FTS: Zen Reveals Horror-Inspired “Pinball M,” Coming Soon (PC, Consoles) + This Release Is Confusing To Me!


Zen Studios Unleashes Pinball M: A New Horror-Inspired Pinball Platform for the Most Fearless Players

Zen’s newest pinball platform will feature five terrifying tables coming soon

SAN FRANCISCO  Aug. 31, 2023 – Get ready to tilt into terror with Zen Studios’ latest creation: Pinball M! At the MIX Next Online Showcase, Zen unveiled this brand-new digital pinball platform designed especially for horror fans. Pinball M will transport players into a world of terror, where every flick of the flipper can lead to victory or disaster. Pinball M is expected to begin terrorizing players on PlayStation, Xbox, Steam, Epic Games Store, and Nintendo Switch soon.

Pinball M will launch with five horrifying tables inspired by world class IPs, including Chucky’s Killer Pinball in collaboration with Universal Games and Digital Platforms, Dead by Daylight Pinball in collaboration with Behaviour Interactive, and Zen’s own Wrath of the Elder Gods Director's Cut.

To round out the launch, Zen is also developing two other tables that will be revealed later. Each Pinball M table is fully loaded with gameplay designed to keep players on the edge of their seats, featuring assets inspired by their source material for an authentic experience.

And the terror doesn’t stop when the game is over! Pinball M introduces a new nerve-rattling Play Corner feature in the table menu, which immerses players in a 3D environment that’s themed to match each table’s horror-inspired design, with wickedly fun customization options that make each Play Corner unique. Players can craft their own personal corner of horrors in the game with eerie decorative elements which can be earned through gameplay. With Play Corners, you’ll be drawn deeper into the terrifying world of each pinball table – you may never want to leave!

“We are thrilled to bring this new pinball platform to our players with a killer lineup of new licensed tables,” said Mel Kirk, COO of Zen Studios. “Over the years, there have been many mature themes that we’ve wanted to explore on our pinball tables. Pinball M allows Zen to fully embrace M-rated source material and create authentic pinball experiences based on our favorite horror and irreverent themes.”

This release is confusing to me!

I appreciate the Zen Studios team; I'll start with that. If you didn't know, they've not only hooked us up with DLC pinball tables, but also a pinball pass for Pinball FX to showcase tables. Pinball FX is a free platform that has different categories from companies that allow you to enjoy the pinball tables they have to offer. 

That brings me to the announcement of Pinball M. Why on earth would Pinball M be a separate platform apart from Pinball FX that's fully fleshed out? It could have given Pinball FX owners access to new tables to enjoy in one place rather than split it up.

I get that these are m-rated tables, but there are options like World War Z and other creepy options on Pinball FX. Maybe these will really go off the deep end in terms of the gore and maybe language, but... if these tables can be accessed through a person's account (PC & Console) just like Pinball FX, anyone would be able to access them anyway. This includes children, unless parents' prevent access. There could have been a different way to access the Pinball M games or something, just like there are different categories for "MY TABLES", "TOURNAMENTS", "EVENTS", another categories. Maybe have a tab for "PINBALL M" or something and give owners the option to hide the tab in settings if they want.

The good thing is that you can get both Pinball FX & Pinball M, they won't break your system by having both... but these are my thoughts about the release and a creative solution that could've made the tables a part of the Pinball FX platform.

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Smiling Friends: The Complete First Season... Reviewed!

Before I jump in, I'd like to give a shout-out to Warner Bros for supplying a copy of this show for review. My opinions are my own.

I can't lie, this is one... weird show, but it has a certain charm that I'll explain in this review. Regardless of the charm, is it worth the buy? Let's jump in and find out!

Story: Like many of you, I'm an avid fan of animated comedy shows and I think that if you're looking for a left-field show, the Smiling Friends... delivers. The show's title represents just that, a group of employees working for the Happy Smile Corporation that sends them out on assignments to deliver... smiles. (Tada!)

You will find that Charlie & Pim are primarily going out on these... deliveries (hehehe) I know some of you may be wondering how a show like that could actually hook someone, but... you'd be surprised because you're taking on various challenges to get someone to smile. It's not just going to someone's home to deliver a good joke, the adventures vary. Episodes 1, 6, and 8... showcase the variety perfectly. 

Episode 1 is an attempt to get a suicidal man to reconsider living (yeah... this show is sooooo not for kids). Episode 6 takes Charlie and Pim and a medieval adventure, and Episode 8 takes Charlie to... h-e double hockey sticks.

Regardless of the varying adventures, one thing that keeps all the episodes cohesive is the situational comedy they extract from these scenarios. They apply realistic reactions to an animated world and dial up the crazy with twists that you might not expect. By the way, episode 9 is freaking gold, and if you've traveled with a group of friends... you may find yourself watching this one the most and encouraging others to check it out.

The personalities and mannerisms of the characters are on full display in episode 9 and I honestly feel like that type of episode should close out each season of this show. Doesn't have to be the exact same episode, but full-on quirks showing nuances and all that good stuff that showcases life off the clock. It doesn't exactly have a progression from what I saw, but I'm fine with it... at least for now. Good stuff.

Visuals: The visuals of this show dial up the... weird. I don't mind, but it's not as appealing as having a fully cohesive art style that stands out. The Champloo of animations is what this show stands on in the looks department, so maybe they're hoping that it will be strong enough to build an audience of fans long enough to fall in love with the storyline. Which is a safe bet for fans of Adult Swim.

One thing I do appreciate about the animation is the fact that they could have gone full 3D animation, but they went with hand-drawn animations for the most part.

