It seems that almost every pinball release is “the worst kept secret” up until the final reveal, with the latest talk of Stern’s next game as being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now the rumors are confirmed that Stern Pinball’s next product outing is indeed TMNT, starring the Turtles as they were known to most of us growing up via the ’80s/’90s cartoon series. Granted, this would be the second time that the reptilian ninjas have appeared in pinball, the first time coming at the height of their popularity back in 1991.
Here’s a quick tease from the trailer, showing the Pro & Premium Editions of the game. The song here sounds re-done – or it’s just weird to hear it in HD clarity when I grew up hearing it in Lo-Fi:
When you start the game, you pick to play as a particular turtle: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo. Each has different features and “powers,” infusing the game with replayability and variety. Per Gary Stern who wrote a separate email about the game: “I usually pick Donatello. You will have to play TMNT to see why.”
All three models feature the spinning pizza disc with magnet, which can capture three balls; It also looks to feature some great multiball action. Per the Features Matrix PDF, that action can reach up to 8 balls, which always proves to be chaotic fun. It’s also a nice touch for it to be called “Ninja Pizza Ball.”
For the Premium/LE models: “… feature an interactive custom sculpted Turtles Van, equipped to lock up to 4 balls inside with a mechanical opening/closing side door, ready to unleash multiball havoc upon players. These models also feature the iconic TMNT Glider, a custom-sculpted, player-controlled diverter assembly stationed above both ramps, giving players the ability to control and transport the ball to the flipper of their choice. In addition, a custom-sculpted mechanical Krang toy hovers over the pop bumpers, jumping up and down while taunting players throughout game action.” The LE model is what is pictured in the cover image above, sporting the Turtle Green body armor (which Stern also did for the Avengers LE Hulk Edition).
Stern posted almost 80 photos of the three different models to their Facebook page; I’ll just link that here instead of sharing them all here. They also have posted the product page to their website, which includes the fliers and other info. It’s an interesting layout, particularly with the ball diverter in the Prem/LE models. The van ball lock is a gnarly touch too. Seems like it would be a great piece to have in an arcade that also features either Konami’s classic TMNT or Raw Thrills’ newer TMNT arcade games (or all of them!).
What are your thoughts about this? Since it’s the “correct” version of the Turtles in some people’s minds, I can’t imagine that there is much to complain about in that regard, but as always the verdict on the art and layout remain for it to be seen in person. Units should ship out soon – per an email release I received written by Gary Stern, he stated: “Illinois’ Governor said he plans to allow full production to commence May 29th. We are preparing to start TMNT Pro production, with shipping beginning the 2nd week of June. LE production will begin later in June, followed in July by the Premium.” Either way, distributors are ready to take orders from those who are interested to get their turtle pizza party on.