Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stern's Indiana Jones

*DERK'S NOTE: This is an older review, from back in the Spring/Summer of 2013 while Indiana Jones spent some time at California Sandwiches. If you have been keeping up, The Walking Dead and Star Trek are now at California Sandwiches and Indiana Jones is long gone. If you do want to give Indiana Jones a shot, go west to Bowlerama West!*

A new challenger has emerged in the Toronto Pinball scene! This time around, it is Stern's Indiana Jones!
Not even a week later after I posted that California Sandwiches replaced Spider-Man with The Rolling Stones, they replaced The Stones with Indiana Jones. I don't really mind losing The Stones as it's a sort of lack luster machine and the Mick Jagger toy was stuck which made the game a pain in the arse. Indiana Jones runs a helluva lot better and is much more fun to play. The table was released in the wake of Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull, however, it is not soley focused on the fourth installment. The table's theme actually covers the entire Indiana Jones series with references to Raiders of The Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and *What's the third movie", as well as The Crystal Skull. Each installment has it's own version of Multiball and a little toy to represent it.
Indiana Jones was designed by John Borg and is definitely one of his better tables for Stern. It's a bit more "tame" compared to other Borg designs such as TRON: Legacy and X-Men and is more along the lines of Iron Man. IJ's playfield is pretty open and only has one ramp one the left and a big toy on the right, similar to Avatar. The design of the table is less about building combos and more about making precise shots. There's two different captive ball shots as well as the table's big shot, THE LOST ARK.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Feelin' Alright With the Crew

Bumper City is not just about pinball reviews; I try to do a lot of different pinball-related things with the blog! To name a few, I have helped promote tournaments such as 3030 and Kensington Brewing Company’s Pinball Sundays, curated an pinball art show (Bumper City: A Pinball Exposition), and also formed a group of like-minded folks that go out and play pinball together in Toronto. I founded Toronto Pinball Crew in the summer of 2014 so anybody living in Toronto could find some other pinball enthusiasts to play a few games with. Not only that but we also post our latest high scores and any recent finds!
The reason I made this group is I felt that Toronto didn’t exactly have a solid pinball community in the downtown core. I have met a lot of people through pinball and I wanted something where all these pinball fans could get together and build a better pinball community in the city.  So, I made a facebook group where someone could post when and where they were going to play and others could post if they were going to join in. We also organize trips to events, like the release parties at Wacky Wings and to some of the Toronto Pinball League events.

Due to the weather and general laziness on my behalf, I haven’t been playing as much pinball as I used to. I get out at least once a week to play a few games but for the most part, I’ve been sticking around at California Sandwiches and Monarch Tavern. But one cold night in January, I felt like going out on a big pinball tour, hunting down a few machines I have had my eyes on. Before I hit the road though, I posted a note to the Toronto Pinball Crew Facebook Group saying I was going out to play some pinball and wanted to see if there was any interest for people to join in. I got a few responses but it looked like I would be flying solo till later in the night.
I stopped by Boo Radley’s first as it is close to my home and I have been meaning to snap some pictures of AC/DC!

Sunday, January 4, 2015


I just got hold of some breaking news! Stern has announced their first title for 2015...

WWE Wrestlemania!


DANG! As a wrestling fan, this is too awesome!!! I'm not the biggest fan of the current WWE product but I bet it will make for a wicked pinball table anyways! There's a wrestling ring as a secondary playfield!
The announcement of the table was leaked over the weekend during CES 2015...
Stern made the official announcement today and you know that Bumper City is on top of things! Check out some of the sweet pictures Stern has released with the announcement!

Here's a full shot of the playfield to give you a better idea of what's in store!
I will be honest, I am a bit apprehensive right now because it seems that the ring is going to be a very integral part of the game. My concern is Wrestlemania becoming a one-shot game, where the only thing to really do is shoot the ramps to get up into the ring and knock around up there. Hopefully, there will be enough variety to shoot things other than the ring but seeing as both ramps lead up there, I am not too sure... I guess we will have to wait and see! I just got word that John Trudeau is the designer of this table which makes me a bit more cautious about this. Trudeau's first table with Stern was Mustang and it turned out to be a bit of a one-trick pony; much of your time is spent hitting the GEARS targets and the left ramp. There are the car modes but if a car mode isn't active, there isn't a whole heckuva lot to do on Mustang. However, Trudeau's track record prior to Mustang has had some pretty awesome tables. Also, it may have been due to the lack of code that Mustang had at release. I haven't had the chance to play an updated Mustang so who knows if the gameplay is any deeper. I am cautiously excited for Wrestlemania . The ring playfield could turn out to actually be a lot of fun to play on ala World Poker Tour's mini-playfield or it could become a gimmick that wears out it's welcome quite quickly. Hopefully the table is released with robust code so it's a full game out of the gate rather than being bare-bones on release. Makes for a weak table for those that have to play pinball in public places like myself. Again, I'm cautiously optimistic about this because Wrestlemania will feature Stern's newest hardware system, SPIKE, that is based on the Linux OS so hopefully this means coding is easier to do and will be better come launch time.

Of course, there will be a review of WWE Wrestlemania the moment I get my hands on it so stay tuned into Bumper City!