Pinball Magazine brings you a summary of the latest pinball news from the past month below
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Welcome to Pinball Magazine’s monthly recap of what happened in the world of pinball manufacturing. January usually sees a new Stern game being presented and that’s about it, but this month there’s actually a lot more to report on as well. So without further ado, here we go:
Stern Pinball finally revealed their Aerosmith game, which was known to be coming since mid October 2016. The game was presented at both CES in Las Vegas as well as the EAG Expo in London – United Kingdom. The game is designed by John Borg, with artwork by Dirty Donny. In terms of playfield design the game can easily be described as a further developed KISS with elements from Metallica (Jacky in the box), NBA (launching the ball into the toy box) and Indiana Jones (the toy box mech is the same as used on the Arch to release the locked balls). All these games were designed by John Borg as well. The game features nine Aerosmith songs. Each song is linked with certain playfield elements as we’ve seen before on other rockband-themed games. Aerosmith is the second Stern game to feature the new LCD instead of a dotmatrix display and Stern choose to go with an animated version of the band to perform the songs featured in the game. Regardless of what you may think of that they at least deserve credit for synching the animations spot on to the music. I also have to note that the game performed without any major problems at the EAG show, which can’t be said for other games at the same show. Also see Pinball Magazine’s free report from the EAG show on the Pinball Magazine website.
Keith Elwin, the No. 1 ranked IFPA pinball player in the world, announced he will start working for Stern Pinball March 1st as a game designer. Keith and his brother Randy have been working on an Archer-themed pinball game for a while (of which most blog posts and videos were taken down recently, apparently by request of Stern). The game was displayed at Arcade Expo 2.0 in January 2016 where it turned out to be a very innovative playfield design which was a lot of fun to flip. Also the code for LCD animations was pretty far along and very impressive. While Keith announced his hiring on social media, Stern management haven’t confirmed or denied he will be working for them.
Stern also released code updates for Batman and Ghostbusters. The most recent version for Batman is currently 0.68, Ghostbusters latest version is 1.13. On February 10 Dead Flip will be streaming live gameplay of Aerosmith on
Heighway Pinball was also present at the EAG Expo with three Full Throttle games and (originally) two Alien games. Unfortunately the Alien games had some printed circuit board issues and were even removed from the show floor during the first day of the show so techs could work on them behind the scenes. Around noon of the second day one of the Alien games made it back and could actually be played. The playfield showed an improved left ramp, compared to the one from Pinball Expo 2016, as well as the mini LCD that replaces the Queen Chamber toy. The good news to report is that the software on this game seems to be pretty far developed. The animations on the display are on a completely different, improved, level than Full Throttle.
Andrew Heighway commented on the Pinside forum on the technical issues the Alien game was experiencing at the EAG show, stating they didn’t receive assembled PCBs in time from their Chinese manufacturer and instead had to hand solder the PCBs themselves. New assembled boards are expected within two weeks from next Monday, so it will be at least a few more weeks before Alien games can start shipping. For more details on Heighway Pinball presence at the EAG Expo see Pinball Magazine’s free report from the EAG show on the Pinball Magazine website. Just before this newsletter was sent out Heighway Pinball posted a new factory video online, showing a bunch of cabinets, playfields for Full Throttle and Alien and various parts in stock.
Jersey Jack Pinball closed the sale of the Collector’s Edition of Dialed In on January 1st. In a New Year video message on Facebook Jack Guarnieri told they will be building 150 of these Collector’s Editions. In the mean time the Standard and Limited edition of Dialed In are still available to order. The company also has some Wizard of Oz and Hobbit games in stock.
JJP also launched a series of videos in which Butch Peel is showing certain elements of JJP games. In Episode 1 Butch explains how the playfields get made. So far five episodes have been published, which you can easily find once you’re done watching the first episode.
Multimorphic sent out a newsletter on January 19th that informed us that all 2800+ parts for the first set of P3s are on order and that they are now officially in production. Similar to Dutch Pinball parts of the assembly process is being sourced out to external parties.
Dutch Pinball have kept a low profile lately as they are still working on fixing a hardware issue on their Big Lebowski game, which is already in production. While there appears to be no news on that, two new code updates were tested intensively, followed by a public release of code version 0.48.
Planetary Pinball more or less confirmed Attack from Mars as the next remake game by Chicago Gaming Company (CGC). Doug Skor of CGC was contacted and asked for a response and more info, but while he couldn’t deny the game’s development was leaked, he indicated they are not yet ready to officially announce the game, it’s features and it’s pricing.
Contrary to the remake of Medieval Madness it appears that the production of Attack from Mars will be done inhouse at CGC and not at Stern. Note that CGC, aka Churchill Cabinets, have been making pinball playfields and cabinets for decades for many pinball manufacturers. For them it shouldn’t be too difficult to add a pinball assembly line to their already large factory. Hopefully we’ll soon be able to report more on this upcoming remake.
