Pinball Magazine publishes a monthly newsletter in which is summarized what the various pinball manufacturers have been working on the past month. To not miss out, subscribe to the Pinball Magazine Newsletter in the column on the right. On this page you’ll find the summary of the past month and links to previous summaries. Whenever possible there is a link to a detailed article or website. In some cases it may just be rumours…
- Charlie Emery from Spooky Pinball mentioned on the Pinside forum that production of Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle is likely to begin late May or early June.
- Rob Berk and Mike Pacak, the organizers of Pinball Expo – the mother of all annual pinball shows, running for 32 years – appear to have split up. Rob Berk is looking to organize a new show in September. The show would be located in Schaumburg, Illinois. There are also rumors that Pacak will continue with Pinball Expo in the Wheeling hotel. More news on this is expected soon as Pinball Magazine will meet with Rob Berk next week.
- Chicago Gaming announced on their Facebook page that the long awaited thrird remake game will be delayed and not revealed at the Texas Pinball Festival, held from March 16-18 in Frisco, Texas. Chicago Gaming will still be present at the event, but game #3 just needs more time to be completed.
- Stern Pinball released a game code update for Star Wars (v1.01.0). At the upcoming Texas Pinball Festival Batman and Guardians of the Galaxy games will be running on updated game code, which will be released some time after the event.
- ColorDMD announced game 72: Black Rose.
- American Pinball released a game code update for Houdini (v18.2.25).
- Stern Pinball released a game code update for Batman (v0.88.0).
- ColorDMD announced their 71th title: Indianapolis 500. ColorDMD also announced a ROM update for The Walking Dead and recently updated ROMs for Lost World Jurassic Park, Dirty Harry, Champion Pub, Godzilla and Iron Man.
- Scott Danesi released a game code update for Spooky Pinball‘s Total Nuclear Annihilation (v1.1.0)
- Charlie Emery from Spooky Pinball revealed on the Head2Head Pinball Podcast that he has a programmer working on improving game code for The Pinball Company’s The Jetsons game, which is contractmanufactured by Spooky. Charlie also confirmed that Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle will be limited to 500 units.
- This week in Pinball published an inteview with Ben Heck, who recently announced he parted ways with Spooky pinball. In the interview the reasons for the split are discussed, as well as some details on Spooky’s upcoming Alice Cooper-themed game.
- Jersey Jack Pinball published a rule chart for Dialed In on their social media channels.
- Stern Pinball released a game code update for Guardians of the Galaxy (v0.87.0).
- Ben Heck posted on Twitter that he and Spooky Pinball are parting ways. “More news: I’m parting ways with Spooky Pinball due to my 2nd game being delayed beyond my liking and the usual “creative differences”. The whitewood I designed may get turned into something by them down the road however.” In a response on Pinside Charlie Emery of Spooky Pinball addressed the matter, “We couldn’t finalize the license we hoped to have for him months ago, and that’s the bottom line.” Besides designing America’s Most Haunted, Ben Heck also designed Spooky Pinball’s hardware/operating system. Ben’s upcoming game was expected to be the game after Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle. That game is scheduled to be released at the upcoming Texas Pinball Festival. When it will go into production is unclear as Total Nuclear Annihilation is doing very well for Spooky and orders continue to keep coming in.
- Stern Pinball released a game code update for AC/DC (v.1.70). The update was released on the birthday of AC/DC designer Steve Ritchie.
- The Head2Head Pinball Podcast launched Episode 30, in which Pinball Magazine editor Jonathan Joosten is interviewed.
- Supreme, a skateboard brand, placed a video on their website announcing a Supreme-themed pinball machine. The game seen in the video is a rethemed Stern Spider-Man Home Edition, placed in a Pro cabinet with a plunger to launch the ball. The backbox features a red dotmatrix display. There are no details available yet when the game will be available and how many will be build. It’s not the first time that Stern Pinball rethemes one of their game designs for an outside party. Earlier Whoa Nellie Big Juicy Melons was rethemed into Pabst Can Crusher.
- Jersey Jack Pinball announced a Pirates of the Caribbean live stream for February 14, 2018, 3-4PM (CST). The stream will be on JJPs own Twitch channel and you can watch live gameplay of Pirates of the Caribbean and hear from our designers and engineers about code progress, hardware changes and how to play the game.
- Spooky Pinball‘s Total Nuclear Annihilation sold over 300 units, making it Spooky Pinball’s best selling game to date. The games currently being operated commercially are also outearning almost every other piece of coin-op amusement. Congrats to Spooky and Scott Danesi!
- Pinball Magazine started taking advertisements for the upcoming fifth issue.
- In their monthly Stern of the Union Stern Pinball announced to have hired three software engineers. Congrats to them on their new position. Hopefully this will help to get game code further along sooner, which has been a problem since the introduction of USB-drive updatable game code. The update also reports on upcoming game code updates, new assecories and more.
- The Head 2 Head podcast researched a trademark website and discovered that American Pinball has registrated Oktoberfest as a pinball machine trademark. Chances are this could be the theme for American Pinball’s pinball title. The idea of doing an Oktoberfest pinball game isn’t new, as Python Anghelo has suggested the theme in the past. There’s also the story that the theme was suggested to Gary Stern in the past, who turned it down. His argument: he wanted to make games that people can play all year long. What is also interesting to notice is that American Pinball also filed the Oktoberfest trademark for the use on slot machines.
- Scott Danesi’s ten-track soundtrack of Total Nuclear Anniholation is now available on streaming music services like iTunes, Spotify and others. This is the first time ever a pinball machine soundtrack is released as a full-length album. Pinball Life is also selling cassette tapes of the album.
