With the New Year holiday already finished, who is ready for a new pinball game? Stern Pinball certainly is. The company has attended the famous CES event before and with CES2015, they are taking the opportunity to unveil their latest game which as you already read from the headline, is a little bit of a surprise – it is based upon the WrestleMania license. It has been a little while since anything wrestling themed appeared in the arcade, the most recent example I can recall would be Sega’s WWF Royal Rumble.
UPDATE: As expected, Stern has posted some official shots of the game. The original ‘spy’ pics we saw are near the bottom as we also have news about their new hardware system which they have been teasing for a while now.
ALSO: Stern has also announced that they are using a completely new hardware platform called SPIKE. Some details from their release:
…is a modern, scalable and modular electronics hardware system engineered for the rigors and complexities of pinball applications.
“The modular nature of the system will allow game designers to embrace new technologies to evolve the game of pinball while also improving earnings, reliability, serviceability and efficiency,” said George Gomez, Executive Vice President of Product Development at Stern Pinball.
The new SPIKETM system is based on distributed processor architecture and an industrial grade network protocol. These technologies reduce product complexity and simplify the manufacturing of the game resulting in a more efficient, reliable and easier-to-service game. The system is designed to facilitate integration of various display technologies such as varying size LCD displays both on the playfield and in the backbox. The scalable nature of the system allows for the integration of Wi-Fi and numerous new game specific features and technologies.
• All LED lighting enables enhanced lighting effects, increases reliability and attracts new players. Included is the florescent light replacement by LED’s, which last longer, run cooler and draw less electricity.
• A new modern CPU and expanded memory allow the designers greater freedom to create new compelling game scenarios to attract more players and lengthen their engagement.
• A more powerful high definition digital sound system enhances the game experience.
• New built-in automotive-grade circuit protection for LEDs, switches and solenoids reduces circuit failures from accidental shorts and environmental faults.
• Lower game heat reduces stress on components increasing longevity.
• Low-cost game modules are easy for any technician to replace and costly circuit board repair is eliminated.
• Reduced wiring complexity eases troubleshooting and worn component replacement.
• Improved system diagnostics make the system easy to learn.
• Reduced chances of failure from environmental conditions with robust solenoid, switch and lighting protection circuitry.
• SPIKETM system games use less energy than older models and generate less heat during operation.
• New controllable LED artwork backlighting reduces fade, saves energy and lasts longer.
ORIGNAL STORY: Stern initially teased that they were unveiling a new game on their Facebook page on Sunday evening without saying what it would be. A short time later, a poster on the popular Pinside forums received a picture showing that the game is WrestleMania. We don’t have official photos yet but from what you can see here it shows the playfield open and the backglass to the side. More details should be coming along over the next day or so.
With that info out into the ether, another Pinside user shared this photo of the game setup without the legs. You can see a sort of wrestling ring playfield near the top and once again the rumors of “their next game will have an LCD!” fall flat.
Worst theme I could imagine. Lol 🙂
What is interesting is that there seems to be no middle ground from reactions I have read – no “let’s wait and see what the playfield looks like in detail” – either people love it or hate it right off the bat. Should be interesting to see how it sells as there are a lot of wrestling fans out there and so often the market for pinball is driven by collectors. I do wonder about operators though, I don’t have a clue what they feel about the theme.
Ok, I’m not sold on the theme… as mentioned it’s very polarizing. However, it’s a John Trudeau game, and I thought that his Mustang was fun to play (along with his prior work, excluding maybe Bugs Bunny *shudder*). I’m a little intrigued by the fact that it looks like it could be a sequel to Jokerz! in spirit, as they share similar layouts, and I wouldn’t be opposed to that since Jokerz! is a decent, albeit simple, game.
After seeing the up-close shots of the game on Pinball News, and hearing that the new system will finally allow for new display types, I’m hoping that the next game in line by Steve Ritchie fully implements the new tech to make a game that feels like a step in a new direction rather than a half-step like this seems to be.
If anything, the best news out of this announcement may mean that all of those SAM games can possibly be replicated and released in Virtual Pinball finally. Having not had a replicated machine from Stern on that system since World Poker Tour (which I think was the first SAM game), will mean that there might be a flood of simulated machines coming sooner than later. At least up until the 3 year window of recent work, which is welcome news.