Pinball Magazine is the most in-depth, classy, glossy, full-color magazine about pinball. The name is widely considered to be a misnomer, as each issue is more like a book. There is that much content. Each issue can be considered a ‘special’ on a specific pinball related person or topic. So far four issues have been published, each with their own special:
- Pinball Magazine No. 1 focused on Roger Sharpe, the man who saved pinball, then designed several games and later on blew new life into licensing themes to be used on pinball machines.
- Pinball Magazine No. 2 focused on the career of pinball designer Dennis Nordman. Greg Freres, the graphic artist on quite a few games designed by Dennis, also chimes in. Both tell great stories about the making of their games.
- Pinball Magazine No. 3 had two main topics that are very related: KISS-themed pinball machines and the heyday of Bally’s pinball division. It contains interviews with the design teams of three KISS-themed pinball machines (Bally, Zidware and Stern). The Bally design team also discusses other games done by each member. Tom Nieman, the man who introduced licensing to pinball, is also featured in an interview in which he discusses how licensing helped Bally to become the number one pinball company in the world.
- Pinball Magazine No. 4 focused on the career of pinball designer Mark Ritchie (Taxi, Fish Tales, Indiana Jones and more). Side articles integrated in the cover story included interviews with Eugene Jarvis and George Petro, who both started in pinball and from there went on to become instrumental in the coin-op video game industry.
The idea is to publish truly in-depth interviews and articles in a ‘glossy’ package. Many pinball industry people have been around in the scene for a long time and have lots of stories to tell. Pinball Magazine wants to publish these stories and dig a little deeper than other articles can, or dare to, go.
Basically, because the editor of Pinball Magazine is interested in what is going on ‘behind the scenes’ of the pinball industry and loves to write about it. Previously he did just that as managing editor of a foreign, non-English magazine on pinball. By publishing Pinball Magazine in English, the readers base expands quite a lot.
So what will be different from other magazines?
While other magazines and websites report on what is going on in the industry, most interviews will be limited to four, six or perhaps eight pages. But some people can talk for 60 pages. In such case and Pinball Magazine wants to print those 60 pages. Add pictures to those 60 pages, as well as some editorial columns, some side articles, and other returning features, and the magazine is likely to count 100 pages or more. Add a couple of advertisements and who knows how many pages it will be.
Pinball Magazine usually published one issue each year, but there is no fixed publishing date. The editor of Pinball Magazine loves to make the magazine but is also involved in other projects. Aside from that, making a magazine also depends on the people who are interviewed. They have lives too and making time for an in-depth interview is something they need to fit in their agenda. Either way, you will get a highly collectible magazine full of first hand ‘behind the scenes’ information.
Why a magazine?
Originally the plan was to write a book filled with in-depth interviews with pinball industry veterans who would talk about the games they designed, the funny ‘behind the scenes’ anecdotes, the stories you often don’t read about, or occasionally come up during seminars or chats. After interviewing the first industry veteran, it became clear that it would probably take over 2 years to interview everybody who should be in the book. By the time the book would be printed, the first interview would be very outdated. So, doing a magazine was considered as an option and soon became the preferred variant.
Like a book is a luxury item, a magazine is more and more considered a luxury item as well, and that’s exactly what Pinball Magazine wants to be. You can read the common news and articles on your computer, tablet, phone and what else there are. Pinball Magazine wants to be the kind of glossy magazine you’re proud of to place on your coffee table. With each issue it is a challenge to find the proper photos and artwork to reach the standard Pinball Magazine wants to reach, but it makes the magazine stand out. Pinball Magazine is, like pinball machines, something worth collecting and something that brings you joy and fun when you read it.