Keeping the Ball Alive: 30 Years of Stern Pinball


STOP THE PRESS! If you have been looking for a coffee table art book with an inside look at the world’s largest pinball manufacturer, then this Stern Pinball Inc. and PaperFlock collaborative Kickstarter is for you!

Presenting Keeping the Ball Alive: 30 Years of Stern Pinball, a commemorative coffee table art book that will give fans an inside look at the history, design, production, and manufacturing of pinball machines, as well as the people behind them! The 200-page coffee table book will feature over 160 photo pages, colour foldouts, and artwork from thirty years of games. Alongside the photos and artwork will be interviews with important game designers like John Trudeau, Steve Ritchie, George Gomez, John Borg, and many more!

The Book!

To make it even sweeter, fans/backers will get a chance to become part of the books production through PaperFlock’s unique crowd collaboration process. Content will be crafted with input from the projects forum on This gives fans a real sense of ownership in the project. With unprecedented access provided by Stern, there surely will become a highly sort after pinball tome.

The Kickstarter campaign is live and will run for a few weeks yet. So check it out, there are plenty of pledges and rewards to tickle your pinball fancy!

Behind the scenes: Stern prototypes

The Rewards!

We had to back it!

source: Stern Pinball Inc. and Keeping The Ball Alive – Kickstarter


Get Ready For Some Classic Gaming At PAX Aus 2016

paxaus2016_primer_titleGet your nostalgic senses ready, as the PAX Aus Classic Gaming area is back, bigger and better for 2016! We say this every year, but this year is no exception – there will be games that will take you back to your younger years, and you never know, you may discover golden oldies that you may have not known or had forgotten about.

With systems like the Commodore 64, Sega Master System, Sega Dreamcast and the NEC PC-Engine (to name just a few) to tickle your retro gaming fancy, your only problem will be, what to to play first!

If you want a trip down memory lane while at PAX Aus 2016, then make sure you come on over to the Classic Gaming area!

One fire button is all you need to play on the Commodore 64!

Anyone up for some Alex Kidd action?

Shoot’em up action on the Engine that could!

Let’s go make some crazy money!

The PAX Aus Classic Gaming area is proudly brought to you by: ausretrogamer, Bartronica, Bayside Pinball Club, PinballScore, Pinmem, Retro Domination, Weird and Retro and Zax Amusements.


First Impressions: PlayStation VR

psvr_boxedWe’ve had our fair share of Virtual Reality (VR) experience, albeit, from the 1990s. We’ve even written about our walk-through the VR graveyard from two decades ago. When PlayStation announced that they were going to produce a VR add-on for their PS4 console, we reserved judgement till its release. Well, the PS VR is now out and we got our trusted friend and VR aficionado, Alex (aka:Alexpletives), to give us his first impressions based on the ease of setup, design, comfort and most importantly, performance and gaming experience.

Ease of setup:
The first thing that struck me about the PS VR was how easy it was to setup. Once switched on, position your head in the centre of the camera, and that’s it! Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Instructions! Bah, seems easy enough, and it is!

The design is genius, making the plugging in of the bits and pieces an absolute breeze. Just in case there are some of you that want to know how all this VR’ing hangs together, here we go: the VR headset plugs into the extension with the inline remote which features the volume, mute and VR on / off buttons. The other clever design are the raised volume buttons and sunken mute on/off buttons – you’ll always know, by feel, which buttons you are interacting with.

Turn me up!psvr_headphones_vol

All leads lead to the Processor Unit. Each lead is numbered which makes it damn simple to get all plugged in. The best part is, you can connect other systems via HDMI, like the Xbox One!

Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Right off the bat, the PS VR was way more comfortable to wear than the Oculus Rift. When using my Oculus Rift I tend to get quite sweaty, but with the PS VR, I didn’t have such a problem. The strap tightness is cleverly independent of how near the actual headset is to your face. The button under the visor enables it to be moved forward and back independent of the strap. This provides superior comfort as you can have the strap nice and tight, with the the visor just resting against your face. In comparison, the Oculus feels like wearing a diving mask.

Strap me in baby!

Lenses and surrounding rubber – very soft and lovely, oo’er

The PS VR aural experience is provided by in-ear headphones which clip in the inline remote on the main cord running from the PS VR. Volume still comes out of the TV so your guests can hear and see what you’re doing.

