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New Stern insider connected system.

cmrl9

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Yeah, that’s the problem. We don’t have a workshop space right now. We don’t even have somewhere that I could reasonably spray a cab before redecaling. Otherwise, I’d be gunning to have a bash with our FT.

I keep wanting to have a workshop space where I could, for example, take apart an old EM and put it back together over a period of several months. All the mechanical aspects to (old) pinball machines absolutely fascinate me.


Yes. I played my four year old about 30 minutes of LOTR gameplay (someone getting close to Valinor) to ensure that none of the graphics scared him. I was a little worried about Shelob and the Ringwraiths, but it appears the “big spider” is now one of his favourite parts of the game.

I actually played Stranger Things around the same time as we got LOTR and enjoyed it so much (as it’s similar to MM and AFM) that I briefly considered whether I should get that instead, but the video clip of the Demogorgon bursting out of the wall would (probably) give the little guy nightmares. I say (probably) because, knowing my older son, he would get really into ‘hitting the big monster’ in the same way that he enjoys fighting Martians and destroying castles.


Call Pinball Heaven and you can put your name down on a waiting list. Phil (I think that’s the name of the owner) isn’t taking any money right now because he doesn’t have a firm date for the reprint or any confirmation it is definitely happening (although CGC would be leaving money on the table if they didn’t do another print run).
Thanks, Ive spoken to Phil many times, he repaired my STTNG boards, also I picked up some new glass and bits off him when I was last over, his place is difficult to find in the dark "lol"

I give him a call and see what the price estimate and stuff is. I'm guessing it will be around £10K which is a lot of money, alough I suppose if I sell the LOTR on ebay I might get nearer that, but I would prefer it to go to a forum member at a fair price. Im in the process of collecting bits and mods for it to fit nearer Christmas.
 

cmrl9

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Thanks, Ive spoken to Phil many times, he repaired my STTNG boards, also I picked up some new glass and bits off him when I was last over, his place is difficult to find in the dark "lol"

I give him a call and see what the price estimate and stuff is. I'm guessing it will be around £10K which is a lot of money, alough I suppose if I sell the LOTR on ebay I might get nearer that, but I would prefer it to go to a forum member at a fair price. Im in the process of collecting bits and mods for it to fit nearer Christmas.
Unfortuantely I don't have space for more than one machine :(
 

Homepin

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Here is my take on pinball in general - some won't agree I know but each is entitled to our thoughts.

Pinball is a MECHANICAL device - first and foremost ABOVE ALL ELSE! You can electrify it to make it better, add lights, electromagnets, gadgets and MECHANICAL things that enhance the MECHANICAL operation of this unique MECHANICAL machine.

Adding things like internet connection is just as dumb as connecting your fridge or washing machine to the internet, yes, they are doing that as well and it is the most idiotic thing I have every heard ! What's next, connect your toilet so you know when your neighbour has a crap and the toilet automatically restocks the loo rolls?

Connecting a pinball machine - remember, it is primarily a MECHANICAL machine - to the internet, reeks of a designer/engineer/company looking to fix a problem that never existed in the first place.

Our philosophy at Homepin is to pack as much MECHANICAL action into our machines as we are able to. Some didn't see that in Thunderbirds because they were too busy crowing about how bad the lock down bar was or the flipper buttons 'hurt their fingers'.

TAG had a motorised T2 ramp with shaking trees, a sliding pool and launching T1 through the pool, a tilting and drilling The Mole action toy and the topper has an animated T5. ALL MECHANICAL things.

When you start adding things like internet connectivity you are taking away from the mechanical aspect of this unique machine and it will surely fade and wither away because there will be no point of difference to a video game.

I'm sad that we have added an LCD monitor to our new MECHANICAL pinball machine because it takes away from pinball IMO. We have retained the DMD because, to me, that was the pinnacle of MECHANICAL pinball development. A campy, poor resolution DMD with crude animations - FANTASTIC!

My thoughts are cemented by the proven fact that almost all DMD era games command nearly the same prices today (30 years later) that a brand new pinball machine does. Ask yourself why that is? If the latest machines are 'so fantastic' why is everyone clamoring to buy 30 year old machines for the same price?

My Conclusion: Take away mechanical things from pinball and add too much video game/internet and pinball will wither and die.
 

Homepin

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Sako-TRG

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^^^ I prefer to press buttons.
“Alexa turn the lights on”
… lol
Looked cool seeing potential tech like this in the 80s but now, to me it’s just cheesy.
 

