TWIP – Deadpool Confirmed, Spooky Talks Godzilla and Stern, Pinball Hall of Fame Moving, More

— This Week’s Top 5 Stories —

1. Stern Confirms Deadpool Pinball

Last week Stern teased their upcoming pinball machine, Deadpool!  Check out the teaser video below:

So what do we know about Deadpool?  It has had one of the more unusual journey’s of any pinball machine released by Stern.  From what we can piece together from past information, Deadpool was being worked on by a designer that is no longer at Stern.  Zombie Yeti was/is on the artwork.  The original design was then completely scrapped, and George Gomez took over design.  (Source: Head2Head Pinball Podcast’s interview with Zombie Yeti.)

There was also a Deadpool image that had been floating around, and was fully leaked by Pinball Paparazzi on Facebook.  You can also click here to see a picture of the leaked image.  It is based on the Deadpool comic books.

What we don’t know is if the leaked image is the old design by the former Stern designer or the new design by George Gomez.  In looking at the metadata of the image, we know the leaked image was taken on November 15th, 2017.  The former designer was terminated on August 25th, 2017.  Is 82 days enough time to cut ties with the old designer, decide to scrap his design, assign a new designer, completely redesign the machine, and build a whitewood?  That seems like a fast turn around time.  But that playfield sure looks very Gomez-ish…

Jack Danger of Dead Flip confirmed he would be streaming the machine on August 15th, so make sure to tune in here to watch it live!  It will be the PRO version, and hopefully most of the Deadpool team will be joining the stream.

Looking forward to seeing this machine in action!!

2. Spooky Pinball Talks Godzilla License, Stern

In the last few weeks, we’ve covered on TWIP that Spooky did not get the Godzilla license, and then that Stern ended up getting the Godzilla license. Spooky Pinball released their 101st episode of the Spooky Pinball Podcast last week, and they share more about what happened with the TOHO Godzilla license they were pursuing and how Stern ended up with it:

Charlie: Hey, did you notice that according to This Week in Pinball, Spooky Pinball does not have the license for Godzilla?

Bug: I had noticed [laughs]. I thought something felt empty.

Charlie: That’s right, should we talk about it?

Bug: I think it would be the appropriate thing to do…because it is important and it should be out there.

Charlie: Here is the story in a nutshell…so we went to the Golden State Pinball Festival and headed south…Kayte and I drive…to Las Vegas to go to the Licensing Expo, which was a first for Spooky Pinball. We’re trying to get our feet wet and learn stuff and things, and we had a few meetings set. One of them was with TOHO, which if you’ve listened to this podcast for more than five seconds, it is not exactly secret that Bug and I are Godzilla fans.

The basic things on Pinside were “they should keep their mouth shut” – well the cat was already out of the bag. And the other one was “that’s just business” – which, you know when you say “that’s just business”, Bug?

Bug: It’s when you do something you probably shouldn’t have done.

Charlie: When you do something bad, but there is money involved so that makes it ok. That is called “that’s just business”. I’m not big fan of that. I think it is a mask for bad behavior. And I’m not saying that Stern taking Godzilla is bad behavior. I question the behavior.

Bug: TOHO is not a gigantic franchise…

Charlie: TOHO is not Marvel or Disney or Star Wars.

Bug: Stern is known for getting Metallica or Guardians of the Galaxy or Star Wars…Star Trek, those are huge licenses.

Charlie: Major licenses that are going to sell thousands upon thousands of games.

Bug: Godzilla doesn’t suit that.

Charlie: Not even the American versions of the film. That was another thing on Pinside, “well they already had a relationship with TOHO because they already did a Godzilla pin” – no they didn’t. That was Tri-Star. That was ’98…

…the 2014 Godzilla movie – did ok in the states, did very well worldwide. So Warner Brothers/Legendary is spinning this now into this giant monster universe with King Kong, and the new Godzilla vs. 11 from Stranger Things, and that comes out in 2019. And after that is King Kong vs. Godzilla.

Now I can understand Stern saying, “Hey…this is a big major motion picture, we should go after that and get that license. That would make sense…but they didn’t do that, they went after tiny little TOHO, which that last movie they put out was a big hit in Japan, but in the United States it was basically released in art houses and indie theaters.

