— QUICK HITS —
LAST WEEK TO VOTE IN THE TWIPYs!!
The TWIPY Awards Show will take place March 27th at 8:00PM Eastern, get your votes in now!
TWIPY Cheat Sheet
Led Zeppelin Limited Editions are in Production
Stern Pinball shared last week that Led Zeppelin LEs are on the production line – check it out!!
Led Zeppelin Pro Model Cabinet Expression Lights
Speaking of Led Zeppelin, last week we saw the first look at their Cabinet Expression Light mod for the Pro model:
Last Week’s Poll Results
The Super Awesome Pinball Show: Roger Sharpe Interview
Last week the guys at The Super Awesome Pinball Show were joined by Roger Sharpe! Here are just a few highlights:
On companies “sitting on” licenses:
Roger Sharpe: Am I going to actually look to get a license that won’t be available until 2023 or 2024? There is only so much of a window…you just can’t sit on something, although some companies have been known to sit on things just to make sure as an expediency against their competition, so we’re going to acquire this just so we know [the competitors] can’t get it…maybe we’ll do something, maybe we won’t.
On getting extensions for licenses:
Roger Sharpe: In some ways, a lot of my role is “Roger, can you go back and get us an extension? …because that game is not going to be out in spring of 2021, we need extra time” … so you go back to the studios or the sports leagues or agencies or managers or whatever else…everybody from my stand point has been understanding of [extensions].
On the average shelf life for a license you acquire:
Roger Sharpe: It tends to be variable based on the product, not the IP necessarily…the standard tends to be three year deals or five year deals. That is the standard term, three or five.
On getting relatives to do voice work:
Roger Sharpe: I think that Joe [Kaminkow] and Gary [Stern], for Shrek, worked with Eddie [Murphy’s] brother to do the speech calls for donkey, it wasn’t Eddie. But you don’t know that because they sounded totally the same. There is a project I am working on now, I can’t reveal who it is with, but it is a grandson of a particular character, who has carved out a bit of a career doing speech stuff. It was a great find to find that particular individual.
On Harry Potter:
Roger Sharpe: I know that Joe [Kaminkow] is going to get Harry Potter, I think that it is great, I think it is something that is going to knock everybody’s socks off, I think the bigger problem is does it make sense financially…what kind of harnessing will JK [Rowling] put on the use of any of the content, let alone the rights to any of the talent…I think if you can create a series and you know that your market place with embrace two or three distinctive Harry Potter games that are going to cover the entire universe with their own storylines…then maybe. But I think there is a point of diminishing returns…my concern is how do you execute it to give everybody everything they have an expectation for.
On Sigourney Weaver not being in Alien:
Roger Sharpe: There is a particular instance now that I can speak to because I was involved. Nobody ever asked me to get the rights to [Sigourney Weaver]…she was available…she was a central character. I know they could have done it because I got the license. And would it have cost them more? No.
He also answers a lot of gameshow style questions from well known pinball personalities, shares that he’s working with five different pinball manufacturers currently, talk about the current climate in licensing, talks about knowing a ton of people in the industry, the licensing challenges with most people working remotely now, talk about the terms of renewing licenses, how different licensors can be, talk about building relationships with licensors, talks about Joe Kaminkow, talks about the challenges with games now having LCDs, talks about working with the Star Wars licensor for Star Wars Episode 1, talks about how rare it is to get everything you want licensing-wise, talks about the challenges with a possible Harry Potter pinball – should it be one machine, multiple machines?, talks about a Beatles machine that almost happened decades ago, talks about why some big licenses may not work in pinball, talks about the importance of the design team being passionate about the theme they are working on, and much more.
LoserKid Pinball Podcast: Eric Meunier Interview
Last week the guys at the LoserKid Pinball Podcast were joined by Eric Meunier from Jersey Jack Pinball! Here are just a few highlights:
Eric Meunier: We use [GNR] as a presentation to our licensors. We have licensors lined up around the block that now want us to make their games because of what we do. If you can’t give us the assets that can make a comparable game, take a walk.
On time it took to choreograph the music and light show for GNR:
Eric Meunier: [Live and Let Die] was the first song we did when it came to lights and mode and music integration..that was the bar we set, and it was set by Joe Katz to the other programmers…he put his best foot forward and said this is how all of our songs should be. …And it was absolutely a labor of love. I’ve spoke to it a couple times, but I don’t think everyone listening gets how much goes into making a light show for a song. It took Joe probably 80 man hours, two solid weeks of work, to make that three and a half minute song’s lights look the way they do. That is eight hours a day for 10 days, at his computer listening to the song two seconds at a time, three seconds at a time, going over it with a fine tooth comb, making sure the beat drops match the lights, making sure the sound effects work and in are in the right key. And that was the just the first song we did, and then there are over two hours of more music for songs [that have their own lighting effects].
On his next game:
Eric Meunier: My next whitewood is very fun to shoot…in a year when it is time for another game to come out, there is no room for excuses. If I don’t have a game ready, nobody has a job.
