I wasn’t expecting any news to come along an share on Memorial Day (US) but sometimes you are surprised.
Today I came across a recently launched Facebook page for a company by the name of Vonnie D Pinball. As their name implies, they are looking to become another player in the pinball manufacturing space but with a focus on ” designing the next generation of pinball machines.” Here is a video teaser to announce their existence and basic concept that they are aiming for of fresh ideas and themes that go beyond what we currently expect from pinball.
With that news portion mentioned, a thought or two. I’m taking this with a grain of salt for the time being because there have been a lot of companies to come along over the past few years making similar claims and most have yet to deliver. Heighway Pinball, Skit-B Pinball, Retro Pinball particularly come to mind, although I guess Retro did get a few King Of Diamonds remakes out the door. I’m not saying that we will never see anything from these companies and that they are a hoax, but there is nothing wrong with skepticism when time flies by and there is nothing more than promises and videos to go off of.
That said it should be interesting to see what Vonnie’s vision of “Next Generation” pinball is. If you’ve been a reader of the site for a long time then you know I’ve often mentioned some ideas I would like to see – multi-color LEDs are getting close to one idea I had with turning certain targets to a certain color for a bonus; and of course there are different ways of going about the display. Jersey Jack took the route of putting a display in the backbox, Heighway put it on the playfield directly above the flippers; and there is the P3 hardware which turns much of the playfield into a display. I think that there is a lot of potential for projection mapping in pinball but I don’t know of anyone even tinkering with that concept at the moment. There is also the potential for brand new target types – we are all familiar with pop bumpers, switches, ramps, drop targets, pinball momentum targets, spinners and such but I’m not sure it has to end there. I am glad to see that the competition between Stern and Jersey Jack is giving us better games as for a while (2007-2009) the future of pinball wasn’t looking so hot. So I look forward to seeing what Vonnie D has to offer, I just hope that it is something they can deliver on. I’ve had an original pinball concept on paper that I’ve been tweaking for six years now but I rarely mention it since I don’t have a means at the moment of taking it further than that and I wouldn’t want to get any hopes up. A lot of people do seem to get a single table completed that they bring to pinball conventions (The Matrix Pinball, American Horror Story) but the real challenge is getting from that prototype stage to full blown manufacturing, after-sales support and a follow-up game. This is where Stern is very comfortable since they have everything together in that regard; I have heard through the grapevine that Jersey Jack has been stumbling some in this area of filling orders but as long as they fix whatever problems those are and get past that growing pain then they should be in a good spot for the other games on their roster. It’s all easier said than done but if in the end it gives us great products to put into the arcade that customers will enjoy then I am all for it.