TWIP – Monster Bash Confirmed, Pinburgh, Interviews with Robert Mueller and Ben Heck, Godzilla TOHO vs. Warner Bros

— This Week’s Top 5 Stories —

1. Monster Bash Confirmed

Photo courtesy High End Pins

Last week Chicago Gaming Company mentioned in this Facebook post that they were very excited to announce the next title.  They also mentioned “Game #3 has just received UL and CE certification and we are already in the process of building subassemblies. We are submitting a final preproduction game for final licensor approval this week. Once we receive approval, we will announce the title.”

The only problem with this is that the sleuths in this hobby were able to look up the UL certification (view it here) and guess what they found:

CHICAGO GAMING CO INC E241313
4616 W 19Th St
Cicero, IL 60804-2502 USA

Pinball Machine, Model(s) 11000 (“Medieval Madness”), 11000-LE (“Medieval Madness”), 12000-CE (“Attack From Mars”), 12000-LE (“Attack From Mars”), 12000-SE (“Attack From Mars”), 13000-CE (“Monster Bash”), 13000-LE (“Monster Bash”), 13000-SE (“Monster Bash”).

So this forced CGC’s hand, and the next day they formally announced Monster Bash Remake!!


It appears they will be following the same levels of models as the Attack From Mars Remake:

CE = Classic Edition
SE = Special Edition
LE = Limited Edition

We can’t wait to see this machine and the new features!


2. Pinburgh Winner

Congrats to Keith Elwin on winning Pinburgh!  Keith beat out Andrei Massenkoff (2nd), Jim Belsito (3rd), and Cryss Stephens (4th) to win the first prize of $15,000.  An incredible performance by all four.

The final bank of games included Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Pool, PinBot, and Harlem Globetrotters.  After starting out with a 0 on Guardians, Keith won Star Pool and came in second to Belsito on PinBot.  The final game was Harlem Globetrotters, and Keith went in one point behind, but rolled the machine to finish first.  (Rolled the machine meaning the score displays are six digits, and he scored over a million.)  He had some sweet tap passes including this one, this patient flipper work (is there a name for that move Steve Bowden?), he made some incredible saves like this one and this one and this one.  Probably the most memorable sequence was this save which was then followed by incredible double flipper work!

Here is an interview with Keith Elwin and Jim Belsito afterwards.  Watch the full stream here, and the stream of the last game here.

Congrats Keith!


Congrats to the winner of the first Women’s International Pinball Tournament, Nicole Bernier!  Nicole beat out Priyanka Kochhar (2nd), Shawna Teale (3rd), and Gretchen Kamke (4th) to capture the first ever WIPT title!!


The presentation of the Pinburgh tournament was incredible.  The stream had multiple camera angles, live commentators, a bunch of useful info like names of competitors, the game being played, scores of everyone in the group, standings, etc.  The final banks also had Pin Stadium lights which made the lighting in the stream better as well as making the ball easier to see for the competitors.

Sponsor Plug!

Is Keith Elwin the greatest pinball player ever?  The Greatest of all time?  The G.O.A.T.??

Only one year until next Pinburgh, let the countdown begin!!


3. Interview with deeproot Pinball’s Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller joined Chris Kooluris on Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast last week as well.  Below are some highlights – listen to the full interview here!

On starting in pinball:

In October of 2016, my right hand man Craig…we just spent a couple months just going back and forth about all the innovations I had in my mind, we wrote them all down, created source documents, and looked at marketing and looked at the competitors and we did some market research. And decided what kind of company we really wanted when we built this pinball project up.

On competition with other pinball companies manufacturers:

I’m not really interested in competing with any of the other pinball companies, I mean they’re pretty much irrelevant to what we plan on doing. I think Stern has, what, 90-95% of the market…I think we’ll compete on some levels. I think the more pinball the merrier. I don’t want to take down any company. I want all these companies to succeed and do the best they can do. But up until now they haven’t had a lot of competition. And they’ve gotten away with a lot of mistakes.

On manufacturing:

As far as the manufacturing is concerned, I think Dennis on Eclectic Gamers Podcast put it best. He stated – I firmly believe this, it is how we’ve operated here at deeproot – is that people make pinball out to be a lot harder than it really is. Of course there are a lot of components and there are a lot of very difficult complex components that go into both designing and manufacturing a machine. But at the end of the day, a lot of people on my staff have extensive manufacturing experience…We’ve had a lot of opportunity since we started to really think about how we wanted to do it. We’re done with quad assembly, that is just too old for us. We’re now going to octo-assembly, for instance.

