Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Rumors have been floating around that Steve Ritchie has been assigned to design the latest playfield for Stern, coming off the heels of John Borg's very well-received Metallica. Stern released some BIG NEWS this week, announcing the latest table in their line-up! Here is the teaser video that Stern released for... STAR TREK!

DAMN this looks like a wild table! It based off of the two latest installments of Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. The playfield layout looks like it will be a blast to play. It has a few callbacks to Williams' Star Trek: The next Generation with the upper playfield flipper and accompanying shot as well as the spaceship shot in the upper center of the playfield. Since both tables were designed by Ritchie, it comes as no surprise that the new Star Trek would be influenced by the original. It's cool to see Stern have Ritchie design a table for a license that he worked on for his former employer, Williams, but this isn't the first time. Ritchie also designed the layout for Stern's Terminator 3 that was also influenced by one of his biggest hits, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Anyways, here's a full shot of Star Trek's playfield.

Not only does the playfield layout look awesome but the artwork on this is quite beautiful! Instead of the usual photoshopped art packages with faces of the actors and whatnot, they actually went a different route with Star Trek, making it look like a star map or something displayed on a ship computer. I really like the colour scheme of the playfield with the blue control panel bearing the mission lights then going to the red star map which then becomes a mixture of blue and purple near the top. The table looks so colourful and is quite refreshing to see compared to a lot of Stern's previous art package output. The LED lights definitely help brighten up the table and I believe a lot of the shots in the video and the picture above are of the Limited Edition tables. I'm not worried about the Pro version of Star Trek though as Metallica's Pro version wasn't too lacking.

From what I've been hearing, there's been a lot of negative feedback on the table. I've seen lots of complaints about the layout of the playfield just being a rip-off of previous Ritchie tables. I don't really understand the backlash about Star Trek being a similar playfield to Star Trek TNG and other tables by Ritchie. It's kind of an odd statement to make when two very popular tables, Medieval Madness and Attack From Mars, are pretty much carbon copies. I think a lot of pinball purists give Stern a lot of crap because Stern's tables "ain't what they used to be" when compared to the tables of the 90's. It's an unfair comparison though, seeing as the 90's was the golden age of pinball and arcades and the pinball manufacturers of the time were able to thrive in that environment. Nowadays, arcades are pretty much a thing of the past and pinball machines are an endanged species. You really got to give it to Stern for being able to rise from the ashes of the pinball downfall in the late 90's and early 2000's and manage to actually stick around this long, even through the recession in the late 2000's. They've been the only  I think that is pretty impressive. Sure, I give some Stern tables crap but lately they have been knocking them out of the park and making some darn fine tables.

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