First Impressions: Stern’s The Munsters Pro Pinball

When Stern Pinball Inc. unveiled their latest machine, The Munsters on January 8 at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, it generated such a buzz in the pinball world, that the Limited Edition (LE) models sold out worldwide almost instantly!

We may not be able to experience the glory of the LE machine, but when Zax Amusements invited us to the unboxing and the offer to play The Munsters Pro pinball machine, that was definitely an offer we could not refuse.

With The Munsters, Stern promises that we will be transported to 1313 Mockingbird Lane, joining the entire Munsters family, from Herman, Lily, Raven, to Spot and Grandpa in this cool haunted pinball adventure.  Stern Pinball’s Chairman and CEO, Gary Stern succinctly put it like this, “The Munsters are iconic and timeless, and it was time to create a pinball experience around this freaky-fun family.  With beautiful artwork inspired by the supernatural family, this theme is perfect for a pinball machine” – we could not have said it better, really!


source: Ausretrogamer – Facebook

As this machine is still evolving (with its code base), we can only offer out first impressions based on the current Dwight Sullivan code. As a lot of you know, we are huge fans of John Borg designed machines, with The Walking Dead being our favourite Stern machine in recent times. The excitement for The Munsters has been brewing for a little while, and with Borg designing it and Christopher Franchi on art, we knew we were in for a treat. Our only apprehension was with Dwight Sullivan being on code, but that may have been down to us being mediocre players that don’t necessarily like playing games with deep rulesets. To our pleasant surprise, the design and ruleset (so far!) of The Munsters is pure damn fun! We love the fan layout, with each shot feeling great when hitting targets, Grandpa’s ball scoop, the Herman bash toy and of course the two ramps, especially the 180 degree high speed gravity defying right ramp! Oh yeah, the visual look of the machine speaks for itself, so Christopher Franchi should be commended for his stunning and distinctive hand-drawn art.

This is where the magic happens!

After playing The Munsters, we can safely say that on first impressions, we really really like it. The theme integration is awesome – we never get sick of the artwork, the LCD visuals and the sounds from the TV show. The game made us feel like hitting the start button immediately after we drained our last ball from our previous game, so the game did have a high replayability for us – which is good news for operators routing this machine.

We also asked PAPA 20 Division B World Pinball Champion, Jordan Tredaway to give us his first impressions from an expert player’s perspective – he was quite open and upfront stating that the game shot well and hitting the ramps felt good. That’s a big plus coming from a champion pinball player.

There will never be a pinball machine that will make everyone happy, but just like everything else in life, variety is the spice of life, and in this instance, gives us the option to try all these new pinball machines to see if we like them or not. As it currently stands, we are big fans of The Munsters Pro and cannot wait for the Premium model to land in Australia – that lower playfield and of course, that beautiful black and white artwork has us intrigued!

If you are yearning for some fun pinball action, go and play The Munsters! You never know, you may just like it.

A big thank you to Scott and Phil from Zax Amusements for inviting us to check out and play Stern’s The Munsters Pro pinball machine.

 

 

Belles & Chimes Melbourne – A Pinball Group For Women


Pinball should be enjoyed by all, so it was awesome to find out that there is now an official Belles & Chimes Melbourne chapter up and running!

If you haven’t heard of Belles & Chimes, it is a pinball league for women that started in the US, with chapters popping up all around the world, including Melbourne – which is simply awesome news.

The Belles & Chimes Melbourne chapter is open to women (cis and trans) and non-binary pinheads of any diverse background and skill level living in this great city. The inclusiveness of this group ensures that everyone gets to experience and enjoy playing pinball.

Belles & Chimes Melbourne will have meet-ups as well as their own tournaments in the near future, so if you are keen on pinball and would like to get involved, join their Facebook group to keep up to date and follow them on Instagram.

For more information about Belles & Chimes and chapters around the world, check out their site.

Pinball enjoyed by all!

 

The Munsters Pinball Unveiled at CES 2019 in Vegas, Baby!