- Jersey Jack Pinball have placed a prototype of Pirates of the Caribbean at Level 257 in Schaumburg, Illinois. Just like with Dialed In earlier the game will be monitored to find out if any issues arise due to location play, in order to solve them.
- This Week In Pinball published a follow-up interview with Deeproot Pinball owner Robert Mueller. In the interview he reveals hiring prinball designers Barry Oursler, Dennis Nordman and Jon Norris. David Thiel, music producer for many pinball and arcade games, is also hired. The company is currently working on several new game design, including a biblical-themed pinball game.
- Valley Dynamo shared a video of their All-Star Baseball game, which is designed by the team of Dennis Nordman.
- Following the Pinball Universe announcement of yesterday, Stern Pinball confirmed on their Facebook that they will be making a small run of AC/DC Luci Premium Vault Edition mid February.
- The inaugural TWIPY Awards were handed out in a live stream hosted by by Straight Down The Middle. At the end of 2017 pinball enthusiast could vote for various elements of all new pinball titles that came out in 2017. Jersey Jack Pinball’s Dialed In absolutely stole the show by winning awards in six categories, including Best Game of the Year. The other five catagories won by Dialed In were: Best Animations and Display, Best Toys and Gimmicks, Best Theme Integration, Best Code and Rules, and Best Playfield Gameplay and Layout. Spooky Pinball and Stern Pinball both won two awards. Scott Danesi’s Total Nuclear Annihilation, manufactured by Spooky, won awards for Best Light Show and Best Sound and Callouts. Stern’s Star Wars won Best Theme (with Total Nuclear Annihilation only 2% behind it) and Aerosmith won Best Artwork. Winners on other categories were: Favorite new mod: Pinstadium lights, Favorite Pinball YouTube Channel: Straight Down the Middle: a Pinball Show, Favorite Pinball Twitch Streamer: Dead Flip, Favorite Pinball Podcast: Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast. Pinball Magazine congratulates all winners with their awards.
- Pinball Magazine published their report of visiting the EAG Expo in London earlier this week.
- Following the EAG Expo Germany based Pinball Universe listed a 2018 Vault Edition of AC/DC Luci Edition on their website.
- ColorDMD announced their 70th title: Jurassic Park – The Lost World, which should become available January 24th.
- Stern Pinball released updated gamecode for Batman (v0.86.0)
- Scott Danesi, designer of Total Nuclear Annihilation, announced that Pinball Life will carry a special Accessory power supply for the game. This will allow owners to safely plug in mods to the game without touching the 12v or 5v supply on the game, which reduces the risk of breaking something.
- Pinball designer Joe Balcer, currently working for American Pinball, has been announced as a special guest at the upcoming Texas Pinball Festival.
- Heighway Pinball released a gamecode update for Alien (v1.1).
- Homepin visited their toy factory to discuss some small changes for the Thunderbirds Are Go toys to make them even better.
- Chicago Gaming, in person of Doug Skor, came with a service update for Attack from Mars remake: “Previously, I mentioned that we will be providing a firmware update that applies to the Solenoid Driver Board. We had asked both our dealers and the people on Pinside to spread the word to return their flipper coil settings to “default” until such time that you have updated your games. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation. Both internally and externally, we have been testing the firmware to make sure that it is right. The feedback we got back from a few of our testing subjects is very positive and that it will actually improve the quality of the game. The update will provide you much better control of the flipper coils. PIC’s will start to be programed soon. They will be placed in an envelope in a protective shield, a PIC puller, and some brief instructions. I am anticipating to start shipping our dealers early next week. We will start with overseas dealers first. It will be up to our dealer to distribute the update to their customers. PLEASE DO NOT OPEN SERVICE TICKETS FOR THIS UPDATE, FOR THEY WILL NOT BE DISTRIBUTED DIRECTLY BY CGC. This issue came to light on the week between Christmas and New Year’s holidays. We quickly responded in isolating the problem and correcting the code, but the testing process took a little longer. Please stay in touch with your dealer on this update. We appreciate your patience.”
- Pinball Side Mirrors, the company, has been sold to CoinTaker.
- Stern Pinball released updated gamecode for Guardians of the Galaxy (v0.85.0)
- Stern Pinball sent out a press release, announcing they will be exhibiting at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 9th-12th.
- Homepin published on their Facebook page that they almost finished the build of two final sample machines. These are flushing out a few small issues that they needed to tweak before making a full production run. Some small changes to mechanisms to improve the operation and proving the final version of all the boards used. They are also making the final assembly jigs – things like the wiring harness frame – whic apparently are a lot of work doing this and it’s very time consuming to get it right. The two sample machines mentioned will be operated on test sites. One is going to a Canadian ex-pat bar close to Guangzhou and the other will probably go to the Hard Rock Cafe that’s only 3km down the road from the factory.
- Stern Pinball released updated gamecode for Batman (v0.85.0)
- Scott Danesi released the soundtrack of Total Nuclear Annihilation on audio cassette. The cassette can be ordered at Pinball Life. By the end of January the soundtrack will also become available on various digital music platforms. This is actually the very first time the soundtrack of a pinball machine can be bought as an album. Williams did release a promotional flexi disc with the speech of Gorgar in 1979, but that was more to hype the first pinball with speech and the game didn’t have any songs in it. So another first for Scott Danesi!
- American Pinball shipped the first production game of Houdini to Great American Pinball, who placed it in their showroom. A test game is currently being operated at Level 257 in Schaumburg, Illinois.
- Through a post on the Pinside forum Chicago Gaming informed customers who bought Attack from Mars remake about a software bug. A solution for the problem has been found and is currently being tested. Customers that already have their AFMr delivered are requested to restore their game to factory defaults to reduce the chance of damage occurring.
