I’m not sure about doing a Newsbytes post today, but there are two big stories from pinball-land, so we’ll tackle those for now and see if there are some other things to cover later.
Chicago Gaming Announces Cactus Canyon Remake
We’ll start with the good news first. Cactus Canyon is a game that isn’t terribly well-known out there, but it is something of a legend since it was William’s final “regular” pinball machine before they gave up on that and went all-in on gambling machines (Revenge From Mars would be their final-final game). Because the focus at the time was all about making Pinball 2000 a success, only 908 CC units were produced, making this one fairly hard to find. To add to the injury, it’s a fantastic game – well-rated by players in general, although apparently the game code was never finished, which hampers the potential there. The only time I came across it was at the Pinball Hall of Fame, I was both surprised and impressed by how much personality they packed into it.
Now the Chicago Gaming Company has been making a name for themselves in pinball circles over the past few years by remaking certain Bally/Midway/Williams classics, including Medieval Madness, Attack From Mars, and Monster Bash. They’ve worked with Planetary Pinball Supply & Stern to help produce them, and the quality (from what I’ve seen along with hearing others talk about) has been top-notch. They’ve also created different models, with higher-end models coming with more features like ColorDMD’s and nice toppers.
The Cactus Canyon remake was announced at the Southern Fried Gaming Expo, which just started yesterday. All the info I’ve been able to find about it comes from this post on Pinside; Here are some details curated for you:
- Will be produced in three models, just like the other CGC remakes
- Uses CGC’s new “Pinball OS”
- The consulted with the original CC team to understand the intent and will be offering a complete code
- The game will have remake firmware as well as new enhanced code
- One of the game programmers is Sam Zehr – whom I believe is the same principle programmer of Midway’s CarnEvil (aka “Spooky Sam”)
- Uses an XLCD display, RGB LED lighting and an interactive topper will be available
- Production is already underway, units will likely begin shipping to customers in about 8 weeks (so October)
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but I imagine that it will be soon. It’s also unknown at this point whether or not it will use a fan code known as “Cactus Canyon Continued,” which was designed to patch up the areas where the original code was lacking.
SEC Files Charges Against deeproot Pinball Founder Robert J. Mueller
Now for the bad news. As always when it comes to a legal issue like this, everything here is alleged, as the accused is innocent until proven guilty. That said, there appears to be a lot of strong evidence against him, and the company still hasn’t delivered on their first promised pinball machine, despite taking in thousands of dollars for it 9 months ago; Their Facebook page also seems to have vanished, although the website is still up at the moment.
We’ve been covering deeproot Pinball for a while now (they insist on the name being spelled without capital letters), although not in grand detail. I met with some of the guys working for deeproot – not the accused, but some of the animators, and one of the game designers, back when they suddenly appeared at the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention a couple of years ago to talk about animation as well as pinball stuff. Unfortunately, they had to be coy about their first game, Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland, which wasn’t officially announced until December of last year. Despite promising at that time to deliver on them soon, a number of excuses started coming out from the company, employees quit and as of right now as mentioned, no paying customer has received their game.
Aside from all that though, deeproot Pinball is just one of the various companies that Mr. Mueller has, and the SEC filing, which is a civil suit, not a criminal one, makes a number of allegations against him based upon the bigger picture of all those companies. This particular stems from deeproot Funds, alleging that he fleeced 300 investors out of a total of $58 million, then used those funds for a variety of personal expenses, including private school for his daughter, gifts for his 2nd then 3rd wives, a condo in Hawaii, etc. Pinball News also has a story about this that summarizes additional details.
Given that you can’t find a trace of deeproot pinball on social media now – no more Facebook, no LinkedIn, and the fact that they weren’t answering customer concerns for months and months now, RAZA isn’t happening. This feels much like the Skit-B scam that took place several years ago, although on a grander scale. It’s also a lesson for anyone getting into the scene to take anyone’s claims with a grain of salt until they can actually produce what they claim to be able to do.
Quick Correction: Star Wars Episode I was the final pinball table Williams produced before the division was shuttered in October 1999 (Revenge from Mars – released a few months earlier – was just the last one of theirs under “Bally” branding)
This reminds me of Rick Hutchins, the brother of Chris Hutchins who owns highendpins.com. Rick stole THHOUSANDS FROM ME AND MANY OTHERS.