Why You’ll Be Thankful for Zen Studios’ Marvel Pinball: Civil War

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Why You’ll Be Thankful for Zen Studios’ Marvel Pinball: Civil War
Why You’ll Be Thankful for Zen Studios’ Marvel Pinball: Civil War

For well over two years now, I’ve had the honor of working with Zen Studios on video pinball tables based on Marvel characters and events. It seems only appropriate that Marvel Pinball: Civil War should release the week of Thanksgiving (as part of PSN’s Zen Pinball 2) – ‘cause I’m plenty thankful for these guys and everything they’ve done with Marvel Pinball so far.

Civil War is one of the biggest events ever told in comics, and as you’d suspect, Zen takes representing it in pinball form very seriously. Here are a just a few reasons why you, the fan, will be thankful that’s the case…


Whose Side Are You On? No, really… When Zen and Marvel decide what tables to do, it’s a truly collaborative process. Sometimes they’re Zen’s idea initially, sometimes they’re ours – it’s Avengers-level teamwork, I tell ya! The idea to do a Civil War table came from us, and with it a mandate: If you choose to do Civil War, you have to let the player decide if he’s with Iron Man and Pro-Registration or with Captain America in opposition to the Superhuman Registration Act. “Whose Side Are You On?” was the slogan for the event, and it’s the event’s central theme – choosing sides simply had to be there. And, after a bit of a prologue involving the Stamford incident, that’s exactly what you’ll do…


Your side determines your experience. Choosing sides doesn’t just reflect your beliefs on who’s right – it also affects gameplay. Most of these are quite subtle (different bonuses and ramps to hit and such), but you’ll also see a story-based link: Go Pro, you’ll get help from the Thunderbolts; side with Cap, Mr. Frank Castle comes along to lend a hand (whether Steve likes it or not).


Your skill recruits undecided heroes to your cause. See those fine folks on the Allies/Enemies board above? They’re all up for grabs to be recruited to your side, and doing so – by nailing ramps and targets, of course – helps to affect the difficulty of the epic one-on-one battles between Iron Man and Cap. According to this particular play-through, Iron Man has recruited Spider-Woman, Tigra and Vision, while Spidey, Human Torch, Ms. Marvel and Luke Cage favor Cap. Sentry? Still deciding. (Oh, I suppose I should also mention that your actions can steal a character’s allegiance…)


You’ll relive huge moments from the story. If you’ve read Civil War (and if you haven’t, do it now!), you’ll remember some huge events, from – SPOILER ALERT – the fall of an Avenger to the wedding of Storm and Black Panther. And the one that made national headlines, of course, as you see (and hear, if you click it) above – which of course only plays if Iron Man recruits him from the Allies board.


You’ll relive not-so-huge moments from the story. We worked with Zen to dig really deep throughout the entire epic Civil War event – not just the core six issues, but the tens of issues spanning other Marvel series as well – to jam in as much authenticity as possible. Above, you can see Iron Man and Cap discussing Tony’s decision to go Pro via Iron Man/Captain America: Casualties of War, and you can hear it come to life as you will in the Civil War table by clicking on the image. Needless to say, this is by no means the only nearly verbatim conversation of this type that you’ll hear play out between the two.

You’ll experience things you’ve probably never seen with any pinball table, real or video. Without fail, Zen continually impresses players with their ability to innovate with each new table. That’s no different with Civil War. In addition everything I’ve mentioned so far, you’ll also get to do things like start the whole thing with a two-ball multiball (representing the cleanup after the Stamford incident), or marvel (heh) as tracks manifest from thin air (above) – the kind of thing only possible in videogame pinball.

It’s made by a bunch of really nice Hungarians. I realize this has absolutely nothing to do with how Civil War plays, but I just have to point out how great the Zen guys are to work with. They’re awesome, and not just because they have names like Viktor with a K and Zsolt with a “rhymes with ‘jolt’ so you know he’s a badass.” They deserve to be thanked in public for doing such a great job, not just on Civil War, but for all their Zen Pinball greatness. So… Thanks guys!

