In a surprise announcement today, Stern Pinball has announced that they are working with Whizbang Pinball LLC to produce their Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons Pinball machine, which will launch in Spring of 2015. Designed by Dennis Nordman (White Water, Demolition Man, Elvira and the Party Monsters, Pirates of the Carribean and more), we have mentioned this game before on AH, although it has been a while – I thought it was going to just end up as an extremely limited run machine. The game was first shown in playable form in 2011 so this is certainly out of the blue.
According to the release:
Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy MelonsTM pinball delivers the most tactile pinball experience since the advent of electronic pinball with real bells, mechanical score reels, a solid state control system, and a digital soundtrack. This unique blend of classic and modern technologies creates a new breed of pinball machine that presents pinball as an art form while maintaining the reliability and serviceability of modern commercial pinball machines. The playfield, backglass, and cabinet art and styling, central to the game’s unique visual quality, feature detailed original characters and fresh hand-drawn artwork that blend elements of mid-century pin-up art and classic pinball themes.
The interesting thing about this whole idea is that it is not based on a license and Stern has said many times that they were not interested in non-licenses. With their increased business as of late, along with more pinball companies looking to do something original, they must be seeing some demand out there. Not only that but this is a throwback to days when pinball had sexier themes, obvious by the title as well as the artwork.
The playfield as seen on the WhizBang Blog:
● Original throwback-style playfield designed by Dennis Nordman
● Original hand-drawn graphics by Greg Freres featuring fresh fruit, a cool truck
and the robust Mellon family
● A unique, durable, weathered fruit crate cabinet design
● Illuminated mechanical score reels
● Retro-style bumper caps and flipper bats
● Dual-action bullseye melon targets
● Two old-time pinball bells and a real cow bell
● The return of “The Knocker”
● Crushed beer cans included for the perfect playfield angle
Stern also says they will offer accessories for this, much like they unveiled yesterday with The Walking Dead.
What are your thoughts on this, good move by Stern? Could the occasional non-license be here to stay?