TRON Pinball machine + playfield

arcadehero April 29, 2011 15

(Click on the image for a closer look)

Here it is – the upcoming TRON Pinball machine by Stern. I’m a little surprised that we’re seeing it in it’s full glory this soon, as usually Stern just teases the cabinet artwork first and the playfield later. As for what we see here, we’ve got the disc spinner at the top of the field with a Recognizer hovering overhead, a couple of light-cycles in the back and even a TRON Arcade machine there. They are 3D models as well, which is much nicer than flat plastic cutouts. As for our prior expectations,  I don’t see any EL wire on the playfield, perhaps that will go into the limited edition and of course they continue to use the archaic monochromatic display, which just looks more and more antiquated as they handle these licenses which focus on the latest cutting edge CG. At the very least the backglass is supposed to have the same 3D parallaxing effect that they used with the backglass on Avatar pinball.  I look forward to giving this a try soon as it is slated for a release sometime in May, with the Limited Edition in June.

UPDATE: Limited Edition details just released.

Via a Tweet by Pinballzarcade. Image via


  1. neil brimelow April 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    It is my imagination, or is the playfield copy “FunHouse” almost identically?

    • arcadehero April 29, 2011 at 7:33 pm - Reply

      I saw a side-by-side comparison of that. There are some similarities, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised given Stern’s recent track record these days.

  2. neil brimelow April 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    I’m -really- disappointed with the playfield art. It looks like they photoshopped one of the movie posters onto the playfield. I would have crafted the playfield with UV reactive paint, and setup blacklight(s), like Big Bang Bar.

    BTW, where are the Tron toys on the playfield?

    Speaking of BBB, here’s a picture to remind everyone how far we’ve regressed in the past 15 years. BBB was released in 1996, yet looks better than most of Stern’s releases.

    I do understand that the business of pinball has changed, but did it really need to lose it’s soul?

    • arcadehero April 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      The business has changed but I think it’s mostly because Stern has been the only show in town. They seem to be scared of Jersey Jack to the point of mimicking things they do – making announcements in regards to new programmers but until we see any improvements in the games themselves it’s a moot point. I’m hoping that Jersey Jack really ups the game here and I’m sure Stern will be playing catch up in response to what they do, if it’s good.

      In regards to Tron, from what I can tell, they seem to have 3D toys of two light-cycles, a Recognizer and a Tron Arcade machine. That’s actually more than what I expected to be honest and it seems that they aren’t making them plastic cutouts at the very least. I wonder what else they might do in the LE but my hopes aren’t all that high.

    • Special When Lit May 1, 2011 at 4:22 am - Reply

      Big Bang Bar was never fully released by Capcom, they stopped their pinball operations before the game went into full production.

  3. Max Revs May 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    I just started collecting pinball machines in the last six months. My first was a new Stern LOTR LE. I love the machine, deep rule set, quality construction, etc. I just recently bought a NIB Spider-Man and virtually new TSPP. I also have a TOM. I have been impressed with Stern’s support (Patrick Powers) and enjoy the games.

    But, and it is a big but, I recently played the new Rolling Stones at my local distributor and I walked away with one overriding perception: CHEAP! The machine looked and played like a cheap toy. It appeared the driving force behind RS was not to build a quality pin but to stick to a budget.

    Although they are just pictures and I will reserve judgment until I actually play the pin, TRON looks to be constructed like RS. Those plastic ramps look cheesy and will become clouded fairly quickly I suspect. The DMD appears to be the same thing we have seen for 15 years. And the lack of playfield graphical details is apparent.

    I don’t pretend to know the business margins for those who route pinball and other machines. Obviously purchase price plays into that equation. But, in my opinion, pinball cannot regain some lost market share if it is not employing those aspects of quality and technology that are necessary to compete with other forms of gaming entertainment.

    Personally I will pay a premium for premium pinball machines. I won’t pay for machines that have been cheapened to meet a budget target even at less cost. I know Stern can build high quality, engaging pinball machines that can entertain without boredom becoming an issue. I would love to see them return to the level and embrace new technology such as replacing the DMD with a full color LCD. Otherwise we may see the death of pinball machine manufacturing.