If you’re as big a fan of Zen Studios as I am, go ahead and let ‘em know in the comments below. Ask questions, too! I try to respond to everyone…

Comments are closed.


36 Author Replies

  • I was sold on everything until you told me Hungarians made it. I’m xenophobic. In all seriousness though, is this just 1 table or a pack of em?

  • Cool!!! Another cool pinball table added to my collection! Got to collecti ’em all.

  • Def will be buying this to go along with all the other tables i have. Keep up the good work guys.

  • Have you guys ever considered giving us a free table? Plenty of purchasable ones. I’m sure you could toss us a bone. =)

  • Is this one table or a pack of tables? And is there an update to go with this too, maybe to address the flipper lag?

  • @4 StealthReborn I think giving us all the tables (we’ve got over the years) for free on Vita is a damn big bone.

    @zen_studios Thank you for these amazing pinball tables.

  • No need to be sorry any more zen is awesome. I rock the ps3 the girlfriend rocks the vita sitting next to each other on the couch crushing our friends scores. O it warms my heart so much.

  • Not really that into pinball games, but seeing that opening pic reminded me of how bad i really want another Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
    You’d think Marvel/Disney would have done another one by now, considering how insanely popular the Marvel Movie franchise has become since the last game. :/

  • So is this table releasing today??? Also just to make sure this is coming out on the 360 also right ? I love the tables that are being made lately I have to have all of them.

    • It’ll be pretty much everywhere, yeah. Don’t forget, having it on PS3 also means you have it on Vita via Zen Pinball 2.

  • Love your avatar. I had every Spider-Ham Peter Porker comic as a kid.

  • Keep on making those Marvel tables, those are the only ones l buy, l love them

  • If the Vita survives the next few years and ends up with tons of great games, no small part of it will be due to Zen Studios. They are the rigid flipper, I mean backbone, of the Vita library. I have no idea how any Vita owner lives without this game. And their twitter is @Zen_Studios, with a _, by the way.

  • Consider it purchased! Now lets hope Sony doesn’t mess it up again like they did last week with the ZP2 version of Fantastic Four.

    @5: The flipper lag is on your end. It’s most likely your TV. Some HDTVs have enhancers that aren’t compatible with video games due to them having higher frame rates. There are two ways to fix this.

    1.) Go into your TV settings and shut off the enhancers or set them to “game mode”.

    2.) Adjust the flipper sensitivity in the game. You’ll need to do this for each table.

    Operator’s Menu (found on pause screen) >> Utilities >> Additional Features (something around those lines) >> Flipper Sensitive

    Note: Adjusting settings in the Additional Features section does not deactivate the trophies or leader boards.

  • These Marvel tables just get better and better with each release – can’t wait to get this one!

    Any chance of an Avengers vs. X-Men table based off that recent series?

    I’d also like to pledge my voting dollar towards a Great Lakes Avengers table.

    • We’ll have to see about AvX, but you never know. And they were totally going to do a Great Lakes Avengers table, but Big Bertha got so excited she accidentally sat on the lead programmer, and now he looks more like Flatman. He’ll be missed.

  • Looking forward to this. Got a Vita recently which revitalized my Zen Pinball playing experience thanks to cross-buy. Will definitely be nabbing this also to widen my pinball collection.

    Was wondering, is there a chance down the road there’ll be separate video options for Vita when running in portrait mode? I have issues regarding the position and size of the dot matrix display for the tables, which I’d rather have in a different spot and size in portrait than I would playing it landscape, due to the adjusted visibility.

    • This is what Mel at Zen says: “We have a growing list of new options and updates that we would like to patch in for Zen Pinball 2 on Vita. This item is on the list, hopefully we can make it happen in the next few weeks.”

  • Not a big comic book fan. There is a lot of Marvel tables. Any chance of an upcoming non Marvel table?

    • Not the best question to ask the Marvel guy. :-) But I know for a fact Zen has tons in the works outside of Marvel as well.