Neil McRae

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Here is my take on pinball in general - some won't agree I know but each is entitled to our thoughts.

Pinball is a MECHANICAL device - first and foremost ABOVE ALL ELSE! You can electrify it to make it better, add lights, electromagnets, gadgets and MECHANICAL things that enhance the MECHANICAL operation of this unique MECHANICAL machine.

Adding things like internet connection is just as dumb as connecting your fridge or washing machine to the internet, yes, they are doing that as well and it is the most idiotic thing I have every heard ! What's next, connect your toilet so you know when your neighbour has a crap and the toilet automatically restocks the loo rolls?

Connecting a pinball machine - remember, it is primarily a MECHANICAL machine - to the internet, reeks of a designer/engineer/company looking to fix a problem that never existed in the first place.

Our philosophy at Homepin is to pack as much MECHANICAL action into our machines as we are able to. Some didn't see that in Thunderbirds because they were too busy crowing about how bad the lock down bar was or the flipper buttons 'hurt their fingers'.

TAG had a motorised T2 ramp with shaking trees, a sliding pool and launching T1 through the pool, a tilting and drilling The Mole action toy and the topper has an animated T5. ALL MECHANICAL things.

When you start adding things like internet connectivity you are taking away from the mechanical aspect of this unique machine and it will surely fade and wither away because there will be no point of difference to a video game.

I'm sad that we have added an LCD monitor to our new MECHANICAL pinball machine because it takes away from pinball IMO. We have retained the DMD because, to me, that was the pinnacle of MECHANICAL pinball development. A campy, poor resolution DMD with crude animations - FANTASTIC!

My thoughts are cemented by the proven fact that almost all DMD era games command nearly the same prices today (30 years later) that a brand new pinball machine does. Ask yourself why that is? If the latest machines are 'so fantastic' why is everyone clamoring to buy 30 year old machines for the same price?

My Conclusion: Take away mechanical things from pinball and add too much video game/internet and pinball will wither and die.

No pinball is not mechanical - it’s haptic. It’s a combination of actions and reactions - what is important is the reactions which is driven from the actions. The scoring and progress on games is important - how many times have we talked about getting to horde or rolling meteor or getting to valinor or becoming the king on medieval. These systems that connect the game to the internet are no different to when pinball went from mechanical scoring to digits to alphanumerics to dmd to LCD. And pinball will find new players and it will grow because todays and tomorrows generation of kids just expect it to be like that.

So imagine you’ve got the horde achievement - you are in a club of the cool l, or you roll embryon during a tournament game and you get special recognition - none of that changes the game of pinball - it changes the reactions and folks are going to love it!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

Homepin

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No pinball is not mechanical - it’s haptic. It’s a combination of actions and reactions - what is important is the reactions which is driven from the actions. The scoring and progress on games is important - how many times have we talked about getting to horde or rolling meteor or getting to valinor or becoming the king on medieval. These systems that connect the game to the internet are no different to when pinball went from mechanical scoring to digits to alphanumerics to dmd to LCD. And pinball will find new players and it will grow because todays and tomorrows generation of kids just expect it to be like that.

So imagine you’ve got the horde achievement - you are in a club of the cool l, or you roll embryon during a tournament game and you get special recognition - none of that changes the game of pinball - it changes the reactions and folks are going to love it!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
All below is merely my opinion, others may have differing ideas.

One thing above all else, pinball is NOT a video game or anything related to video/screens etc. Putting an LCD in a pinball machine (to me) is the thin edge of the wedge.

You want a video game connected to the internet? Off you go, there are literally thousands upon thousands of them out there, no need to pollute pinball machines with the same rubbish.

I couldn't give a toss about "getting the horde achievement" or any of the other supposed wonderful, exciting achievements you mention that would make me "cool". I don't need c.r.a.p. like that to make me "feel cool". I'm just not interested. People that need this kind of thing to make them feel cool, well, that's pretty sad.

I play pinball for MY enjoyment and MY fun not to become involved in some online BS with strangers. What a crock, akin to stalking IMO.

Have fun with your insider trading or whatever "trendy" name they have given it. It all sounds 100% like marketing spin and hype with no substance and that makes my stomach turn!

I'll keep making real pinball machines, reluctantly with a screen but I'm keeping the DMD. None of this phony marketing rubbish has any relevance to what we are doing as we are sticking to our smaller customer base who are very happy NOT to have rubbish like this foisted upon them.

