MELROSE PARK, IL -- Stern Pinball will unveil its forthcoming Ford Mustang-themed flipper games at the famous Chicago Auto Show Feb. 6 and 7, during media previews prior to the show's public opening on Feb. 8.
Ford will spotlight its eagerly anticipated 2015 Mustang 50th anniversary model at the show, which is set for the North and South Halls of the McCormick Place exhibition center, and will be open to the public from Feb. 8 through 17. The new Mustang also was displayed at January's national auto show in Detroit.
At the media preview, six brand-new Stern "pro-level" Mustang pinball machines will be on display, along with the new Ford Mustang. Top-ranked competitive pinball player Zach Sharpe will demonstrate the game, establishing benchmark scores and challenging journalists to beat them.
Ford Motor Co. announced the redesigned 2015 Mustang on December 5, 2013, with showings in major cities around the world. At about the same time, Stern announced its plans for a line of pinball machines commemorating the automobile whose first model was introduced at the New York World's Fair in 1964.
Developing the new Stern flipper was a labor of love for veteran designer George Gomez. "The first car I ever bought was a 1970 Mustang Sportroof with a 302, and I'm currently restoring a 1969 Mach 1," said Gomez, Stern's vice-president for game design. "In designing these new games, we wanted to celebrate the freedom and fun of driving a Mustang." A video in which Gomez describes and discusses the new pinball machine may be found online at youtu.be/xvSLTNrLyK0.
The Stern Mustang line includes three models. The pro-level machines, designed for arcades and other public spaces, feature Mustangs from the past five decades. The premium edition focuses on Mustang Boss 302, Boss 351 and Boss 429 of 1969 to 1971 and 2012 to 2013, and provides additional features. A special limited-edition model signed by the game designer features the 1965 original and the all-new 2015 Mustang. Both premium and limited-edition games feature genuine chrome Mustang badges on the speaker grilles.
Stern reported that the new games incorporate a mix of classic pinball play features and modern technology to let players "go racing" with some of the greatest Mustangs of all time, and even assemble a dream collection as they progress. Different interactive playfield sections and shot sequences permit players to go drag racing, rallying, drifting and road racing in pursuit of a high score. For example, hitting specific targets with the ball enables gear shifting, and subsequent hits activate a series of gear ratios, increasing and decreasing. The games incorporate video on the backboard and audio delivering real Mustang sounds, to recreate the visceral experience of driving a Mustang.
Steve Ling, car marketing manger of Ford Motor Co., welcomed Stern's celebration of the iconic Ford "pony" car. "For five decades, Mustang has represented some of the best of American culture, inspiring a feeling of freedom and independence for people around the world," he said. "We're excited to have Stern Pinball join us here in its hometown of Chicago with its brand-new games featuring Mustang."
Stern recalled that the first Ford Mustang was the theme for a pinball machine introduced in 1964 by Chicago Coin, one of a number of successful postwar pinball machine manufacturers that failed to overcome the competitive threat of the videogame that arose in the 1970s. Stern, which was founded to fill the resulting void, is committed to creating games that combine the original play action that fueled the popularity of the classic pinball machines with modern design and mechanical systems to challenge contemporary players.
"The beauty of pinball is that there is no set outcome, and it can't be programmed like a videogame," said Gary Stern, founder of Stern Pinball. "That makes pinball a perfect match for Mustang, taking drivers anywhere they want to go."
The new Mustang line is slated for formal introduction this fall.