Pinball Mechanics: Invulnerability

In Brief

  • In the classic games, when running, Sonic can roll like a pinball.
    • This allows him to pick up speed and tare through obstacles.
    • It creates a sense of invulnerability.
    • This produces a rush, as the player can experience the thrill of reckless speed without worrying about the consequences.
  • Rolling would only occur if the player pressed the down button.
    • This made it an optional action which increased player The pleasure principle of Player Choice.

In pinball, barrier objects occur on the table to block the ball. By charging the ball with enough speed, the ball can knock the barriers down. As the pinball player is not directly controlling the ball, this action has a limited impact.

For the Sonic player, however, it can create a strong sense of invulnerability.

Rolling pinball attacks

When running, the player can press down on the D-pad to roll into a ball. When doing this on a slope, Sonic gains speed, often reaching the over-clock speed instantly.

Whilst curled up can tear through virtually any enemy he encountered. This creates a sense of invulnerability, as while rolling, Sonic is virtually invincible.

▲ Stages such as Ice Cap and Hill Top placed breakable objects in the player’s path to capitalise on the sense of invulnerability.

Key features

The pleasure principle of Player Choice Rolling is usually optional choice, which only occurs if the player press the down button. (Tubes may be used to force the player into a rolling state, but such occurnaces are rare.)

The pleasure principle of Fair Challenge The invulnerability is limited as the rolling state stops if Sonic slows down (by moving over flat terrain) or collides with non-breakable objects.
  • prevents the player from over-using the technique
  • allows the player to come to a stop before colliding with dangers that are that are immune to the attack

Invulnerability and rush

The invulnerability enhances the adrenaline rush, as it allows the player to move at a near reckless velocity without being concerned about the consequences of such speeds.

Rolling pinball attacks in the modern games

Rolling attacks are non existence in modern games for two reasons:

  • Sonic has gained many new moves. As a result, the control system no longer has space for a button to make Sonic roll.
  • Dash pads are more frequently used. These force the player to travel at over-clock speed while running.

This removes the motive to use rolling as a technique for optionally accessing the over-clock speed.
As a result, player The pleasure principle of Player Choice is diminished


  • Modern games need to restore the pinball mechanics of ball rolling.
    • This will increase player The pleasure principle of Player Choice.
  • It will creates a rush through fostering a sense of invulnerability.

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Pinball: Adrenaline rush Rush and Spectacle Mechanics Pinball: Spectacle


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