That's the beauty of being a small family business, we don't have any need nor desire to keep "feeding the machine" that larger companies are compelled to do to stay in business.
 

Neil McRae

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Man you sure have to convince yourself it’s crap! I’m usually brief! [emoji28]

The points you make come from having no knowledge and great ignorance of why this is great. I expect many not to like it because they are ignorant much in the same way there are bozos out there that won’t play SS games or bozos that won’t play EMs.

Here is the Scorbit leaderboard for AIQ - I know everyone on it despite the fact they are in three continents!


44528f729830f356938f2cb2780b3261.png






44528f729830f356938f2cb2780b3261.png



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

Homepin

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You 100% miss my entire point.

I play pinball FOR ME, not to get involved in competition or anything else, I don't want that and I'm not interested.

Nothing is more boring (to me) than playing pinball for "a sport".
 

AlanJ

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But Mike, you are also making pinballs to sell commercially. you will probably get asked by your customers at some time in the future to add internet connectivity. eg a scorbit link. i can honestly say it adds to the fun. it’s optional, ie some use it some don’t. if it ever got in the way of playing pinball i’d remove it.
 

VeeMonroe

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it will grow because todays and tomorrows generation of kids just expect it to be like that.

So imagine you’ve got the horde achievement - you are in a club of the cool l, or you roll embryon during a tournament game and you get special recognition - none of that changes the game of pinball - it changes the reactions and folks are going to love it!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

But Mike, you are also making pinballs to sell commercially. you will probably get asked by your customers at some time in the future to add internet connectivity. eg a scorbit link. i can honestly say it adds to the fun. it’s optional, ie some use it some don’t. if it ever got in the way of playing pinball i’d remove it.

I think there are several different issues here:

a) Scorbit functionality, i.e. sharing scores from a specific pinball machine online. This is, as Neil points out, a useful feature. It makes running tournaments easier and it allows people to compare scores with friends.

b) Other internet awards stuff, e.g. special awards, prizes, recognition or arbitrary achievements. This seems to be some argument relating to 'young people' and how this will bring them into the pinballing hobby. Ultimately, most 'achievements' are not 'cool' to young people. The internet is like water or electricity for most people my age and younger, gamification is commonplace and, as such, you can get 'achievements' for literally everything, including walking for 30 minutes. The Williams and Pinball Arcade apps are full of these sorts of 'achievements' (well done, you hit a target with a ball!) and I don't even look at them, because they're about as useful as getting a badge for walking for 20 minutes on Earth Day. As such, unless you're awarding people for getting to Valinor, or similar, no one is interested in these 'achievements' - no, really, they're not.

c) Internet = more young people. It doesn't. Offline activities involving physical objects are becoming more popular among people my age and younger, with trends like the vinyl renaissance (http://internation.maijcityjournalism.uk/avant-garde/vinyl-renaissance-among-gen-z-during-lockdown/) and board gaming. If you think about the sort of pubs and cafes that have pinball machines, increasingly they're also 'geeky' venues, such as microbreweries, which cater to the 'authenticity' and 'in-person' crowd. So, pinball machines are definitely being targeted to that demographic. Also, board gaming, which is WAYYYY more mainstream than pinball with board game cafes up and down the country, is 99% of the time an offline activity where it is not possible to share your score automatically on the internet. Apps are used very occasionally, but often to allow multiple players to cooperate on a single story or, rarely, to handle complex admin. Most board gamers are in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

d) Additional functionality, e.g. extra Wizard modes, software downloads (and checking for illegal software mods). In my view, if this happens, it is entirely negative for pinball. It's a trend that's coming from video games where games are launched incomplete, and where bugs are removed and extra functions added for an extra price. Ultimately, developers should try to ship games complete, wherever possible, and if you've already spent £10k on a physical object, you should not expect to be paying thousands after the event to 'complete' the game. It's a scummy way of trying to charge £14k for a pinball machine without charging £14k IMO, and it's about as desirable as loot crates.
 

Homepin

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But Mike, you are also making pinballs to sell commercially. you will probably get asked by your customers at some time in the future to add internet connectivity. eg a scorbit link. i can honestly say it adds to the fun. it’s optional, ie some use it some don’t. if it ever got in the way of playing pinball i’d remove it.
Sure, I get the point but there are already far too many things that are putting price pressure UPWARDS and this is something that I can see would easily add many $$ to the cost of manufacture BUT only keep 5% of our customers happy. Already TAP is going to retail for far more than I ever wanted it to and this nonsense won't help that.