- Stern Pinball released updated gamecode for Guardians of the Galaxy (v0.81.0)
- Dutch Pinball sent out a newsletter in which they announced they will start ordering parts for the Xytech run of The Big Lebowski. The company will also be promoting the game at the upcoming EAGExpo, an annual coin-op amusement tradeshow in London, United Kingdom. The game will also be available at a special TBL party at Freddy’s Pinball Paradise, which is scheduled for February 10th, 2018.
- Doug Skor of Chicago Gaming posted a company update on the Pinside forum in which he reports production of Attack from Mars remake is going strong. On recent games they found a small flaw, which will be addressed shortly. By february they expect to have build nearly 1,500 AFMrs, to be followed by a new run of Medieval Madness remake. Their third game is still scheduled for release at the Texas Pinball Festival 2018 in March.
- Earlier this month Rick from Planetary Pinball Supplies, who handles the Williams licensing part of games manufactured by Chicago Gaming, confirmed there are seven licenses negotiated for remakes. Some of the likely upcoming titles could be Cactus Canyon, Monster Bash, Theatre of Magic and Big Bang Bar. The last title is actually a Capcom title that Williams considered making after Capcom closed their doors in 1996, but eventually Williams didn’t that the game further than building a whitewood.
- Stern Pinball announced two new songs to be included in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Jackson 5 – I want you back and Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrel – Ain’t no mountain high enough. These songs are expected to be included in future code updates.
- Stern Pinball released updated gamecode for Guardians of the Galaxy (v0.80.0)
- ColorDMD announced game #69: Game of Thrones, which should be available December 21st.
- Stern Pinball streamed an hour of pinball designer Steve Ritchie answering questions that had been sent in earlier. Fun video to watch!
- Stern Pinball released a huge code update for Star Wars (v1.0.0)
- American Pinball updated their website significantly by updating the news section and adding a list of USA-based distributors and a show for merchandise.
- Jersey Jack Pinball updated gamecode for Dialed In (v1.52).
- American Pinball‘s Houdini is being tested at Level 257 in Schaumburg, Illinois.
- Pinball Universe, based in Bunde, Germany, has become an official Pinball Magazine reseller. You can order Pinball Magazine products in their webshop, or buy them when picking up a new game. Pinball Universe is also having a 3-day open house on December 27-29.
- Stern Pinball released updated gamecode for Guardians of the Galaxy (v0.73.0) and Batman (v0.84.0)
- Pinball Magazine’s Kickstarter campaign to fund the Pinball Road Trip book by Santiago Ciuffo ended and didn’t reach its goal. As a result none of the pledgers will be charged for teir pledge and the book will not be published for now. Pinball Magazine may look into alternative ways to fund the book in the future. As a token of appreciation Pinball Magazine made several photos available as digital downloads for those who supported the campaign.
- Stern Pinball released a behind the scenes video for Star Wars.
- Stern Pinball designer John Borg and graphic artist Dirty Donny have been added to the line up of special guests at Texas Pinball Festival 2018.
- Stern Pinball announced Guangzhou Stern Electronic Technology Company Ltd. (GSET) as its exclusive importer and distributor for China.
- Stern Pinball also released new gamecode for The Walking Dead (v1.60.0).
- Pinball Magazine’s recap of November newsletter had some exclusive photos of Homepin’s Thunderbirds Are Go.
- American Pinball published a new video of Houdini gameplay with programmer Josh Kugler commenting on the action.
- Multimorphic announced that Rob Anthony of Pinball Classics is now part of the Multimorphic support team. Rob also became the third distributor for Spooky Pinball.
- Stern Pinball released a code update for Batman (v0.83.0).
- Spooky Pinball released the completed code for Rob Zombie Spookshow International.
- Dead_Flip streamed gameplay of Guardians of the Galaxy from the Stern Pinball factory. The game was running on new code that hasn’t been released yet. The games streamed didn’t have any voice calls from the movie, but these will be added later.
- At his seminar at Free Play Florida Gary Stern mentioned the Guardians of the Galaxy game happened because the creators wanted a Guardians-themed pinball machine. He also pointed out that the Pinball Alley sign that was in Stern’s booth at IAAPA will be for sale so operators can draw attendion to an isle of pinball machines on location.
- Stern Pinball added “Hooked on a feeling” to the Guardians of the Galaxy games displayed at the IAAPA trade show. It appears the current two soundtrack songs will be the only songs from the soundtrack to be featured in the game. Stern also announced accessories for Guardians of the Galaxy: inner cabinet art, lasercut siderails and backbox hinges, an interactive topper and a mini Groot shooter knob.
- Pinball Magazine added tiers for a limited hardcover edition to their current Kickstarter campaign to fund a second book by Argentinean photographer Santiago Ciuffo. For more details visit the Kickstarter-page.
- The IAAPA tradeshow in Orlando, Florida started today. Stern Pinball, Jersey Jack Pinball, Chicago Gaming and Valley-Dynamo all have stands at the show. Stern Pinball is debuting Guardians of the Galaxy in a Pro and Premium version and brought Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Aerosmith and Batman as well. The first gameplay videos of Guardians of the Galaxy already showed up online. JJP brought The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, Dialed In and Pirates of the Caribbean. Chicago Gaming has brought both Medieval Madness remake and Attack from Mars remake. Valley-Dynamo may not be a familiar name, but they are manufacturing Gizmo Game Design’s All-Star Baseball and Zombie League All-Stars, the pitch and bat games designed by pinball designer Dennis Nordman and his team.
- Stern Pinball confirmed that Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” and The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” will both be included in their Guardians of the Galaxy pinball, in addition to the theatrical movie score. Today the game only played “Cherry bomb” during certain modes.