The Pinball Company and Spooky Pinball announced The Jetsons at the end of January. For Spooky this counts as their second contract game, the first being Domino’s Spectacular Pinball Adventure. In an interview (which will be published soon on the Pinball Magazine website) Nic Parcs of The Pinball Company explained how the Jetsons game was initially developed inhouse as a whitewood and Spooky was approached to handle the manufacturing end. However as Spooky also contributed elements to the game Nic sees it more as a collaborative effort than Spooky just being a contract manufacturer. According to Nic the currently released photos of the game show an early prototype with artwork, which has no 3D toys or any other stuff going on. The plan is to show the game at the upcoming Texas Pinball Festival, where it should have (still to be approved) custom molded toys as well as inner cabinet blade artwork. For more info, photos and pricing on the game, please visit the website of The Pinball Company.
As for other game development at Spooky Pinball: In their monthly podcast of February 1st (in which you can win a free copy of Pinball Magazine No. 4), owner Charlie Emery explained that they count game designs in two different categories. Spooky’s first and second game are America’s Most Haunted (sold out) and Rob Zombie Spookshow International (a few units left). Their first two contract games are Domino’s and Jetsons. Charlie is currently designing Spooky game No. 3, which has a licensed theme and will be revealed later this year. Game No. 4 is being designed by Ben Heck and is still about a year away. Do check out the Spooky Pinball podcast as well to hear a special song dedicated to Pinball Magazine No. 4 at 42:10!
American Pinball reported on their Facebookpage on January 5th that their Houdini game is being redesigned from the ground up, presumably by pinball designer Joe Balcer who is already working as their Operations Manager. A new Houdini logo appeared on their Facebookpage and the subtitle of the game was changed to Master of Mystery. American Pinball also reported to have expanded their team with some well-respected pinball professionals. One of these turns out to be Josh Kugler, who has been appointed as Director of Software Engineering. Josh is no stranger to the pinball community as he designed and built several pinball games in his garage over the past few years. These games have been shown at various shows. Josh is currently working on the rules and code of Houdini. American Pinball is scheduled to appear and do a seminar at the upcoming Texas Pinball Festival.
ColorDMD announced Stern’s Transformers as their 52nd title.
PinSound from France, who’s PCB will make it possible to replace the audio of your pinball machine with remix packages that sound better than the compressed audio the game originally uses (also see the article in Pinball Magazine No. 3), have added their own line of speakers to their webshop.
The Elmhurst Art Museum is hosting the Kings And Queens: Pinball, Imagists and Chicago exhibition from February 25th to May 7th, 2017. On display is work from Chicago Imagist from the ’60 – ‘80s as well as pinball games from the same time period.
Pinball Magazine news
Pinball Magazine shipped out a new batch of orders the last week of January. Any orders that had come in prior to that were included in this batch. The next batch of orders to ship is likely to ship the last week of February.
New and improved Package deals
With new postal rates being applied at the start of the new year, the Pinball Magazine webshop also saw some changes. Previously every combination of package deals, where you would save a few dollars on shipping costs, was listed separately. The new webshop has no package deals listed as such. Instead the new postal module will calculate accurately the exact postal costs for any combination of products, based on the exact weight of the package(s). So currently only the available magazine / book products are shown as single items. Simply add the products you like to order to your cart, enter your address details and the accurate postal costs for that order will be applied instantly.
Following some (huge) delays in the delivery of earlier shipped out batches, which thankfully all appear to have arrived eventually, Pinball Magazine will add an extra postal rate to the website for certain countries. Once activated in the webshop you can choose between the standard Priority shipping or Priority shipping with Track and Trace. The latter option is slightly more expensive in case of single magazine orders, but the rate becomes more favorable in case of heavier packages that contain multiple magazines (up to 5 kilogram). In order to implement this additional postal rate some extra programming to the webshop is in order, as well as some new hardware has to be bought and installed. As this may take some time to do it right the expectation is that somewhere during February the track and trace option will be fully functional.
Feedback to Pinball Magazine No. 4
As more orders of Pinball Magazine No. 4 arrived, also more feedback to the magazine came in. Here’s what Rockytop had to say, “I got my issue 2-3 weeks ago and I love it. I really like the interview with Mark Richie and the various people in Mark’s life. Excellent work. Seeing that I have a TBL on order I was very interested in the Dutch Pinball interview as well and gained a lot of insight on the entire development process of the game. I have every issue so far of the Pinball Magazine and they really are first class in every way. Very well done!”
For more feedback to Pinball Magazine No. 4 visit the special feedback-page on the Pinball Magazine website.
Upcoming Pinball Magazine articles
Over the past few months Pinball Magazine published two free downloadable PDF interviews: one with pinball designer Pat Lawlor on his Dialed In game and one with pinball designer and Stern’s VP of Game design George Gomez. See the Free Stuff section on the Pinball Magazine website. Recently more interviews have been done, which are currently being transcribed. Once edited and approved these will be published as free PDFs as well. One of these interviews will also be partly published in the Texas Pinball Festival program guide. Some of these interviews may see a printed publication as well as part of a new collaboration Pinball Magazine is currently discussing. Hopefully more news on that soon . . .
Upcoming events for February and March 2017
That's all for now. If you haven't ordered your copy of Pinball Magazine No. 4 (or any combination of issues), please do so now :) Keep on Flippin'!

Kind regards,

Jonathan Joosten
Pinball Magazine
Copyright © 2017 Pinball Magazine, All rights reserved.

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