I investigated Scorebit and it's just far too expensive. If I buy a new car (which I don't but if I was going to) I would NOT order the top of the line model with all the bells and whistles, that's just me though.

Homepin is in an entirely different market segment, we are not catering to the mass buyers of pinball machines and never intend to.

Stern, JJP etc can fight over customers for their mass sales base, they HAVE to to keep "the machine" running, I have no intention or desire to be in that position - ever!

If people don't want to buy one of our machines because it doesn't have internet connectivity or doesn't wipe your nose then that's fine by me.

I'll bet there is not one single Homepin customer that will say "WHAT! - NO internet connection? OUTRAGEOUS! I'M not buying" - not a single one.

If we end up selling less than our target build quantity for a given model one day then we will just move on and make other products - probably not involving the amusement industry. Again, no problem to us.
 

kevlar

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If you're concerned about adding unnecessary additional hardware Mike, why an lcd AND a DMD? You're possibly the only person who thinks that's a good idea.
 

VeeMonroe

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Sure, I get the point but there are already far too many things that are putting price pressure UPWARDS and this is something that I can see would easily add many $$ to the cost of manufacture BUT only keep 5% of our customers happy. Already TAP is going to retail for far more than I ever wanted it to and this nonsense won't help that.

I investigated Scorebit and it's just far too expensive. If I buy a new car (which I don't but if I was going to) I would NOT order the top of the line model with all the bells and whistles, that's just me though.

Homepin is in an entirely different market segment, we are not catering to the mass buyers of pinball machines and never intend to.

Stern, JJP etc can fight over customers for their mass sales base, they HAVE to to keep "the machine" running, I have no intention or desire to be in that position - ever!

If people don't want to buy one of our machines because it doesn't have internet connectivity or doesn't wipe your nose then that's fine by me.

I'll bet there is not one single Homepin customer that will say "WHAT! - NO internet connection? OUTRAGEOUS! I'M not buying" - not a single one.

If we end up selling less than our target build quantity for a given model one day then we will just move on and make other products - probably not involving the amusement industry. Again, no problem to us.
How much cost do you think Scorebit functionality is adding to the price of new machines? And why is it so expensive?
 

Neil McRae

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I think there are several different issues here:

a) Scorbit functionality, i.e. sharing scores from a specific pinball machine online. This is, as Neil points out, a useful feature. It makes running tournaments easier and it allows people to compare scores with friends.

b) Other internet awards stuff, e.g. special awards, prizes, recognition or arbitrary achievements. This seems to be some argument relating to 'young people' and how this will bring them into the pinballing hobby. Ultimately, most 'achievements' are not 'cool' to young people. The internet is like water or electricity for most people my age and younger, gamification is commonplace and, as such, you can get 'achievements' for literally everything, including walking for 30 minutes. The Williams and Pinball Arcade apps are full of these sorts of 'achievements' (well done, you hit a target with a ball!) and I don't even look at them, because they're about as useful as getting a badge for walking for 20 minutes on Earth Day. As such, unless you're awarding people for getting to Valinor, or similar, no one is interested in these 'achievements' - no, really, they're not.

c) Internet = more young people. It doesn't. Offline activities involving physical objects are becoming more popular among people my age and younger, with trends like the vinyl renaissance (http://internation.maijcityjournalism.uk/avant-garde/vinyl-renaissance-among-gen-z-during-lockdown/) and board gaming. If you think about the sort of pubs and cafes that have pinball machines, increasingly they're also 'geeky' venues, such as microbreweries, which cater to the 'authenticity' and 'in-person' crowd. So, pinball machines are definitely being targeted to that demographic. Also, board gaming, which is WAYYYY more mainstream than pinball with board game cafes up and down the country, is 99% of the time an offline activity where it is not possible to share your score automatically on the internet. Apps are used very occasionally, but often to allow multiple players to cooperate on a single story or, rarely, to handle complex admin. Most board gamers are in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

d) Additional functionality, e.g. extra Wizard modes, software downloads (and checking for illegal software mods). In my view, if this happens, it is entirely negative for pinball. It's a trend that's coming from video games where games are launched incomplete, and where bugs are removed and extra functions added for an extra price. Ultimately, developers should try to ship games complete, wherever possible, and if you've already spent £10k on a physical object, you should not expect to be paying thousands after the event to 'complete' the game. It's a scummy way of trying to charge £14k for a pinball machine without charging £14k IMO, and it's about as desirable as loot crates.