- Over the course of the past weekend Dutch Pinball tested the first Xytech built The Big Lebowski prototype at the Dutch Pinball Open. The game held up great and played just as smooth as the Dutch built earlier production games. The build quality seemed to be of the same high level as well. At their seminar at the show Jaap Nauta explained that this was the second Xytech built prototype. The first one was built when Barry Driessen visited the Xytech factory in China. This second prototype was built by three Xytech engineers after Barry had left. The past weekend was an endurance test for the game and the results and notes will be communicated with the Xytech team early December when Barry Driessen will visit the factory again. During that visit Barry and the local engineers will build prototype #3. Once Barry leaves the Xytech crew will then build prototype #4 by themselves, which will be sent to The Netherlands to see how the changes have been addressed. If that all goes well the game will be taken into production. Pinball Magazine talked to Jaap Nauta who wanted to correct some of the info he shared in his seminar as that turned out to be incorrect. In the seminar Jaap showed a photo of three local engineers and mentioned they would be building the production games. As it turns out these engineers will head the production team, which consists of 10 people. The production team is likely to be expanded slowly during production. Jaap Nauta also announced potential buyers in Europe will most likely be able to order the game by the end of the first quarter of 2018. He could not yet indicate whether they would take orders directly or through European distributors. Once The Big Lebowski is in production, which should be Q1 of 2018, Dutch Pinball will look into building new Bride of Pin-Bot 2.0 kits for the European market.
- During his second seminar at the Dutch Pinball Open Expo Barry Oursler was asked to comment on the games he has been designing for Heighway Pinball. Obviously he couldn’t, but he did say so far he designed playfield layouts for three games. The one that’s supposed to be taken into production first, and announced at the Texas Pinball Festival, will be based on a licensed theme and will be a widebody. The second game he designed is also based on a licensed theme. The third design is based on an original, non-licensed theme. Barry also said he’s happy to be back in pinball and that the technology has improved a lot over the years, giving him new ideas to incorporate in his designs. This week Barry will be at the Heighway Pinball factory in Wales, working on prototype(s) of his upcoming game(s).
- Stern Pinball added flyers for Guardians of the Galaxy to their website.
- Guardians of the Galaxy graphic artist Christopher Franchi has been announced as a special guest forthe Texas Pinball Festival 2018.
- Doug Skor of Chicago Gaming posted the following production update:
“• Several ocean going container shipped out over the past few weeks and few more still to load.
• We are right on target and starting next week we will start shipping North American games. For the first many weeks we will be focused on only Limited Edition games. Please communicate with your dealer as to when you will be receiving your games. CGC does not hold the order, the dealer does. We will be evenly distributing the games in relationship to a dealers allocation. Your continued patience is greatly appreciated.
• So here is the REAL breakdown. Of AFMR orders, 73% have chosen Martian Green, 20% Black, and 7% Stainless.
• We hear the cry for the enlarged screen on the MMR…we do listen to the market. Having said this it is not just an easy change of the display/speaker panel. At CGC we might walk a little slower and more methodically, but in the end we do find the right solution. More on this to come.
• I will be at the IAAPA show this next week. This is the largest international tradeshow of its kind. I’ll be working the CGC booth all four day and we are look forward in sharing the love of pinball.”
- Stern Pinball mentioned in reply to a post on their social media that the gold lasercut siderails for Guardians of the Galaxy are optional accessory rails and not part of the default version the Limited Edition games come in.
- Pinball Magazine launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new book by Argentinean photographer Santiago Ciuffo. The new book is called Pinball Road Trip and features photos of pinball machines found in San Fransisco, Alameda, Los Angeles, Banning and Las Vegas as well as some non-pinball scenery photography. On its first day the campaign raised already over 10% of its funding goal. The campaign will run until December 5th.
- According to the Straight Down The Middle podcast Stern Pinball will be adding two songs from the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack in their Guardians of the Galaxy game. The game was originally announced to feature only the score music from the first movie, which resulted in quite disappointing responses. Stern also showed an image of lasercut gold trim siderails for the game on Instagram. On the first released images of the game the gold armor for the Limited Edition games had no lasercut cutouts in them. It is unclear whether the LE games will ship with these new cutout siderails, or whether they are to be bought separately.
- Jersey Jack Pinball announced a code update for Dialed In (v1.50).
- Jon Chad and Alec Longstreth, who published 7 issues of DropTarget magazine started a Kickstarter campaign to fund an omnibus edition of all 7 issues plus additional content. In the mean time the project already got funded and will go to print! Congrats! The campaign is running until December 1st.
- Stern Pinball sent out a press release and photos announcing Guardians of the Galaxy as their next game. The title had been rumored for months and will be available in the usual three different models: Pro, Premium and Limited Edition (600 units). Pictured on the right is the LE playfield. Stern did release a “gameplay” video, which shows close-ups of one or more balls being flipped around on the playfield, but it doesn’t give any idea on what the rules are about, or what kind of footage to expect on the LCD. The video ends with an Outrun-styled Stern logo and grid, which reminds of Spooky Pinball’s Total Nuclear Annihilation. Stern did publish a feature matrix on their website, which indicates the differences between the different version of the game. Based on this feature matrix and photos of the various playfields it appears the game is based on the first movie of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise from 2014 and does not include elements from the second movie. While the movie(s) is praised for its great soundtrack, with music from the ’60s and ’70s which is key part of the main storyline, none of the songs from the soundtrack appear to be featured in the game. The game does feature the original music score from the movie by Ken Hale, but that’s not the music that made the movie stand out (although it wasn’t bad either). The game appears to mostly character-focused and features a static ball-eating Groot bash toy, which can hold and release up to four balls. The jaw of the mouth of the Groot toy does open and close. The game also features a small custom-molded Rocket character sculpture, which is coil-triggered on the LE and Premium version. Most of the other main characters only appear in the game’s colorful artwork by Christopher Franchi. The game is designed by John Borg and the layout of the playfield design reminds of Metallica, also a Borg design. The left and right ramp are in the same positions and the Groot toy is where the Sparky toy is on Metallica. Metallica was a huge success for Stern, so layout-wise Guardians could be in a good spot. As far as theme integration goes we’ll have to wait and see how code will develop and what kind of animations will be shown on the LCD. Guardians of the Galaxy is expected to be presented at the upcoming IAAPA show, which is held from November 14-17 in Orlando, Florida. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Pricing for the game is announced as follows: Pro: $6,199, Premium: $7,899, Limited Edition: $8,999.