Stern Pinball keep pumping out pinball machines with themes that strike a chord with a lot of you out there.

Their latest pinball machine, The Munsters was unveiled to much fanfare at CES 2019 in Las Vegas earlier this morning (Australian time). With Jack Danger’s Dead Flip Twitch channel live streaming the reveal, there were lots of eyeballs around the globe glued to screens to check out what Stern had delivered – they weren’t disappointed.

We can safely say that Stern has released a machine that will have mass appeal for operators and home collectors alike. The best part of showing their new title was that all three models were available to be checked out and of course, played. The Pro, the Premium and the LE (Limited Edition) were all there, with their distinct packages, garnering a huge buzz online, both on social media and forums like Pinside – which is exactly what Stern was aiming for!

Oh yeah, a bit more detail regarding this new pinball title:

There are three machine variants of The Munsters; there is the Pro, Premium and Limited Edition (LE). Aside from each having distinct cabinet art, the Premium and Limited Edition versions contain some cool extra features with the most obvious one being the mini-playfield under the centre of the main playfield. The mini-playfield contains miniature flippers with it’s own tiny ramps, including a wireform one (ramp) with an upkicker and its own multi-ball – how cool is that! The entry level Pro model doesn’t have the sunken mini-playfield, but all three versions share the following features:

  • A left ramp that lifts up to reveal a Spot (dragon) toy you can bash with the ball
  • A right ramp that Stern describes as a “turn-around, flip-up ramp”
  • A large Herman Munster with a magnet to catch and throw the ball around
  • A “Zap” button on the lockdown bar
  • Built in metal protector on scoop
  • Unique cabinet art for each model, with the Premium version having a full black-and-white art package
  • LCD screen in the backbox with custom graphics and scenes from The Munsters TV sitcom

The Limited Edition (LE) model will have a production run of 500 units, which we have been informed have all been sold out worldwide – now that was quick!

We must say that the Premium’s black and white colour scheme is cool and quite refreshing, which may polarise hardcore pinheads (we love it!).

The Pro version will be available in Australia from the end of January, with the (already sold) Limited Edition coming in March and the Premium in mid May. We can’t wait to check these out in the flesh and give them a flip! So, which one appeals to you?

The Munsters Pro model

The Munsters Premium model

The Munsters Limited Edition (LE) model

image source: Stern Pinball

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Merry FlipMas: Pinball Gifts For Any Occasion and Any Budget

Do you like pinball? Do you have a special someone in your life that is into pinball?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, then we have some really unique and cool handmade and vintage pinball related gifts (to suit any budget!) so you are all sorted for Christmas (or any other occasion)!

Oh yeah, just click on the link or photo to take you straight to the product item.

Attack From Mars Shadowbox Art

Same Player Shoots Again Enamel – Pinball Pin

3″ Vintage Reproduction Williams Electronics Manufacturing Corp. Pinball Company

Guns & Roses Data East Pinball LED Backbox Display light box

Gottlieb Haunted House Pinball Shadowbox Art

Vintage 70s Pinball Wizard t-shirt

Pinball Flipper Pendant Necklace in Brushed Pewter

The Machine: Bride of Pinbot Williams Pinball BackBox LED Display light box

Mini Virtual Pinball Machine

The Walking Dead Pinball – Pile of Skulls: Pinball Flipper Bat MOD

25 Cent Pinball Arcade Video Game LED Night Light

Pinball Flipper Keychain

Pinball Pop Bumper Button / Keychain

Pinball Addict Necklace – for her (or him)

Pinball Obsession Greeting Card

Pinball Addict 3″ Embroidered Patch

INDIANA JONES The Pinball Adventure – keychain (gold)

Midnight Pinballing (Giclée Fine Art Print)

Shaky Pinball LCD Handheld Game

Tiger Electronic Vintage Handheld Pinball LCD Video Game – 1987

Miniature Football Theme Pinball Machine Clock

Night Shift – Pinball Oil Painting

Twilight Zone Pinball pin

The Addams Family Pinball LED Illuminated BackBox 3D Art Shadow Box – deluxe limited edition signed numbered

Solenoids & Asteroids – limited edition Pinball themed silkscreen print

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Flipout 2018 Highlights

Wow, what a weekend it was! The third Mr. Pinball Flipout 2018 in Melbourne was an absolute flippin blast!