As I've noted before on your point c - your old generation isn't the target.

I couldn't disagree more on d). On many games where the code was still being developed, players were able to suggest improvements and changes, Batman '66, Metallica, Walking Dead, Ghostbusters, Black Knight SOR, Led Zeppelin, Jurassic Park are all games that benefited from not having been complete but I actually think there isn't a game that Stern has released that hasn't been made better by the communities feedback - same for JJP and CGC. The simple fact Stern are able to roll this functionality adds to this. Also increasing number of folks hacking the code on older games to add features to them, which lots more people would like to do if they had the skills. Fixes now been applied to games that had major bugs like Meteor, BSD, CFTBL and nine ball which had a bug in it that would effectively kill the game you where playing now works 100%. Was there not even an update for Thunderbirds?

Neil.
 

Neil McRae

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Sure, I get the point but there are already far too many things that are putting price pressure UPWARDS and this is something that I can see would easily add many $$ to the cost of manufacture BUT only keep 5% of our customers happy. Already TAP is going to retail for far more than I ever wanted it to and this nonsense won't help that.

I investigated Scorebit and it's just far too expensive. If I buy a new car (which I don't but if I was going to) I would NOT order the top of the line model with all the bells and whistles, that's just me though.

Homepin is in an entirely different market segment, we are not catering to the mass buyers of pinball machines and never intend to.

Stern, JJP etc can fight over customers for their mass sales base, they HAVE to to keep "the machine" running, I have no intention or desire to be in that position - ever!

If people don't want to buy one of our machines because it doesn't have internet connectivity or doesn't wipe your nose then that's fine by me.

I'll bet there is not one single Homepin customer that will say "WHAT! - NO internet connection? OUTRAGEOUS! I'M not buying" - not a single one.

If we end up selling less than our target build quantity for a given model one day then we will just move on and make other products - probably not involving the amusement industry. Again, no problem to us.

From a development POV, if you are using PC style Linux embedded systems as the MPU for your games (every other manufacturer on the planet is doing this) then adding something like scorbit is the price of a USB wifi dongle (about $5).
 

Sven Normansson

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As you're getting it no matter what when now buying a new stern, doesn't it mean the end of scorebit? Bit like betamax vs vhs. Sure jjp isn't going to keep it afloat and site games will want what draws punters and like it or not, this is the kind of thing people want.
 

VeeMonroe

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As I've noted before on your point c - your old generation isn't the target.
Given the youngest of ‘my generation’, i.e. millennials, are 23 years old (https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/609811/age-ranges-millennials-and-generation-z) and the oldest of Generation Z are involved in the vinyl renaissance (see previous linked article), which generation are Stern going for, in your opinion? Teenagers? Kids of my sons’ age?

You are aware that Lenore Skenazy was named ‘worst mum in the USA’ for allowing her nine year old to ride the NY subway unaccompanied, and the UK isn’t much better for this, so there is a fixed limit to the age group who can visit arcades without their parents - and it’s much higher than it was in the 80s/90s.
 

Neil McRae

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You 100% miss my entire point.

I play pinball FOR ME, not to get involved in competition or anything else, I don't want that and I'm not interested.

Nothing is more boring (to me) than playing pinball for "a sport".

so why care about if its online or not?
 

Neil McRae

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As you're getting it no matter what when now buying a new stern, doesn't it mean the end of scorebit? Bit like betamax vs vhs. Sure jjp isn't going to keep it afloat and site games will want what draws punters and like it or not, this is the kind of thing people want.

betamax vs vhs boomer style thinking 🤣
 

Neil McRae

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Given the youngest of ‘my generation’, i.e. millennials, are 23 years old (https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/609811/age-ranges-millennials-and-generation-z) and the oldest of Generation Z are involved in the vinyl renaissance (see previous linked article), which generation are Stern going for, in your opinion? Teenagers? Kids of my sons’ age?

You are aware that Lenore Skenazy was named ‘worst mum in the USA’ for allowing her nine year old to ride the NY subway unaccompanied, and the UK isn’t much better for this, so there is a fixed limit to the age group who can visit arcades without their parents - and it’s much higher than it was in the 80s/90s.

all those arcades that are out there? :D

They are after the teenage to 25 bracket, and if you ever attend a big tournament in the US you'll see why.