Bug: You wouldn’t see it at an AMC theater or anything like that, it was an extremely small release.

Charlie: Exactly. When was the last time a TOHO film got a United States release? Nationwide release?

Bug: It was when TOHO was one-upping the Tri-Star company…they put Godzilla 2000 into the US to say “Hey, this is actually Godzilla film”.

Charlie: And how much money did that make in the United States.

Bug: Pennies.

Charlie: [laughs] It made basically zero.

So here is my complaint. Stern, we’re looking at you, we still love you and respect you – most of you. As my son shakes his head…we can understand you going after the big titles. That’s your business. That’s your business model. You are the big fish. We are this tiny little bottom feeder fish if you want to call us that. We thought TOHO was a perfect fit for Spooky. We know the license better than you…that’s not me being arrogant and a jerk, that is just the truth. And if anyone wants to get Bug and I into a trivia contest…we’ll play some “G-pardy” just like at G-Fest [laughs]…G-Fest, where we spent a lot of time with a lot of Godzilla pinball games that we make and bring.

Bug: No Stern guys were at G-Fest.

Charlie: Well, Greg Freres was there once, but he was there to hang out with us! He was like “what are you nerds doing”? [laughs] Because Greg likes us and we like Greg.

My point is this. It was a bit of a slap – we felt – at Spooky. I was actually so upset, I sent George – Mr. Gomez – a couple of texts. And I was like “you know what, this is – come on man, this is not right”. And he immediately called me, to his credit. And what words did he use? “That’s just business.” And he wasn’t being a jerk, he sincerely meant it. “We like Godzilla too”. Well you do like Godzilla and that is great, and I hope you guys do justice to it. I will not talk about the time that I passed a major major license onto Stern because I’m a nice guy, and with Spooky, “that’s just business”. I did the right thing.

Bug: We could’ve had a nice license that I really would’ve liked.

Charlie: I won’t talk about the one guy at Stern that I do not get along with. Who did a very – what’s the word I’m looking for – douchy thing at the Licensing Expo by breaking into a meeting I was in the middle of, to introduce himself to the licensor that we were in a meeting with. And say [whispers] “hey, I’ll call you next week”. That is not cool. Maybe that is how that one particular guy out of a lot of people over there that we’re friends with, “just does business”. But it is not how Spooky Pinball does business.

Am I upset about it? I’m over it. Am I sad? Sure, a little bit. I think we could’ve done a fantastic job with the Godzilla license because we really do care a lot.

Bug: But if you hold up a Godzilla license next to a big other license that would be more successful and would sell better, we will pick the bigger license that we feel would be more successful. And I’m not saying…that’s kind of what happened.

Charlie: What Bug is trying to politely…say, we had more than one meeting out there. And if you forced us to pick one of the two…we would do the one that is better for Spooky. Not just what we love, not where our heart lies, not where our entire living room is now covered in a giant display case full of Godzilla. We would make the rational smart decision and would go with the license that is better for the company. The good part is – we’re not going talk about that any more but it exists. Teaser.

Bug: There is something coming.

Charlie: So to all our friends at Stern. George – you’re a good dude. And I did offer – I shouldn’t say this but what the hell, I’m feeling feisty today. I offered to consult on the game [Stern’s TOHO Godzilla] with Bug, for free. I offered – as I put it to George – let’s change the culture a little bit. Here is no point in pinball companies attacking each other in this day and age. The market is too small. The customers are all the same. You’ll have your Stern fans and your Spooky fans and your JJP fans and your American fans, and all the other pinball companies that are out there. And I should mention briefly too that Robert from deeproot was on Kaneda’s Podcast…I’m not going to repeat anything that he didn’t say. I honestly didn’t know who got it [TOHO Godzilla license]. All I knew was that TOHO told me “Hey Charlie, sorry, there is another company and apparently they wanted it more.” Which is BS in my opinion. We made them a hellacious offer. We got outbid. I didn’t know by who for sure. Robert reached out and said “Hey, is there anything I can do to help you get this license?” And he has his reasons for doing that. I said, well what have I got to lose at this point. Lets try it, lets find out. So 10 minutes later, the man to his credit, and I don’t know who is in his licensing team that he was talking about on Kaneda’s podcast – they’re fantastic. He was like – yep, here is where it is. And he broke the story. That is not my nature, I don’t do that. Its out there. Am I sad that it’s out there? Nope. Not at this point.