To ensure we got our fill of pinball, we arrived at Flipout 2018 nice and early and were quite chuffed to have found ourselves first in line for entry. Within minutes of arriving, we looked behind us and were greeted by a line snaking through the Sandbelt Hotel, with guests eagerly awaiting the clock to strike 10:00!

Once the doors flung open, we were greeted by a cacophony of pinball machine noises that were music to our ears. Being first through the doors, our eyes immediately fixated on the pair of Jersey Jack Pinball’s new Pirates of The Caribbean (PoTC) machines. We knew we had to play these right away otherwise we would have had to queue up to play these, as Jersey Jack Pinball machines always prove popular with the masses. Once we drained our third ball on PoTC it was time to move on to the next big new pinball machine for 2018 – Chicago Gaming Company’s Monster Bash Remake (MBR)! This was the first time the machine was available for play anywhere in Australia, so we counted ourselves quite lucky. There were two MBR machines to play and an original Monster Bash (MB) so we could play them back-to-back and compare the old versus the new – as much as we are fans of the original MB, the Remake just takes it to another level, from the vivid art work and amazing light and sound package, to the ultra clear coated playfield that ensured your shots were precise, making this a complete and wonderful experience. Oh yeah, the huge HD screen just topped off what already is a stellar pinball machine.

Up close and personal with the new Monster Bash Remake

Pinball has had its fair share of controversies over the years, and none are bigger than John Popadiuk’s failed Zidware venture. We won’t bore you with the controversy, which is still a sore point for many (and rightly so), but Mr Pinball had somehow secured one of only a handful of Magic Girl machines to be available for play at Flipout. As you will see in the video and accompanying photos, Magic Girl is one tall and absolutely stunning machine. The machine might be gorgeous, but that’s where it all ends – there is no substance to it, as the game is incomplete, rendering the experience to be somewhat subdued. However, it was amazing to actually see and touch this rare and exotic machine.

Oo’er, the exotically rare and controversial MAGIC GIRL

From one controversial machine to another, we threw some tokens into Alien and plunged the ball to check out (the now defunct) Heighway Pinball’s last production machine. The dark theme nails the feel and atmosphere of the huge movie franchise and of course the Xenomorph sticking its tongue out to grab your ball was one feature we were keen to see in the flesh – it didn’t disappoint. Alien is a striking machine, demanding your attention with it’s unique lines and huge backboard. I just wish Heighway had completed the machine and got the code to a level where the game would just suck you right into the Alien universe. Hopefully the dedicated community of owners out there will do this machine justice with code updates in the future!

Heighway Pinball’s strikingly beautiful and scary Alien machine

While there were plenty of other hard-to-find-on-location machines on free play, like Team Pinball’s The Mafia and Spooky’s Total Nuclear Annihilation (TNA), it was Ben Heck’s America’s Most Haunted (AMH) that actually grabbed us by the scruff of our neck and would not let go. While initially waiting for our turn on TNA, we noticed that no one was playing AMH, so we thought, what the heck, let’s flip this thing. Wow, the machine sucked us in right away – it was so up our alley, that we forgo more machines, including playing TNA more than a couple of times! We played AMH close to 60 times, so we would say that it was our most played machine at Flipout. The cheesy theme, the great sarcastic callouts and butter smooth shooting were among the many things we loved about it. The changing RGB lighting was just the icing on an already delicious cake! We may have to have a chat to Mr Pinball’s Wayne Gillard about finding AMH a new home.

Pinball Party Bus’ Dion Miksad shows us how to play AMH

Ausretrogamer and Pinball Press Co-Founder, Alex Boz reckons AMH was best in show!

