THIS WEEK IN PINBALL: June 24th, 2019

Gary Stern Interview | Black Knight Physical Game Enhancement | Chuck Ernst Interview | Wonka | Rumors: Danesi Game #2 | Pinball for Mortals

— This Week’s Top 5 Stories —

1. Gary Stern Interview on Head 2 Head Pinball Podcast

Our friends at the Head 2 Head Pinball Podcast had a great interview with Gary Stern last week! Here are just a few highlights:

On pinball machines being connect to the internet and to each other:

Stern: “We will be interconnected next year or the end of this year…  Your phone, your TV or whatever, you download code, you have interactive events and so forth.”

H2H: “Will you have connections between machines?”

Stern: “Eventually.  Absolutely.  Absolutely that will happen.”

On plans for another “Supreme-type” pinball machine:

Stern: “We’re working on another large co-branded private label game…”

On Stern’s business plan:

Stern: “We do have budgets.  This is a business.  We have a 72 page business plan every year, very detailed.  Yes, bill of materials is part of it.  You can’t just say I want to do this, I want to do that.  You have to look and say what can I do and what can I afford.”

Comparing pinball machine manufacturers to car manufacturers:

Stern: “They want to design cars and want to make cars.  They want to make money with those cars so they can make more cars for people to enjoy.  They need to make money so they can design the next car.  They don’t want to make one car and that is the end of them.  They have to run it as a business.  That is very important.  It is not a hobby [for manufacturers].  For us it is a business.  For an operator it is not a hobby it is a business.  It is a hobby for the enthusiast, who really get into it, and we love them and we love that they like our games and we’ve got to make [games] fun for them.”

On the Pro model:

Stern: “If you take our Pro model, it is underpriced.  It is underpriced.  We don’t make enough money on it.  But we think it is important for operators and for homeowners…”

On possible Vault Editions:

H2H: “Before we did this interview, I promised you I wouldn’t ask about future titles, I’m about to go back on that.  Do you think we would ever see a Tron or a Lord of the Rings vault?”

Stern: “I hear what you’re saying [laughs].  They were two excellent games and very interesting games.  Tron – what is really interesting about it, [John Borg] designed the pinball machine, George Gomez designed the video game.  It was a great title for us, it was a great game.  Certainly it was underbuilt for today’s market.  But it was built when the market was just recovering from the Lehman Brother’s recession, a few years after that.  Interesting game…  [Lord of the Rings] was George’s game.  Great game…

…I would say this, they’re great titles.  Would we ever build them again?  Who knows.  It is not totally up to us.  But I would say if anyone is into pinball, buy what is available now…don’t save your money waiting for another Lord or Tron.  I’m not saying we’re never going to build either of them again, but I am saying don’t wait.”

On Choosing Lord of the Rings theme over The Matrix:

Stern: “Many years ago we talked about Matrix and Lord of the Rings.  Matrix was a very successful movie…George [Gomez] wanted to do Matrix, and I insisted he do Lord of the Rings.  It was a great game.  And if we had made Matrix and it came out at the same time as the second movie…eh, not so good.”

Gary also talked about the growth of pinball, new pinball markets, Stern as a lifestyle brand, the Stern Insider program, the difficulty level of pinball machines, details on how Stern does licensing and decides on titles, widebodies (no plans for Stern to do one), the thoughts behind Orbitor 1 and Pinball 2000, plans for future Home Edition machines, and much more. Listen to the full episode here!!

2. Stern Announces Updates for Black Knight Premium and LE Machines

Tune in tonight on Dead Flip’s Twitch channel to check out the new code and the physical game enhancement!

Also last week, Steve Ritchie addressed fixes to some issues people have had with the Black Knight games – check out his advice here!

3. Chuck Ernst Interview on Special When Lit Pinball Podcast

Our friends at the Special When Lit Pinball Podcast interviewed Chuck Ernst last week! Chuck is the Computer Graphics Art Director at Stern Pinball. Here is just one of many highlights, where Chuck shared the following about licensing:

“The tough thing with a licensor thing is, twenty years ago, they looked at is like it was advertising.  If you put a Dodge Ram – like “Hey, can we put a Dodge Ram in our video game?”, and they’re like “Cool, somebody likes our Dodge Ram”, and now everybody wants a piece of everything.  They think if it is on a screen it is making millions of dollars.  Licensing has gotten really complicated.  Recording artists aren’t making money selling albums anymore…so licensing music is terrible…it is funny reading – why didn’t they get the “whatever” song?  Because that costs more than the whole game.”

In a very entertaining interview, Chuck also discussed Black Knight Sword of Rage, LCD vs DMD displays, Deadpool, Tron, and more. Listen to the full episode here!!

4. Willy Wonka Update

Wonka is definitely either on the line right now or not on the line. TWIP reached out to Jack Guarnieri for a comment or update, and he reminded me that summer started June 21st, and shared “I said games will ship “Early Summer”. We’re on track!”.

So that is a smidgen of an update but I’m guessing by the next time the weekly news on TWIP is done, we’ll know more.