So Stern has TOHO Godzilla. What they’re going to do with a license that small, and how many games they can actually sell in the United States…sorry, there is not a big Japanese pinball market, it doesn’t exist…it is not a huge thing in Japan. So this is going to be aimed at American audiences. I don’t know that American audiences are going to buy more than 500 games. That is how many of the 1998 Sega games – now Stern – sold. About 500. We have one. We set it up and donate everything to charity at G-Fest every year with that, our original custom game that Bug and I made when he was 9 years old, and the Godzilla Wars Jr.

It is what it is. Greg Freres, we love you. Zombie Yeti, we love you. John Borg, we love you. I hope you actually do the game John Borg, I think you would do it credit. George Gomez, you’re a great dude. You wouldn’t do a bad job on that game either, and I know you actually do kind of care and want to do that game.

So for whatever reason that they decided to take a little swipe/slap…I really hope it was for the right reasons. We’ll find out when the game comes out. I hope it is really really good, but time will tell.

After hearing the podcast, This Week in Pinball spoke to Jody Dankberg at Stern Pinball.  He is the Senior Director of Licensing & New Business Development, but declined comment, as it is Stern’s policy to not comment on possible future titles.

3. Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle Stream

Dead Flip made the trip up to Benton, Wisconsin to stream Spooky Pinball’s newest machine, Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle!!  As sometimes happens with LIVE events, there were a few minor hiccups (some internet issues and a screw coming loose on one of the flippers).  But after getting a few kinks worked out, we got a great demonstration of game play from Jack Danger and Bowen Kerins and the gang at Spooky.  Unfortunately the stream has been deleted and there is no on-demand video.  So all we have to share are a few short clips that were shared by Dead Flip on Facebook.

The first shows the very cool magnet ball save:

The second shows a called shot…sort of:

The last one is…basically a dance party:

Jack Danger and Spooky Pinball shared that there is another stream planned, and it should take place in a week or two, so stay tuned to see more!

[Note – at the time of this writing, IE Pinball is streaming ACNC on Twitch.  We’re not sure if he is going to save that video, but if he does you can check out the stream on his Twitch channel here! || EDIT – Videos are up, check them out here!]

4. Pinball Hall of Fame to Open on Las Vegas Strip

The Pinball Hall of Fame is one of the most famous pinball locations in the world.  It houses hundreds of pinball games from different eras and several rare games.  It is run by Tim Arnold, and is currently located about 3 miles from the Las Vegas strip.

Last week, Tim announced that the Pinball Hall of Fame would be moving to a location directly on the strip!  Here is the announcement:

