Posted tagged ‘Stern’

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.

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.

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]

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 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?

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

May 5, 2010


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.


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)