Editor’s Note: I hope this line is in the pinball machine at some point, it is my favorite line in the movie:

Image result for wonka no please don't gif

5. No TWIP Next Week, deeproot Article Coming

Well this seems a little presumptuous. A top 5 story just stating that there will be no TWIP next week?? Well I didn’t know where else to put it so here it is. I will be unable to do the weekly news next Monday but will be back and better than ever on July 8th!

In place of the weekly news next Monday, I will instead be running an article regarding my recent tour at deeproot Pinball. We’ll also have an Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle Deep Dive coming up soon, so stay tuned!

Rumors: Scott Danesi’s Next Game, Stern’s Summer Game

This week we share what we’re hearing about Scott Danesi’s second game and Stern’s next release.

Get access to this info plus get free shirts and swag from TWIP and get free entries into the monthly drawings and help keep TWIP going by signing up on Patreon at the $20 level.

— What Else is Happening in Pinball —

PINQUEST Officially Launches

Also, I like this quote from the Backbox Pinball Podcast“it is like geocaching meets Pindigo”.

American Pinball New Facility Update

deeproot and deeproot Studios Updates

Last week an article was published on the UK Pinball Club’s website regarding deeproot not shipping internationally at this time. TWIP reached out to deeproot for clarification – they do plan to offer machines globally after they launch.

In other deeproot news, deeproot Studios launched a Twitter account and Facebook account recently where they are sharing some of their artwork, check it out!

Pinball Exposure: Dead Flip going to TwitchCon

IE Pinball

Our friends at IE Pinball recently put up two high quality videos of Jersey Jack Pinball’s Pirates of the Caribbean! In this one, we see three wizard modes and a score of 18 million:

And in this one he reaches the Dead Men Tell No Tales Wizard Mode and scores over 33 million!

New Website Alert: Pinball for Mortals!

Our friend David Lee started a new website recently called Pinball for Mortals! There are mini-guides, resources for new players, and video tutorials geared towards learning the games at a basic level, not high-level tournament strategy.

The description of the website reads:

Most of us pinball players are mortals. We aren’t planning on breaking the top 100 IFPA players (some of you may not know what the IFPA is), we just want to have fun. The pinball gods have to deal with no extra balls, tight tilts, removed post rubbers, fast playfields, and brutal slingshots, but we mere mortals simply have to deal with the machines in a friend’s game room or what we find in the corner of our local bar or arcade.

For mortals, fun comes in many ways: hanging out with friends, relaxing after work, playing while having a few drinks, getting into multiball, earning an extra ball or special, getting to a wizard mode, putting up a GC (grand champion), playing in a tournament, etc. Having long games might not be great for tournament scheduling, but using extra balls to get to a wizard mode or put up a GC feels amazing. 

Check it out here! And throw them a LIKE them on Facebook here to be alerted when new guides are available!

Spooky Pinball Starting a Fang Club

Stay tuned for more info!

Article: Man using his pinball passion to help fund cancer research

Check out this article about Jon Weaver and Suncoast Pinball, the creators of Cosmic Carnival!

And check out the video here!!

— End of Post Bonus —

  • Black Knight Sword of Rage
  • The Munsters
  • Primus (contract game)
  • The Beatles (Ka-Pow)
  • Deadpool
  • Jurassic World
  • Elvira 3 (confirmed)
  • Stranger Things
  • James Bond
  • Godzilla
Jersey Jack Pinball
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Dialed In!
  • Hobbit
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Toy Story

Chicago Gaming Company
  • Monster Bash Remake
  • Attack From Mars Remake
  • Medieval Madness Remake
  • Cactus Canyon Remake
  • Theatre of Magic Remake
  • Big Bang Bar Remake
Spooky Pinball
  • Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle
  • Total Nuclear Annihilation
  • Jetsons (contract game)
  • Dominos (contract game)
  • Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International
  • Scott Danesi Second Game
  • Licensed Title
American Pinball
  • Oktoberfest
  • Houdini
  • Robin Hood
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Valkyries
  • Poker Run
  • Cosmic Cart Racing (P3 Game Kit)
  • Lexy Lightspeed (P3 Game Kit)
  • Cannon Lagoon (P3 Game Kit)
  • ROCs (P3 Mini-Game)
  • Barnyard (P3 Mini-Game)
  • Lexy Lightspeed – Secret Agent Showdown (P3 Mini-Game)
  • Grand Slam Rally (P3 Mini-Game)
  • Hoopin’ It Up (P3 Mini-Game)
  • HeadsUp
  • Wizard
deeproot pinball
  • Magic Girl
  • Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland
  • Fire and Brimstone
  • 2 Dennis Nordman Unlicensed games
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Nothing so far

Other Manufacturers


Team Pinball: The Mafia

Circus Maximus: Kingpin, Python’s Pinball Circus

Homepin: Thunderbirds

Suncoast Pinball: Cosmic Carnival

Great Lakes Pinball: Exposé

Haggis Pinball: Wraith, Celts

Pinball Brothers: Queen?, Barry Oursler’s Original Theme?, Playboy?

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!

Disclaimer: Any articles, interviews, or mentions of pinball manufacturers or pinball products is NOT an endorsement.