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Month: October 2017

Custom Pin of the Week – Halloween Edition

Custom Pin of the Week – Halloween Edition

Remember this picture from the original flyer for Bram Stoker’s Dracula pinball?  Well, a guy named Dennis Dodel decided to build his Bram Stoker’s Dracula into a coffin, just like in the flyer.  With a demon monster thing holding the DMD.  Here is the story: Dennis had wanted to build a BSD into a coffin since he saw the original flyer.  For nearly 20 years he travelled the country picking up and delivering pins to people, and at a stop in Colorado, Dennis found a BSD with a lot of water damage on the cabinet, but a nice playfield and good boards.  He later found the coffin on eBay and bought it from a girl who was using it as a coffee table.  About a month later, Dennis found an old ornate funeral home coffin stand.  Now he had everything he needed to start on the project.

 

The playfield fit almost perfectly into the coffin, with just a little bit of shimming here and there.  The start button and flipper buttons were then moved to the frame of the coffin.  The boards were mounted under the light board, in front of the demon monster (see below).  To access the boards you could just lift the light board, and the boards were fitted to two shelves.  An exhaust fan was installed keep everything cool.

 

Dennis visited a Halloween costume store to buy the demon monster which would hold the game display.  From there it was time to work on the coffin lid.  The translite was designed and printed out on plexiglass.  The printing process took about 25 hours.

 

The game stayed in Dennis’s warehouse for several years to be played and also to startle people who saw it for the first time.  It was a project for fun that Dennis decided to do, not meaning for it to be a professionally built game, just a fun project.  You can see a video of the completed project here, along with some footage of how to break down and reassemble the game.

 

Eventually the warehouse was sold, and the game was put up for auction on eBay and sold to a pinball retail shop in the Denver area.  After spending about $1,400 building the Bram Stoker’s Dracula into a coffin, the sales price from the auction was nearly $5,000.  Thanks so much to Dennis for sharing this unique project!

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TWIP – Guardians of the Galaxy Rumor Round-Up, JJP Pirates New Info, More

TWIP – Guardians of the Galaxy Rumor Round-Up, JJP Pirates New Info, More

The Scoop

Guardians of the Galaxy Rumor Round-Up

The next Stern Pinball machine is right around the corner, and it is time to get hyped!  This Week in Pinball reached out to Stern to get a hint on the timeframe of the release – and their response was a friendly smiley face like this: 🙂 … so does that mean the new theme is based on the Emoji Movie?  Um, no, you’re looking into that way too much.  So we’re going on rumors here, and this is what we’re hearing:

 

  • Pictures of the machine are likely to appear online very soon, possibly within days
  • The theme is heavily rumored to be Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The game is rumored to be shipping in November
  • It is rumored the game will be at IAAPA in Orlando which takes place November 13-17th
  • There are rumors that John Borg is designing it and Christopher Franchi is the artist

 

Rumored features and details of the game:

 

  • Rumored to have three two flippers **edited
  • Rumored to have three two ramps **edited
  • Rumored to have a large Groot head that is possibly like Rudy on Funhouse and possibly eats pinballs
  • Rumored that an upper flipper is used to hit the Groot head **edited
  • Rumored to have one of the best toppers ever

 

Yes we have used the word “rumored” way too many times now, so this article needs to end.  Can’t wait to see the machine – look for This Week in Pinball to release initial thoughts soon after the reveal!


Pirates of the Caribbean New Info

As mentioned previously, Jersey Jack Pinball announced their newest game Pirates of the Caribbean at Expo.  The game is packed with features and the response from the pinball community has been overwhelmingly positive.  (Check out TWIP’s Deep Dive into the game here.)  We reached out to Jersey Jack Pinball to find out some additional details:

 

  • The game will ship with the code at “Rules Complete” with all features included in the game (it was at around 20-30% at Expo)
  • Kevin McNally, who does the callouts in the game, re-recorded lines from the films and did many many unique recordings for the game
  • The clips from the movies in the game provide as much footage as the Licensor would allow

 

David Thiel, who did the sound for the game, also made an insightful post on Pinside regarding the music for the machine.  One of the interesting parts of the post reads “I write custom music for pinball. Pinball music is a subset of all music. A lot of music cues from movies are evocative but would either be lost in pinball play or are just not right. So there is something to be said for music written expressly for this application.”  Check out the full post here.