With 60 plus machines on offer, including some amazing EM machines, there was plenty of variety to cater for all kind of pinball tastes at Flipout 2018. Of course the event also had an array of great seminars, from Jersey Jack Pinball CEO, Jack Guarnieri’s keynote speech, to Haggis Pinball’s unveiling of their new pinball machine theme. For the competitive types, Melbourne Silverball ran IFPA endorsed tournaments all weekend which were also streamed live on Twitch.

After 7 hours of constant pinball in a day, we had a bout of severe arm-pump, which sadly rendered our day complete. We definitely didn’t leave disappointed – Flipout 2018 far exceeded our expectations. We left the venue with a big smile on our face, knowing that we will have great memories locked away in our cerebral cortex. We can’t wait for Flipout 2019!

We have our tickets ready!

Big thumbs up for Scott Danesi’s TNA!

Plenty of great seminars at Flipout 2018

Just one final plunge!

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Pinball: FlipOut 2018

To say pinball is going through a resurgence would be a gross understatement.

With pinball becoming ever so popular it was inevitable that a major event would pop up, and thanks to Mr. Pinball, we now have the annual FlipOut event held on the first weekend of December.

FlipOut 2018 will be on December 1 and 2 at the Sandbelt Hotel in Moorabbin. The event will have a swag of awesome and boutique pinball machines to play, from Heighway Pinball’s (defunct) Alien, American Pinball’s Houdini, Spooky’s TNA and the exotically rare Magic Girl, to Chicago Gaming Company’s Remakes and Jersey Jack Pinball’s array of brilliant machines – Dialed In, Wizard Of Oz, The Hobbit and their latest, Pirates Of The Caribbean. You would be hard pressed at finding any of these machines to play on location, so FlipOut 2018 may be your only opportunity to experience some of these games.

Highlight from FlipOut 2016 – meeting the one and only Jack Guarnieri

It’s not all just playing pinball, FlipOut will also feature a keynote presentation by the ever so brilliant Jersey Jack Pinball founder, Jack Guarnieri and a stacked list of pinball related seminars. If you are the competative type, FlipOut will have IFPA sanctioned tournaments to prove your wizardry against some of the best players in Australia. Oh yeah, there will be autograph/signing sessions and lots of prizes and giveaways throughout the two days of FlipOut 2018.

If you want to attend FlipOut 2018, you better hurry, as tickets are selling fast! We have our tickets and can’t wait to get there! Hope to see you all at FlipOut 2018!

Event Details:

  • Event: FlipOut 2018
  • When: December 1 and 2, 2018
  • Where: Sandbelt Hotel, 630 South Road, Moorabbin
  • Sponsors: Mr. Pinball, American Pinball, Jersey Jack Pinball, Chicago Gaming Company, Pin Stadium Lights, Team Pinball, Hot Rodded Pins and Melbourne Silverball
  • Tickets: Available via Mr. Pinball – ranging from $30 (single day entry) to $100 (full access all weekend, plus tournament entry)

 

Pinball Browser: Customise Your Pinball Machine


If you like to dabble in hacking and modding proprietary software, especially on pinball machines, you are in luck!

Pinball Browser, created by French Pinsider, Olivier (aka: OGA83), is your godsend tool to customise and personalise your Stern Whitestar, SAM and SPIKE firmware based pinball machines to your liking. Pinball Browser allows you to access, modify, add, remove sounds, images, videos, messages, adjustments and of course, high scores tables. So if you want to ensure you are the Grand Champion on your Stern The Walking Dead pinball machine, get this great software tool and get creative!

To learn more about its capabilities and download Pinball Browser (latest version is v6.50) go here now. Oh yeah, please consider donating 20 EURO (or more) to register this great piece of software. By registering Pinball Browser, your donated contribution unlocks unique features and will also support Olivier in including future improvements! It is definitely worth it.

We all owe our gratitude to Olivier, so from the entire pinball community, thank you for creating this most awesome and useful tool!

Pinball Browser is one POWERFUL modding tool!

Look who is now the GRAND CHAMPION on TWD 😉

Changing some DMD graphics – does orange look alright to you?