- Homepin announced via Facebook that the recent tour of the first two Thunderbirds Are Go prototypes learned that their flippers were overheating. This has now been addressed with an additional flipperboard that will be featured in production models, as well as adjusted wiring. Homepin also report they had issues adjusting the shooter lane switch just right and decided to replace it with an opto switch instead.
- Stern Pinball has posted new Batman code version 0.80.0 for the Premium, Limited Edition and Super Limited Edition models. This code update adds depth to the major villain story lines (Catwoman, Joker, Penguin, and the Riddler).The code also features more Adam West and Burt Ward custom speech.The dedicated programming team working on Batman plans to release another Batman code update around Thanksgiving, and an additional code update around Christmas.
- Homepin started implementing the feedback that came in after showcasing their Thunderbirds Are Go pinball game at various Australian events earlier this month. The first adjustmentmade was adding a post above the left outlane to reduce the gap and extend ball times.
- Stern Pinball are apparently getting ready to take a new game into production, which is likely to be announced next week. During Pinball Expo Pinball Magazine was informed the new title would be on the line the last week of October and announced mid November, but maybe the announcement date has been moved forward. Rumors indicate this game would be Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Riot Pinball, who showed their non-electronic Dead Man’s Hand bingo-type pinball game at Pinball Expo earlier this month, are teaming up with VP Cabs for the production of the game. The first 50 games will be a Special Edition that includes a magnetic revolver toy gun ball retriever and a custom laser engraved serial placard. Brad from VP Cabs posted a video in which he briefly explains how the game can be played.
- Today marks the 70th birthday of the introduction of the flipper in pinball. The flipper was first used on Gottlieb’s Humpty Dumpty, which came out October 22nd, 1947. Happy birthday! Michael Gottlieb, grandchild of Dave Gottlieb, had posted on Facebook last month a story that indicated the original date of introduction of the flipper. Today Michael shared Pinball Magazine’s facebook post about the 70h anniversary of the flipper and added a great twist to it: “70 years ago today, the first pinball machine with flippers, Humpty Dumpty, was introduced. My Grandfather, David Gottlieb, had been building pinball machines for 20 years (except during WW2).He was 47 years old. And his engineering department, including flipper inventor Harry Mabs, were no spring chickens either.Yet there are some that will tell you that you are washed up in the videogame business, or tech, or entertainment after you turn 30 or 40.Don’t listen to them!I had the honor of working with Steve Kordek at Williams when he was in his 80s and he still had some of his best ideas at that time.He never stopped dreaming. There was no expiration date to his imagination and his desire to entertain.So it’s okay to hang up your spurs and stop riding. Just do it on your own terms.”
- Scott Danesi announced a new code update for Total Nuclear Annihilation (v1.0.5).
- Stern Pinball released updated code for Star Wars (v 0.93.0)
- Gizmo Game Design reported on their Facebook page that production of All-Star Baseball and Zombie Baseball League has begun. The games are being manufactured by Valley-Dynamo in Richland Hills, Texas. Ed VanderVeen, organizer of the Texas Pinball Festival, posted on the DFW Pinball & Arcade Club Facebook page that Gizmo Game Design is looking for a product manager to oversee the production of these games.
- Spooky Pinball announced Pinball Classics (Rob Anthony) is becoming a distributor for them.
- In a video played during the Pinball Expo banquet Joe Kaminkow mentioned he hopes to be back at Pinball Expo next year with a new Ka-Pow branded game.
- Jersey Jack Pinball announced a code update for Dialed In is coming soon (v1.45).
- Stern Pinball had two Batman games at Pinball Expo with new beta code (version 0.76.1 and 0.76.2). The new code should become available soon.
- Jersey Jack Pinball revealed their fourth game: Pirates of the Caribbean (click image to enlarge). The game is based on all five Disney movies and has an action-packed playfield featuring several innovative firsts and features, including a rocking mini playfield at the upper right and three concentric spinning discs. There will be three models for the game: Standard Edition ($8,500), Limited Edition ($9,500) and Collector’s Edition ($12,500). The CE model will have Davy Jones themed artwork on playfield and cabinet as well as custom siderails.
- American Pinball showed an updated Houdini at Pinball Expo where the playfield had been further finalized and improved. These improvements include more lighting down at flippers, cut a part of plastic ramp and replaced it with a wire form, turned the mini LCD 90 degrees and some more. Three playable Houdini games are available on the vendor floor of Pinball Expo. In their Expo seminar they mentioned additional features such as a shakermoter may be available at additional costs, but they are sticking with the earlier announced basic price of $6,995. They further announced that production for Houdini is set up initially for 1,000 units, their next game will have an original unlicensed theme, parts will be available to buy direct with American Pinball and through distributors, and USB code updates can be done at the coin door.
- Multimorphic sent out a newsletter in which they announced that they launched their new website.
- ColorDMD announced their 66th title to be Stern Pinball’s Star Trek. Also in development are Godzilla and World Cup Soccer.
