Find out what happened last month in the world of pinball below
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Welcome to a new edition of the monthly Pinball Magazine Newsletter, summarizing what’s been happening in pinball the past month. Let’s see what happened and what didn’t.
To start off with what didn’t happen: Stern Pinball banned Pinball News editor Martin Ayub from its factory tour and 30th anniversary party for questioning the $14,999 price tag on the Super Limited Edition of Batman ’66. The good news is that made it easier for Martin to report on the activities that were going on simultaneously with these events, such as the Q&A session with Jersey Jack Pinball on their newest game Dialed In! See Pinball News’ Expo report that includes seminar recordings as well.
Both in its own factory and at Pinball Expo Stern Pinball was showcasing its three Batman ’66 models, but none of them could be played during Pinball Expo. The games feature a redesigned backbox that (finally) features an LCD. The playfield of the game features the crane from Batman The Dark Knight (2008) and a rotating disc on all models at the top left of the playfield. This disc can be positioned in three different ways, and in one of the positions it acts as a physical ball lock. The playfields of the three different models looked quite similar, although some extra toys had been added to the Super Limited Edition, of which 80 units will now be available, not the 30 announced previously. Each version of the game has its own art package and the SLE and Limited Edition also have a topper mounted on the backbox.
During the factory tour Stern was also working on the Spider-Man Home Edition that was mentioned in our previous newsletter. That game is also designed by George Gomez, making him responsible for the design of the most expensive and the most affordable products currently coming from Stern. This new Home Edition is an evolved version of The Pin, with improved quality. The cabinet looks a lot more like a real pinball machine and the playfield is made of plywood instead of MDF. The size of the playfield glass is also the same as on Stern’s professional models. Being one of the few that got to play the game in the Stern factory, Pinball Magazine’s first impression was that it’s actually not a bad game. The ramps are a bit thin and wobbly, but it has two different multiballs, a color LED display, nice music, and speech. The game will not be offered to traditional Stern distributors. Instead the game will be available in selected retail stores for $3,999. Although the game was manufactured during Expo week, Stern did not bring a sample game to the show for people to play.

Pinball Magazine did interview game designer George Gomez about both the Batman and Spider-Man game. Similar to our interview with Pat Lawlor (see below) the interview with George Gomez will likely be published as a free downloadable PDF file later this month.
During Pinball Expo Aerosmith was confirmed as an upcoming Stern title, as the artwork had appeared in Dirty Donny’s new Pinball Wizards & Blacklight Destroyers book that was sold in limited quantity at the show. The Aerosmith game is designed by John Borg and was originally supposed to be the first game with Stern’s new LCD screen. When Batman came along the Aerosmith game was shelved. Stern’s next game is expected to be presented in January 2017, but when interviewing George Gomez he would not confirm that game would be Aerosmith.

