It has been quite a while since I purchased a pinball machine. In fact, the first and only time I did was when I opened my arcade up back in 2008 where I grabbed an Indiana Jones (Stern) and Shrek. They have served as the only pinball games I have offered since, although I really wanted to get the TRON Legacy LE model back when that was still being made. That opportunity passed me by and now you can only find asking prices of $12k or so on those, which is really too bad. Fortunately the opportunity has arrived for a different game, so I decided to take it and here is an unboxing of a brand new Stern Pinball Star Trek Vengeance Premium game.
For a quick history on these “Premium” games, it used to be that pinball games were made in one flavor but beginning with AVATAR Pinball, Stern decided to introduce a “Limited Edition” model that collectors could pay more for, with the standard models sticking around the same price point and going by the name of “Pro”. This happened in response to the quality in the games sliding down down; if you take a look at titles like the most recent NBA or 24 pinball then you will see what I mean. With the LE idea, it allowed Stern to offer better or best quality in a machine at a higher price to cover those costs. Not long after that they began to offer a 3rd option, the Premium models, which were similar to the LEs in most respects. The LEs offer increased collector value through limited availability, different artwork and signatures from the game designers; the Premiums would offer almost the same thing but with greater availability and different art. On rare occasion the LE models may offer some extra unique thing but otherwise, the playfields on both Premium/LE are going to be more advanced – and more fun – than the Pro games. When I’ve been asked about which one to get, you can rest assured that the Premium/LEs consistently play better than the Pro models so if you have the funds, go for the better model.
I played the game at Amusement Expo 2014 and was impressed with it more than the Mustang, Metallica or Star Trek Pro models – and I say that just as from a game point of view. While it may be harder to find flaws in a game that uses a license you enjoy or are familiar with, not all pinball games are created equally and some play better than others. When playing the new Mustang against the new Trek, I found myself missing some of the touches that Trek had, such as the 3rd flipper, the shaking starship and firing mechanism, or the multi-color LED patterns which flow better in Trek. Selecting the missions gives the game some depth that you don’t get with a lot of pins. Of course this is JJ Trek license, to which there are whole sites dedicated to the pros/cons of that universe. Anyways, lets get into the unboxing!
We didn’t read the instructions on setting it up properly, which is supposed to have you cut one of the box sides off and attach the legs there. Whoops. We were still very careful and here is the game tucked together on the floor.
I find it best to put these on a table of some kind, then attach the legs starting with the front. You need at least another person to help move it around like that but it works out.
With the back box up you find a poster taped to the glass. It lays out the rules on one side and has imagery on the other similar to the side art. Nothing like this came with my previous pins (Shrek and Indiana Jones that I bought back in ’08) so it was a nice surprise.
The Vengeance toy model had a zip-tie holding that in place for shipping. Just remove it and you are good to go.
The manual and pinballs are stored under the playfield.
Gone are the incandescent lamps – hello LEDs!
Wheeled into place and…
…Ready To Go!