Hello and welcome to our annual look back at the past twelve months in the world of pinball and your chance to vote for the Game of the Year for 2019.
An exciting twelve months for pinball
It’s an indicator of the popularity of pinball and the lower barriers facing new manufacturers that this year we will be examining the varying fortunes of fifteen companies who either built or are planning to build commercial pinball machines.
The Great White in the pinball manufacturing pool continues to be Stern Pinball and they have had a very busy year in 2019, promoting five new games as well as several re-versions of existing games and launching a new fan programme.
In January Stern Pinball were promoting their new The Munsters game at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The Munsters Premium
The John Borg design had been announced at the end of 2019, but it wasn’t until January in Vegas when the game got its first public showing. Gary Stern, Zach Sharpe and Jack Danger all got in on the act, dressing up as Grandpa, Wolfy and Herman respectively.
Gary turned up in London at the EAG International show later the same month along with Doug Skor, Dave Peterson and John Buscaglia to promote a range of Stern games which were being shown on the Electrocoin stand.
John Buscaglia and Gary Stern
In February, Stern Pinball launched a new revenue stream with their Stern Insider programme. For an annual subscription of $29.99, Stern Insiders were promised exclusive early ‘behind-the-scenes’ access and interviews with the development teams creating each new game.
It might be early access, but Stern Pinball also set up a clear new game launch process whereby they show material first to their distributors, then to the Stern Insider subscribers, and finally to the wider public.
As part of this increased opening-up, Stern Pinball also published on their website the schematics of the various boards which make up their Spike and Spike 2 systems, to help home owners and operators repair any hardware faults no longer covered under warranty.
Although subsequent titles were being widely discussed on many forums, The Munsters