Python’s Pinball Circus Updates

Last week, This Week in Pinball wrote an article detailing updates on the Pinball Circus “remake” by Circus Maximus, along with some of the history of the machine.  Check it out here.  For the tl;dr crowd, here is the short version:

 

  • The first whitewood is finished (a whitewood is an early prototype without artwork)
  • The second whitewood has started and will implement several changes over the first whitewood (see article for list of changes)
  • After completing the whitewoods, they will then build 12 sample games and if there is enough interest/demand, the game will go into production

 

Circus Maximus also spoke to This Week in Pinball about a second machine they are building alongside Python’s Pinball Circus…see below.


Circus Maximus Building New Machine

As part of the updates to the Pinball Circus “remake”, it was revealed that Circus Maximus has also been building a second machine along with Python’s Pinball Circus.  Some of the reasons for the second game are:

 

  • The unusual shape of Pinball Circus makes manufacturing a challenge and expensive
  • Python’s Pinball Circus is a passion project in memory of Python Anghelo, and is a much more expensive machine to build than their second project
  • The new machine will be a more popular title, and would be in much higher demand than Python’s Pinball Circus, which would help fund the rest of the Circus project

 

There are several rumors regarding what the new title may be, and the top rumor is currently Kingpin, which would be a remake from 1996.  This would be an interesting remake for several reasons, including that there were only nine games originally produced, and it was the last machine Mark Ritchie designed the last physical pinball machine Mark Ritchie designed (he designed virtual playfields since then).  More info will be coming in 2018 so stay tuned!


Batman ’66 Code Update

Stern announced code updates for Batman ’66 models (to v0.80), along with a timeline going forward.  According to their Facebook post, “This code update adds depth to the major villain story lines (Catwoman, Joker, Penguin, and the Riddler).  The code also features more Adam West and Burt Ward custom speech.  The dedicated programming team working on Batman plans to release another Batman code update around Thanksgiving, and an additional code update around Christmas.”  For a list of all changes, click here for the Premium, here for the Limited Edition, and here for the Super Limited Edition.


Aliens Being Unboxed and More on the Way?

This past week we’ve seen many Alien owners receiving their machines.  There have been a few issues which seem to be relatively minor for now, keeping in mind in many cases the machines have travelled long distances.  Cointaker in the US is also apparently expecting another container of games to arrive in 3-4 weeks.  Our friends at Straight Down the Middle: a pinball show (YouTube, Facebook, Twitch) shared a very well done unboxing video which can be seen here.  Check it out!


First Heads-Up Pinball Championship Winner

Congrats to Raymond Davidson who won the IFPA’s first Heads-Up Pinball Championship!  It was held Saturday, October 28th at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The format of the tournament was exciting and new: the matches consisted of head-to-head challenges being played out simultaneously on two different machines of the same title, and whichever player completes the challenge first is declared the winner for that game.  The final round came down to Karl DeAngelo and Raymond Davidson, with Raymond having to beat Karl twice to win.  Raymond won a challenge on Ghostbusters, then the last challenge was to score a super jackpot on Ghostbusters.  It was very close but Raymond hit a clutch ramp shot to win it.  See the full stream on Twitch here, and go to the 5 hour and 44 minute mark to watch the last match.  The winner got a brand new Stern Aerosmith Pro pinball machine!  (Second place got $300.)


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Upcoming Games and Rumors

Stern Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Aerosmith
  • AC/DC Vault Edition
  • Star Wars

Announced/Confirmed

  • Elvira 3

Rumors of Future Titles

  • Guardians of the Galaxy?
  • Iron Maiden?
  • Jurassic World?
  • Deadpool?
  • Pulp Fiction?
  • New Ka-Pow Title?
  • Steve Ritchie Unlicensed?
  • Keith Elwin Game?  <<New!!


Spooky Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International
  • Dominos (*contract game)
  • Jetsons (*contract game)
  • Total Nuclear Annihilation (*contract/house game)

Announced/Confirmed

  • Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle
  • Ben Heck’s game


American Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Houdini


Dutch Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Bride of Pinbot 2.0
  • Bride of Pinbot 3.0 (on hold)
  • The Big Lebowski (production issues)


Circus Maximus

  • The Pinball Circus Remake
  • Kingpin?  <<New!!


Silver Castle Pinball

  • Timeshock (coming soon)

Jersey Jack Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Wizard of Oz
  • The Hobbit
  • Dialed In
  • Pirates of the Caribbean

Rumors of Future Titles

  • Toy Story?
  • The Muppets?


Chicago Gaming/Planetary Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Medieval Madness Remake
  • Attack From Mars Remake

Rumors of Future Titles

  • Monster Bash Remake?
  • Big Bang Bar Remake?
  • Cactus Canyon Remake?


Heighway Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Full Throttle
  • Alien (shipping)

Rumors of Future Titles

  • Queen?


P3 (Multimorphic)

  • Lexy Lightspeed
  • Cannon Lagoon
  • Cosmic Cart Racing


Homepin

  • Thunderbirds (coming soon)


Phénix Pinball

  • Olympic Goblin


Deeproot Pinball

  • Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland?
  • Alice in Wonderland?
  • Magic Girl?

 

 

**TWIP dreams of the day Harry Potter Pinball will be added to these rumors. Ms. Rowling, I’d do a stint in Azkaban if you approve this!

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Python’s Pinball Circus Updates – and a Secret Second New Title!

Python’s Pinball Circus Updates – and a Secret Second New Title!

 

This Week in Pinball recently had an opportunity to play The Pinball Circus at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.  Below is the story on this machine, along with information and updates from the company that is working on remaking the machine, Circus Maximus – and their plans for a second title.

THE PINBALL CIRCUS

The Pinball Circus at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas – one of the two machines that exist

Why The Pinball Circus is Special

Uniqueness

Offset flippers on the main playfield, multiple upper playfields, ball launch/shooter lane is through the flippers

The Pinball Circus is arguably the most uniquely designed pinball machine of all time.  Python Anghelo (Pin*Bot, Bride of Pinbot, Taxi, etc. – for his full game list, see below) designed the game, which has seven flippers including offset flippers on the main playfield (on the prototype), three upper playfields (called Rings), unique ramps and toys, all housed in a cabinet that is different from any other pinball machine.  See more about The Pinball Circus on IPDB.


Rarity

Bally/Midway built this machine in 1994, but only two prototype machines were ever produced.  One is located at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, and the other is in a private collection.


Python’s Vision

Python Anghelo wanted The Pinball Circus to be built with features and a ruleset that is different than the two prototypes that exist.  Python worked with a group called Circus Maximus in developing his vision.  Unfortunately Python passed away on April 9th, 2014 after a three year battle with cancer.


More Information on Python

More information about Python can be found on the Python Anghelo website which includes a biography and a full game list.  You can also find more information on his Wikipedia page, or check out this video to learn more about “Python’s World”.  As Python’s medical bills mounted through his fight with cancer, a close friend named Paul Kiefert held an online fundraiser in the pinball community that raised almost $19,000.  You can read more about Python’s life and passing here on Pinball News and here on Engadget.


Basic Goals of The Pinball Circus

This machine is all about verticality.  Your main goal is to get to the jackpot on the uppermost playfield.  To get there, you have to shoot the center ramp on the main playfield to get to Ring 2, then shoot up the ramp on that level to interact with the elephant toy to get to Ring 3.  From this level you’ll need to hit it up the rear ramp to a magnetic ball lifter which will transport your ball to the clown playfield (the uppermost playfield).  This playfield has two mini flippers, and to score the jackpot you have to knock down three drop targets and shoot the ball into the clown’s mouth.

Uppermost playfield – the clown playfield

CIRCUS MAXIMUS

Initial Announcement

A few months after Python’s passing, his team at Circus Maximus announced their intentions to build more of The Pinball Circus, calling it Python’s Pinball Circus.  This created quite a buzz in the pinball world.  The plan was to build two whitewoods (a whitewood is an early prototype without artwork), then build 12 sample games.  From there they would discuss the possibility of going into full production.

Burnout and Back at it

At some point the team got burned out and had to take a break.  But as of July of 2017, they announced their back at it!

 

CURRENT PROGRESS

First Whitewood Complete

Circus Maximus whitewood on the left, Pinball Hall of Fame prototype on the right

Python worked with the team at Circus Maximus to provide enhancements and additions to Python’s Pinball Circus up until his final days.  He was also developing a much deeper ruleset than the prototype machines.   Interesting note: the snake in between the flippers was meant to be some type of snake saver, which would be activated either by a foot pedal, or, if it was up to Python … wait for it … a “pelvic” button that you would have to “bump” to activate and extend the snake.  Not kidding!

 

Without further adieu, here are some pictures of the first completed whitewood.


Second Whitewood Updates/Changes

The second whitewood is in the process of being cut, and will be tweaked to fix some issues noticed in the first whitewood.  Their goal is for the machine to play more like a true pinball and less like a redemption/novelty game.  Some of the possible changes include:

  • Move the snake feature and change it’s purpose
  • Change the bottom half of the playfield to a more standard flipper/layout
  • Move the ball launch from between the flippers to the traditional right side
  • Add a skill shot
  • Change portions the backboard and playfields to make the machine easier to service and ship

Future Plans

The plan is still to complete the two whitewoods, then build the 12 sample games.  About six of the sample games are already “spoken for” by team members at Circus Maximus, then the remaining games will be sold.  If there is enough interest/demand, the game will go into production.  Due to the unique cabinet and unique playfield shapes, the game would be more of a custom build instead of being built on a typical manufacturing line.

 

**EXCLUSIVE: SECOND NEW TITLE BEING BUILT**

This Week in Pinball can reveal that Circus Maximus has been secretly building a second machine alongside Python’s Pinball Circus.  Why build a second game before the first is completed?  For several good reasons – first is the manufacturing challenges mentioned above with Python’s Pinball Circus.  Another reason is that Python’s Pinball Circus is a passion project in memory of Python, and is a much more expensive machine to build than their second project.  The final reason – the secret machine will be a more popular title, and would be in much higher demand than Python’s Pinball Circus, which would help fund the rest of the Circus project.  More details coming in 2018, so stay tuned!

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Name the Game – Monthly Giveaway

Name the Game – Monthly Giveaway

Sponsored by TITAN PINBALL

Last chance for October!  Visit Titan Pinball for Titan Competition Silicone Rings and loads of other pinball goodies!

 

Identify the pinball machine pictured below for a chance to win the gift card to Titan Pinball!

 

 

Last Week’s answer: Circus Voltaire


Email guesses to thisweekinpinball@gmail.com, correct answers in October are entered into the drawing for a gift card to TITAN PINBALL!

 

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Game Room of the Week

Game Room of the Week

Welcome to Frolic’s Arcade!  Chris Frolic had a dream to build an arcade, and over the last several years that dream has come a reality.  This arcade though is not open to the public except for occasional charity functions – it is the Frolic’s own private arcade in their basement in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  This arcade is complete with a working change machine that dispenses custom Frolic Arcade tokens, lights along the ceiling with 133 different lighting programs, merchandise, and even automatic soap and paper towel dispensers in the bathroom.  You can read a blog about the development of the arcade here, and the arcade was also featured last year in this news article where you can read more.  Thanks so much Chris for sharing Frolic’s Arcade!

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TWIP – More Details on Alice Cooper Pin, Homepin vs. Ben Heck, New Ka-Pow Title Timeline

TWIP – More Details on Alice Cooper Pin, Homepin vs. Ben Heck, New Ka-Pow Title Timeline

The Scoop

More Details on Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle

On the Spooky Pinball Podcast last month, Charlie revealed some of the details of the goals/rules of their upcoming machine: Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle.  From Charlie: “The premise is – as you’re going into Alice’s castle, you’re battling all the monsters that live there and Alice is the overlord so-to-speak, directing them to attack you.  And all the Alice songs have to be earned which is unique in a music theme.“  Last week the Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast interviewed Ben Heck, and we found out some new info (listen to the Alice Cooper portion of the interview here):

 

  • There are nine monsters to battle
  • You traverse the castle to get to the monsters
  • Along the way you collect items or skills
  • You can take different paths and select what monster you want to fight, you can select how you get to the monster
  • There are different rooms in the castle, all the rooms have different items in them
  • Get to the monsters to hear the songs in the game
  • Ben is trying to make a very deep ruleset
  • Ben is writing custom speech for Alice Cooper

 

 

Charlie also mentioned in this video that the Alice Cooper game will be at the Texas Pinball Festival in March of 2018.  Previously, the Rue Morgue magazine included an article that appeared to show the side art for the game for the first time.  Click the image to the left to view.  The article also showed possible flipper toppers (click here to view).  Spooky previously released the translite art (check it out here), and they put out a video trailer for the machine which can be viewed here.  Looking forward to this machine’s full reveal!


Homepin and Pinheck System

A large part of the Ben Heck interview mentioned above with Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast dove into a controversy surrounding Homepin using Ben’s Pinheck system without attribution, and the legality of it’s use.  Homepin is the company that is developing a Thunderbirds pinball machine in China, and Ben noticed Homepin was using the audio/video system from America’s Most Haunted, which was Spooky Pinball’s first released pinball machine.  Last week Homepin said they have “taken ideas” from many different systems.  Listen to the full Ben Heck interview here.

 

New Ka-Pow Title Timeline

The first Ka-Pow inspired pinball machine was Batman ’66, and there has been a lot of speculation on what their second title will be and when it will be announced.  During the banquet at Expo there was a pre-filmed video from Ka-Pow pinball and Joe Kaminkow.  During that video it was announced that the next KaPow title would be announced next year at Expo.  As far as what the theme will be, we do not know yet.  However, we may get a clue as last year Ka-Pow created an online survey to ask which title people want to see.  While we do not have the results from that poll, the same poll was posted on Pinside – you can review the results in the thumbnail to the right.  Looking forward to seeing what title they’ll have next year!


Magic Girl Stream

Last week, Martin and Ryan from the Head2Head Pinball Podcast (website, Facebook) streamed the Magic Girl pinball machine on their Twitch channel.  You can view the entire stream here on YouTube.  This Week in Pinball wrote an article showing some of the highlights and features of the machine with many clips from the stream and pictures of Magic Girl.  Check out the article here.  It includes additional information from Pinsider Applejuice, who worked on the code for Magic Girl.  It also includes a statement from deeproot pinball on the possibility of Magic Girl being mass produced.  Finally, it includes this amazing ball plunge that led to the shortest ball time of the year (and possibly of all time), as the ball goes straight from the plunger to the drain, check it out here.


First Heads-Up Pinball Championship – October 28th

This week is the IFPA’s first Heads-Up Pinball Championship, which will be held Saturday, October 28th at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Click here for an overview of the tournament.  The format is exciting and new: the matches will consist of Head-to-Head Challenges being played out simultaneously on two different machines of the same title, and whichever player completes the challenge first is declared the winner for that game.  Challenges will be played on Stern’s Star Wars, Aerosmith, and Ghostbusters.  Click here for a list of challenges in each game, and click here for the current list of participants which includes Andrei Massenkoff, Karl DeAngelo, Trent Augenstein, and Tim Sexton.  The event will be livestreamed on Karl DeAngleo’s Twitch channel here.  The winner gets a brand new Stern Aerosmith Pro pinball machine!


Proof of Aliens

Aliens exist!  After weeks of conflicting reports of when Heighway Pinball was shipping Aliens, both CoinTaker in the USA (website) and Retro Arcade in Sweden (website) had Alien machines that arrived in their facilities, and some of those are now in the homes of Alien owners.  Retro Arcade received seven machines, and CoinTaker received 21 machines.  The picture on the right shows an Alien being unboxed from Retro Arcade!


Bowen Kerins – New Tutorial and More

A new tutorial from Bowen Kerins was released this week on the PAPA YouTube channel – Theatre of Magic (check it out here!).  To check out Bowen’s other tutorial videos, click here.  Want more tutorials?  Support Bowen by contributing here.

 

A few weeks ago Bowen was interviewed on the Pinball Players Podcast (Facebook, Podcastgarden).  Did you know Bowen was a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  He also has worked with other games shows behind the scenes.  He also discusses his epic save in PAPA 13 – view the save on YouTube here.  Check out the full interview here.

 

Huge thanks to Bowen Kerins for being such an integral part of the pinball hobby and for all things he does for the pinball community, we appreciate you Bowen!!


Dutch Pinball Updates – Xytech, ARA, Early Achievers

After introducing their new contract manufacturer, Xytech, at Expo last week, Dutch posted their pinball newsletter.  You can read it in full here.  This Week in Pinball reached out to Dutch Pinball to ask if there was any communication or lawsuits happening between Dutch Pinball and their former contract manufacturer, ARA.  TWIP was told there had been no contact between Dutch Pinball and ARA since April.  TWIP also asked DP if there was a certain number of new orders that need to be received to guarantee funding of the earlier pre-orders, and we were told DP would “probably need some new orders to fund Early Achievers pre-orders”.  It appears the games will be manufactured in China, and Dutch’s plan is to complete the engineering samples this month and then start up regular production, with the hopes of delivering the first The Big Lebowski’s by the end of the year.


Code Drops: Star Wars and Total Nuclear Annihilation

Two code drops happened this week – first, Stern released Star Wars v0.93.  To see what was updated, click here for the Pro and here for the Premium and LE.  Total Nuclear Annihilation was also updated this week – to see the list of updates for TNA, click here.


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Have a scoop or a juicy anonymous rumor for next week?  Email us at thisweekinpinball@gmail.com

 


Upcoming Games and Rumors

Stern Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Aerosmith
  • AC/DC Vault Edition
  • Star Wars

Announced/Confirmed

  • Elvira 3

Rumors of Future Titles

  • Guardians of the Galaxy?
  • Iron Maiden?
  • Jurassic World?
  • Deadpool?
  • Pulp Fiction?
  • New Ka-Pow Title?
  • Steve Ritchie Unlicensed?


Spooky Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International
  • Dominos (*contract game)
  • Jetsons (*contract game)
  • Total Nuclear Annihilation (*contract/house game)

Announced/Confirmed

  • Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle
  • Ben Heck’s game


American Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Houdini


Dutch Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Bride of Pinbot 2.0
  • Bride of Pinbot 3.0 (on hold)
  • The Big Lebowski (production issues)


Circus Maximus

  • The Pinball Circus Remake


Silver Castle Pinball

  • Timeshock (coming soon)

Jersey Jack Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Wizard of Oz
  • The Hobbit
  • Dialed In
  • Pirates of the Caribbean

Rumors of Future Titles

  • Toy Story?
  • The Muppets?


Chicago Gaming/Planetary Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Medieval Madness Remake
  • Attack From Mars Remake

Rumors of Future Titles

  • Monster Bash Remake?
  • Big Bang Bar Remake?
  • Cactus Canyon Remake?


Heighway Pinball

Most Recent Titles

  • Full Throttle
  • Alien (shipping) <<New!!

Rumors of Future Titles

  • Queen?


P3 (Multimorphic)

  • Lexy Lightspeed
  • Cannon Lagoon
  • Cosmic Cart Racing


Homepin

  • Thunderbirds (coming soon)


Phénix Pinball

  • Olympic Goblin


Deeproot Pinball

  • Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland?
  • Alice in Wonderland?
  • Magic Girl?

 

 

**TWIP dreams of the day Harry Potter Pinball will be added to these rumors. Ms. Rowling, I’d hang out with Lupin on the night of a full moon if you approve this!

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Magic Girl Pinball Machine: First Stream, Features, and the Latest on Possible Mass Production

Magic Girl Pinball Machine: First Stream, Features, and the Latest on Possible Mass Production

Earlier this week, Martin and Ryan from the Head2Head Pinball Podcast (website, Facebook) streamed the Magic Girl pinball machine on their Twitch channel.  While there have been some short videos of Magic Girl gameplay, this is believed to be the first full stream of the game.  (***EDIT – it is NOT the first stream!  Check out Stashkid13’s stream of Magic Girl from several months ago here!***)  You can view the entire stream here on YouTube.  Special thanks to Martin and Ryan, and also to Chris Kooluris of Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast for access to photos of his Magic Girl machine as well – check out Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast on Soundcloud here.  Finally, thanks to Wayne Gillard for allowing Martin and Ryan to stream Magic Girl – check out Wayne’s Mr. Pinball website here.


WHAT IS MAGIC GIRL?

If you don’t know much about Magic Girl or haven’t played one, you’re not alone.  There are only about two dozen Magic Girl machines in the world.  The short and controversial history of the machine goes like this – several years ago famous pinball designer John Popadiuk started a company called Zidware, and planned to build a limited number of Magic Girl machines.  Zidware customers paid in part or in full for these machines that had not been built yet (the “pre-order” model).  Popadiuk ran out of funds before any games were delivered.  American Pinball later built the Magic Girl machines and they were shipped to customers, however, despite the efforts of American Pinball, the game was incomplete as you will see below.


GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

From Ryan and Martin and the other people in the stream, there were some observations that were stated throughout the evening, including:

  • It is a beautiful machine with a lot of potential
  • There were magnets missing, code missing, features that simply don’t work
  • All magnets seem weak, which should be able to be fixed with software
  • The ball times were short
  • There were many rejects on the left ramp where the ball didn’t quite get up the ramp
  • The skill shot is similar to the World Cup Soccer pinball machine
  • Everything feels solid, very good build quality
  • Several people mentioned that the game shoots well
  • It could be a great game if everything is working


FEATURES

For an overview of the features of Magic Girl, visit this link for a playfield view and brief description, and this link for a list view that goes more in-depth of the features and some rules.


***EDIT***  The website linked above were created by Pinsider Applejuice, who worked on the code for Magic Girl.  This Week in Pinball received some clarification from him regarding some context of the MG code development, why he created the website above, and his situation working with Zidware.  With his permission, I have copied and pasted his private message:  

 

2 Main points currently are that the code shipped with the games was NOT fully paid for and i never received my own game as part of my contract. Also the code development was stopped by myself in May 2014 due to lack of payment on invoices. roughly $11000 software contract fees plus a few £K in development hardware owing.

 

You can listen to the full (early) story at this flipping podcast – https://www.mixcloud.com/thisflippinpodcast/episode-34b-jim-askey-speaks/

 

I created the magicgirlcode.org website, after i learned that games were shipping to original owners, as a gesture of good will on my behalf to help them understand the rules and game concepts as i had coded them and developed the game rules with jpop. The game concepts were a joint discussion, not all jpops ideas.

 

I also was in contact with the original owners for awhile in terms of getting a game myself (to own) to be able to iron out and improve the code base, fix problems. I created a new software release to address some of the owners concerns on my own time, plus fixed a lot of the issues in the code created after i had departed. Unfortunately as no deal could be created to get me a game the software release could not be tested on real hardware so i parked the project once again.

 

Let me share with you the update notes for v0.8.0 (I’m still waiting for a game to be sent to me so i can test it!!!)

 

Magicgirl v0.8.0 Update Notes

– Added Free Play Option to Service Standard Settings
– Removed Novice Play
– Adjusted Coil Strength on Potion Kickout
– Adjusted Coil Strength on Magic Shop Kickout
– Fixed Potion Saucer mode issues which conflicted with old bagatelle mode
– Fixed Ball Search flipper hold coil disabling issue
– Updated POWER letter progress to use RHS loop as original designed.
– Updated MAGIC letter progress to be as original designed.
– Updated graphic window display for WIZARD letter completion
– Updated graphic window display for POTION letter completion
– Improved Ball Search
– Updated Attract mode score names
– Added attract mode sound screen
– Added attract mode myPinballs Electronics screen
– Added game audit reset option to Service Utilities/Audits menu
– Added game diagnostics reset option to Service Utilities menu
– Added broken switch reporting to Service switch test
– Added broken switch updating to Service switch test
– Fixed a bug with Service Switch NC grid colouring
– Added correct machine serial number designation in Service System menu


Applejuice also mentioned: Also, in answer to one of the questions from the stream, the wizard lane hurry up shot is collected in the same place the wizard lanes were spotted, i.e. left loop. This is also explained on the website in the feature list as shot 5.

 

Many of the shots and features in the game are actually coded fine. It is that some tweaks to timings and alterations to hardware controls are needed due to changes from the prototype and the ‘production’ machines.


Below are a few of the features we saw (or were supposed to see) during the stream:


Locking Balls for Multiball

The locks are supposed to work like this: Light lock lanes in the left/right inlane/outlane to light lock (similar to K-E-E-P on Lord of the Rings).  Once L-O-C-K is completed, lock will light at the left ramp, and three balls can be locked for multi-ball, one ball locked on each ramp, and the third ball is sucked up into the Kings Chamber.  Here is the problem – there aren’t any ball lock areas on the ramps and it doesn’t appear there is a way to physically lock balls on the ramp. It could be coded as a “virtual lock” in the software to fix this?  Here is Martin nailing the lock shot and finding out it doesn’t actually lock a ball right now.  So unfortunately there aren’t any videos of multiball – however, there IS a video of someone figuring out a work-around and actually locking one of the balls (check it out here!).


Upper Playfield with Magna Flippers

According to Wayne, there is supposed to be a magnet that holds a ball and shoots it up to the upper playfield.  Then you can use magna flippers (similar to Twilight Zone) on the upper playfield.  This works in test mode currently but there apparently isn’t software to support it.


Levitation Chamber

The Levitation Chamber is supposed to levitate a ball, however, it is also not working right now.  Wayne (Mr. Pinball) is trying to fix it on this particular machine, and they manufactured a stainless steel flap to get it to work about 1 in 20 times right now.  Listen to Wayne discuss what they’ve been doing and how the levitation chamber works.


W-I-Z-A-R-D and the Wizard is Messing with You

In this video, Martin completes “WIZARD” by shooting the orbits and spinner shot, and although it doesn’t seem to do anything when WIZARD is complete (supposed to start a hurry up?), the ball ends precariously balanced directly on the top of the rubber between the inlane and outlane.  After cradling the ball for a moment, it also appears that Martin deals with the Wizard “messing wit him” in this video, where the machine acts like it is in a ball search and flips the flippers to move the ball.  Not sure if that was intentional or not, but the audio does say “the Wizard is messing with you” or something to that nature.


Outlanes – Jinx Wheel and Magna Save

There is a spinning disc above left outlane called the Jinx Wheel.  Check out it throwing a ball down the outlane, throwing a ball back into the playfield, and how the disc turns on and off with rollover targets in the middle of the playfield.  Above the right outland, there is a magna save, check out this video to show where the magna save magnet is located.


Spinner

This seems to currently be the main thing to shoot for in the game.  It makes the lights change colors and makes loud noises, check out here.


Light Show in Attract Mode

Speaking of lights, check out the attract mode.


Ramps

The ramps look fluid and very John Popadiuk-y.  As mentioned above, there were a lot of times where the ball didn’t make it all the way up the ramp, but check out this video to see someone hit it twice (and almost three times) in a row.  When you hit the ramp it goes down the right side, but after you hit the ramp 3x the diverter switches it to go down the left side.  For some reason that didn’t work during normal game play but did work here while the glass was off.


WILL MAGIC GIRL BE MASS PRODUCED?

A company called deeproot pinball has hired John Popadiuk, and there are rumors that they are planning to mass produce the Magic Girl pinball machine.  (For more on that story, click here.)  This Week in Pinball spoke to deeproot this week, and regarding the possibility of building more Magic Girls, they had the following statement:

 

“Contrary to what is being falsely disseminated, there are no plans at this time to actually make MG, RAZA, and/or AIW. One or more of them might be made, or might not. If one or more of them are made, they might vary in nature (i.e. title, theme, artwork, structure or layout) and/or quantity. An unfortunate factor in this decision involves the unresolved ownership of some of the intellectual property rights involved in the games. In order for deeproot Tech to consider making MG, RAZA, and/or AIW, these issues may need to be resolved.”


BONUS MATERIAL

Here is a two minute flyover of the machine.

 

This guy is a good pinball player judging by the stream, but this is the shortest ball time EVER – the ball literally doesn’t even go onto the playfield, just goes from plunger to drain.  It may have something to do with the shooter lane not having any type of groove to guide the ball.

 

Check out this Popular Science article: The curious story of Magic Girl, the would-be greatest pinball machine of all time

 

Feedback, comments, thoughts?  Email thisweekinpinball@gmail.com.

 

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