Audio: To be honest, I didn't notice anything memorable about the sound effects. Not to say they were bad, but I experienced some suspense during episodes like episode 4... in terms of the sound effects but my focus was on the comedy. The audio is delivered in DTS-HD Master Audio & Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

Price + Extras: Smiling Friends season 1 comes in at $24.99 on Blu-ray & $19.99 on DVD. Not bad, but... I'd probably go with the DVD and save the $5 on this one.

I think the Smiling Friends Brazil art would've been a fantastic poster to package along with this season and the trend could've continued with each season based on that final episode or something.

The extras include:

  • Episode 9 - The Smiling Friends Go To Brazil
  • Episodic Commentary

Story 5

Visuals 3

Audio 5

Price 5

4.5 out of 5 Cool Points

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The 11 Best Games From Gamescom 2023 (Opinion)

The best games from this year's Gamescom (for me), were all the more challenging games that showcased the latest and greatest in the gaming industry. From the creepy-cute platformer Little Nightmares 3 to the highly anticipated Black Myth: Wukong, there is something for every gamer. Other notable titles include Killing Floor 3, Starfield, COD MW3, Fort Solis, Tekken 8, Assassin's Creed Mirage, and Warhammer 40,000: Darktide. And let's not forget about the new gameplay from Mortal Kombat 1 and the thrilling sequel Alan Wake 2. With such a diverse lineup, it's clear to me that Gamescom 2023 has delivered. So, grab your controller and get ready for an unforgettable gaming experience as we bid farewell to Summer and make our way forward.

Here's my list of the best games from Gamescom 2023!

Little Nightmares 3

Official Description
Embark on a new adventure in the unique world of Little Nightmares. In Little Nightmares III, you follow the journey of Low & Alone, as they search for a path that could lead them out of the Nowhere. Face your childhood fears together with a friend in online co-op, or solo with an AI companion.

Black Myth: Wukong

Official Description
Black Myth: Wukong is an action RPG rooted in Chinese mythology. You shall set out as the Destined One to venture into the challenges and marvels ahead, to uncover the obscured truth beneath the veil of a glorious legend from the past.

Killing Floor 3

Official Description

It’s 2091 and megacorp Horzine has produced the ultimate army: an obedient horde of bioengineered monsters called zeds. Now, join the rebel group Nightfall in this co-op action/horror FPS that puts you and your teammates in a battle for the future of humanity.


Starfield is the first new universe in 25 years from Bethesda Game Studios, the award-winning creators of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4.

Modern Warfare 3

Official Description
In the direct sequel to the record-breaking Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® II, Captain Price and Task Force 141 face off against the ultimate threat.

Fort Solis

Official Description
Responding to an unusual alarm call from a remote mining base, Jack arrives at the dark and desolate Fort Solis. With storm warnings imminent, he heads inside to make desperate contact. As the night grows longer, events escalate, spiral out of control and the mystery of what happened to the crew begins to reveal itself. The storm is approaching, limiting Jack’s escape as he looks to hold out until morning arrives.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage

Experience the story of Basim, a cunning street thief with nightmarish visions, seeking answers and justice as he navigates the bustling streets of ninth-century Baghdad. Through a mysterious, ancient organization known as the Hidden Ones, he will become a deadly Master Assassin and change his fate in ways he never could have imagined.

Tekken 8

Official Description

32 fighters with next-gen visuals will collide in Tekken 8! Both new and returning characters are stunningly portrayed in high-detailed character models built from the ground up - featuring every drop of sweat and ripped muscles for an immersive experience. The roster includes iconic fighters like Paul Phoenix, King, Marshall Law, and Nina Williams, and sees the return of Jun Kazama to the story for the first time in 25 years since her disappearance in Tekken 2.

Players will be able to challenge their opponents on 16 battle stages with intense destruction and interactive stage elements. TEKKEN 8 continues the tragic saga of the Mishima and Kazama bloodlines and their world-shaking father-and-son grudge matches. In this latest chapter, Jin Kazama will seek to defy his fate as he faces his father Kazuya Mishima causing war and destruction across the globe.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide

Official Description

Take back the city of Tertium from hordes of bloodthirsty foes in this intense and brutal action shooter. Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is the new co-op-focused experience from the award-winning team behind the Vermintide series. As Tertium falls, Rejects Will Rise.

Mortal Kombat 1

Official Description

Discover a reborn Mortal Kombat Universe created by the Fire God Liu Kang. Mortal Kombat 1 ushers in a new era of the iconic franchise with a new fighting system, game modes, and fatalities! Pre-order now to get the playable Character Shang Tsung.

Alan Wake 2

Official Description

Alan Wake went missing in 2010. He was a best-selling writer based in New York City. On a vacation in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Alice Wake, he came face to face with a force of supernatural darkness. It brought Wake's writing, a horror story, to life. He fought this dark presence and managed to banish it back to where it came from, a nightmarish dark place hidden under a caldera lake outside the small town of Bright Falls. Wake wrote an ending to his horror story and with that freed his wife from the darkness under the lake but became trapped there himself. 

Alan Wake is not dead, although he has wished he was many times. For 13 years he's been a prisoner in the Dark Place, where his nightmares, his fears, and his stories manifest as reality around him. For 13 years, he has been fighting to stay sane and write a story that would change reality around him in order for him to escape. So far, he has failed.

Gamescom 2023 showcased a pretty impressive lineup of games that left us eagerly anticipating most releases, and we agree that fingers are crossed that they're all released bug-free.