Tilting at articles about pinball machines

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.

Super Bonus

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!

Categories: Pinball

Comments: 6 comments


6 Responses to 'Tilting at articles about pinball machines'

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  1. danny backglass   25 Apr 08 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks for posting this. Pretty kool article.
    DDT is Shrek master.
    Dont get funny with the food.
    Come to Cocktails and Dreams.
    Beat the Curse of the Jason America.

  2. Kickback   26 Apr 08 at 4:45 am

    You will never beat any curse involving me. Frankly you suck. Cocktails and Dreams? You really asked friends to come to such a place? Don’t you deliver Out Magazine? Think about it, guy who want’s to post initials of someone he was too scared to see live. Cocktails and Dreams to you guy, guy who doesn’t answer my calls or call me. Think about the curse and why it effects you . Karma? Buddy? Suck it! Kickback/ Jason America

  3. rom   26 Apr 08 at 8:47 am

    You are intense, Kickback! Hey, I just thought of something: kick back kickback. Funny, ah?

  4. Kickback   26 Apr 08 at 7:05 pm

    I bring the thunder! And I don’t mean the thighs of the girls I date. I’m a very unhappy little man. I’d get a tattoo of you but I already have a penis!

  5. Matt Clark   29 Apr 08 at 1:37 pm

    Yeah, skimpy, lame ass, New York Times article. The two most interesting things in it were that Mr Stern is 62 and snowboards, and that Stern employees are required to play the new games! Where can I apply? Or, is there some Stern employee’s newsletter that prints their comments and observations of new games?

  6. BounceBack   3 May 08 at 12:57 pm

    ryan, your post was clearly more interesting than the article. the good news is that the times will obviously be calling us up ANY DAY NOW to get some input on how to make their publication suck less… so man the phones.

    i’m really hoping that when the NPR piece comes out they quote john ray saying how much he’d love for stern to get in touch with us and get some good ideas– like making a game that has rock-em-sock-em robots instead of mini-pinball, only the head of one of them is pat sajak, to make up for goddamn wheel…


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