Onigashima Pachinko-Ten (Game Boy, 1991)

PUBLISHER: Coconuts Japan

DEVELOPER: Marionette

RELEASE DATE: 02/08/91 – (JP)


Is Onigashima Pachinko-Ten yet another throwaway pachinko game? That’s hard to say. As far as I can tell, there is some sort of story involved, which lends the pachinko proceedings a bit more weight. You – a mysterious middle-aged gambler – seem to be trapped in a casino on a demon island. The only way off the island is to play all the pachinko, win all the steel balls, and appease the demons with your good fortune. Maybe! My subpar Japanese comprehension tried to keep up with the swift intro cinematics, but to no avail.


Is there a problem, officer?


Good glory, are there a lot of pachinko machines in this casino. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to be doing with them, story-wise, but playing lots of pachinko is as good a guess as any. The different pachinko machine layouts are well-rendered and flicking the balls works like you’d expect. If you enjoy old virtual pachinko outings, this humble little Game Boy game might satisfy.


George Orwell’s influence even extends to a forgotten pachinko game.


Still, there’s something so odd about “playing” virtual pachinko. You don’t win any actual prizes, you don’t actually experience the tension when the flipper flicks the ball, and your senses aren’t entranced by the lights and sounds of a real machine. If my interpretation of this game’s story is correct, beating the game might win you your freedom and your soul; those are good things to hold on to. Otherwise, Onigashima Pachinko-Ten is just another gambling game, albeit with a life-or-death story that may or may not justify its existence.


The moral of the story is: gamble forever.

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