“I am saddened today to announce that our current location on Tropicana will be closing as soon as we can wind up our affairs……
For a long time our current location has been to small to even serve our current customers, let alone any increase with new customers. We had explored building a new building on the vacant lot we own next door. This would solve our space problem, but still leave the problems we have with the location.
As we have grown since the start of the project next to the theater down the street, we have noticed more and more of our business has been from tourists. Where we are now is an expensive cab ride from the strip or downtown, often costing our guests more in cab fare than they spend on games while here. Uber and Lyft have helped a little, but it is still 3.2 miles from the strip.
Our experement putting games inside the Riveria was a way to explore what it would be like to be on the strip. We were generally happy with the way it went, but the Hotel would NOT give us any kind of a time comittment, limiting us to a year-to-year contract. When the Riv was sold and imploded, we lost all our customer goodwill we had worked so hard to build. The lesson learned was DON’T LEASE!
For the last couple years we had been looking at other locations. We had to own, not lease. It had to be big and square and it had to be near the strip. We came close to buying a K-mart on SUnset, making several offers, but it was bought by a church with a larger ability to pay.
We had an aggrement with the owner of a closed Albertsons supermarket just down Sunset from the K-mart, but they pulled out because we only wanted the large grocery space and not the whole shopping center.
Then we came across the Sombrero. In 1952, when this small roadsie motel was built, this was WAY out of town on the 2 lane blacktop to Los Angeles. It operated as a motel until 2000, When it was closed and demolished. It was bought and sold as a vacant lot several times, including at the top of the Real Estate Frenzy for 18 million dollars. That buyer defaulted on the note, it was foreclosed and sold again, this time for 16 million dollars. That buyer also defaulted. The bad note was sold as part of a package of notes to a financial firm in New Jersey. They listed it for sale at 6.5 million. We started negotiating with them in good faith and we were near on a price, when they suddenly stopped talking to us and put the property in and auction.
Here’s where it gets wierd.They put a reserve on the price that was LESS than what we had already offered them. The reserve was hidden until bidding reached that amount,then all offers were legally binding and final.
On the day of the auction, we watched as the price climbed up and up. The auction took place over the interweb with an auction guy on the phone live as a back up. At 10 minuets before end, we upped the bid to 4,350,000. The screen turned green and the reserve had been met, we were top bidder. So I figured the price would continue to climb. BUT NO OTHER BIDS CAME IN! The seller didn’t even bid it up himself or with a shill to a higher number. The clock counted down to zero and we owned it. Out the door with comission and taxes,4,589,000.
So what did we buy?
It can be seen by googling “4915 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas”. There are Loopnet listings there that will show where the lot is located with an aerial photo (Serves much better than a description). It is next to the world’s largest Harley Davidson dealership, and also spitting distance from the famous Las Vegas Sign. Across the street is the Mandalay Bay. The new Raiders stadium is right across the freeway.
It is within walking distance of the largest hotel corner IN THE WORLD. It is on a fast cheep and easy bus line that runs all the way up and down the strip and from Downtown without transfers. The location is STUNNINGLY GREAT!
Now the downsides of this lot. As you can see by the photo, it a long and thin shape. We only have 120 feet of frontage on the strip. We will need a huge sign to be noticed by traffic passing North. We will not get any visability from Southbound traffic as the mediam is landscaped. The thin shape limits what and where we can build on the lot. The fire department needs to be able to turn a truck around in the parking lot. There is a billboard sign, seen in the photo as a shodow near the front, with an unbreakable lease that will have to be fit in. The Dewey Drive Extension to the rear of the property serves the aircraft hangers inside the secrue fence. We have a parking lot between these hangers are our rear. We are unsure at this point what our rights to the Extension or the parking lot are.
We have approved drawings that solve most or all these issues with a 27,000 sq ft building all the way to the rear of the lot with a 96 space parking lot to the front. Draw a line about half way, and you will see where the building sits.
Our current space on Trop is 8600 sq ft. Our old space next to the theater was 4400 sq ft. The Hit Shed is 9600 sq ft. The K-mart was 86,000 sq ft. The Albertsons was 48,000 sq ft. This space gives us the ability to more than double the amount of games with wider isleways and more restroom area.
Now comes the tricky part. When we bought the property, we had 3.6 million cash in the bank. Because we can not sell our old building and lot on Trop until we finish construction on the Sombrero lot, we took out a bridge loan of 1 million dollars. That interest is running NOW. It will take a year to a year and a half to get thru land use, the FAA-airport issues, Building dept sign off on plans. Then we have to write a check for between 3 and 4 million for a building. (27000X125 per ft) Then the debt becomes crushing. It will swollow half or more of our cash flow, leaving us open to problems if there is a hickup in cash flow or an unexpected cost. The positive thing is that our exsisting lot and building on Trop were appraised recently for 2.7 million, this will be sold as soon as we open on the strip and these funds used to retire the bridge loan and reduce the construction loan. By common metrics we are on the high side of comfortable for debt-to-equity and debt-to-cashflow. It will also mean that we will stop almost all our charitable giving for the near future. This hurts me personally a LOT as that is why we started this project.
This is where the pinball community comes in. Up to this point we have NEVER asked for any monitary contributions from anybody. We have 100 percent self funded by selling stuff and things. Fun night raffles, pinball machines from my and others collections, and mostly coins in games. NOW WE NEED HELP! Lots of help. Lots of YOUR help! We will only ask for contributions once. Once we get over this hump, it’s back to chiritable giving and building a small reserve.
We have decided to sell memberships in the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club. Basic membership will be 50 dollars, which will get you a shirt and a small listing on the Pinball Hall of Fame WALL OF FAME. 100 dollars will get you a shirt, a 5 disc set of PinGame Journal Promos and Clips (Thanks Jimmy!) and a larger listing on the wall. 500 and up will make you a Gold, Platinum, or Super Krell Metal membership. All donations are tax deductibale above the amount of the gifts given and will only go to help us reduce debt.
Membership will come with benefits. Members will get an invite to Grand Opening Party and other special events not open to the public. Members will be allowed to bring in non-alcoholic beverages and take photos. The public will not. We will have a special area for members that will contain fragile and special parts of the collection, MEMBERS ONLY, no screaming kids. Members will get a regular update and pinball history items by e-mail. Technical information, advice and help with parts via e-mail are included with membership. Members get our lowest price on games for sale. There will be other things added to member benefits as we go along. Keep in mind it has been 11 days since we dropped the hammer on this whamma jamma. I will be at the new PinBerk Expo in Chicago giving a seminar on the project and begging for money in a booth on the floor (Thanks Robbie!)
Please consider helping us out. We are ready to sign people up NOW for membership and ship shirts and DVD sets. We are avoiding the usual Kickstarter model as we have always been a do it our selfs kind of thing. You can Pay Pal with USMAil shipping info to or send checks to Pinball Hall of Fame 2620 S. Maryland # 241 Las Vegas NV 89109. I will be posting as we go along with totals raised and progress made. We will also be selling memberships live in the museum via a special vending machine.”

