Posted: April 25th, 2008 by ROM
In keeping tabs on “retro gaming,” the NY Times yesterday printed an article about the Stern manufacturing plant. The article, for some reason originally titled, “Tilting at Pinball Machines,” but then changed to, “For a Pinball Survivor, the Game isn’t Over,” (no joke; they changed it between then and now) gives readers a brief tour of the plant, and touches upon, with little detail, the fact that real human people spend many hours constructing and testing these machines before sending them out to distributors. Little is said about innovation and ideas, nothing about upcoming titles, nothing about some of the reasons why Stern is the last manufacturer (except I guess they hint that the main reason is user demand, and that just ain’t true), nothing about pinball hotspots such as Portland.
Basically, I’m just not very into skimpy articles like this that only serve to perpetuate the angle that the supersport of pinball is on its deathbed. Sure, it’s interesting to get a glimpse into the plant, but a more in-depth piece about the state of pinball is needed. The common perception is that pinball is too simple an idea in this day of complex, interactive, jacked-in games. But, as our hero Brian Eno advices, turn off the options, turn up the intimacy (I was actually looking for another article from Wired about how consumers are in fact turned off by systems that are too complex… and so on). Pinball is where it’s at, man; but there’s a problem in communication, i.e. advertising, distribution, and so on.
On another note, a friend of mine just got back from Thailand, and he arrived bearing a “Wii” game called “Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection.” It has ten games on it, including Taxi, Funhouse, Gorgar, and Jive Time. And maybe I shouldn’t put quotes around Wii, since this actually looks sort of like a legit title. At any rate, here is your next article, NY Times!
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