Posted tagged ‘Pinball’

AVATAR Pinball shipping this week

September 13, 2010

AVATAR made a crazy amount of money in theaters. As such, expectations for things like the AVATAR video game were pretty high and at the end of the day, disappointing for whomever held those expectations. It was panned critically and was even called a flop despite selling over 2 million copies(were the expectations in the 10 million range? 100 million? Higher?). Now some months after the movie was released, Stern Pinball has their newest pinball machine ready to go, based upon AVATAR.  Can AVATAR the Pinball machine take the success of the movie and turn that into sales above and beyond other pins of recent memory? We will know soon as Stern begins to ship the game out to collectors, distributors and operators around the world this week. Some people are already getting their hands on the game, as has published part one of their AVATAR review. No verdict is given on how the game plays at the moment but some of the cost cutting measures are painfully obvious – from a change in the lock bar, to Jake’s static pod to the mech that lacks a figurine(but it does move). Those all may be minor issues at the end of the day and it could be a fun game to play which we will know about soon enough.

UPDATE: Stern has added the game to their site, where you can place an order for it now.

[Stern Pinball] [Stern’s Facebook page]

Stern Pinball gets a glowing profile in PARADE

August 29, 2010

Newsfeed 910 via

New arcade games might have a difficult time catching a break in mainstream publications, gaming and otherwise, but even then they have it nicer than the pinball sector. Most of the time when I see talk of new pinball games it’s discussing some silly video pinball game for the iPhone or the Wii while they ignore the existence of actual pinball machines. Very few sources outside of channels which already focus on pinball talked about either of Stern’s most recent games such as Ironman or have discussed the upcoming Avatar pinball but at least with a new article at PARADE, that will change just a little.

The article interviews Gary Stern about the present state of the pinball industry, takes a look at an industry which has diminished greatly from it’s glory days back in the 40’s and what pinball has to compete against these days. It’s a nice article whose parade (har-har) I have to rain upon slightly in mentioning that the Spanish company Marsaplay recently produced some pinball machines of their own and Retro Pinball will be rolling out their King Of Diamonds machine very soon. Obviously neither company is eating away at Stern’s market share at this point like Firefox did to IE, and both are remaking old games but they still are producing some pinball machines. Anyways, getting back to the point, the Parade article is worth reading over and they even mention Avatar pinball, which is already in production and should be shipping sometime within the next week or so.

Parade article: Keeping a Pinball Wizard’s Dream Alive.

The PAPA 13 World Pinball Championships

August 21, 2010

(Thanks to PAPA for the info)

Last weekend the Profession & Amateur Pinball Association (i.e. PAPA) held their 13th annual World Pinball Championships and out of 406 players, seven stood victorious in their separate division. That includes the youngest Class B player in PAPA’s history, 12-year old Joshua Henderson from Plainfield, IL(pictured). Josh was ranked as the 51st top player in the world after an IFPA tournament in May and now he can add this win (along with a $3,500 cash prize) to his list of accomplishments. They have all of the scoring tables and winners listed on the PAPA website but so far media from the event is fairly sparse. The cash prizes they had available were quite good – the 1st place winner from the A division, Keith Elwin walked away with the title World Pinball Champion and $10,000 in cash. I know that there is a lot of focus on competitive video gaming around the world these days but pinball certainly can’t be ignored as it’s taken just as seriously.

UPDATE: Josh has put his winnings to good use already – by purchasing a NIB Spiderman pinball machine.

UK Pinball Party starts tomorrow

August 12, 2010

Pinball junkies in the UK have a big event to look forward to, the UK Pinball Party. It begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday although they already have held a warming up event with a competition between Martyn Raison (the top ranked junior UK player) and the two times Pinball World Champion Gary Flower. This competition was for the UK pinball Party’s Charity Challenge and it also saw new Stern-made pinball machines provided for the event. Details on that and tomorrow’s party  can be found in the press release below.


Space Race – the pinball game that dwarfs Hercules

August 6, 2010

Space Race via

(Thanks to Gary S. for the tip)

While Atari’s Hercules pinball has long held the title of the largest pinball machine ever manufactured for the public, I think that this Space Race takes the cake. Only seven have been made but it’s a surefire way to turn heads at any theme park or fair. At first it may not appear to be a pinball machine as the game lacks flippers, instead there are pins placed throughout the board along with some holes for the ball to fall through, making it a game of chance rather than skill. This is how original pinball machines were designed, as flippers weren’t a part of the game until Gottlieb’s Humpty Dumpty (1947). Since there are so few Space Races out there finding one can be a little difficult but not impossible with a recent sighting at the MultiFest in Charleston, WV; also has a nice article with pictures and video of a Space Race as seen in June at Colorado Springs.