On otco-assembly:

I think it is pretty obvious that it is a collaborative effort, an agile form of assembly line vs. the old traditional where it goes down a line and everyone has their individual components. Through the tests we’ve been doing and all the other experience we have in manufacturing, and the consultants we have, and other areas of the business we’ve brought in to look at this. For our space, for what we’re going to do with all our innovations and standardization we’re going to do on all the components amongst all the different titles, this is what is going to work best for us.

On if they’ve built a game using this method yet:

Yes and no. Our R&D and our development process is very different than any other company…the reason is, it is sort of like a horse race. There are 25 different areas that are moving forward at different speeds, they have different goals and sprints. While we do have focal points where a lot of those come together…the way we’ve done development, most of this manufacturing and getting set up will happen later this year. But it will be very natural because we’re always doing a lot of those right now in the separate development processes…As with any new manufacturing set up, of course there will be some aches and pains, but I think that we’ve already done a lot of development and planning to try to avoid at least the big ones that are usually on the radar.

On Magic Girl:

We basically stripped Magic Girl to its core and rebuild it again. A lot of the things that John didn’t get right are things we tackle as we rebuild it from the ground up. We want to try to keep the Magic Girl experience generally in the direction that John wanted to go. But we fully realize that the only way Magic Girl is going to an amazing machine and be graced in customers houses is if we create the best Magic Girl possible. As we’ve looked at some of these mech issues, we’ve come up with some unique designs to solve some of them, and others we’ve just taken out because it is not worth it to distract from an amazing pinball experience.

On games at launch:

Magic Girl and RAZA will be in the initial launch, Alice in Wonderland will not.

On the Five Days of deeproot:

The fifth day of deeproot will be TPF. I do not know if the four days that precede it will be at the beginning of the year, or if it will be right before TPF. It depends on…we have a very ambitious launch that we have planned. While it would be nice to get everything we want at launch, sometimes reality sets in, so we have some contingency plans to maybe do a little less here or there.

On deeproot license titles:

It [the deeproot games at launch] will a mix of licensed and unlicensed…we’ve been very lucky to get some other very big, VERY big licenses under our belts. And we’re in a bidding war of our own on another big one. We’re really excited about doing some good licenses.

On licensing:

Licensing should be criminal, or unethical at best. It is absolutely just…it’s a wild west of IP. The licensors have all of the power. There is no confidentiality whatsoever…there is no rhyme or reason to anything a licensor wants. It could be a silent auction, it could be that they tell the other person and try to get the biggest bid, because that is what the licensor is there to do…we’ve heard it all, we’ve seen it all. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve worked with some great companies and great members behind the scenes with licensing. They’re plugged into the same unfair system that everyone else is…we’re very grateful, we’ve had a lot of companies, a lot of big brands put a lot of trust in us.

On Expo:

So we’re planning to do a little reveal at Expo, but since I don’t think Rob [Berk] has put up the seminar description, I don’t want to steal his thunder. It is just small glimpse into what to expect and it will be our last formal communication before the five days of deeproot.

…I’ll be at Expo with the other four designers, and we’ll do a little Q&A and give a little tease for some things.

On Fire and Brimstone:

I’m more of a quirky kind of layout kind of guy. My Fire and Brimstone design is a lot of flow and orbits. And that is something else I really like. Like T2 from Steve Ritchie is a fun game I like to play a lot, just because I like fast action and flow.

More Magic Girl:

I have a teaser for you if you don’t mind. So Magic Girl, the problem with Magic Girl, it looks beautiful but it is very 2D, it is very line art…kind of washed colors. So the problem we’ve had in getting it into a more 3D animation realm is trying to bridge that gap. And I can tell you that it took a couple tries, but Matt Armstrong up in Utah, who is our art director, who is such a phenomenal talent. And I told him I thought Magic Girl was sexy before, but he brought her to a 3D kind of – very next door kind of gal look, but still keeping that mysterious part…I am so excited to show the world some of this transition we took from some of the art that Jeremy did and really taking it now to the modern video game world and using 3D animations and bridging those two very different illustration gaps.

Upcoming deeproot Titles

Along with confirming on the podcast that Magic Girl and Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland are planned titles for the initial launch, deeproot also mentioned in this Pinside post the original Houdini designed by John Popadiuk was no longer in their plans.

