YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT (…FOR THIS PACHINKO GAME)

Being new to the Pachinko world, I naively thought that all of these crazy Japanese slot games ran along similar lines – but this morning, I found myself all at sea. I was shocked, confused, and excited in equal measure. What had I found that had set me adrift? This video. The trailer for a Pachinko game called JAWS: PANIC.

Yes – I’d stumbled upon the official Pachinko version of the 1975 movie Jaws. Who knew such a thing even existed?!

For those who’ve never seen the film (shame on you!) I’ll try and explain it as briefly as I can. There’s a shark. It kills a woman. The Police Chief (Brody) wants to close the beach, but the mayor won’t let him (he doesn’t want to put the tourists off – so thoughtful). So a Shark expert (Hooper) and an old sea captain (Quint) offer to help him capture the beast.

And if the trailer is anything to go by – the Pachinko version looks even more fun than the film. And they sure know how to whet your appetite.

It starts above the waves on a stormy night at sea, and we’re teased from the word go with that telltale fin sweeping eerily across the screen. And just a matter of seconds later, we’re underwater, taking in the Shark’s-eye view of what I can only assume is Quint’s boat. We get closer and closer, as that instantly recognizable theme music kicks in.

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A flash of teeth, the boat fills the full screen, and then a moment of darkness – before an epic scream, a shark in the air, and an exploding boat. This is classic Jaws – I’m hooked – and we haven’t even seen the hardware yet.

Over the course of the next minute we can see that while this game features all of the key elements from the original film, each and every one of them has been kicked up a notch: Quint, the captain, looks 20 years younger, and twice as Badass. And I’m fairly sure Hooper never looked that good in Scuba Gear. He certainly didn’t swim nearly as well as that in the movie. 

The view from the boat as the shark takes massive chunks out of it also looks way more intense than it did in the film – but I guess that’s the benefit of 40 years worth of advances in animation.

When we finally see the machine itself, I’m relived to see that despite that crazy concept, it’s just as you’d expect any Pachinko machine to be: there are balls to be fired, there are numbers to be lined up, and there is money to be won.

And unlike your average casino, the makers of this game seem very keen to tell us up front what the odds are: apparently, 1 in 399.6 players takes home the jackpot.

Between you and me, I have no idea whether that’s good or bad – but then for me, the game itself is what’s exciting here. Winning anything back would be a bonus.

All I need now is a one-way ticket to Japan, and I’ll be able to try this one out for myself. Unless I can find a version in an online casino.

THREE FILMS THAT NEED TO BE NEXT ON THE PACHINKO LIST

If they’ve made JAWS into a Pachinko game, that leaves me wondering what’s next. I’ve got a few suggestions:

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – try and line up the scores of the three parole judges to secure Red’s release. In the meantime, fire those balls to help chip away the wall of Andy Dufrane’s cell and help him escape.

A BEAUTIFUL MIND – these machines love to quote their odds of paying out – but imagine a game where those odds varied depending upon another set of numbers – the number of hallucinations flowing through John Nash’s mind.

BACK TO THE FUTURE – Marty McFly needs to find a way to power the DeLorian and get Back To The Future – but he doesn’t need a flux capacitor – he just needs to get three numbers in a row. Once he’s there, if he can get enough balls send back through time, maybe he can change his fate.

Yeah – ok – maybe I’ll leave Pachinko design to the professionals…