- Spooky Pinball posted on Facebook they are looking for an inspection / play testing person. Some electronics knowledge would help but they can train. Full time position!
- At Pinfest Australia Homepin‘s Thunderbirds Are Go pinball machines was revealed to the public. Two games are present at the show and the first photos of the game started to appear. Photo courtesy of Bayside Pinball Club, click image to enlarge. More photos can be found on the facebook-page of the Newcastle Pinball Association.
- Spooky Pinball reported on their Facebook-page that Total Nuclear Annihilation is now playable on location at Alt Brew in Madison, Wisconsin. It will be interesting to see earning reports for this game.
- Stern Pinball has posted Star Wars code version 0.91.0 for the Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition models. This code contains two new dynamic modes: “Lightsaber Duel” and “Navigate the Asteroid Field.” The code update also contains fixes and adjustments.
- The Stern Pinball Arcade is announced to become available on Nintendo Switch on December 1st.
- Nic Parks, owner of The Pinball Company – who recently commisioned Spooky Pinball to manufacture The Jetsons pinball machine for them as well as publisher of Gameroom Magazine, opened up his first Silverball Bar in Columbia, Missouri last month. A local reporter wrote an article about the new bar for Vox Magazine. As the name of the bar indicates there’s plenty of pinball machines to be found, all on free play, as well as other classic Arcade games. If the Silverball bar turns out to be a success, the longterm plan is to open other bars as well.
- Doug Skor of Chicago Gaming published a production update on the company’s Facebook-page in which he announces the company having their own booth at Pinball Expo, which is held from October 12-15 in Westin, Illinois. This week production of the current batch of Medieval Madness remake will be finished and production will start on sub-assemblies for Attack from Mars remake. Doug also mentioned there are no plans to sell the Attack from Mars remake Limited Edition topper separately. They are looking at the possibility offering the mini saucer LED as an upgrade, but this will not be for several months.
- Riot Pinball already revealed its newest pinball concept Dead Man’s Hand. It turns out to be a table top, all mechanical, “bingo” style pinball table. It offers convenience and portability for those wanting a new pinball experience without compromising on where to play or giving up precious game room space. The game challenges a wide range of players as they attempt to make the best poker hand possible. A wide range of alternative games can also be played such as highest single card with one plunge, first person to get the joker, etc. Riot Pinball will be showcasing Dead Man’s Hand in the Cointaker Booth at Pinball Expo and host a tournament on Friday and Saturday.
- Heighway Pinball published a public update which had similar info as was in Pinball Magazine’s September recap, as that was shared with Pinball Magazine upfront. The new update did mention that rock artist Ryan Adams had played Alien during the summer and took to Twitter that he liked the game.
- Scott Danesi, the designer and programmer of Total Nuclear Annihilation, released the first production code update for Total Nuclear Annihilation (V1.03), which can be found on his own website.
- Following the success of Pinball Magazine’s monthly industry recap, Stern Pinball introduced The Stern of the Union. This is basically Stern announcing what they expect to be working on the coming month. This includes what code updates can be expected, new games on The Stern Pinball Arcade, tournaments in which Stern is participating and such. The first edition didn’t mention anything about upcoming games, or what titles certain designers are working on. For the moment it appears an attempt from Stern to polish their poor reputation in regards to communication to their customer base. A good initiative. At the same time it remains to be seen how much of what is announced will actually happen, and what happens if it doesn’t. Especially when it comes to code updates and such. Click the following link for the first Stern of the Union.
- Riot Pinball, ran by Scott Gullicks – who designed and built the Wrath of Olympus pinball machine a few years ago, teased something new coming at Pinball Expo. On Facebook two circular images were shown: Gunslinger Showdown and Deadman’s Hand. A third image showed what appear to be casino chips (or coasters) with the same images on them (click images to enlarge). Could this hint a western/casino-themed game?
Stern Pinball announced that Ghostbusters is now available on The Stern Pinball Arcade.
Rumor has it that Stern will not be revealing their next game (rumored to be Guardians of the Galaxy, designed by John Borg with art by Christopher Franchi) at October’s Pinball Expo. Reason for this decision would be to focus on the current Star Wars game, which is rumored not to be selling as well as hoped. However, this rumor may also be a smokescreen so that if Stern would be revealing their new title after all, it will have a bigger impact.
After being arrested last month (see the August 2017 recap) John Trudeau appeared in court Monday, September 18th. Details of what went on are unknown, but a new court date has been set for October 23rd.
Pinball designer Steve Ritchie mentioned in a discussion on Facebook “I’m sick of licenses right now. I’m having REAL FUN doing what I’m doing on my next! :)” This caused people to assume Steve Ritchie may be working on an original, non-licensed themed game. Apparently, Steve also hinted to be working on an original game during his seminar at California Extreme.
Gary Stern attended the Euro Attractions Show in Berlin, one of the largest European coin-op amusement tradeshows.
Containers of Jersey Jack Pinball‘s Dialed In! arrived at JJP distributors in Germany and Australia. In the meantime, in the factory, the company had been building the Collector’s Edition of Dialed In!, which started shipping September 18th. Jack Guarnieri attended a pinball championship in Poland.
JJP’s fourth title – rumored to be Pirates of the Caribbean – has been announced to be revealed at Pinball Expo in October. Apparently, the game will be revealed Thursday, October 12th during the JJP seminar which starts at 8:30 PM. Buffalo Pinball announced they will be streaming the reveal on their Twitch channel. Afterwards five of these new games, as well as The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit and Dialed In! will be available for the public to play.