  • Looks awesome and I can’t wait! The Marvel tables are my absolute favorite, and this looks like it’ll continue the trend. Still desperately keeping my fingers crossed for a Maximum Carnage table someday.

    • That game played a huge role in evolving my Spider-Man uber-fandom back in the day. If there ever were a table, no matter how hard Zen tried to make it, it would probably still be easier than Acclaim’s game! :-)

  • Being a huge Marvel fan, these tables are what got me into digital pinball in the first place – now I enjoy all of Zen’s tables (though the Marvel ones are still my favorite!).

    I keep checking the PSN store this morning… very anxious to try this!

    What’s next for the Marvel tables? I think there’s a Dr. Strange table in the works?

    My vote goes to a Daredevil table. I think Zen could do some really great stuff with the radar…

    And since Punisher has now appeared in two tables, I think he deserves his own :)

    Other than that… I would love to see more event/storyline-related tables. Secret Wars, Secret Invasion, Dark Phoenix, AvX…

    My last vote, however unlikely goes to… a Namor table. Make it happen :)

    • Thanks for being such a big fan! I can’t speak directly about future tables, but I certainly won’t deny Doctor Strange!

  • I’m not a fan of pinball but I am one of Marvel. I have nothing against this game but I do wish Marvel would pick some new companies to make some new marvel games. The only marvel game that really sticks out in my mind is Maximum Carnage on snes. If only we’d get an HD version of that along with the Green Jelly soundtrack.

  • Between my red SNES cartidge, my Green Jello cassette tape (yes, I said Green Jell-O, as in before they changed to Green Jelly, which I also got the CD of with the Maximum Carnage track,) and complete comic collection of the Maximum Carnage story, I’m quite the fan. Carnage was my favorite villain, and at one time I had literally every comic appearnce with him in it. So yeah, a Maximum Carnage table would really float my boat. Not too much more I can say about it, so I’ll just leave on the opening line to the song.


  • Ok, one more vote… how about a Golden Age, Invaders table? I loved the vibe of the Cap table, but it actually turned out to be one of my least favorites…

    One last question (I could probably find elsewhere), but re: Zen Pinball 2… is it just me, or is the X button no longer sensitive to shooting the ball anymore? (You’ll have to pardon my lack of pinball lingo). And shaking the controller no longer shakes the table? Is it a setting I need to change, or…?


    • There certainly is a ton to choose from… Part of the fun of putting these together is deciding what those might be!

      (Not sure about your issue, sorry.)

  • i recently updated zen pin ball 2 and now i cannt play the game or have access to my trophy collection will are you guys working on a fix ? if so what the time frqme i miss my zen pinball and i want access to my trophy collection.

  • @20 I know they where previously Jell-O. Funny you mention tapes I have 333 on tape lol I used to have the red cartridge as well but I sold it. I later bought a grey one used and don’t even own a snes anymore.

  • pretty close to having all the tables for this game.. all very cool and each have their own reasons for playing… looking forward to more, certainly…
    of course, with all the Marvel tables, i wonder if there will be any other tables coming soon from the Zen team…

    side note, used to collect comics.. had the privilege of having the mid-90s issue #1 of XMen signed by Jim Lee, unfortunately, it and most of the rest of them were stolen… so, sad to say, i no longer collect comics.. but i will continue to collect the Zen tables..

    • Aw, that’s terrible! X-Men #1 is definitely one of my favorite covers of all time.

      Thanks for supporting Marvel Pinball!

  • Zen makes the best pinball games on any console…perfect model of affordability, variety, and innovation. Damn fun and addictive gameplay to boot.

  • I played the MUA games. Played alot of the ps3 games. (I’m on an alt account atm because I don’t like signing into my main ps3 account on a website.) I mean I bought X-men Destiny recently despite reviews I didn’t think the game was that bad but it could definitly used more work. The upcomming pc mmorpg looks cool but I don’t got a pc to run it. I’d really like to see it make its way to ps3 to play it. I’m all for action RPG’s from marvel but from Legends to MUA2 they lack any end game. They also stripped the games down from release to release. I think it would be cooler to make a classic marvel with todays graphics similar to how Maximum Carnage follows a comic story line and does it better then MUA2. I mean Anime/Manga games get all these games based on their cannon why can’t comic book games get the same treatment? Why do they got to keep changing things?