Rumored (and absolutely unconfirmed) upcoming titles for Stern are Star Wars (Steve Ritchie), Pulp Fiction and Iron Maiden. At Stern’s 30th anniversary party  during Pinball Expo a DJ played music from bands featured on Stern Pinball machines in between acts and played some Iron Maiden tracks as well . . .
On April 19 Stern announced that there will be a new Whizbang (Dennis Nordman and Greg Freres) game coming out in 2017. Unconfirmed rumors on the Pinside forum have that this could be a new Elvira-themed game, but it could also be wishful thinking by some. Internally the game is apparently seen as a special project, similar to Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons was, and not a cornerstone title.
Speaking of Dennis Nordman: He has been working on another game, which may also come out in 2017. Dennis has been announced as a special guest for the Texas Pinball Festival in March of 2017 where he will do a revealing seminar called “Another Home Run from Dennis Nordman.”
During and after Pinball Expo Stern also heavily promoted a Kickstarter campaign for a 30th anniversary coffee table book. The goal is to raise at least $50,000 (!), or else the book won’t be made. Extra features have been announced in case the campaign raises $75,000, $100,000 or even $125,000. If the campaign becomes successful the book is expected to be available in May 2017 . . . The book currently costs at least $55 or more + shipping costs.
For those interested in pinball related coffee table books: Pinball Magazine published Santiago Ciuffo’s Pinball book in 2014, which since then has been the world’s best selling pinball book of 2014, 2015 and 2016. This hardcover coffee table photo book is still available in the Pinball Magazine webshop for $35.95 + shipping costs. For more info on this beautiful book please click the following links for more details and reviews and feedback.
Jersey Jack Pinball announced at Pinball Expo a new Black Arrow Edition for The Hobbit in a limited run of 750 units. Following that announcement the company revealed their upcoming third game: Dialed In!, designed by veteran pinball designer Pat Lawlor. Contrary to Stern, JJP had five playing prototypes at the show that held up very well. While the reception of the game online was mixed, most of those who played it at the show loved it. Initially a Limited Edition ($9,000) and Collector’s Edition ($12,500) were announced, but within a week after Pinball Expo a Standard Edition ($8,000) was added to the mix and the numbers for the Limited Edition were adjusted from 6,999 to 2,500. The Collector’s Edition can only be ordered until December 31st of 2016. While Dialed In! has been showed and can be ordered, it will take at east several months before the games will be delivered to customers.
As mentioned earlier Pinball Magazine was able to interview designer Pat Lawlor about Dialed In! and the new JJP cabinet design during Pinball Expo. This interview is available as a free download on the Pinball Magazine website.
Behind the scenes a fourth JJP game is also being worked on, which supposedly is being designed by a new designer and protégée of Pat Lawlor.
Heighway Pinball presented their long awaited Alien game. Two prototype games were present at the show and playable, although there were some issues with these, such as ball hang-ups and some mechanisms not (yet) functioning correctly. The LCD animations do look greatly  improved compared to Full Throttle, Heighway’s first game. Production of the game is supposed to start before the end of the year, but whether that is realistic remains to be seen. In the mean time veteran pinball designer Barry Oursler is working on a third game for the company and a fourth title apparently is also being worked on.
Spooky Pinball is manufacturing the sold out Rob Zombie Spookshow International and Domino’s Spectacular Pinball Adventure. The Domino’s game was present at Expo and the design of the playfield seems to be a  re-themed combination of elements of their first games America’s Most Haunted and Rob Zombie. The Domino’s game can only be ordered until December 31, 2016, by sending an email to
Spooky mentioned in its Expo seminar that it could already announce their next game, but due to the amount of games expected to be revealed at the show the Spooky team decided not to announce that game yet. Charlie Emery of Spooky Pinball did say that Ben Heck will be designing another game for the company and that game will be the one after the next. It is also working on an upgrade for its hardware system and the use of a larger display.
American Pinball did a seminar at the show in which it announced that it has hired pinball designer Joe Balcer as their Operations Manager. Joe will be setting up the manufacturing end of the company. Owner Dhaval Vasani and marketer Scott Goldberg then explained that American Pinball is merely a sub-contractor for Zidware Pinball and as such plans to manufacture Zidware’s Magic Girl for Zidware. In return it made an arrangement with Zidware owner John Popadiuk to use his design services for their own Houdini pinball game. A playfield and backglass artwork of Houdini was shown in a separate room at Expo, but that playfield needed quite a bit of work and was described by Joe Balcer as “a whitewood with artwork.” 
Due to medical reasons Jaap Nauta of Dutch Pinball decided to skip Expo and so did Barry Driessen. Instead it was represented by CoinTaker, its U.S. distributor, who had a Big Lebowski game in its booth. So far the first 50 Lebowski games have been shipped to their owners and production of the game continues. Dutch Pinball is rumored to be working on a second game, but told Pinball Magazine it will not announce anything until it is completely ready. The upcoming fourth issue of Pinball Magazine will feature a 17-page interview with Dutch Pinball owners Barry Driessen and Jaap Nauta.
Chicago Gaming’s Doug Skor was scheduled to do a seminar at Pinball Expo and was expected to announce its second remake title, but that seminar was cancelled a few days prior to the event. At the show Doug mentioned to Pinball Magazine that its second game is likely to be announced prior to the end of the year. Similar to Medieval Madness this is likely to be another remake of a popular Bally/Williams title from the ‘90s. Prior to Pinball Expo Pinball Magazine was able to visit the Chicago Gaming / Churchill Cabinet offices and factory. The plan is to report on that visit, but so far too many things were preventing that article from being written.
Multimorphic is still getting ready for the production of Lexy Lightspeed: Escape from Earth and the additional games it has developed in the mean time. At Expo it showed new cabinets for commercial operation.
Quetzal Pinball informed Pinball Magazine, when asked about the status of their Captain Nemo game, that the games are being build, but it has halted delivering them as it has decided to change the rules of the game drastically. Following Pinball Expo owner Antonio Orturo spent another two weeks in the United States to oversee production of the games that will remain in the U.S.
Owner Mike Kalinowski of Homepin in China informs us that the company is still developing its Thunderbirds themed pinball machine. The company showed its progress at an Australian pinball show, but that mostly consisted of pinball parts and assemblies it is producing.
Phenix Pinball from France is still working on its Olympic Goblin game for which cabinet artwork has been developed.
ColorDMD announced that all new ColorDMD LCD displays will ship with a new Chroma controller board. Also all 47 titles are currently supported on the new dot matrix LED display. The company also released updates for Tommy, Roller Coaster Tycoon and Road Show and announced their 48th title as well: Congo.
In our previous newsletter we also mentioned that UK-based Wayne Johns would attempt to break the world record for playing pinball in an effort to raise awareness for prostate cancer. In the mean time the attempt took place and Wayne beat the previous record of 28 hours and set a new record of 30 hours of nonstop pinball playing. Congratulations to Wayne!
Pinball Magazine News
Since about six new games were expected to be revealed at Pinball Expo I decided not to go to print  prior to Expo, in order to be able to include the latest news. The magazine is now scheduled to go to print in the second week of November and the first batch of orders are likely to ship out in the last week of November.
Each year Pinball Magazine reports from Pinball Expo on the Pinball Magazine website. This year the plan was to do that again, but during the event there was hardly any time to write any reports. The week after I had another convention in Amsterdam and following that I needed another week to catch up on two weeks of being out of the office and finishing Pinball Magazine No. 4 as well. I still intend to write the Pinball Expo report, but the current priority is getting issue 4 to the printer.
As briefly mentioned above: during Pinball Expo I was able to interview Pat Lawlor on his Dialed In! game,  as well as George Gomez on his Batman and Spider-Man games. The Pat Lawlor interview has been published as a free downloadable PDF in the Pinball Magazine layout. The plan is to do the same with the George Gomez interview as soon as my busy schedule will allow. Keep an eye out for that on Facebook and the Pinside forum.
That’s all for now. Keep on flipping!
Kind regards,
Jonathan Joosten
Pinball Magazine
Copyright © 2016 Pinball Magazine, All rights reserved.

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