Check out the pinball industry news of last month and more below!
View this email in your browser
Dear ,
Welcome to a new edition of the Pinball Magazine Newsletter, summarizing what’s been happening in pinball the past month, as well as looking ahead for the month of October. We've got a lot of news to cover and revealed some of that in the very first Pinball Magazine podcast, so let's check it out!
Who’s Working On What?
In our previous newsletter Stern Pinball’s Batman 66 was already announced to be revealed at Pinball Expo. The past month more details about the game came out as Stern published a press release on the game and George Gomez discussed the game on episode 229 of the Coast2Coast Pinball podcast. Below I’ll be quoting Stern Pinball’s Marketing and Licensing Manager Jody Dankberg where indicated, who answered several questions over the phone to Pinball magazine.
In short:
  • This will be Stern’s first game using a full color LCD replacing the dotmatrix display. The game will feature a second, smaller LCD on the playfield as well.
  • The design team is headed by George Gomez with Lyman Sheats on programming.
  • Former pinball designer Joe Kaminkow is involved with the project with his Ka-Pow Pinball company. There has been speculation on Joe’s involvement with the game. As Joe also works for Aristocrat Gaming, who developed a Batman 66 slot machine, it’s not unthinkable the Stern pinball machine will use video elements of the slot machine to speed up development of the game, but there is no confirmation of such assumptions.
  • The game will be a further developed version of the playfield of Stern’s Batman The Dark Knight from 2008, including the crane from that game, but the left side of the playfield will be redesigned.
  • There will be three models of the game available, with the following Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices:
    • Premium Model: $US 8,599
    • Limited Edition Model (240 units): $US 9,999
    • Super Limited Edition Model (30 units): $US 14,999
  • As there will be no Pro version of the game, this will be Stern’s most expensive game so far. The response to the increased pricing of this game compared to previous models has been rather mixed.
  • The 30 Super Limited Edition games initially were only available for a few people selected by Stern Pinball, but later on people could send in an application form in which they had to motivate why Stern should allow them to be able to buy one of these.
  • Jody Dankberg confirmed to Pinball Magazine that the company is not abandoning the Pro model on future games, as was speculated about online.
  • In order to attend the Adam West meet and greet during Pinball Expo a non refundable pre-order payment must be made of $500 for a Premium and $2,000 for an LE version. Jody Dankberg explained the deposit is only non-refundable for those who go to the Adame West meet & greet. For those not interested in meeting Adam West at Pinball Expo no pre-order deposit is required.
  • Apparently Stern is not planning to release any photos of the playfield prior to the release of the game at Pinball Expo. Whether this indicates buyers should buy the game unseen is unclear, but it does look like that.
  • Stern have been teasing the game further by releasing some elements of the artwork of the game, which appears to be Christopher Franchi’s impressions of licensor provided stock images, featuring several villains from the TV-show.
As reported in previous newsletters Stern is also working on several other games. Where prebviously was assumed that tern could be announcing and showing a new regular game at Pinball Expo as well, Jody Dankberg informs us that Batman 66 will be the last new title for Stern in 2016 and their next title will be debuting at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2017.
In 2015 Stern representitives had mentioned to have five game titles in the works for 2016, but so far only Spider-Man Premium Vault Edition and Ghostbusters came out and Pabst Can Crusher and Batman 66 have been announced. When asked about this Jody Dankberg explained the company is in the very fortunate position where certain games are so successful that they are able to prolong their releases. The company has been completely surprised by the success of Ghostbusters, which exceeded all expectations, and there is a lot of demand for elder titles as well. As a result upcoming games have a longer development time, which should help to make better products.  
One title that Stern did not (yet) announce, but that showed up on eBay and the website of The Gameroom Guys is a Spiderman Home Edition. While the artwork is similar to that of the Spider-Man Premium Vault Edition of earlier this year, the playfield layout of this game is completely different. Stern have tried to cater to the Home user market previously with The Pin, and according to Jody Dankberg this is a further evoluted form of The Pin. It has been produced as a pilot run for a couple of retailers and they are testing it in very select markets. There have not been any official announcements regarding this new Spider-Man Home game.
Last, but not least in terms of the Stern Pinball related news: the company provided artwork and playfield design sketches of recent games for Skillshot: The collaborative art of Pinball, an exhibition held at the Columbia College in Chicago. The exposition runs until November 4th, so those living in the area, or attending Pinball Expo, may seize the opportunity and visit this pinball exhibition.
The other hot topic of last month was the official announcement of a new company called American Pinball. The existence of the company was no secret and over the past few months rumors indicated the company was working with pinball designer John Popadiuk. Popadiuk’s connection is a bit controversial as he and his Zidware company took pre-order deposits for three games, but eventually he was not able to manufacture these games. Needless to say that didn’t make him very popular on popular pinball forums, although it can’t be denied that a lot of negative comments regarding that situation appear to be based on assumptions, speculations and trolling instead of facts. John himself always indicated to still be looking for a solution to solve the issues that arose and it looks like he actually did. American Pinball announced their first game – Houdini Master Mystery, priced at $6,995 – and showed it at the Global Gaming tradeshow in Las Vegas last week.
