Welcome to Newsbytes, a series of posts that curates some quick news from around the world of arcades & pinball. We’re a bit heavier on the pinball this week, which is no problem at all. Let’s get to it:
Stern Pinball To Launch Insider Connected This Fall
<operator soapbox activate> I hate to say this, but pinball is so often a bit of a “dog” when it comes to earnings. Yes, there are locations out there where it can do really well(mainly bars), but generally speaking from my own experience, they just don’t make enough to justify how much they cost. This seems to be true regardless of the brand, the features, or the theme, and the only time they stand out is when you run a competition. There are many reasons why I think that this is the case, but regardless, I’ve been finding it frustrating for a while now, as I rotate out various different pins and find that they all do about the same, I update them with mods (official or non-official) and nothing changes, so they all perform well-below what my video pieces make on location. </soapbox off>
Earlier this week, Stern Pinball revealed something that may help in this regard called Insider Connected. It’s a new app & player account system that is designed to drive location play, with various features to reward players. In some ways, it works like LAI Games’ Outnumbered app, although it comes with stuff like an Achievements System. George Gomez of Stern explains it in more detail:
I really do like how the Achievements system and Challenge Quests work, as this once again will help locations. Since a ton of pinball players own the machines at home (which is one of the reasons why pinball on location doesn’t earn well – a lot of the players who would be interested don’t come out to play, unless there’s a competition on, since they have the games at home), those both do things to incentivize hitting up a location to play.
There’s no pricing on the upgrade kits yet, which I assume will be rolling out soon, but either way props to Stern for putting this kind of thing together. Hopefully, it’s something that can solve the soapbox problem above, and make pinball more enticing to add to locations.
More Pinball News To Chomp On
Since we’re talking pinball, here is the full presentation from Chicago Gaming about the upcoming Cactus Canyon remake:
A pinball fan local to me, and a professional animator, is working on changing out April O’Neil from Stern’s recent TMNT game. Not sure how he’ll replace them in the game (there are tools for such things, although I know Stern has been clamping down on such software mods where they can), but it’s certainly looking light-years better than the stock stuff:
Check out this new homebrew pin based on the 1980’s classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Link goes to This Week In Pinball.
And one last pinball piece, footage from the UK Pinfest 2021 event:
Prototype EM Atari Games Olympia Basketball Up For Sale
Caught this on the Arcade Collector’s WorldWide FB Group, where the seller has something that I didn’t even know existed until today. It looks like an attempt to remake Sega’s 1960s electro-mechanical basketball arcade machine, just with 90’s tech and art behind it. Probably failed testing, but makes you wonder if this is the only existing example of it, or if there might be a few more out there. Click on the pics to enlarge them:
Arcade Heroes (Finally) Surpasses 10,000 On YouTube
To celebrate this achievement, which took me far too many years to reach, I did a throwback to my first video on a prototype game known as The Act: An Interactive Comedy. Oddly enough, while I was unable to get past that one particular scene, I’ve had two groups come into my arcade this week and play the game through to the end (it’s a bit random for it to happen like this as I haven’t seen anyone play through it like that since 2019 or so). Either way, thanks for subscribing!
Clever ReSkin Of A UFO Catcher
Thanks to Oga-Shi for the tip. A grocery store in Japan has found a great way to advertise their locally grown shittake mushrooms, with a rebadged UFO Catcher where people play to get shittake mushroom replicas. Read the full story here.
Super Scooter II
I saw this on the Arcade International Facebook page and thought it interesting enough on the hardware side to mention. Most of the time, Western arcade pages like AI’s or ours are inundated by posts from various Chinese companies looking to sell their games. A lot of it I just ignore, but sometimes they share something that doesn’t appear to be a knock-off, like this new scooter game. The game itself is probably nothing special, but the side-by-side swerving scooter design is certainly…interesting. How it works in practice though, dunno.
Frogger To Get A Game Show
What do you do when you have a concept for one of those watersports physical challenge game shows, but nothing really unique or special to make it stand out? Slap an old arcade game name onto it, I guess. This is loosely based on actual Frogger, but I’m sure Konami doesn’t care as long as the checks clear.
[Non-Arcade] The Amico Gets Delayed Again
We’ll end on a joke – When you take the washing machine nature of Sega’s MaiMai to its obvious conclusion 😉 H/T to RhythmPosting for this one.