Neil.
 

Homepin

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Perhaps Darren - but it is more of a HLD or Liberty games type of thing to sell.
Not pinball.
More of an ornamental thing, once you play it a bit - will soon get boring but would look good in a games room granted.

Nevermind the flyer posted above - it's fake.

Don't stress, you didn't leak it, were all excited and rooting for you mate. Great theme!!

From a development POV, if you are using PC style Linux embedded systems as the MPU for your games (every other manufacturer on the planet is doing this) then adding something like scorbit is the price of a USB wifi dongle (about $5).
You really don't get it do you. Just because some others use a PC motherboard worth 100 bucks to run their 10k machine DOES NOT make it good or even desirable. Stern don't do this because they know better. I'm not into PCs nor am I a computer junky or guru. I don't care about computers. I'm just not interested in playing the “must manufacture millions of games and make as much money as possible ”. I don't need the agro or the money so why would I bother? Do you understand yet?
 

VeeMonroe

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all those arcades that are out there? :D

They are after the teenage to 25 bracket, and if you ever attend a big tournament in the US you'll see why.

Neil.
Okay. For me, an 'arcade' is a large room with a low ceiling at a British seaside resort with a grubby industrial carpet, which mostly has coin pushers and ride-on machines for toddlers. From reading Neuromancer and Ready Player One, I'm assuming an 'arcade' in the 90s didn't look like that. Thus, I'm taking 'arcade' here to mean a cafe, bar or other entertainment venue with one or more pinball machines. There is a lower limit to the age that you can encounter pinball machines at that sort of venue without parental involvement.

There are a large number of board gamers, vinyl record fans and analogue photo film addicts (why, oh why?) in their twenties, in the UK, and most people in their twenties are millennials. I don't know enough teenagers to be able to comment. I know there are more arcades in the States than in the UK, because I've looked, and - in general - pinball is a bigger thing over there. However, *if* there aren't many 'arcades' in the States either, I'm wondering where - exactly - all the teenagers and 20-somethings are encountering pinball *unless* they're playing pinball online first and then looking for physical machines. In the latter case, unfortunately, they're looking for a specifically *physical* experience or else they'd just carry on playing Williams Pinball, Pinball FX, PinOut and Pinball Arcade...

As a side point, there's no point in *selling* pinball machines to teenagers and 20-somethings, because they can't afford them, so they *have* to be playing them in a bar, bowling alley or similar venue instead. Or, as I say, they've encountered an online implementation of a physical object and have decided to take it offline.
 

Jib

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Whether it's a success or not, sometimes companies have to try things to survive. Yes, Stern have a massive backlog right now but they are trying to plan for the future, for future buyers or for a future where location play beats out home ownership again. I'm not super excited about it, if I could save £200 by not having it on my next NIB I probably would but I'm willing to reserve full judgement until I've tried it at least. People assume they know what the next generation of buyers will want but no one does. I didn't even know I wanted a pinball machine a year ago so you don't even know who the next buyers are let alone what they want. It's fine to say 'I don't want this right now' but you cant assume to know what people who will buy machines will want in the future.

I do think Stern could have saved some backlash by making it an option on re-runs and only making it standard on new releases but I also get pushing it on people may be what makes it work. All the time people think I don't like this thing and then try it and think oh that's alright/ good! Happens all the time with new IT systems in workplaces, people don't like them at first then come round to realising its better.
 

Juggler Spencer

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Aug 24, 2021
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Here is my take on pinball in general - some won't agree I know but each is entitled to our thoughts.

Pinball is a MECHANICAL device - first and foremost ABOVE ALL ELSE! You can electrify it to make it better, add lights, electromagnets, gadgets and MECHANICAL things that enhance the MECHANICAL operation of this unique MECHANICAL machine.

Adding things like internet connection is just as dumb as connecting your fridge or washing machine to the internet, yes, they are doing that as well and it is the most idiotic thing I have every heard ! What's next, connect your toilet so you know when your neighbour has a crap and the toilet automatically restocks the loo rolls?

Connecting a pinball machine - remember, it is primarily a MECHANICAL machine - to the internet, reeks of a designer/engineer/company looking to fix a problem that never existed in the first place.

