Pinball manufacturers today
As an overview we’ve collected to a compact bunch which pinball manufacturers exist on the market at the moment, that can be taken seriously (besides the well-known market leader Stern – http://www.sternpinball.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/sternpinball).
Jersey Jack Pinball starts our palette. Their first machine (equipped with a color LCD) was The Wizard of Oz released last year, which is expected to be followed by The Hobbit (based on similar technology) at the end of this year (roughly the same time when the third episode of the trilogy is screened in cinemas).
The next manufacturer of our little panorama is Zidware Pinball led by John Popadiuk, who has already designed several Williams/Bally games (for example World Cup Soccer, Theatre of Magic, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Cirqus Voltaire, Star Wars Episode I). Pinball machines hopefully expected from them are Zombie Adventureland, Magic Girl and Alice in Wonderland.
The Spanish Quetzal Pinball’s creation Captain Nemo Dives Again is also quite interesting with its LCD screen integrated into the playfield. If you would like to order one, you’ll only be put on a waiting list because of the very limited quantity.
Skit-B Pinball made its Duck Hunt pin from a Valiant pinball machine (Williams, 1962), which recalls the Nintendo game of the same name, but their Predator pinball (based on the film) coming out soon seems more exciting (using the P-ROC controller).
Whizbang Pinball’s retro attempt is definitely noteworthy too: it is Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons. The designer is Dennis Nordman, whose name is attached to pinballs like Blackwater 100, Elvira and the Party Monsters, White Water, Scared Stiff and the Pirates of the Caribbean.
We don’t hear much of the Spanish company Marsaplay these days, but they appear to be active on the stage. In 2010 they released the basketball-themed pinball New Canasta, which is a new version of INDER’s Canasta 86 (from 1986).
http://www.marsaplay.com/ (right now their home page is off)
Tilt Warning Customs converts existing pinball machines into unique, hand-painted pins. Like Evil Mansion and Luther’s Vendetta.
The UK-based Heighway Pinball’s ongoing projects are Circe’s Animal House and the motorcycle themed Full Throttle (both with built-in LCD monitors into the playfield). The latter one is close to release, the graphic artist of the backglass and cabinet art is Doug Watson (F-14 Tomcat, Swords of Fury, Black Knight 2000, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Getaway: High Speed II, Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure, Attack from Mars etc.).
The modular and multi-gaming pinball platform called P3 was presented by Multimorphic. The company comes up with its machine at the end of the year, which includes the games Lexy Lightspeed – Galaxy Girl and Cosmic Cart Racing for now.
Since 2010 Retro Pinball has been faithfully producing Gottlieb’s popular electro-mechanical pinball King of Diamonds (1967) in limited quantities (armed with modern technology).
Dutch Pinball has already been mentioned in our former news (Bride of Pinbot 2.0 and The Big Lebowski™ Pinball coming next year).
We must also say a few words about Planetary Pinball Supply’s Medieval Madness remake machine, which will be actually virtually identical to the highly acclaimed original.
The P-ROC system/board is worth a small detour too, as besides Bride of Pinbot 2.0 other revised pins use it as well, such as Cactus Canyon Continued, Deadpin, The Demolition Man on Steroids, The Kugler Family, The Matrix, the aforementioned Predator and the Wrath of Olympus. This list is certainly going to grow more and more in the future.
Pinball Controllers: http://www.pinballcontrollers.com/
Finally – although here we’re not speaking of a new entire pinball at all – ColorDMD’s colored dot matrix displays are closing our thoughts, which can excellently replace the older orange dot screens of some famous pinball machines already released (Scared Stiff, White Water, Medieval Madness, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Theatre of Magic, Monster Bash, Attack from Mars, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Addams Family).
We are continuing our inspection of present-day pinball market. This time we’re going to have a brief look at the machines of some more – wholeheartedly operating and committed – marginal pin makers.
The first one to be presented in our review is a strange and inventive pinball machine (Trilogy Brewing Co.) created by an American guy called Doug. This is actually a beer serving pinball equipped with LCD panels, which lets you pour the golden nectar into the mug through its integrated tap, if you reach a certain score. The playfield of the game is a hand-painted re-theme of Bally’s Star Trek (1979), but most of the other components are completely custom and unique.
Spooky Pinball will come up soon with the ghost hunting-themed America’s Most Haunted (aka Ghost Squad), which is packed with tons of extras and designed by Ben Heck, who is well-known to most of us from the world of video games. Their second machine, the funny “Pinball Zombies from Beyond the Grave…” can’t escape our attention either, which is not to be confused with Popadiuk-led Zidware Pinball’s Zombie Adventureland, of course (note: aforementioned Internet celebrity Ben Heck is involved in the development of both zombie-explorer pins as well).
Let’s stay a bit more at spooks and horror. Another pinball maker from the U.S. nicknamed Linolium (Lin) is right now busy working on a new Pinball 2000 kit titled Haunted Cruise. We’ll certainly be able to get it to working in our Pin2k machine (Revenge from Mars, Star Wars Episode I) by a simple exchange of playfields, so it must be an easy install, although we have to wait for this ghost ship-themed game until at least 2015.
The following pin appears to be one of our favorites: this is the atmospheric Outbreak Pinball Adventure (with a playfield-embedded LCD screen) constructed by the German Insert Coin Pinball. Especially interesting feature is a light gun mounted on the coin door which is used to shoot at the backbox-mounted zombie head and a rotating gun on the apron to shoot the ball at playfield features. It seems that only about a dozen copies of this awesome zombie-themed table can be expected (and not sooner than the end of the year).
Homepin implements the British science fiction television series Thunderbirds into pinball, which will use a conventional dot matrix display instead of nowadays’ favored LCD monitors. You can count on its arrival next year.
Such news also surfaced that as an individual initiative a reproduction run is probably going to be manufactured of The Pinball Circus (1994) which only existed in a prototype form (2 pieces were ever made) and coveted by many of us with its totally surprising design. This is all courtesy of the original designer Python Anghelo (Grand Lizard, PIN•BOT, Big Guns, Cyclone, Hurricane etc).
Illinois Pinball already proved its skills in 2007 when they produced an authentic remake of Capcom’s Big Bang Bar (1996). Now they announced that they’re planning to faithfully reproduce Capcom’s incredibly rare Kingpin (1996, 9 copies manufactured), which might go on sale in a few years. Hopefully they won’t shut down the project as they did back then with the Cactus Canyon repro. We’ll see.
Australian rock band Tumbleweed also received their own pinball (Tumbleweed Pinball), of which only one was made in 2013 by the hands of an Aussie technician called Kaboom to whom can be tied the newly introduced The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy pin too (using holographic effects), that may debut at the end of the summer season.
In 2008 Pinball-Dreams was asked by the famous magazine Penthouse Germany to give birth to a new pinball table named Penthouse in the retro design of the 70’s. They fulfilled the request.
As we reach the end of our pinball panorama today, we have only some vague information left here: a plenty of signs point to the direction that Skillshot Pinball will also release a pinball machine sometime, but for the time being this game is heavily shrouded.