Stern Pinball gets a glowing profile in PARADE

Shaggy August 29, 2010 5

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New arcade games might have a difficult time catching a break in mainstream publications, gaming and otherwise, but even then they have it nicer than the pinball sector. Most of the time when I see talk of new pinball games it’s discussing some silly video pinball game for the iPhone or the Wii while they ignore the existence of actual pinball machines. Very few sources outside of channels which already focus on pinball talked about either of Stern’s most recent games such as Ironman or have discussed the upcoming Avatar pinball but at least with a new article at PARADE, that will change just a little.

The article interviews Gary Stern about the present state of the pinball industry, takes a look at an industry which has diminished greatly from it’s glory days back in the 40’s and what pinball has to compete against these days. It’s a nice article whose parade (har-har) I have to rain upon slightly in mentioning that the Spanish company Marsaplay recently produced some pinball machines of their own and Retro Pinball will be rolling out their King Of Diamonds machine very soon. Obviously neither company is eating away at Stern’s market share at this point like Firefox did to IE, and both are remaking old games but they still are producing some pinball machines. Anyways, getting back to the point, the Parade article is worth reading over and they even mention Avatar pinball, which is already in production and should be shipping sometime within the next week or so.

Parade article: Keeping a Pinball Wizard’s Dream Alive.


  1. ECM August 30, 2010 at 1:14 am - Reply

    In defense of those covering “silly video pinball games”, it’s kinda hard to actually, you know, cover actual pinball machines when you can’t bloody well mail someone a table for p/review. (And I say this as someone that loves “silly video pinball” and the real deal, but do we really need *silly* comments like this??)

    • Shaggy August 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      I respectfully disagree with some of your point but I will relent on your comment in that I shouldn’t be taking shots at video pinball even if I do think it’s silly. Yes the nice thing about video pinball games is that you can do a lot of tricks that could never be done in reality. But if you want to recreate a real pinball table on a console, I fail to see the point and I think it’s silly – or ridiculous, or a waste of time, take your pick. Perhaps I haven’t played the right video pinball game to change my mind though and I could. I have rarely played a video pinball game that was worth the asking price (I know most will say I haven’t played Alien Crush but that’s $6 I wish I could have back as it’s nowhere as good as the hype; Ruiner Pinball for the Jaguar was at least a purchase I didn’t feel regret about). I suppose since video games are supposed to recreate real world experiences virtually anyways then I have nothing to truly complain about when it comes to video pinball.

      But another point here worth making since you bring it up is that lazy journalists make zero effort to get off their asses and go find a real pinball machine to review. If you live in NYC or CA as many game journalists seem to, then they have no excuse as finding one shouldn’t be that difficult to come across. If a local arcade/bar/theater/etc doesn’t have one, visit a distributor. Or use Stern’s Pinball finder. But how many actually bother? When was the last time a game magazine reviewed a non-video pinball game(last I checked it was me giving a review of Indiana Jones in HGM)? Do they need *everything* mailed to them? I’d think that covering the arcade/pinball sector should be one of the highlights of the job since you’d get to go out to review something instead of sitting at home waiting for the mail to arrive.

      Look in a newsfeed on Google or Bing and most pinball news is about video pinball, not real pinball – even when Stern releases a new game, there is very little talk about the announcement, in some cases I see the new pinball game is only mentioned in articles talking about a pinball show where it just happened to show up. Announcements never stop blogs and magazines from talking about a video game they haven’t played yet for months on end.

  2. editor August 30, 2010 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Ah, the latest of the new consumer magazine complaints about amusement – “… its really difficult to cover the sector because – you cant easily carry out a review of a game… too big to mail!)

    Ha ha ha, oh my sides hurt! As if console titles are mailed to reviewers anyway – most are flown to luxury locations with lots of free hospitality to help ‘encourage ‘ the reviewing process!

    Just read that this will be made illegal in the UK as in the US – though no one has ever been ‘done’ for bribing for a good review…yet!

    Anyway this excuse can now be placed by the:

    – oh the Japanese amusement trade is a closed shop
    – oh there is no interest in arcade games any more
    – oh they don’t make any new video games anymore


  3. justonemoregame August 31, 2010 at 1:15 am - Reply

    Hey Shaggy,

    Every played any of the Pro Pinball games on PC?

    The physics are very good, and the tables are fairly ‘real pinball machine’ realistic.

    • Shaggy August 31, 2010 at 2:29 pm - Reply

      No I have not heard of that. I am familiar with Future Pinball that I have dabbled with a little bit. But I will see if I can find the Pro Pinball and at least give it a try.

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