First Impressions Of Stern’s Batman 66 Pinball Machine

SOCK! POW! ZOK! WHAP! BIFF! OOOOF! NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA BATMAN!

We enjoy visiting our friends at Zax Amusements. Not only is it fun to catch up with the Zax crew, but it’s also fun to gawk in wonder at the machines on their showroom floor. One machine that caught our eye was the new Batman 66 Premium Edition pinball table from Stern.

Batman 66 is the first machine that Stern has released with a full colour high definition (HD) LED screen integrated in the backboard instead of the traditional dot matrix display. We were quite impressed with the HD LED screen’s vividness and its animation – it captures the cheesiness brilliantly from the 1966 Batman TV show. We initially thought that the HD LED display was on the small side, but seeing it in action it actually suits the machine to a T.

The visual package of the machine is complete with the awesome artwork by Christopher Franchi. The purple and blue hues of the artwork on the cabinet are eye catching (they stand out from a mile away!) and the equally beautiful backglass (above the LED display) and playfield art just scream sixties kitsch!

Being pressed for time, we only had five games on the machine, so we thought we’d comment on our first impressions on how the machine plays rather than an indepth review on its many play modes and features. First things first, the (software) code is nowhere near complete, which shows. We noticed that there were no callouts at the start or during the game, which obviously took away from the Batman experience – the game seemed too quiet. The playfield lighting about three quarters of the way up was on the dark side, making the ball hard to see, but it wasn’t anything major that detracted from the enjoyment of playing the machine – again, this may be an easy fix with a code update. We absolutely loved the illuminated batphone target and the villain vision TV set magnet feature.

Batman 66 features many cool toys, but the one that truly stands out for us is the interactive KG Bird Crane Co crane toy on the right hand side of the playfield. Once initiated, it takes a hard flip to smash the “wrecking ball” on the crane (a bit like Slimer in Ghostbusters), which sends your ball careening all over the playfield – truly heart stopping play! As mentioned earlier, the animation on the LED screen is great, giving the player lots of feedback on modes and features at play. Each go we had we got a higher score as we got to know the features, modes and the general flow of the playfield.

Batman 66 (Premium Edition) will definitely appeal to Generation X’ers that grew up with the TV show, but it also has the general pulling power due to its brilliant presentation. Once Stern irons out the software code, it will exponentially enhance the cheesy Batman KAPOW experience!

Batman 66 (PE) is eye catching from any angle!

Oo’er, Premium Edition!

Batman In Colo(u)r!

Autographed by none other than Adam West

Taking it all in – it looks so cheesily good!

Flipper button seems in the right place… Love the side art!

The Bat Gadget selector is begging to be pressed!

It all STARTS here!

Let’s give Batman and Robin a hand in defeating their evil foes!

Here comes the villain vision TV set! Watch that magnet lock!

Let’s see what this KG Bird Crane Co can do…

Bash that (wrecking) ball on the crane!

No!!! The game should never be over!

Damn, we didn’t match on the Bat Score-Match-Analyzer. Ah well, another credit…

Thank you to Zax Amusements for allowing us to play the new Stern Batman 66 Premium Edition pinball machine.