For those of you keeping score at home, pinball has been losing a pretty nasty battle the last over the last 15 years. What was once a more popular and profitable form of entertainment that the ENTIRE motion picture industry, pinball has been reduced to a fading glimmer of what it once was. There is only one manufacturer of pinball machines left in the world - Stern Pinball... However, things have gotten very exciting in the industry again, as Stern has begun a huge campaign to get both kids and adults back into what is truly one of America's greatest contributions to the world of gaming.
With Stern's recent release of Iron Man, their appearance at the 2010 Comicon is both smart and warranted. Stern has been uploading a nearly un-ending stream of photos from their booth at Comicon on their new facebook page, which was created as part of this massive new campaign to get the company, and pinball as a whole, back on its feet.
Space must have been at a premium at Comicon this year, as Stern only had room to setup one machine. Clearly, setting up one of their Batman machines (released in 2008, and in my opinion, Stern's best offering since Monopoly in 2001) would have been icing on the cake, but I suppose beggers can only be choosers when they work for Sony or Microsoft.
John Borg, designer of titles such as Jurassic Park and Sharkey's Shootout handled the playfield design on Iron Man, while Lyman Sheats (who is considered one of the world's greatest pinball players) handled the programming duties. Iron Man features an Iron Monger action figure that pops out of the playfield, letting the player hack away with the silver ball.
So what's next for Stern? Well, it seems as though their plans to produce an Avatar pinball machine have been revived in time to coincide with the DVD release of last year's mega hit feature. Legendary game designer Steve Ritchie had already drawn the playfield for Avatar before the game was scrapped due to what must have been tricky (and by that I mean expensive) licensing issues. Stern announced that a photoshoot for the new machine has been scheduled, and we'll be sure to get those images to you right away.
I'm Brendan by the way.... Great to be here!