    • Fair enough. Did you ever play Ultimate Spider-Man? The presentation was very much like that of a comic book, and it still holds up seven years and one console generation later.

      Also, Gameloft’s mobile game Spider-Man: Total Mayhem is very much a spiritual successor to Maximum Carnage in terms of gameplay. Read some reviews and give it a shot if you think it’s for you.

  • update the store now plz

  • I’m a big fan of the Marvel tables so this will be a Day 1 purchase for me.


  • I’d luv to see some DC Heroes or Valiant Comics Tables. ooo how bout a Minecraft Table?

  • Yes I did play Ultimate Spider-Man and I liked the presentation in that one. You actually see abit of Peter Parker in that one too. And Spider Carnage was really cool to see in a game.

  • Can’t wait :) @#29, You’ll pretty much never see a table based on DC comics from Zen, sorry.

  • Looks like another fun table to play.

    But while I tend to enjoy war, i’m not really very civil so I dunno if it’s right for me.

  • Yes marvel pinall was free on psn plus, I downloaded it during my month trial back in Jan 2012. but um, yeah thankful for an table? I mean marvel pinball has some real upsets when i play it. I was just playing it the other day and the ball always seems to loop through the middle with no type of defense for it WHAT SO EVER.. and it messed up my high score I was going for… all that time wasted for an bump in the road tsk tsk.

  • Chris Baker,

    You sir, need to sit down at a table with NeatherRealm Studio and your equivalent other from DC (make mine Marvel, btw), and the higher ups from both companies, and decide that your company’s next big cross-over NEEDS to be in the form the most highly demanded (and highest selling once it releases) fighting game of all time. MARVEL vs DC !!!

    Just look at what NeatherRealm is doing with Injustice. They are THE ONLY GUYS to do it. You gave Capcom another swing with MvC3, and while pretty good, they refused to give fans what they wanted and vocally requested very early into development where those request could have easily been reality. It’s time to go in another direction, and that is straight ahead to NeatherRealm Studios for a sit-down with them and DC.

    DO IT !!! Make all those fanboy dreams come true. And go BIG with it. 60 character roster, MINIMUM. It would sell like CoD man, I’m telling you. even splitting the profits you’d make MILLIONS.

  • I can’t wait to play this table and hopefully Sony allows us to import our Fantastic Four table into zen pinball 2 today.
    Maybe we can get a Secret wars and a Secret Invasion table sometime in the near future.

    On a side note :Marvel Now has made almost every comic go from the occasional buy/wait for trade to a weekly pull/subscriptions.

  • Awesome! Zen’s tables are amazing, spectacular, incredible, and ultimate (did ya catch that)!!! I can’t wait to play new Zen Pinball tables – the graphics are insane, the gameplay is maniacal and addicting, and they are all just an overall rewarding experience! I will definitely be downloading this one! Well, I guess I’d have to pull myself away from the PVZ table first. And what?! Made by Hungarians! Wow, that’s really cool! I find that really interest… hey, that makes me hungry. No really, I’m going to have to go get a snack now, brb.

    [10 min lapse]

    Ok, had to get Little Debbies for a snack, it seems. Where were we, OH, that’s right, I cant wait to play this table, the Civil War storyline is epic. I love the allies/enemies feature and … oh crap, I forgot to download the new table, brb.

    [8.5 min lapse]

    Ooook, so where were we? Hmmmm. I don’t remember. Wow this cupcake rocks! Hmm don’t remember oh well, I guess I’ll go play the new Civil War table now. Until next time….

    Oh, thanks again Zen and Marvel! ZP2 is truly one of the most played games on my PS3. :)

  • I am overwhelmed with envy at your avatar.

    I’ll definitely check out the table, the Infinity Gauntlet one has consumed a lot of my time.

