Posted tagged ‘Pinball’

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.

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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 VPForums.org (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 VPForums.org here.

Ideas for TRON arcade games in modern times

July 15, 2010

I’ve not made it a secret that I am very excited for the upcoming Disney movie TRON Legacy. Even though the original was not a perfect film, it has always been a favorite of mine and it implanted in my head the idea of being an arcade operator one day. Back when the original movie came out, arcade popularity was still riding a high and movie trivia suggests that the arcade game TRON which was based upon the movie actually grossed more than the movie itself (I believe that is the case as I’ve heard that elsewhere although IMDB’s trivia isn’t perfect as also under TRON they claim that 3D game engines would have been invented in 1994 when in fact the arcade title I, Robot from 1983 had a 3D polygon engine). It’s not clear if the arcade game Discs of Tron is added into that or not. The popularity of arcades was also prevalent throughout the entire film, from Flynn’s arcade to stuff in the virtual world being based upon arcade concepts.

With TRON Legacy we have seen some nods to arcade culture although as times have changed we see less arcade influence at work here. They are working on console title  called TRON: Evolution which ties into the movie and there is the online Space Paranoids game which was launched as a browser game recently.  We did see a Space Paranoids arcade machine at Comic Con 2009 but that’s far from an official announcement. As a big arcade fan and a big TRON fan, I think it’s only proper to take a look at what some arcade games may look like or play if they were based upon TRON Legacy so I have taken it upon myself to dream up some concepts. This is just for fun,(so nothing here is sponsored or endorsed by Disney, Disney Interactive or anyone else involved in the films) although I obviously would love to see these ideas or something similar to them come to fruition one day. Ideas and artwork  found after the break

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Now on eBay: Williams 1983 Joust head-to-head pinball machine

July 9, 2010

Back in 1983, Williams produced an innovative pinball table that sadly didn’t make any waves in arcades at the time. That game was Joust (based upon the video game of the same name) and a major difference you’ll notice from other pinball machines is that it is a head-to-head pinball game. They are very rare – only 403 were produced and who knows how many of those have survived to this day – and currently someone has put one up on eBay to sell. The auction still lacks 5 days to complete at the time of writing this and the auction is currently sitting at $2247.

Here is a video of the game in action:

You can find the auction here.

When I watch this I can’t help but feel a little depressed, seeing how pinball machines today don’t attempt to innovate like this. In fact someone who is more familiar with pinball than myself would have to inform me on whether this was the last time such a table was produced. Obviously the lackluster sales of this would be cited as a reason to not try something like it again but I say, why not add some modern ideas (ramps, interactive toys, new displays, multi-color targets,etc.)to a head-to-head table and see if it works?

On another eBay note, there are two auctions up right now for PCB board sets for Atari’s I, Robot. That’s another game which had a very limited run so seeing PCBs for the game show up is an uncommon occurence and the number of bids on the sets seems to reflect that. You can find those auctions here and here.

Nike’s Digital Pinball machine: “Write the Future”

July 3, 2010

Newsfeed 855 via

Pinball news has been pretty scant lately but we do have something new to look at in the pinball realm, courtesy of Nike. While Nike is an unlikely source for such news, they have a new digital pinball machine setup in Madrid and Barcelona Spain which are being used as a way to promote several new kinds of Nike shoes. The video below gives us a look at the game – if it’s successful I imagine that Nike could have more of these produced and sent to other Nike stores around the world. It’s certainly a unique way to advertise new shows and it is something that could be updated in the future to integrate new shoes.

Nike's Digital Pinball machine: "Write the Future"

July 3, 2010

Newsfeed 855 via

Pinball news has been pretty scant lately but we do have something new to look at in the pinball realm, courtesy of Nike. While Nike is an unlikely source for such news, they have a new digital pinball machine setup in Madrid and Barcelona Spain which are being used as a way to promote several new kinds of Nike shoes. The video below gives us a look at the game – if it’s successful I imagine that Nike could have more of these produced and sent to other Nike stores around the world. It’s certainly a unique way to advertise new shows and it is something that could be updated in the future to integrate new shoes.