On if he and Slash would work together on a future pinball machine:
Eric Meunier: Is [another Eric and Slash design] in the cards? Absolutely…he has expressed interest in doing more with us…he is friends with everyone, knows everyone. He has been showing off his game to other people who have licenses, saying “hey, look what Eric has done for me and GNR, he can do the same for you”. He is a great guy…
Eric also talks about how down to earth Slash was and how passionate Slash was on this project, talks about theme integration, talks about how much Slash helped with the licensing, talks about the challenges of working within a bill of materials, talks about the Collector’s Editions selling out so quickly, talk about the three tier model, talks about how expensive it is to get a pinball machine to market, talks about the promo video and the reveal, talks about how he does whitewoods and that it takes 100s of hours to create and build the first whitewood, talks about going to through many iterations of different features and ramps and parts of the game, talk about the Coma lock in the CE, talks about moving the manufacturing facilities to Chicago and how nice/helpful it is to have manufacturing in Chicago, talks about how to blow up the score on GNR, talks about the COVID struggles and challenges and its impact on location pinball, working with Matt at Back Alley Creations and how talented Matt is, talk about the drumstick ramp and other features of the game, talks about the CE topper, talk about keeping the game family friendly, and much more.
Pinball Brothers: Alien Delay
Last week the Pinball Brothers provided an update on the status Alien production:
We were a bit too optimistic when we had our prototypes up and running. After receiving and putting together all the final parts and electronics we encountered some minor misbehaviors in the game that we absolutely want to fix before we deliver any machine to you.— Pinball Brothers (@PinballBros) January 21, 2021
Sorry for the delay, please bear with us.— Pinball Brothers (@PinballBros) January 21, 2021
To ease the waiting here is a video from our prototype’s new hypersleep chamber three ball lock! pic.twitter.com/4fjknfQGw4
New Code: Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, Houdini
We got new code updates for several games last week – check it out!!
Our friends at Scorbit released a major update for their platform last week – check out all the details here on their website!!
And make sure to like their Facebook page to keep up to date with all the happenings at Scorbit!
Uncle Pinball’s Podcast: Interview with Tim Arnold
Jackbar Needs Your Help
Our friends at Jackbar in New York City have started a GoFundMe to help them keep the location open:
Pinball Supernova: R2D2 Topper Overview and Install
Pinball Supernova released a video last week showing how to install the R2D2 Stern topper – check it out!
American Pinball Hires Zofia Bil Ryan
American Pinball is proud to announce our newest senior mechanical engineer Zofia Bil Ryan. Zofia has been a mechanical design engineer for more than 30 years and has achieved valuable experience in designing plastic parts, sheet metal parts, mechanical components and game mechanisms for the overall gaming industry. She was the first woman to be hired as mechanical engineer at Williams. As a valued employee of Williams Bally Midway (WMS Gaming), Zofia created many mechanisms for various pinball games as well as for a casino game and she was awarded six US Patents for these designs. These patented parts include:
- Two-way Kickout Mechanism for pinball (Popeye)
- Roulette Scoring Device (Popeye)
- Magnetic Ball Carrier for Pinball Games – Mist Multiball (Dracula)
- Multilevel Play Feature for a Pinball Game (Dr Who)
- Multiple Path Ball Ramp for Pinball – Rotating Head (The Machine)
- Machine with Enhanced Re-Shielding Enclosure (for casino game)
Zofia also designed the mechanical parts of many pinball games for WMS. She worked with several game designers in this effort which included: Barry Oursler, Bill Peutzenreuter, Tony Kraemer, Walter Smolucha and Steve Kordek. These games include:
- Pool Sharks (released 1990)
- The Machine-Bride of Pin Bot (released 1991)
- Dr Who (released 1992)
- Dracula (released 1993)
- Popeye (released 1994)
- Dirty Harry (released 1995)
- Who Dunnit (released 1995)
- Ticket Tac Toe (released 1996)
- Junk Yard (released 1996)
We are so proud to have her leading our mechanical engineering team. Zofia loves pinball and has her own pinball collection of all the games that she ever worked on.
Director of Operations and Marketing
Pinball Profile: Nate Shivers Interview
Last week, Jeff Teolis at Pinball Profile interviewed Nate Shivers of the Stern Insider Pinball Podcast! Nate talks about his history with the Coast 2 Coast Pinball Podcast, current and future projects, and much more.
Other Quick Hits:
- Happy birthday Chuck Ernst, Antoinette Johnson, Jordan Burgar, Eric Meunier, and Bill Brandes!!
- Nikki Rich Show with Zach Sharpe!
- Article: Photographer’s Curiosity Sets new Standards in the Pinball Machine Industry
- Article: Jeff Bakalar’s Top 10 IPs That Should Immediately be Pinball Machines
- Gizmodo Article: Building a Working Full-Size Pinball Machine Out of K’Nex Might Be the Best Pandemic Project Yet
Team Pinball: The Mafia
Circus Maximus: Kingpin, Python’s Pinball Circus
Homepin: Thunderbirds, Chinese Zombies
Suncoast Pinball: Cosmic Carnival
Great Lakes Pinball: Exposé
Dutch Pinball: Bride of Pinbot 2.0, Bride of Pinbot 3.0 (on hold), The Big Lebowski (production/legal issues)
Silver Castle Pinball: Timeshock
Phénix Pinball: Goblin Contest
Pinball Adventures: Punny Factory, Sushi-Mania, Ninja Mania, First Class, Canada Eh!