virtualpinball.jpgSouthern Music Ltd. Entertainment, the distributor founded in 1956 whose claim to fame is, according to their company bio, being "one of the first companies to introduce jukeboxes to the Calgary market," has signed a deal with TAB Austria to distribute its Virtual Pinball units throughout commercial locations in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Virtual Pinball (pictured) retains the basic structure of Regular Pinball, though in a slightly more compact form, and with a 42" plasma display instead of an actual game board. Its designer, TAB Austria, has previously released a number of MP3-based jukeboxes, and Silverball, which is one of those touch screen thingies you see on bar tops all the time. Silverball has 140 games available, though I've never looked beyond the one where you find minute differences between two naughty photographs. There's a naughty jigsaw puzzle game too, but I hate jigsaws.

There's unfortunately nothing naughty about Virtual Pinball's five built-in games, which are upgradable via an online connection. Only two of the five games could actually be considered pinball, and that's only if you're counting this monstrosity. We're not sure what's worse, the Bizarro World perspective, or that yellow couch that's sure to bounce the ball into the dead zone repeatedly.

SML Entertainment has plenty of pinball experience, and is a distributor of all those recent Stern machines you probably weren't aware existed, like Elvis, Nascar, Lord of the Rings and The Sopranos. So, we like them, and wish them well, even if we can't find any of their machines around here.