    In exchange, please see to it that a new Ultimate Alliance game is made ASAP; thanks ;)

    • Your envy is appreciated. :-)

      Funny enough, Civil War and especially Infinity Gauntlet are two of the tables I was begging Zen to make from the beginning. Enjoy your new purchase!

  • @21: Zen Pinball 2 added and changed some of the controls around. If you go into the controller settings, you will see that the X button is now the “auto launcher”, while the Right Analog stick is the “manual launcher”.

    As for the nudging, you can change it to the tilt controller in the options. Personally, I don’t recommend it, since it’s a little too sensitive now.

  • I have absolute plans to purchase this table. My only question is, if I buy this will it work with both Marvel Pinball and Zen 2? Or how would that work?

  • Can’t wait to play this table tonight.

    Zen should totally dip into the 90s and make a Maximum Carnage table.

  • Zen rocks!
    Marvel Rocks!
    Zen/Marvel collaborations rock!

  • Thank you Chris! LONG LIVE DIRK! You should send me a friend request through PSN as I wouldn’t ask for yours to be posted here lol.

    AizawaYuuichi, if you already owned Zen Pinball when Zen Pinball 2 came out, you get it for FREE!!! (which also entitles you to ZP2 for your vita! YES I play ZP2 on my vita as well!). Just download it and also you will have to download your tables again, but its WAY worth it! ZP2 combines the Marvel tables with the Zen tables for one GINORMOUS pinball extravaganza!!!

  • @cbake – First off, thanks for being so cool with the fans fielding questions. I love Marvel and the guys at Zen Studios do truly amazing work with the tables. They never fail to impress me with each new table.

    I know you can’t speak much about future Marvel tables, but could you at least confirm that there are (or will be) other Marvel tables besides Dr. Strange in the works? I’m still crossing my fingers for a Fall of the Mutants table with Archangel.

    • I enjoy responding. As long as people like yourself are leaving interesting comments with solid questions, I’m happy to answer.

      As far as other tables are concerned, it’s kind of wait and see after the next one at this point. So… wait and see!

  • yes another table ty zen keep em coming

  • Ijust brought Marvel Pinball: Civil War and installed it . It is not showing up in my list

  • I have a few questions. The Civil War table is for sale with both Marvel Pinball and Zen Pinball 2. Which one should I get?

    If I get the Civil War table for Marvel Pinball, will it be imported to Zen Pinball2?

    And if the Civil War table will be imported from Mavel Pinball to Zen Pinball, how long will it take?

    No offence, but it took 2 months for the Fantastic Four table to get imported from Marvel Pinblall into Zen Pinball 2. I don’t want to have to wait that long.

    I will “Wait and See”. I gotta know the answers to those questions before I buy the Civil War table.

    • Mel from Zen says, “If you buy Civil War for Marvel Pinball right now, you can import it right away to Zen Pinball 2 on both PS3 and Vita. The import button might not be hooked up just yet, but you can go to the store and you will see a red bag next to the table within Zen Pinball 2. That means you own it and can download it at no charge.
      And i just did, it’s working.”

  • This is superb glad to see continued support for Zen pinball!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • saw this and deleted every pinball game from zen on my ps3. the game hurts my hands and im so sick of pinball make a new game already!

  • As with all of Zen’s tables, bought it the moment it was released, and I’m thrilled that the F4 table imported! Keep up the excellent work!

    @48, it’s one game and heaven forbid they support it and their following by making more tables for it, lol. They also game out with another game recently and have another on the way, which looks awesome.

  • @cbake, I know from some of your earlier posts that you deal mainly with Marvel, however what’s the chance of seeing a Star Wars-themed table (especially since Marvel/Disney now has LucasArts/LucasFilm)??

    • Well, I work for Marvel, so I actually find out about Zen’s other tables when you do. As a huge Star Wars fan myself, I really hope that can happen! But the Disney/Lucasfilm deal has no bearing on this, sorry. (Side note: I worked at LucasArts for nearly three years before coming to Marvel — and my fandom of both Star Wars and Marvel was pretty rampant in the pages of Official U.S. PlayStation from 2000-2004. :-) )

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