Technical Scripter

deeproot also announced a job posting this week for a Technical Scripter – check out the details here!


4. Interview with Ben Heck

The Head 2 Head Pinball Podcast interviewed Ben Heck last week – check out a few of the highlights below:

On the game he was working on for Spooky:

Ben: I felt that it was a really good white wood. Actually, whysnow on pinside, I am actually friends with him in real life. He is kind of a character but he does really know pinball. He had a lot of suggestions, like “here is why America’s Most Haunted shot too fast”. All of the shots are at the same depth basically…so if you do this and change the depth of the shots – like there are some Trudeau games…like Congo is a good example, there is a lot of different depth to the shots on the playfield so it didn’t just play like a spinny loop game, it actually had a lot of variety. And I was kind of going for that [on Ben Heck Game #2 with Spooky]. I was working on a toy that in hindsight would’ve probably been too complicated. But it could be re-themed into something else…

Talking about companies going with unlicensed-type themes:

Ryan C.: Do you think more pinball machine manufacturers will go down that route in the coming years because all the licenses might get gobbled up by certain players in the market…

Ben: That is already happened. It is just like the housing market right now. There’s so many people looking for pinball licenses that the licenses are going up in price. So if you’re Sony and you’ve got three companies trying to get Ghostbusters, guess what? You can jack up the price…that is definitely happening with licenses right now. The rumors about what Stern paid for Beatles doesn’t surprise me.

On LCD screens:

Ben: I kind of feel like LCD screens are like – what is the analogy – it is kind of a trap. Because it is – it’s not more difficult, but it is more time consuming. You actually have to create content. It becomes very much like you’re making a video game and a pinball machine…it is cheaper than a DMD…you save money on every unit as far as the DMD is concerned, although who knows what Stern was getting them for…but then you’re having to pay someone to do all this artwork. I know with Alice Cooper, the amount of work that went into filling that LCD was more than Chuck anticipated…with Alice Cooper, it is a license that doesn’t have any assets to it. I mean, yeah, you have some music videos but it’s not like there is a movie. But everything on that screen has to be created. And that is another shortcut you get with a license – assuming that you pay for it – but you get all the video or whatnot.

Talking about rumored JJP titles and licenses that involve pinball enthusiasts:

Ben: I think all of those rumored Jersey Jack titles – Guns and Roses does seem strange but remember, Slash is a pinhead. Having – just like Rob Zombie or Alice Cooper – having a part of the license – or Seth McFarline with Family Guy – having part of the license or licensor be a pinhead is worth a lot. it is worth a lot…they say he [Seth McFarline] did all the dialog for free for that game.

Ryan C: I think there is a Lyman Sheats interview with Slam Tilt podcast and they’re talking about Sopranos and the team met with the whole Sopranos crew and they’re all happy to do it. And they all did it…and he’s saying that stuff doesn’t happen anymore, people just want to get paid so much money.

On Licensing

Ryan C: If you pick up a license, are you not paying pretty much anything until you produce the pinball machine?

Ben: It depends on the license. With some licenses, the clocks start ticking as soon as the ink is dry. With others it doesn’t start until production starts…it is usually about three years. Jack has relicensed Wizard of Oz at least twice I think…so it depends on what the license is.

Ryan C: So can you hoard licenses? If you were very smart with how you worded the contract, could you just have 50 licenses in your arsenal and not be paying that much for it?

Ben: So there are what I call sh*t licenses where you just get the name…yeah, if you wanted to do that, you’d just…I don’t need video rights, I just want the name. And that would keep anyone else from getting it.

Ryan C: So no one would get it, but could you possibly renegotiate the license when it comes time to make the pin and say, so now we want all of this stuff?

Ben: That I couldn’t tell you. Although it might be more about preventing other companies from doing it than doing it yourself. Because remember it’s a business, its about squashing the competition.

Listen to the full interview here!


5. Jersey Jack Pinball starts Pirates of the Caribbean Production

Jersey Jack Pinball shared on this Facebook post that production has officially begun on their upcoming pinball machine, Pirates of the Caribbean!  Eric M., the designer of Pirates of the Caribbean, also shared the following on this Pinside post:

“…I’m pumped to see it coming to life on the assembly line. Can’t wait for people to get the game. Maybe I’m a bit biased, but it’s a damn fun game. Code is unmatched in depth and breadth. The production game that I played shoots like butter. Sign of good times when the first ball I play in the first game off the line I beat the grand champ score. Ended the game just shy of 1mil, and left my initials on there.