Pinball designer Jon Norris was able to attend the Global Gaming show and took the following photos:
As John Popadiuk being involved with this game was pretty obvious the company also showed photos of a row of cabinets for Magic Girl, one of the former Zidware projects. The company promised to deliver these games to those who ordered them before the end of 2016.
As speculation was running wild again on American Pinball’s activities, and Pinball Magazine was looking for some answers for this newsletter as well, American Pinball was contacted and they agreed to do an interview over the phone. With hardly any time available to edit that interview into an article and publish that, that interview became the base of Pinball Magazine’s very first audio podcast. Click the link to hear this very first 25-minute episode in which a lots of questions are answered regarding the American Pinball situation. Doing more podcasts is not a priority, as the main focus will be the printed magazine, but this just was a great opportunity to publish this interview quickly.
Pinball Expo
As Pinball Expo was already mentioned: the 32nd edition of this annual event will take place from October 12-16 in The Westin Hotel in Wheeling, Illinois. This year’s edition is likely to see quite a few new games being revealed. Expected are:
  • Stern Pinball’s Batman 66, Pabst Can Crusher
  • American Pinball’s Houdini and Magic Girl
  • Jersey Jack Pinball’s long awaited 3rd game, designed by veteran pinball designer Pat Lawlor
  • Spooky Pinball’s Rob Zombie Spookshow International, Domino’s Spectacular Pinball Adventure and possibly news on future titles
  • Heighway Pinball is expected to (finally) show Alien
  • Dutch Pinball will have The Big Lebowski on display
  • Multimorphic will show the latest version of Lexy Lightspeed + the mini games that debuted at Texas Pinball Festival earlier this year
  • Planetary Pinball / Chicago Gaming are expected to announce their second title
  • And who knows what else will be there?
As editor of Pinball Magazine I will be present at Expo as well and I will be doing a seminar on Friday morning about the upcoming 4th issue of Pinball Magazine, as well as some of the upcoming issues that are already in the works.
As a heads up: while there will be promotional brochures for Pinball Magazine No. 4, the magazine itself will not be available in printed form at the event. Due to all the recent developments and expected reveals at Expo I decided to go to print right after Expo in order to be able to include the latest news in the magazine. The alternative would have been having printed magazines at the show and have the news section be outdated right away. By going to print after Expo the magazine didn’t have to be rushed, which improved he quality of the layout a lot. I will be carrying a printed preview of issue 4 during Pinball Expo, so those who would like to see what the magazine will look like are welcome to take a look. Here’s what you can expect in Pinball Magazine No. 4:
  • Huge in-depth, career covering cover story on Mark Ritchie
    + lots of others talking about working with Mark Ritchie
  • 17-page article on the making of Dutch Pinball’s The Big Lebowski
  • 15-page interview with LCD artist Jean-Paul de Win
  • 12-page article on Texas Pinball Festival
  • 12-page interview with Jay Stafford on the Internet Pinball Database
  • 4-page interview with Jeff Frick on collecting prewar games
  • 7-page article on Dallas Makerspace’ VECTOR Comittee
  • 6-page article on Lone Star Pinball Museum
  • 8-page interview with Binge Trigger artist Lippy
  • 6-page article on Pinball Universe (Germany)
  • and more . . . (over 180 pages in total)
Pinball Magazine No. 4 will be available early November 2016. I expect to have more details on ordering and pricing in next month’s newsletter.
Guinness World Record attempt
The weekend after Pinball Expo UK-based Wayne Johns will take on an attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for continuous pinball playing, currently set at 28 hours. Although there have been several attempts to break this record, and players succeeding in playing for over 36 hours or even more, none of those attempts were officially acknowledged by the Guinness World Record organization. Wayne’s attempt is actually a fundraiser done to raise awareness for prostate cancer. For full details on the record attempt, the reasoning behind it and to donate, please visit:
Pinball events for October and November 2016
Skillshot: The collaborative Art of Pinball, exhibition that runs until November 4
Belgian Pinball Open, October 1-2
Play Expo / Northern Lights Pinball, October 8-9
32nd Pinball Expo, October 12-16
Danish Pinball Open, October 22
K15 Open, November 4-6
Shoot the moon: 7th Pacific Pinball Expo, November 11-13
Grand Ole Gameroom: Nashville Arcade & Pinball Expo, November 11-13
Houston Arcade Expo, November 11-13
Free Play Florida, November 11-13
IAAPA Attractions Expo, November 14-18
Hungarian Pinball Open, November 18-20
That’s all for now. Looking forward to see you at Pinball Expo. Keep on flippin’!
Kind regards,
Jonathan Joosten
Pinball Magazine
Copyright © 2016 Pinball Magazine, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list