    Jersey Jack is taking a shot at building a quality pinball, a costly undertaking. Unfortunately he appears to be financing the design and build using customers’ funds which are required to be paid upfront on a schedule that results in him collecting the entire $6500 cost prior to production. That business approach may be a first in the pinball industry. It also virtually eliminates Jack’s own risk other than reputation should he fail.

    The message for Stern is: When one of your distributors decides to become a competitor, either he sees a market that you do not or your product has declined to the point where he no longer can fulfill his customers’ demands. In either case something has to change or we will witness the demise of pinball. Let’s hope Stern understands this messages and TRON ends up being a better machine than it appears from the pictures, and not just an ackward attempt at a pre-emptive strike. Otherwise us pinheads will have to hope that Jersey Jack Pinball is successful (which we do) if we are going to be able to buy new pinball machines in the future.

  4. Shapey Fiend May 3, 2011 at 8:03 am - Reply

    I really don’t care for LCD screens. Look at the Pinball 2000 graphics and they look cheap. The dot matrix stuff has a lo-fi charm.

    I prefer an oldschool look but that means good original artwork. However I’m guessing most young people are attracted to very literal movie poster style artwork.. just look at how posters have changed in the last 20 years. Very little original art they just look like photoshopped stills. Same with videogame cover art.

    I understand what Stern are trying to do. If I was buying for home use I’d buy an older pin with more detail. These new machines are cheap and cheerful, and pretty low on toys and unique features. I’ve always been a strong believer that price point is the most important thing in todays amusement sector. My local (I say local, it’s the only decent one in the country and it’s 250 miles away) arcade have started updating their games and pins a lot more in the last 3 years, and it’s mostly the cheap ones that they’re doing this with. Whenever they get an expensive machine they keep it on the floor for 8 years. Nobody in this country seems to maintain their pins properly so I’m just happy when they get replaced because by the time they’re on the floor two years they’re practically unplayable.

  5. N.Nichols June 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    TRON:LEGACY PINBALL IS TOTALLY LAME! I have just returned from Day 1 of The NW Pinball and Home Gameroom Expo 2011. Even though it hasn’t been released yet, there was a Brand New TRON:Legacy Pin there set to Free-Play. I was so pumped when i saw it! Watched a couple of people play, then it was my turn. First of all, No Light-Wire or Blacklight. Nothing Moves except, a Triple drop Target and a spinning plate(that is supposed to simulate a disc war?) that didn’t even disrupt the ball as much as Whiplash’s Magnets on Iron Man. I watched a dozen games waiting for something exciting to happen. One guy posted a score of 35,000,000 and was totally tearing it up, still not a whole lot going on. People are going to get so BORED with this game, Fast. What’s Up STERN?, this is a Huge Disappointment. I expected More from you. If TRANSFORMERS is as Poor of a Game as TRON, I (a huge pinball fan) will completely lose faith in you STERN. You Can Do Better Than This! Prove Yourself.

    • arcadehero June 3, 2011 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      Hmm, sounds like what they did with Avatar. The standard version sucked and word has it that the limited edition was the one that was actually good.

      Thanks for filling us in on this!

  6. Chris Nicholson June 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    The fact is this game is boring. The plastic ramps and returns used as of late are a joke. How much more could it really cost to have metal ramps….maybe 100 bucks? There really isn’t much going on here. Guys…Jack is knocking on your door. Granted his first machine has already missed it’s mark. 6500.00 is to much money for the market to support. I have no doubt he will sell out his first batch to the die hards…but things will fade unless he can make a good machine in the 5k range. Back to Tron. Guys the dot matrix display has to go. You need a high def screen. It doesn’t have to be any bigger…just color and high def. You can license clips directly from the movie to keep programming down. Can you Imagine how cool that would be? Tron is junk. Rolling stones is junk. Remake Spider man with a color display, some mechanical aspects to the toys, a built in shaker motor, and a progressive drop target and you will have struck oil. The junk has to stop. I’ll bet Stern 50k in writing. I could make a better play field than there last three machines.
    Anyone can make junk….lets make some good machines. Dump the tired models and make one good machine.

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