Our philosophy at Homepin is to pack as much MECHANICAL action into our machines as we are able to. Some didn't see that in Thunderbirds because they were too busy crowing about how bad the lock down bar was or the flipper buttons 'hurt their fingers'.

TAG had a motorised T2 ramp with shaking trees, a sliding pool and launching T1 through the pool, a tilting and drilling The Mole action toy and the topper has an animated T5. ALL MECHANICAL things.

When you start adding things like internet connectivity you are taking away from the mechanical aspect of this unique machine and it will surely fade and wither away because there will be no point of difference to a video game.

I'm sad that we have added an LCD monitor to our new MECHANICAL pinball machine because it takes away from pinball IMO. We have retained the DMD because, to me, that was the pinnacle of MECHANICAL pinball development. A campy, poor resolution DMD with crude animations - FANTASTIC!

My thoughts are cemented by the proven fact that almost all DMD era games command nearly the same prices today (30 years later) that a brand new pinball machine does. Ask yourself why that is? If the latest machines are 'so fantastic' why is everyone clamoring to buy 30 year old machines for the same price?

My Conclusion: Take away mechanical things from pinball and add too much video game/internet and pinball will wither and die.
Pinball is analogue not digital; physical and real world reactions, not code and an internal timing clock.
Hell, my ToM plays differently once it has warmed up!
Can you really compete fairly with another machine over the internet?
It does seem a bit of an overkill to string-up pinballs to talk to apps. I'm with the 'leave the poor machines off the internet' brigade, especially if it means that it becomes a $200+ mandatory extra with any new machine.
The only time I can really see a benefit is logging scores at a tournament. That does make sense but that is a very specific requirement.
My advice; Grab some beer and go to a mates house, rack up a two player game and have a blast!
 

Wayne J

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My views on the POTENTIAL uses of connectivity.

Being able to pull a log of what shots are being made, features started/completed etc.
This will be provide great feedback as to what the people playing the machine are actually shooting for. As @Neil McRae said earlier, lots of games have benefitted from code updates after players have discovered bugs or exploits, or even suggested completely new modes/features. This is surely a massive bonus in the development and design of future games, improving the chances of a game being released closer to complete.
I often go through the audits to see what modes I am completing more often than others, meaning I can make informed decisions as to which will benefit me more.

Being able to download updates without the need for memory stick
Not a huge improvement, but still an improvement - and likely to be optional anyway.

Logging 'achievements'
Take it or leave it, but I suspect more people will be taking it than they think they will. You only have to look at the high score thread here, or the talk about reaching Valinor, or any other wizard mode, to see how much people are invested in reaching these. This will make it not only easier for you to display this (I'm amazed at how many people feel the need to share their meals on Instagram or Twitter FFS) people will be doing this.
It will also steer you towards areas of the game that you may not even know existed, let alone achieved.

Downloading DLC
To me this is my biggest fear. That there will be modes that can only be played if you subscribe and/or pay for them. Although this will be possible, there is yet no evidence that this is the intention.

Identifying non-Stern mods/Hacks
It's already in the T&Cs when you download latest code from the Stern website that you won't add anything non-approved without written authorisation from Stern. This would allow them to identify if you did.
Again this could be a concern. Could Stern really brick your machine if you installed non-Stern code? Would they? Or would it just invalidate any guarantee, regardless of whether the add-on caused the problem.
If you want to add a non-Stern shaker motor, because it is cheaper, that's the risk you take. You can hardly expect Stern to honour a warranty if you've caused it by adding something non-Stern and it blows a node board.
No Cleland code, no hacked modes, no non-Stern mods, could cause some people consternation, but is hardly the end of the world.

Comparing Highscores
I think everyone here can agree that there is no way of comparing scores on different physical games, but people still do. Highscore thread here, Pinside highscores, etc.
What this could do is allow only scores displayed which are played on a certain set-up (Factory, Hard, Easy, whatever).

At the moment all of peoples views are based on pure speculation. I doubt everything that people have suggested will be implemented, and likely things that haven't even been thought about yet will.
The cost is a red herring for new games - cost is based on what Stern (or any other manufacturer) think they can charge and still maximise their supply.
The cost to add to an old game is also irrelevant - if you don't want it there's no need for you pay and fit it.
 

DevilzAvocado

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Sep 18, 2019
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Erm, oops. Sorry. I just put a pack of baccy down on my phone. It must conduct. And it did all that. Sorry. Now I'm the one with all the posts. Oops.
 
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