AVATAR Pinball's playfield mostly revealed

July 29, 2010

(Thanks for the tip IcePagoda)

Via – the first shot of the new AVATAR pinball playfield. The pic speaks for itself – it looks like there is plenty to do in the back of the playfield and it shouldn’t be too long before we see some close-up shots from the board. This isn’t the final version as you can see that there are a few things missing when you look closely, such as a sticker on the spinner device that’s northwest of the center in the image above. But other than that this should be pretty close to the production design.

AVATAR Pinball’s playfield mostly revealed

July 29, 2010

(Thanks for the tip IcePagoda)

Via – the first shot of the new AVATAR pinball playfield. The pic speaks for itself – it looks like there is plenty to do in the back of the playfield and it shouldn’t be too long before we see some close-up shots from the board. This isn’t the final version as you can see that there are a few things missing when you look closely, such as a sticker on the spinner device that’s northwest of the center in the image above. But other than that this should be pretty close to the production design.

Stern Pinball @ Comic-Con 2010

July 22, 2010

Via the Stern Facebook fan page.

One of the biggest geek events for the year is now underway, Comic-Con 2010 and while console games are showing a strong presence at the show, arcade games aren’t really there to be seen. Granted, that is because there isn’t anything new out there involving comic books (yes there is Justice League but it isn’t brand new anymore) so it’s understandable but Stern pinball is there as they do have a new product which has something to do with comics – Ironman pinball. Since there is also an Avatar presence there this would have made a good place to show off the new Avatar pinball machine but it’s probably not quite ready to be shown at such a large event as this.

TRON Legacy will be getting some attention today as well, if there is anything arcade-related that goes along with it, we’ll look at it.

AVATAR Pinball machine coming to arcades and game rooms this fall UPDATED

July 19, 2010

possible design for AVATAR pinball. The backglass is supposed to have a 3D effect

Stern Pinball revealed their next pinball game for this fall this morning and once again it is based upon a movie license. This time however, Stern got on board with the highest grossing

One of the toys from the AVATAR pinball game

film yet, James Cameron’s AVATAR. So far very little has been revealed about the game, but here is what we do know. The mechs seen in the movie will be a toy on the playfield that you can “fight” (meaning it will be a target of some sort); the backglass uses a 3D pop-out effect; and it’s not a retheme of some older pinball machine like we saw with Ironman pinball. Someone on Stern’s Facebook page(where the announcement was made) linked to the picture of cabinet above but we’ll have to wait and see if that will be the final artwork for the machine. If they continue to use the ancient orange dot-matrix display then I’ll be disappointed once again – seeing how the changes Avatar has made to the movie scene (for better or worse depending upon your perspective) you would hope that the same could happen for the pinball machine. Not that I’m calling for a 3D display, just something with color in it.  Of course it is best to wait and see the playfield design, at least where it isn’t a retheme we can look forward to something fresh.

So what are your thoughts on this? Generally Stern has the movie themed games out around the time the movie that they are based upon launches but at least this means that they don’t have an excuse to exclude content(lines and scenes) from the movie into game. Can we at least expect this to be more entertaining than the Avatar home video game?

UDPATE: Stern has published a press release on their website. They are pushing the fact that the movie is going to be re-released with 8 new minutes of footage (sigh,  a silly trick that reminds me of the Star Wars digital remakes) as the pinball machine will begin production in mid-August to coincide with the re-release. The presser also mentions the following:

In Avatar pinball, you as player are the hero Jake Sully.  Capture the pinball in the transporter link, a case that reveals a Jake figurine, and transform yourself into his Avatar.  Then, after a series of challenges, get past the motorized up/down target bank protecting Colonel Quaritch and fight the Colonel in his AMP Suit, aiming your pinball at him.  As you overtake the Colonel, his AMP Suit crashes to the ground and you save the Na’vi people from total destruction.  Avatar pinball also features a twisting ramp, the magnet for random ball play, and lots of multi-ball action.

[Stern Pinball]

Want to chat with pinball designers?

July 15, 2010

(Thanks to IcePagoda on the forums for the tip)

If you have ever wanted to have a chat with some of the people involved in creating some legendary pinball games, then the website (the VP is for Virtual Pinball) has setup some online chats with several individuals, including Larry DeMar, Greg Freres, Lonnie Mihin, George Gomez, Randy Davis, Roger Sharpe and Steve Ritchie. I believe you have to have an account at the forums to participate but in case you have ever wanted to ask something of any of these guys then it would be worth it. They have already held the chats with Mr. DeMar and Mr. Freres, chats with Mihin and Gomez are Saturday and Ritchit and Sharpe are later this month.

Visit here.