MELROSE PARK, IL -- Stern Pinball Inc. said it has formed a partnership with Whizbang Pinball LLC to build and distribute Whizbang's Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons in spring 2015. The new game, which will be made at Stern's Chicago-area factory, is the first new electromechanical pinball machine in four decades.
Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons is set on the Mellon Family farm, renowned for its abundant produce. Players shoot to score points on the farm operated by the lovely Melony Mellon and her twin sisters while avoiding the wrath of their overprotective shotgun-wielding father. The colorful, easy-to-learn game features a classically styled pinball playfield tuned for a balance of randomness and skilled-shooting challenges that reward players of all skill levels.
"We wanted to create a game that everyone can enjoy, so we started with a more accessible layout from a classic era of pinball," said Whizbang cofounder and veteran pinball designer Dennis Nordman. "And this is the first new electromechanical style game in over 35 years."
According to the two pinball companies, Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons delivers the most tactile pinball experience since the advent of electronic flipper games. It has real bells and mechanical score reels, complemented with a solid-state control system and digital soundtrack. It's unique in that it blends classic and modern technologies to create a new breed of pinball machine that presents pinball as an art form while maintaining the reliability and serviceability of modern commercial machines. Central to the game's visual quality are detailed original characters and hand-drawn artwork that fuse elements of mid-century pin-up art and classic pinball themes. This artwork appears on the playfield, backglass and cabinet.
"Stylistically, this is a mash-up of fruit crate labels, classic pinball and retro pin-up art," said Whizbang's Greg Freres. "We're very excited to be working with the professional team at Stern Pinball on this project."
Freres and Nordman founded Whizbang Pinball in Lake Villa, IL, in 2009.
Here are some features on Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons:
» Original throwback-style playfield designed by Dennis Nordman
» Original hand-drawn graphics by Greg Freres featuring fresh fruit, a cool truck and the ample Mellon family
» A unique, durable, weathered fruit crate cabinet design
» Illuminated mechanical score reels
» Retro-style bumper caps and flipper bats
» Dual-action bullseye melon targets
» Two old-time pinball bells and a real cow bell
» The return of "the knocker"
» Crushed beer cans included for the perfect playfield angle
Stern Pinball, which will be listed as the game's producer, will announce pricing later this year. Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons merchandise and accessories will be available at the Stern Shop in the spring.