Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stern's Uncanny Unveiling!

I kinda missed the boat on Stern's latest announcement of their next pinball machine seeing as the news broke not too long ago but... What the hell, here it is on Bright Lights Bumper City!


When I first heard the news that Stern's next machine is going to be X-MEN, it blew my mind! So awesome too that the table is based on the comics rather than the movies. I really like the fact that the artwork looks like it is right out of the 90's X-MEN comics and TV series. YES. 

 Just dig on this while you read the rest of the post and look at some TAAASTY pictures!

OK, got it playing? GOOD HERE'S SOME PICS

Here is the Pro Model which will be coming out this August.

These are the Limited Edition versions, Wolverine and Magneto respectively. These are in production now. Dig on these pictures posted on Stern's Facebook page.

Wolverine LE on the production line.

Steve Richie getting down with some X-MEN LE. Dig those LED lights!
Coming up next are the two playfields for Pro and LE...

The big difference between Pro and Limited Edition in X-MEN is the addition of the "Ice Slide" on the right side of the playfield. I'm curious about it's purpose. What does it do?

From what this picture shows, the bridge moves across the playfield... I'm still not sure of it's purpose besides dropping the ball in the opposite lane. I guess we will have to wait and see!

X-MEN is a John Borg design, whose credits include Data East classics Jurassic Park, Star Wars and Tales From The Crypt and Stern's Tron: Legacy, Iron Man, and Avatar.

When I first saw the X-MEN table, I had a funny feeling that it looked a bit familiar.

Here's a little Side-by-Side comparison of Tron: Legacy and X-MEN. I noticed a few similarities such as the third flipper with a direct shot to one of the ramps and the VUK on the lower playfield (Flynn's Arcade on Tron: Legacy and the Blackbird on X-Men). Even the jet bumpers are located in the same area, albeit on the opposite side of the playfield. If you were to "mirror" either of the tables, you will see where some of the features line up with one another. I'm not trying to suggest that John Borg is the Greg Land of Pinball or anything; similar playfields by designers has always been a common (and successful) practice. Personally, I consider it less so "copying" playfields but rather "trademarks", something each designer does to provide their playfields with a sort of distinction. Designers like Pat Lawlor and Steve Richie have their "trademarks". Pat Lawlor always has the third flipper and complicated rulesets such as Family Guy or CSI  and Steve Richie rocks the two ramps on each side of the playfield ala AC/DC or Elvis.
It also helps that Tron: Legacy is a fantastic machine. It's a ton of fun and plays fast without much stop'n'go. I remember playing Tron: Legacy at the Playdium Store in Toronto when it first came out and someone commented that it was a lot like Williams' Funhouse. I see what he meant by that comment, what with the placement of the third flipper, the flippers and the lower playfield VUK.

Even though there has been a bit of "recycling" on X-MEN, I'm just glad that Borg went with a winning design rather than something less-than-favourable with me, Iron Man. I just can't get into that table! I don't find it very well designed. It is has a Steve Richie style, what with the two ramps but beyond those and the Iron Monger target, there's not much else that really grabs my attention and makes me want to play it.

In related news, The Pinball Cafe has ordered an X-MEN Pro machine! (Their website also has a new layout COOL) I can't wait to see the new table among The Pinball Cafe's lineup.

And just to bring everything full circle, The Pinball Cafe also recently picked up a previously mentioned John Borg table... Tales From The Crypt! So go check out my post about it here!

Playfield and machine pictures of X-MEN and Tron: Legacy are from Stern Pinball.

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