MELROSE PARK, IL -- Renowned pinball designer George Gomez has joined Stern Pinball
Inc. as vice-president of game development. The pinball maker also announced three other appointments to strengthen key departments.
Gomez brings a wealth of experience to his new post. He has designed arcade and console videogames, slot machines and even consumer toys, as well as pinball machines over the course of his lengthy career.
His pinball design portfolio includes such critically acclaimed titles as Monster Bash, Pinball 2000-Revenge from Mars, NBA Fastbreak, Johnny Mnemonic, Corvette, The Lord of the Rings, Playboy, The Sopranos and Batman: The Dark Knight.
Also joining the Stern team are Robert Falkowski as a mechanical engineer, Waison Cheng as a game programmer and Mike Parker as a purchasing specialist.
Falkowksi, who is described by Stern as a problem-solver, has 15 years' engineering experience and most recently worked at Juno Lighting Group, a unit of Schneider Electric. Cheng hails from the videogame industry, where he worked on Golden Tee at Incredible Technologies and on portable games for leading consumer companies. Parker has been managing the purchasing for various factories for more than a decade and will now oversee Stern's shipping and receiving. He'll report to department head Eddie Spears.
"We are thrilled to be adding new talent to our pinball family," said the pinball company's chief executive and chairman, Gary Stern. "These new hires, along with the great Stern employees we already have, will help drive our growing company."
The recent Stern staff expansion follows two key appointments made earlier this year. World-renowned pinball designers Lyman Sheats and Steve Richie joined the pinball company in March.
Sheats is a software engineer who has been programming pinball machines for Williams and Stern since 1993. He worked on Attack From Mars, Medieval Madness and Monster Bash, along with Spider-Man, The Sopranos and Batman: Dark Knight. Pinball programming aside, Sheats is well known for his pinball-playing endeavors, and is ranked among the top players in the world by the International Flipper Pinball Association.
Ritchie has been designing pinball games since the 1970s. He has produced such notable titles as Superman, Stellar Wars, Black Knight and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Ritchie is widely credited as the first designer to incorporate multiball gameplay, ball lane change and transparent playing fields, as well as the first multi-level playfields. In 2001, Stern contracted Richie to design eight machines, including Elvis, Spider-Man and Terminator 3.
Stern Pinball, the only manufacturer of full-size arcade-quality flipper games on earth, is the heir of a legacy that dates back to the 1930s when industry pioneer Sam Stern began operating pinball machines in Philadelphia. Sam went on to become a highly regarded manufacturer in Illinois, and he passed along his lifelong enthusiasm for the game and the business to his son Gary, who founded Stern Pinball in 1999.
Avatar, Iron Man, Batman, Shrek, Spider-Man, The Rolling Stones and Tron are among the company's most recent flipper hits. Pinball enthusiasts and casual players around the globe enjoy them in recreational venues and at home.