TL;DR: The new location will be 4915 S. Las Vegas Blvd.  It is on the south end of the strip, just south of Mandalay Bay and just north of the Fabulous Las Vegas sign.  It will be next to the World’s Largest Harley Davidson dealership.  They will have a lot more space and a lot more exposure at the new location.

Photo courtesy Google Maps
Photo courtesy Bing Maps

They took out a bridge loan of $1 million (read above for full details), and are trying to get that paid down as quickly as possible to avoid paying a lot of interest.  Tim is asking for help from the pinball community and is selling memberships to the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club.  See above (near the end) for details.  Note that the Pinball Hall of Fame is a non-profit venture and excess revenue is donated to charity.

This move will be great exposure for pinball, as Vegas brought in over 42 million visitors in 2017!!

5. Homepin Thunderbirds Thank Yous and Updates

Homepin released a type of “welcome letter” to Thunderbirds, the machine they are currently producing.  You can view the letter in this Facebook post.  Interestingly, at the end of the letter he thanks several people, including Ben Heck and John Popadiuk.  Homepin and Ben Heck have butted heads in the past, and John Popadiuk’s name was a surprise to see.  This Week in Pinball reached out to Mike at Homepin to ask specifically about JPop, and why he was thanked.  Mike shared that the main reason for the introduction/welcome letter was to dedicate the machine to Karen Kalinowski’s memory, Mike’s wife who passed away.

Regarding the other people he thanked, Mike shared the following with TWIP (shared here with permission from Mike):

“Hello Jeff. I thanked the people who had, in any way no matter how small, large or even seemingly insignificant, helped me with starting a factory in another country and then building every single part for pinball machines. I didn’t specifically thank any person or company for any particular idea or assistance.

As an example, I thanked Ben Heck and the reason is not what some think. After my programmer died and we lost all his work we were stuck for direction. I studied all available systems and ideas going right back to early SS days for inspiration. When I asked Ben directly to come on board he declined because of his connection to Spooky so we designed our own MPU using “SOME” of the IDEAS from his work – (which was open source and free for anyone to use) – BUT BUT BUT – we didn’t use it “nut for bolt” we simply took ideas from his design, improved on some things such as opto isolating the driver MOSFETS and hundreds of other differences.

Our MPU and boardset in general bears almost no resemblance to Bens work BUT we took inspiration from hm and that set us in a certain direction. Please don’t read more into things than there is. Also, that introduction is more of a tribute to Karen than anything or anyone else. Please note your question about JPOP is answered in the second sentence of my intro – please have a closer read of it.”

