Get your pinball wizard on with a throwback in more ways than one. There’s something about classic arcade games that you just crave over Fortnite or Legend of Zelda. Sometimes a break from the screen is needed. Who remembers the flashing lights and tempting sounds of a pinball machine? There’s a draw to pinball machines and this classic just never goes out of style.
History of pinball
Full of detail and definitely challenging, pinball machines were one of the earliest forms of gaming. It was in the late 1700s when the coiled spring and plunger were introduced to a game called bagatelle, which paved the way for the pinball machines we know and love today. The 1930s saw major advances to pinball design, including electrification and active bumpers. Gottlieb’s Humpty Dumpty first introduced flippers in 1947, keeping the ball in play longer. Pinball was catapulted into the realm of electronic gaming in the 1970s with the introduction of solid-state electronics and digital displays. Although coin-operated video games saw a decline, they made a comeback in the 1990s. However, at the end of the decade, many pinball manufacturers closed their doors. Another revival came in the 2000s thanks to smaller independent manufacturers and pinball has been back in the game since then.
Stern Pinball’s rise
In the late 90s as big pinball manufacturers shifted focus to other gaming platforms, Stern Pinball came into play. Bigwigs in the industry like Williams and Sega left pinball in the past and paved the way for smaller companies. Gary Stern, who ran Data East/Sega pinball since 1986, acquired Sega’s pinball division and founded Stern Pinball, Inc. Recent Stern titles include The Beatles, Deadpool, Metallica, Game of Thrones, Batman, Star Wars, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Earlier this year, the game company revealed its latest title, something a bit more old school: The Munsters.
A classic show for a classic game
The Munsters was a mid-1960s macabre-themed sitcom on CBS that rivaled ABC’s The Addams Family. The series focused on a family of monsters, including a Frankenstein’s monster-type head of the household, his vampire wife, and their half-vampire, half-werewolf son. The Munsters was a satire of both traditional monster movies as well sa the wholesome family sitcom, popular in the 60s. The show was added to Stern’s repertoire because of its timelessness and iconic status.
A supernaturally cool pinball and Munsters experience
Stern’s latest title will transport players to 1313 Mockingbird Lane, where they will join the whole Munsters clan on a steel ball adventure. The machines are available in Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition models. Beautiful hand-drawn artwork inspired by the supernatural family and heavy attention to detail make this classic machine a must-have for any nostalgic gamer or fan. All models include a pop-up Spot bash toy hidden under the left ramp, a custom sculpted Drag-U-La toy car by a left shooter lane kicker, and a metal turn-around, flip-up ramp.
For those Grandpa fans who loved the over-the-hill vampire’s stories of the good old days, the Premium and Limited Edition models highlight his beloved lab. Those models also have a lower playerfield and features two mini flippers, two ramps, a Grandpa bash target, a digital number display, and a multiball feature. While all models feature unique cabinet art, the Premium version is decked out with a full black-and-white art package. It’s a throwback to those classic black-and-white TV days.
The Limited Edition includes additional unique features, like a mirrored backglass, anti-reflection pinball glass, and shaker motor. It also has exclusive custom art blades, a custom autographed bottom arch, and a plaque with its edition number. The model features custom casket-themed cabinet artwork. Only 600 units will be available globally.
While the subject matter is old school, the tech definitely isn’t. Stern uses a powerful SPIKE electronic hardware system, which blasts HD graphics and stunning animations on the HD video display. The SPIKE system also reduces energy usage and system complexity, so it’s reliable and easy to service. It also powers a high-fidelity 3-channel audio system that is three times more powerful than previous generations of audio systems.
The Pro Model will run you $5,999, Premium $7,599, and Limited Edition $8,999. Learn More