Chicago Gaming's Medieval Madness Debut Ushers In Modern Pinball Era's Latest Sensation

Posted On: 5/13/2015

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TAGS: pinball machine, classic pinball, coin-op game, Medieval Madness Remake, pinball, Chicago Gaming Co., Doug Duba, Doug Skor, Logan's Hardware barcade, Planetary Pinball Supplies, William Electronics Games, Roger Sharpe

CHICAGO -- Chicago Gaming Co. hosted a launch party for its Medieval Madness pinball remake, the product of a fruitful collaboration among three coin-op engineering leaders. The fête was held at a popular Chicago "barcade," Logan's Hardware.

Medieval Madness Remake is a contemporary implementation of the classic flipper game introduced by Williams Electronics Games in 1997. Chicago Gaming collaborated with notable pinball equipment and parts dealer Planetary Pinball Supplies (San Jose, CA), which acquired a license for replacement parts and games manufacture from Williams in 2010.

All engineering, software programming and parts procurement were conducted by Chicago Gaming. The games play exactly as the original, and the manufacturer reports that they have been well received by the most discerning pinball fanatics. A new electronics platform was developed by Chicago Gaming, which has allowed the rebirth of Medieval Madness and will power reintroduction of other quintessential Williams and Bally pinball machines. The new technology is said to improve the reliability and serviceability of the games, and the new MMR draws less than one ampere when in use, making it the "greenest" pinball in the industry.

Last year, Chicago Gaming and Planetary Pinball announced a production agreement with Stern Pinball. "Stern has incredible experience and abilities in the assembling of pinball machines," said Chicago Gaming president Doug Duba.

The game was announced, to great acclaim, at October 2013's Pinball Expo in Wheeling, IL. Within four hours, the initial run of 1,000 Limited Edition games sold out, backed by customer deposits. At the end of April, 180 of those games were shipped. Production is expected to resume soon at Stern's new factory in Elk Grove Village, IL. Even more, on June 29, Chicago Gaming and Planetary Pinball will begin taking orders for a run of 500 Standard Edition Medieval Madness games, slated for production in the fourth quarter of 2015. This quantity is expected to sell through within days.

Logan Hardware has been testing the first prototype MMR since last October. Initially, the test was established to check the functionality of the hardware and software systems; everything checked out, so the game was simply left in place to gauge its continuing appeal.

After six months of heavy play, the MMR has been working flawlessly, according to Chicago Gaming. Set at $1 a play or three for $2, it consistently has been the No. 1 earner against some of the greatest pins ever produced, the manufacturer continued. This particular pin will pay for itself in just over nine months of operation. More units are soon expected to be placed in commercial locations, which will yield additional revenue data.

Medieval Madness Remake, pinball Chicago Gaming Co.
PHOTOS: At left, enjoying the shattering of lances, from right, are Logan Bar's James Barron, Jim Zespy and Sam Zehr and Chicago Gaming's Doug Duba, Dave Oermann and Doug Skor. At right, new Medieval Madness Remake challenges players to deeds of knightly valor at first tournament, staged at Logan's Hardware, the Chicago "barcade" that hosted a six-month field test of the game.

"We are anticipating that the professional amusement operator is going to take some real interest in the Medieval pinball, because of its earning power and service reliability," said Chicago Gaming vice-president of business development Doug Skor. He noted that many operators minimized their flipper-game portfolios, or exited the segment entirely, more than a decade ago. At that time, the countertop videogame (which required virtually no service) was in its growth phase.

"Now that countertops have come and gone, there is a real need for operators to find something new to invest in to their routes." Skor pointed out. "I'm suggesting that what is new might be an old concept. It's time for operators to return to their roots and start operating pinball again. Besides, there is not a better investment, from a residual value, that an operator can make. In the case of MMR, this pinball will have legs like no other and will constantly earn at the highest of levels," he predicted.

The recent MMR launch party was highlighted by the first-ever demonstration of a full-color display upgrade. According to Chicago Gaming, "the crowd was mesmerized and amazed." Release of this optional color upgrade is expected in October. Both Chicago Gaming and Planetary Pinball plan to introduce several more of the Williams and Bally titles in the years ahead.

Information on Medieval Madness Remake can be had from Doug Skor at (847) 387-3130 or dougskor@chicago-gaming.com.

Additional insight into Medieval Madness Remake can be found in the video below. It stars pinball historian and marketing guru Roger Sharpe presenting an overview of pinball's development and subsequent ups and downs, as well as an appreciation of the new Medieval Madness model.