Mike also shared the following picture which shows two finished Thunderbirds machines ready to pack up:

Thunderbirds has been making its way to shows around the world, so check it out when you have a chance!

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July Winners and August Giveaways Announced!

Check out the August Giveaways here!  There are TWO WAYS to enter for August:

1.    Consider making a monthly donation via the PayPal button below or Patreon, which you can find here.  You’ll automatically be entered each month you make a donation, and also get additional TWIPerks based on your giving level.  Your contribution will help support this website.

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2.    Donate nothing, and send an email to to let us know you want to be entered, and include your name, address (including city and state), and email address, and you’ll be entered for that month.  You’ll just have to send the email every month to be included.

See official rules here.

By the way, we had a back-to-back winner in June and July…your odds are good right now to win, be sure to sign up!!

— What Else You Need to Know Today —

Dennis Nordman Interview – Head to Head Pinball Podcast

Head2Head Pinball Podcast interviewed Dennis Nordman for today’s episode!  They talk about his career in pinball, Elvira 3, and deeproot Pinball – make sure to check it out (it’ll be posted here when it is available)!

New Pinball Podcast!  What Could have Pin…

There is a new podcast in town!  It is called What Could Have Pin and is hosted by Cam McMillion.  It will cover hypothetical pins that were never made but maybe should have been.  According to Cam, “…each episode, we will explore a franchise that should have had a pinball machine made, but never got the chance to see the light of day. We will discuss everything from cabinet art and playfield layout to callouts that would have appeared in the game…”

The first episode started off with a hypothetical HARRY POTTER – I like this podcast already!  (That is my dream theme if you’re new to TWIP 🙂 )  Cam has some great ideas on what could be in a Harry Potter pinball machine – listen to the episode here!

Hey Cam, this is Jeff from TWIP.  Loved your ideas, here are a few I’ve been thinking about.  What if the flippers were like “wands”, and different shots corresponded to different spells?  So you’re in a mode and in order to progress through the mode you have to cast the right spell?  And what if it had all color changing LEDs, and there is a mode where you have to fight dementors, and the lights start at the back of the playfield, all gray, and they are slowly making their way towards you, the player, and you have to shoot the Expecto Patronum shot so many times to fight off the dementors before they get to you?  AND, at some point you should have a ball disappear on one side of the playfield and apparate and appear on the other side of the playfield – and maybe fire the knocker when the apparition happens.  And…ok, maybe I should stop now or TWIP will never get done for this week!

Check out What Could Have Pin’s Facebook page here and the blog here!

Identify the pinball machine pictured below for a chance to win a limited This Week in Pinball Lapel Pin!  Drawing will be held monthly!

Photo Courtesy High End Pins

Last Week’s answer: Taxi

Email guesses to, correct answers will be entered into the drawing for the limited TWIP Lapel Pin!

— Presented By —

This Week’s Mod of the Week is the Batman ’66 Custom Atomic Pile Mod Kit Lighted from The Mod Couple!

“Introducing, The “Batman 66 Atomic Pile Custom” upgrade Mod!  This kit is completely plug and play to the Stern connection.  Also, the original Stern Pile is Not effected or harmed so it can be replaced should you decide to reverse your upgrade. WHY??  Each Atomic pile is hand built, hand painted, and crafted to exact detail to give your Batcave the look it deserves!!  Center column flashes with game as original.  Each kit comes with all hardware and complete detailed step by step instructions with Color images to Ensure your back to fighting crime in no time!!  Fits ALL Stern Batman 66 models from Premium, LE, and SLE.”

Check it out!!

— To Those Who Make This Hobby Better —

Shoutout to Robin, who along with Pinsider Martijn, founded, the world’s largest pinball forum.  Along with constantly making improvements to Pinside (and um, putting up with a lot?), he is very helpful behind the scenes to many podcasters and others.  He has been helpful to This Week in Pinball since the site started as well.  Thank you Robin for your willingness to help out fellow pinheads, and for ALL that you have done for the pinball hobby over the years!!

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