And I can’t go without mentioning the lens cloth that comes with the PS VR – it is beautifully embossed with the triangle, circle, X and square buttons, a very nice touch indeed.


Performance and gaming experience:
The very first game that I tried was DRIVECLUB VR. I noticed immediately that the VR version had lost a fair bit of detail compared to its non-VR graphical tour de force counterpart. The vehicle detail was still as good, but track-side detail was vastly cut down (with reduced lighting). You don’t really notice it when racing, but you do if you look around. I’m sure the casual DRIVECLUB VR player will not notice these little niggles, as it doesn’t impact the racing.
Scavengers Odyssey
 source: Playstation
The next experience was provided from VR Worlds, via Scavengers Odyssey – it was damn good! I did suffer some motion sickness, which was generated by moving back and forth and side to side within the game but not in the real world. The brain was seeing you move but no feeling to match it, so that stuffs up spatial awareness. It didn’t make me stop playing (it was that good), but its effects did linger for a few hours.
Ocean Descent
oceandescentsource: Playstation
Also from VR Worlds, I hit Ocean Descent, where you are lowered in a cage deep into the sea. I didn’t do the shark attack part though, as I knew it was scary (it was that real!). The experience was intense – you felt like you were right there in the cage with full 360 degree views, with fish everywhere and an absolutely beautiful manta ray with a 9-foot wing span leisurely gliding about. It was very impressive. There was a nice touch with the light on your helmet spilling light on wherever your head turned.
VR Luge
vrlugesource: Playstation
The other VR Worlds game I tried was VR Luge. This one was a bit of hit and miss. There was a nice sensation of speed, but for some reason the 3D felt flat. Having limited depth perception made it difficult to judge how far things were. Apart from this issue, VR Luge was as good as it could be given the power (when compared to a high-end PC rig with an Oculus Rift).

Overall the performance was as expected, nothing more, nothing less. What PS VR really needs (to succeed) is a VR killer app. Just like Tetris on the Game Boy, the PS VR needs its own special bit of software that can provide its unique experience that would not work without VR.

Final thoughts:
One point that keeps plaguing VR is the inducement of nausea. Whether that goes away the more you use it, I don’t really know. Do astronauts get used to zero gravity? Well, they learn to live with it, don’t they?

Every person I have shown PS VR has been blown away by it. VR is something that can only be appreciated by experience. I could talk until I’m blue in the face about the immersion and instinctive feelings it generates whether they be fear, exhilaration or just plain enjoyment. But experiencing it really is believing.

These are pioneering days of VR, if you discount the crude shenanigans of the 90s. Developers will need time to harness the power of VR which will hopefully lead to wonderful games and experiences. We just have to be patient.

The future is here


alexpletivesAlexisms (aka: Alexpletives)
UK based gamer with a taste for the bleeding edge in gaming. Cystic Fibrosis sufferer, 15 years post heart and double lung transplant, diabetic. You’ve got to laugh, er I think!

Follow Alex on Twitter and Twitch.




Double Dragon: The Complete History

doubledragon_historyIf you have been following our exploits here or on social media, you’ll know that we are massive fans of Technos‘ brilliant 1987 beat’em up arcade game, Double Dragon.

What’s there not to like, two brothers, Billy and Jimmy Lee, set out to rescue Billy’s girl, Marian, from the Black Warriors gang by kicking ten-shades out of every baddie that gets in their way! This co-op game also gave the player the opportunity to grab strewn items, like a whip or baseball bat (among others) to easily dispose of the Black Warriors members.

We could go on and on about this awesome game, but we thought we’d spare you and bring your attention to Double Dragon: The Complete History by Slopes Game Room’s Daniel Ibbertson. Insert coin and enjoy!

Ah, many a coin were pumped into this machine

Double Dragon was converted on myriad of home systems. Let’s not talk about the C64 version *grumble*

The NES conversion was one of the better ones

Even the Atari 2600 conversion was better than the C64 debacle!
doubledragon_history_a2600source: Slopes Game Room


Jersey Jack Pinball Announces The Future Of Pinball

jjpinball_announcementAs we had predicted in our Pinball Expo 2016 feature, Jersey Jack Pinball have announced their newest machines, and let’s just say,  they have hit it out of the proverbial park!