The flood gates are opening. Here we go!”

Looking forward to seeing more JJPOTC’s out in the wild and in the homes of collectors!


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— What Else You Need to Know Today —

Godzilla: TOHO vs. Warner Brothers/Legendary

Following up to our article last week which shared that Stern had landed the Godzilla license that was being pursued by Spooky, there has been some confusion as to which Godzilla license(s) Stern has acquired.

There is a movie coming out next year called Godzilla: King of the Monsters (check out a trailer here) from Legendary Entertainment and Warner Brothers.  This is NOT the license that was being pursued by Spooky and not the license we were referring in our article last week.  The license that was being pursued by Spooky was TOHO, which is much smaller.

This of course does NOT mean that Stern doesn’t have both licenses, they may very well have both.  We’ve been trying to find out if the have both, and have heard yes and no, so we just don’t know at this point.  But we wanted to clarify which license we were referring to last week.


Multimorphic’s Gerry Stellenberg joins Buffalo Pinball

Gerry Stellenberg, founder of Multimorphic, joined Buffalo Pinball on Bro, Do You Even Talk Pinball?  Check it out!


Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle – Stream Tonight with Dead Flip

Spooky Pinball and Jack Danger of Dead Flip announced that the first Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle stream will take place tonight at Spooky headquarters!  You can check out the stream on the Dead Flip Twitch Channel 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!

Last Week’s answer: Star Trek: The Next Generation

Email guesses to thisweekinpinball@gmail.com, correct answers will be entered into the drawing for the limited TWIP Lapel Pin!


— To Those Who Make This Hobby Better —

Shoutout to Chris Kooluris of Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast on his 250th episode!  Chris is a polarizing figure in pinball as he has said and done some controversial things in the past.  For example, last time TWIP spoke to him he said he would take down and destroy This Week in Pinball.  In spite of that, we here at TWIP cover news as objectively and fairly as possible, and will cover any and every source including Kaneda as long as industry people continue to join him on his podcast and leak information to him.  He is the most frequent pinball podcaster and with over 250 (!) episodes, he has devoted more time to pinball than most in this hobby.  Congrats again Chris!


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DisclaimerAny articles, interviews, or mentions of pinball manufacturers or pinball products is NOT an endorsement.

Have a scoop or anonymous rumor?  Email us at thisweekinpinball@gmail.com


Stern Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Aerosmith   AC/DC Vault Edition  |  Star Wars  |  Guardians of the Galaxy  |  AC/DC Luci Vault Edition  |  Iron Maiden

Announced/Confirmed

Elvira 3

Rumors of Future Titles

Deadpool?  |  The Munsters?  |  The Beatles?  |  Steve Ritchie Black Knight 3000?  |  Superman 1978?  |  Beetlejuice?

Jersey Jack Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Wizard of Oz  |  The Hobbit  |  Dialed In  |  Pirates of the Caribbean

Rumors of Future Titles

Willy Wonka?  |  Toy Story?  |  Guns N’ Roses

Chicago Gaming/Planetary Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Medieval Madness Remake  |  Attack From Mars Remake

Rumors of Future Titles

Monster Bash Remake?  |  Cactus Canyon Remake?  |  Theatre of Magic?  |  Big Bang Bar Remake?

Spooky Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International  |  Dominos (*contract game)  |  Jetsons (*contract game)  |  Total Nuclear Annihilation (*contract/house game)  |  Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle

Rumors of Future Titles

Licensed Title  |  Scott Danesi Second Game

American Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Houdini

Rumors of Future Titles

Oktoberfest?

P3 (Multimorphic)

Lexy Lightspeed  |  Cannon Lagoon  |  Cosmic Cart Racing

Team Pinball

The Mafia

deeproot Pinball

Announced/Confirmed

Fire and Brimstone  |  Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland  |  Magic Girl |  Alice in Wonderland  <<–UPDATED

Rumors of Future Titles

 Original Houdini design?  <<–UPDATED

Circus Maximus

The Pinball Circus Remake  |  Kingpin

Homepin

Thunderbirds

Pinball Brothers

Rumors of Future Titles

Queen?  |  Barry Oursler’s Original Theme?  |  Playboy?

Dutch Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Bride of Pinbot 2.0  |  Bride of Pinbot 3.0 (on hold)  |  The Big Lebowski (production issues)

Silver Castle Pinball

Timeshock

Phénix Pinball

Goblin Contest

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