Jeffs Pinball Palace   

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Top 40

 

#01  -  Simpsons Pinball Party

 

#02  -  Indiana Jones (Wms)

 

#03  -  Twilight Zone

 

#04  -  Addams Family

 

#05  -  Spider-Man

 

#06  -  Attack from Mars

 

#07  -  Medieval Madness

 

#08  -  Lord of the Rings

 

#09  -  Star Trek: Next Generation

 

#10  -  Centaur

 

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

 

#11  -  Cirqus Voltaire

 

#12  -  Tales of the Arabian Nights

 

#13  -  Theatre of Magic

 

#14  -  Creature from the Black Lagoon

 

#15  -  Judge Dredd

 

#16  -  Bram Stoker's Dracula

 

#17  -  The Shadow

 

#18 - Shrek / Family Guy

 

#19  -  Stargate

 

#20  -  White Water

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

#21  -  Monster Bash

 

#22  -  Funhouse

 

#23  -  Banzai Run

 

#24  -  Safe Cracker

 

#25  -  Indy 500

 

#26  -  The Getaway : High Speed II

 

#27  -  Big Bang Bar

 

#28  -  Bride of Pinbot

 

#29  -  Scared Stiff

 

#30  -  Iron Man

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

#31  -  Eight Ball Deluxe

 

#32  -  Flintstones

 

#33  -  Red & Ted's Road Show

 

#34  -  Pirates of the Caribbean

 

#35  -  Batman

 

#36  -  Black Knight

 

#37  -  Fathom

 

#38  -  T2: Judgment Day

 

#39  -  Black Knight 2000

 

#40  -  Flash Gordon

 

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

 

Most Underrated

(ranked low by some, these pins are BIG fun)

 

#1  -  Centaur

 

#2  -  Judge Dredd

 

#3  -  Bram Stoker's Dracula

 

#4  -  Stargate

 

#5  -  Safe Cracker

 

 

 

Most Overrated

(fun - yet ranked too highly)

 

#1 -  Monster Bash

 

#2  -  Scared Stiff

 

#3  -  Batman

 

 

 

Best Overall Artwork

 

#1  -  Creature from the Black Lagoon

#2  -  Scared Stiff

#3  -  Tales of the Arabian Nights

#4  -  Centaur

#5  -  Fathom

#6  -  Medieval Madness

#7  -  Space Invaders

#8  -  Big Bang Bar

 

#9  -  Black Hole

 

 

 

 Top Backglasses

 

 

#1  -  Scared Stiff

 

 

 

 

#2  -  Creature from the Black Lagoon

 

 

 

 

#3  -  The Machine - BOP

 

 

 

 

#4  -  Medieval Madness

 

 

 

 

#5  -  Fun House

 

 

 

 

#6  -  Tales of the Arabian Nights

 

 

 

 

#7  -  Centaur

 

 

 

 

#8  -  Silverball Mania

 

 

 

 

#9  -  Nitro Ground Shaker

 

 

 

 

#10  -  Attack From Mars

 

 

 

 

#11  -  Black Hole

 

 

 

 

#12  -  Stargate

 

 

 

 

#13  -  Strikes and Spares

 

 

 

 

#14  -  Hurricane (Inside)

 

 

 

 

#15  -  Space Invaders

 

 

 

 

#16  -  Big Bang Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Designers

 

#1  -  Pat Lawlor

#2  -  Steve Ritchie

#3  -  Brian Eddy

#4  -  Popadiuk

#5  -  Keith P Johnson

#6  -  John Trudeau

#7  -  Dennis Nordman

 

#9  -  George Gomez

 

#9  -  Barry Oursler

 

#10  -  Mark Ritchie

 

 

Lawlor and S Ritchie are heads above the rest of the pack

 

Eddy, Popadiuk, Johnson, Trudeau and Nordman are top shelf

 

Gomez, Oursler and M Ritchie round out the Bests

 

 

Pins I'd Like to See

 

Since Stern is focusing their development around licensed themes, other concepts get discarded.  While this strategy might be easier to implement, half my Top Forty would never have been produced.  Given this limited approach, there are areas for major improvement.

The biggest hurdles today are smaller design teams and  quicker turnaround times result in less creativity and aversion to risk rewards sameness and squashes the long term appeal of pinball.  Pins made in 2000's feel as if they are rushed to market, and are only partially developed, Simpsons Pinball Party, Lord of the Rings and Spider-Man are exceptions to this recent trend.  Stern should take a hard look at the creativity that went into these pins, and replicate it to ensure future pins are developed to be the best they can be. 

Stern would be demonstrating that they don't have all the answers, rather they can still learn and grow.  The strategy of relying on a handful of Designers from the past to develop new machines, results in slight variations of the same tired pins.  While industry arrogance leads to mediocrity, employing a new approach would be a breath of fresh air and nurture the evolution.   

A simple and effective way for Stern to increase the size of the design team would be to soliciting input from pinball enthusiasts throughout the process.  Surprisingly this idea wouldn't cost a thing and it would  infuse ideas and build excitement.  Even after production of a whitewood, or sample game, it is not too late to make significant changes prior to production, for the benefit of turning up the fun factor. 

Increasing today's design timeframe from one year to eighteen months, allows time for subtle ideas to bubble to the surface and get incorporated.  This results in a better design and one that is more complete.  Everybody has heard of sleeping on a problem, and most often solutions come when the brain is not focused 100% on an issue.   By stretching out the design, or overlapping design of the next pin with the completion of the current one, allows this principal to work. 

Choosing non-licensed themes would be a welcome reprieve from the constant barrage of advertising we see every day.  Stimulating the imagination does not require a tie-in to a recent movie.  Adding a few creative people to the staff who are not engineers, would infuse new concepts and ideas for stretching the mind.

The mechanical aspect of the game have definitely improved, with introduction of better materials, manufacturing processes, more fabricators and improvements to technology.  It is the human touch and feel that requires more attention. 

From a licensed point of view, the pins I'd like to see made include -  

 

#1  -  South Park (These guys have insulted every group imaginable and can draw from a bottomless bag of gags.  It is obvious that Stern's pin was released way too early in their evolution.  Game should be totally redesigned to give this title the props it deserves.)

 

#2  -  Harry Potter (Lots of films and toys to choose.)

 

#3  -  Monty Python (Could this be the next Holy Grail?)

 

#4  -  Monsters Inc - (Funny sound bites and great creatures could make this a lasting game.)

 

#5  -  Soprannos (Re-released as a total redo - new Designer, layout, graphics, toys and software.  This pin has the market potential to be great but was way underdeveloped.)

 

 

Non-Pin Entertainment

 

#1  -  Home Theatre

 

#3  -  Video Game System

 

#2  -  Pool Table

 

#4  -  Steel Tip Darts

 

#5  -  Foosball

 

#6  -  Arcade Games

 

#7  -  Table Tennis

 

#8  -  Air Hockey

 

#9  -  Big Ball Bowler

 

#10  -  Slot Machine