, including mobile devices, in time for next summer’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo.