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Issue Date: Vol. 48, No. 7, July 2008, Posted On: 7/17/2008

Stern Offers Action-Film-Themed Pinball Games

Nick Montano

MELROSE PARK, IL — Stern Pinball Inc. has rolled out two flipper games based on proven cinematic franchises.

The first, which made its debut in late spring, is titled Indiana Jones. Inspired by all four of the Steven Spielberg archaeological fantasies, its release coincided with the opening of the latest, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Rolling out as VT goes to press is Stern’s Batman pin, just in time for the July 18 premiere of Warner Bros.’ latest Batman epic, “The Dark Knight.” At this writing, advance ticket volume for “The Dark Knight” is outpacing advance sales for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Iron Man” and “Sex and the City.”

The Indiana Jones game’s playfield incorporates elements drawn from all four movies. Its soundtrack is John Williams’s original “Raiders March” from the first film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Also featured are audio clips and quotes from the films. David Thiel wrote the rest of the music and artist Kevin O’Connor, a member of the Pinball Hall of Fame, created the artwork.

Among innovative features of the Indiana Jones playfield are an Ark of the Covenant device that opens to release eight balls for a multi-ball round; an illuminated Crystal Skull on a ramp; a glowing Sankara Stone above a trapdoor; a Holy Grail device above an eject hole; and a Map Room captive-ball area incorporating a rotating Cairo Swordsman. In addition, a magnet located in front of the Ark is said to “cause the ball to go wild.”

The new Batman game, available through a partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on behalf of DC Comics, is said to be a perfect pinball machine for fans of the “Batman” comic books and the movies directed by Christopher Nolan – “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight.” The rules for the game were devised by Stern’s Lyman Sheats, and the playfield layout was developed by the designer of the Lord of the Rings game. O’Connor teamed up with Margaret Hudson to create the artwork, and Ken Hale executed the sound.

Batman backglass features face of Heath Ledger, who portrays Joker in “The Dark Knight.” The movie was his final completed work before his death in January.

Noteworthy features of the game include the Joker’s Reveal Mechanism, a cylinder that rotates to disclose, and fight, a taunting Joker; Scarecrow’s Crane, a mechanical derrick with spring-attached object-ball that the player can strike with a pinball; the Batmobile Bridge, a teeter-totter or see-saw-type apparatus for racing a pinball against a diecast “Hot Wheels” Batmobile model; an upper mini-playfield; and extensive multi-ball action.

Company founder Gary Stern recalled that “Batman was a great brand for us when we made games in the 1990s. This new Batman game could be the best we have ever built.”

Both new Stern flipper games are designed to appeal to a diverse clientele including amusement operators, resellers and home entertainment enthusiasts. Information is available from Stern distributors, or by calling Jolly Backer at (708) 786-7039. The company is online at sternpinball.com.

Topic: Music and Games Features

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