Jersey Jack’s new machines will definitely be making history by being right on the bleeding edge of pinball design! First up, Pat Lawlor’s Dialed In. The legendary designer’s highly anticipated, original concept game will be the first pinball machine to feature Bluetooth® connectivity, a camera and additional player capabilities through a smartphone! The other special features of Dialed In will make your head spin, like the swivelling LCD mount, hidden trap door and the 3D interactive projected image to name just a few. Dialed In will come in two different variants, a Collector’s and Limited Editions.

The second machine announced is their Black Arrow Special Edition, named after the arrow that defeats Smaug™ in the acclaimed The Hobbit™ film trilogy. Special features include Black Arrow track mode animation, Black Ink body armour, black pinballs, gold Smaug™ character and plenty more to keep you excited. We honestly can’t wait to find out more about this one!

Pat Lawlor and Jersey Jack’s Jack Guarnieri proudly show-off Dialed In

The Dialed In playfield looks very inviting!

Oh that RGB lighting is gorgeous!

Who you gonna call? Jersey Jack Pinball!

Do as Bob says, visit him when flashing!

Get your smartphones ready, pinball wizards!

Holy black pinballs!
jjpinball_black_arrowsesource: Jersey Jack Pinball


He-Man and the Masters Of The Universe Live Action Intro

heman_live_actionIf you haven’t guessed, we are HUGE fans of CineFix videos. Be it their 8-Bit Cinema or their Homemade Movies series, the team sure know how to grab our attention with their awesomely cool films.

For this homemade video, CineFix have gone all the way back to our all-time favourite action figure toy line and cartoon, Masters Of The Universe (MOTU). The live-action remake of the MOTU cartoon intro is absolutely hilarious and spot on! The CineFix team have also made a ‘side-by-side comparison’ and a ‘behind the scenes’ videos! They definitely nailed the MOTU trifecta!

For now, put your nostalgia tinted glasses on and enjoy these brilliant vids!

He-Man Live Action Intro

source: CineFix

Side by Side Comparison

source: CineFix

Behind the Scenes

source: CineFix


Pinball Expo 2016

pinballexpo_2016Pinball Expo 2016 is almost upon us! the 32nd Pinball Expo will take place from October 12 to 16 at the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel in Wheeling, Illinois. The expo will be jam-packed with new pinball machine reveals. Being the biggest Pinball Expo to date, expect the major pinball industry players to showcase their latest (and future) wares.

Here is what you can expect from the big boys (if you are one of the lucky attendees):

American Pinball:

The newest kid on the pinball block will showcase their first game, Houdini Master Mystery.


Dutch Pinball:

The diverse Dutch group of pinball maestros will have their much anticipated The Big Lebowski machine on display.


Heighway Pinball:

The UK pinball manufacturer will finally reveal Alien.


Jersey Jack Pinball:

The crew that brought us the brilliant The Wizard Of Oz and The Hobbit machines have been busy tinkering on their much anticipated 3rd machine, designed by the veteran pinball designer, Pat Lawlor.



The company behind the P3 Pinball Platform will show their latest version of the Lexy Lighspeed machine. They will also have the mini games from the Texas Pinball Festival from earlier in the year.


Planetary Pinball / Chicago Gaming:

With their extremely popular Medieval Madness Remake still high in demand, the Californian based company is teaming up with Chicago Gaming yet again for their second title! All be revealed at Pinball Expo.


Spooky Pinball:

The Wisconsin pinball makers will be busy showing their Rob Zombie Spookshow International, Domino’s Spectacular Pinball Adventure and possibly news on future titles!



Stern Pinball Inc:

Last but not least, the biggest pinball manufacturer of them all, Stern Pinball, will be revealing their Batman 66 machine. This will be Stern’s first game utilising a full colour LCD replacing the dot-matrix display. The game will feature a second smaller LCD on the playfield as well. The Batman 66 design team will be headed by George Gomez, with Lyman Sheats taking care of programming and artwork featuring Christopher Franchi’s impressions. The game will borrow heavily from the Batman The Dark Knight (2008) playfield, including the crane, but the left side of the playfield will be totally redesigned.

The other Stern pinball machine to be featured at Pinball Expo will be the Pabst “Can Crusher”.




image source: multiple – supplied