……..Chicago Gaming has been building Medieval Madness remake and started shipping these games as well. The game is expected to be in production up to October 6th, after which they will switch the assembly line back to Attack from Mars remake. First thing on the agenda is building the Attack from Mars remakes that are destined overseas, although a container of Attack from Mars remakes also arrived this month at German Freddy’s Pinball Paradise. This production is expected to run for three weeks, after which the focus will be on building domestic games. Chicago Gaming plans to have shipped out all AFMr Limited Edition games before Christmas. Note that some distributors still may have a few LE games available.Following the production of LE games, the focus will be on Special Edition and Classic Edition games until the end of February 2018.
Chicago Gaming plans to start building the first samples of their third game early March 2018, which should be launched at Texas Pinball Festival that same month.
Doug Skor, Chicago Gaming’s Vice President of Business Ddevelopement, attended the Euro Attractions Show in Berlin as well where both remakes the company is making were displayed. At the show he was assisted by Anita Pika and Bernard Loose, representing the German and French disytributors.
Heighway Pinball released two code updates for Alien: v1.0. and v1.2 and there’s still a lot more to come. The previously announced v0.99 of last month was never released.
The company also posted two photos on Facebook of the first batch of 25 Alien games that were being built. Some were still waiting for final quality control at that time. One of the newly build games found its way to Austria where it was part of the Austrian Pinball Open.
Daniel Janson told Pinball Magazine things are improving nicely at the Heighway factory. Last week they shipped a container with 21 games to the United States. The first week of October another 25-30 games will leave the factory for Europe and Australia. Production of the Limited Edition Alien games is expected to start late October. There have been some important improvements made to the games up until the container left for the U.S. These improvements include a new computer, improved Xeno-mech and more. Customers with earlier pre-production games will be compensated with new parts or, depending on the build of the game, have an entire playfield swapped.
At Pinball Expo Heigway will be represented by their U.S. distributor CoinTaker. The new management will not be present at the show as there is still too much to take care of. The Alien game is also expected to be present at the European Pinball Championships in Sweden, the week after Expo. The weekend of November 11-2 the game will be present at Dutch Pinball Open Expo in The Netherlands, Pinball Universe in Germany and the Swedish Pinball Championship. A week later the game will also be shown at Video Giochi in Italy.
Dutch Pinball have received all parts for the engineering samples of The Big Lebowski, to be build by their new contractmanufacturer. According to Dutch Pinball’s planning the first newly build games will build before the end of October, and will be shown publicly for the first time at the Dutch Pinball Open Expo in November. Dutch Pinball will be present at Pinball Expo where they will introduce their new contractmanufacturer during their seminar on Friday, October 13th. Simultaniously with that seminar Dutch Pinball plans to send out a new newsletter to their customers.
Homepin owner Mike Kalinowski attended the Vancouver Flip Out show and did a seminar as well on what he has been doing in pinball up to his upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go pinball machine. A video of this hour-long seminar has been made available on Youtube by The Canadian Arcade. The video shows a brief clip of the interactive topper of the game at the end.
Over the course of September Homepin has been teasing the Thunderbirds game with some photos and videos, but with no real details of the playfield shows as some elements are still awaiting licensor approval. Pinball Magazine received the playfield image below, which is the most revealing photo of the playfield currently available (click to enlarge).
Two complete Tunderbirds games did ship out to be displayed at PinFest Australia the weekend of October 7-8. After that, the games will be shown at the Pinball Warehouse on October 13th and the 14th at the opening of Pincadia in Wooloongabba. Mike will be present at all these events, and there will be a special offer for the game as well.
……..Spooky Pinball started the production and delivery of Total Nuclear Annihilation. The very first production game was delivered to Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies (interviewed about his passion for pinball in Pinball Magazine No. 3) by designer Scott Danesi and Dead_Flip host Jack Danger. Following the delivery, Dead_Flip streamed gameplay footage of the first production game live from Ed Robertson’s house. Both Scott Danesi and Jack Danger are scheduled to be featured in separate interviews in the upcoming fifth issue of Pinball Magazine.
Spooky pinball was also featured in the latest issue of Rue Morgue Magazine! The article contained a little sneak peak on the backbox sideart of Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle, which Pinball Magazine is showing for the first time as larger images below (click image to enlarge). Special thanks to Charlie Emery for giving Pinball Magazine this scoop 🙂
Spooky Pinball will not be present at Pinball Expo. Instead, they will be present at Pinball Life‘s open house on October 12 and 13. The plan is to have three development iterations of Total Nuclear Annihilation present. While Spooky may not be present at Expo, chances are Total Nuclear Annihilation may still make it to the show as part of a vendor booth.
Multimorphic sent out a newsletter in which they reported receiving excellent feedback from current P3 owners on everything from their packing materials to machine mechanics to software behavior and on-screen graphics. In the same newsletter it was noted there were some delays in building the first and second batch of their P3 game, but for good reason. “Increasing the detail and frequency of quality checks and tests on incoming parts and after building sub-assemblies pays huge dividends versus finding problems when machines are fully assembled and in final test. Each time we discover an issue that delays shipping of a machine, we find the root cause and revise processes to hopefully eliminate the same issue from happening again. The result is slower build times now so that we can have faster build times when we increase build volumes. This is one of a few reasons why we’ve intentionally managed our growth and held back on certain marketing efforts. We are strong believers in walking before trying to run.” So the quality of the games is only improving and the company is however still shipping batches of games every few weeks. With the first two production batches already being sold out Multimorphic announced to be attending fewer pinball shows to focus on production of these games. The company expects to have a corporate presence at the Houston Arcade Expo in October and at the Texas Pinball Festival in March.
Gizmo Game Design showed their two Pitch n Bat games All Star Baseball and Zombie League All Stars earlier this year at the Texas Pinball Festival (TPF). While the team of Gizmo is not announced for a seminar, both games will be present at Pinball Expo as well. Since TPF the company has picked a manufacturer for the games and teased that production is starting soon. More news may be expected at Expo.
