Posted tagged ‘Pinball’

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.

Stern Pinball revamps their website

June 9, 2010

It has been a little while since we heard that Stern had some big changes going on behind the scenes but except for a few things here and there, such as a frequently updated Youtube channel, we haven’t seen much else happening up front with the company. Last week however, they put together a major update for their website and in my opinion, it’s a better site. You can check it out by going to www.sternpinball.com. The site has more flash to it, pinball news and an improved pinball machine locator tool. They also changed a slogan at the top from “The only maker of pinball games on the planet” to “The only maker of REAL pinball machines on the planet”. Overall the site is a good step in the direction of rebranding their image but I would like to see them take it further. I saw a press release to “hype up” Ironman pinball by stating that since Ironman 2 did really well in theaters, you should check out the game. That’s fine and all but no one who went to see the movie saw it because of the pinball game and they did not find out about the pinball game by seeing the movie. Now if they were able to advertise new pinball machines before the movie that would be significant and probably a lot more effective than a press release that only really gets out to collectors, fans and trade people. I also think that would be helpful, especially where most Stern games are based upon movies.

Check out the Stern site and comment below on what you think. Good improvement, worse than before or is it pretty much the same to you?

UK Pinball Party, August 13th-15th

May 16, 2010

If you’re in the UK and you love pinball, it can be a bit of a pain to find machines. I can only think of one in my home town! So, Thor be praised, the lovely people of UK Pinball Party have organised a wonderful festival of pinball for August 13th-15th at the Barcelo Daventry Hotel. The event boasts over 100 machines from all eras of pinball, set to freeplay for your enjoyment. Besides the games, the event has a dinner event on the 14th with Dennis Nordman, designer of tables such as White Water, Indianapolis 500 and Pirates of the Caribbean. Rounding out the event will be machines for sale, arcade video games, raffles, jukeboxes and more.

Show entry is £5 for the Friday and £10 for the Saturday and Sunday, with extra fees for events and accommodation. Event pre-registration is open now at the UK Pinball Party website.

[UK Pinball Party] [Discuss on the forums]

See pinball wizards prove their skills at the upcoming World Pinball Championship

May 5, 2010

Via

The pinball festivals and competitions just keep on coming and this month it’s International Flipper Pinball Association’s turn to host a world-class tournament. They do so every year, with last year’s event taking place in London, UK and this year the championship is headed to Cokato, Minnesota USA. I’ll let some of the press release do the talking about the event:

This will be the stage when the IFPA7 World Pinball Championship showcases the best of the best from around the world in what will be a true pinball marathon; a test of wills and endurance over two and a half days of battle against the whims of that little silver ball. Can Josh Henderson of Plainfield, IL at the age of 12 (and the youngest player) meet the challenge. Or will 55- year old, Bob Matthews of Thousand Oaks, CA (the oldest competitor in the field) withstand the pressure. Will the more than 8,400 miles of travel that Sunao Kono and Tatsunori Naruke of Japan have to endure, affect the precision necessary to take the top prize. Will anyone stand in the way of possible history in the making with Bostonian Bowen Kerins attempting the unfathomable as three-peat World Champion?

With a prize package of over $14,000, including a brand new pinball machine from Stern Pinball, IFPA7 promises to be a transformative event in the ongoing remarkable history of pinball. From Japan to Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom; from Sweden and The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland, Italy and Brazil to Canada and, of course, the United States–these elite players will descend upon the state of Minnesota to claim the title of “World Pinball Champion”.

Sounds to me like it can shape up to be a battle of epic proportions – perhaps not as legendary as the battle over the Donkey Kong high score but epic nonetheless. Hit the post break for the full press release. Here is a link to the IFPA website which also includes a participants and games list.

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Weekend videos: Atari’ Hercules Pinball and Taito’s Ice Cold Beer

April 25, 2010

What do you do when there’s not much news to discuss? Find some videos showcasing the stranger or cooler products found in arcade days past. here are two videos from TNT Amusements, who has been restoring some rare games from the early 80’s. First is Hercules pinball, the largest commercially released pinball game ever, followed up by Taito’s Ice Cold Beer, a skill-based game for bars involving balancing a ball.

Weekend videos: Atari' Hercules Pinball and Taito's Ice Cold Beer

April 25, 2010

What do you do when there’s not much news to discuss? Find some videos showcasing the stranger or cooler products found in arcade days past. here are two videos from TNT Amusements, who has been restoring some rare games from the early 80’s. First is Hercules pinball, the largest commercially released pinball game ever, followed up by Taito’s Ice Cold Beer, a skill-based game for bars involving balancing a ball.

Impressions of Ironman pinball

April 20, 2010

Since news is pretty slow today, I think I’ll share my thoughts on Stern’s new Ironman pinball, which I had the chance to play for the first time this afternoon.Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me so no videos on that for now.

I stopped by my local distributor today to pick up a part for one of my games and after watching my friend play some Doctor Who pinball, I was browsing their other pins when I noticed that they had just received Ironman. The cabinet itself looks really good, the artwork stands-out as you would expect to see on a Stern machine and the playfield is colorful too. I never have played Austin Power pinball which this is based on so I can’t comment on any differences between the two but I did enjoy Ironman the couple of times I played through.

The game itself is setup to offer easy play at start-up, i.e. the ball goes up the side towards the back and hits some bumpers before it gets to your flippers. Stern has been sticking to this method for a while now, so no surprises there. They do have a few toys on the playfield which is good – after ’24’ and ‘NBA’ lacking anything substantial, I was getting a little worried. Big Buck Hunter at least had a few things and where they are continuing that with Ironman, my hopes remain a little higher. I still wish that they would go with LED bulbs instead of the incandescent ones for reliability and electricity costs sake but I also wish they’d dump those dot matrix displays in favor of LCDs too and I still have doubts that either will occur anytime soon. But they did bring back a favorite effect of mine – the playfield magnet. With two magnets, one below the Whiplash targets and another below the IronMonger target which rises from below the playfield when you hit the right targets, they combine together to make for some interesting effects. The magnets will occasionally pull on the ball which can send it flying in an unexpected direction and to me it makes the game more exciting. Hit the right targets though and they will grab and hold the ball in place for a short period of time so you can watch something on the screen above. (I continue the review after the break)

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