Josh Kugler, the programmer at American Pinball, shared some updates on the Pinside forum about the development of Houdini. He indicated he was slightly behind on programming than where he wanted to be. He was waiting for a game with a new playfield and new lamp boards that require some code changes as well. Due to those changes, the previously shown prototypes aren’t available to be presented at pinball shows. While parts for the game are arriving on a daily basis, the company will not start building games until all required parts are in. Instead, they have been focusing on setting up the assembly line and its workstations. American Pinball will host a seminar at Pinball Expo on Thursday, October 12, 4:00 PM. One or more Houdini games are expected to be playable during the show. Regarding code Kugler indicated the code is currently about 85% done.
Phenix Pinball from France released French flyer images of Olympic Goblin and will start taking preorders next month. An English flyer is also in the making. The game is intended to be a throwback to the days when playfields were simpler and games easier to understand. While the current artwork may not be everybody’s cup of tea, this remains an interesting development.
Deeproot Pinball is a new(ly discovered) pinball company that contracted pinball designer John Popadiuk as their Lead Game Developer. The company appears to be part of Deeproot Tech and is run by Robert Mueller. The company is based in San Antonio, Texas. The listing of John Popadiuk on Deeproot’s website caused a storm of reactions as Popadiuk used to run Zidware Pinball where he collected pre-order money for three games he yet had to design: Magic Girl (MG), Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland (RAZA) and Alice in Wonderland (AIW). Eventually, Zidware ran out of funds to take the games into production. At that point, there were prototypes of MG and RAZA. In 2016 American Pinball offered to manufacture the owed MG games and in exchange Popadiuk designed the first iteration of American Pinball’s Houdini, which was later abandoned. Those who pre-ordered RAZA and/or AIW are still waiting for a refund or a game. Deeproot Pinball intends to help in getting those games produced, or to make sure Zidware customers are made whole. So while a part of the pinball community appeared to be loosing their minds at the thought of Popadiuk working for a pinball company again, this may actually be good news. Deeproot Pinball is expected to announce more about their plans in the upcoming weeks.
ColorDMD announced their 65th title: Dirty Harry.
The International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) announced a new ranking: the IFPA Power 100. According to the IFPA website “The POWER 100 measures the winning percentage of those top 250 ranked players against only the other top 250 ranked players over the last 3 years of active results. The “Best of the Best” end up making it on the POWER 100 list.”
The Texas Pinball Festival started Pre-registration for their 2018 edition, which will be held March 16-18, 2018. The theme for next year’s show is Kosmic Khaos, which is loosely based on an original game concept that pinball designer Mark Ritchie and TPF organizer Ed VanderVeen came up with while having a few drinks when Ed visited Mark last year. There are no plans to take the concept any further but never say never. On the TPF website, the first special guests for 2018 have already been announced: Actor Lou Ferrigno, known from The Incredible Hulk TV show, and pinball designer Barry Oursler. More special guests will be announced soon.
Over the course of the past month, Pinball Magazine did interviews with Scott Danesi and Jack Danger, which will be published in Pinball Magazine No. 5.
Pinball historian Gordon Hasse submitted his article about the career of Wayne Neyens for Pinball Magazine No. 5. This article will be combined with the interviews Pinball Magazine did with Wayne Neyens in 2014 and earlier this year and should result in a huge cover story with more details on Wayne’s career in pinball than ever published before.
Pinball Magazine editor Jonathan Joosten will be hosting a seminar at Pinball Expo on Friday, October 13th at 1:00 PM in which he will discuss the progress on the upcoming fifth issue as well as a second publication that will be announced at Pinball Expo.
Pinball Magazine also updated their website and adjusted the format of their popular monthly recap newsletter of what is happening in the world of pinball manufacturing. Where previously all info was available in the newsletter itself, making it rather long and picture heavy, the newsletter now contains a summary of headlines and pointers and links to the full recap on the Pinball Magazine website. During the running month news updates will also be added to the Who’s Working On What-page, so you can stay updated during the month as well.
Pinball Magazine expects to ship a new batch of orders the last week of October.
During Pinball Expo check the Pinball Magazine website as well for daily Expo reports.
Pinball shows and evenst October – November 2017:
- 33rd Pinball Expo, October 11-15, Wheeling, IL
- Play Expo / Northern Lights Pinball, October 14-15, Manchester, UK
- Freddy’s Pinball Paradise Open House, October 28, Echzell, Germany
- Autumn Coin-Op Show, October 11-12, London – UK
- European Pinball Championships, October 20-22, Boras Vas – Sweden
- Ausgeflippt! Flipper-Sonderausstellung, October 20-22, Recklinghausen – Germany
- Hungarian Pinball Open, November 3-5, Budapest – Hungary
- Herbstcon 2017, November 4-5, Pinball Universe, Bunde – Germany
- Chicagoland Show, November 10-12, Chicago
- 8th Torneo de Pinball de Biar, November 11-12, Spain
- Dutch Pinball Open Expo, November 11-12, Eindhoven – Netherlands (over 400 games, specials guests and more)
- Swedisch Pinball Championship, November 10-12, Orebro – Sweden
- Freddy’s Pinball Paradise Open House, November 25, Echzell, Germany
- Pinball Magazine’s September 2017 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s August 2017 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s July 2017 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s June 2017 recap part 1
- Pinball Magazine’s June 2017 recap part 2
- Pinball Magazine’s May 2017 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s April 2017 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s March 2017 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s February 2017 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s January 2017 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s December 2016 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s November 2016 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s October 2016 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s September 2016 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s August 2016 recap
- Pinball Magazine’s June and July 2016 recap