This Week in Pinball: Texas Pinball Festival Recap


Around the Playfield with Gary Stern:

Welcome to our new series!

We ask Gary the following questions:

The Start Button: How did you first get into pinball?

The Plunge: What was the first pinball machine you bought?

The Skill Shot: What is your best pinball achievement or favorite pinball moment?

Good Shots, Bad Bounces: What is your favorite and least favorite pinball machine?

The Wizard Mode: What is your dream theme you’d like to see made into a pinball machine?

The Tilt: What is the dumbest mistake you’ve made in pinball (mishap moving a machine, messing up trying to fix a machine, etc.)?

The High Score: Describe the pinball hobby in one word.

Match – Next Game: Where do you see the pinball hobby in 5-10 years?


Favorite machines are the last two Stern produced? :thinking:


I think that is his “go to” answer when someone asks his favorite pin :slight_smile:



  • The Beatles Are Coming
  • The Story and Possibility of Kosmic Khaos Pinball
  • Is Iron Maiden the Next Stern?
  • Live TWIPY Awards Show - Friday at 7:00 PM EST
  • Pinball Bulbs - advertisement
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Updates, Jersey Jack Interviewed
  • Alien Code Update
  • Stern Growth
  • IFPA State Championship Series
  • It Never Drains in Southern California Winner
  • New Pinball Event in the UK
  • Victory Laps, End of Post Bonus
  • Match! Next Game - What is Coming Up on TWIP



Besides the well done content of this newsletter, I hope I’m not the only one who notices the tweaked plea to JK Rowling each week. Always makes me smile. :slight_smile:


Around the Playfield with JOSH SHARPE


TODAY (1/19) at 7:00 PM EST, LIVE TWIPY Pinball Awards Show! Check your local time :slight_smile:

Don’t miss it, it will be a fun time! Tune in here at 7:00PM EST to watch:

Best Animations and Display
Best Lightshow
Favorite New Mod (write-in)
Best Theme
Best Toys and Gimmicks
Favorite Pinball YouTube Channel (write-in)
Best Theme Integration
Best Sound and Callouts
Favorite Pinball Twitch Streamer (write-in)
Best Code and Rules
Best Playfield Gameplay and Layout
Favorite Pinball Podcast (write-in)
Best Artwork
Game of the Year

Batman ’66
Dialed In
Guardians of the Galaxy
Lexi Lightspeed – Escape from Earth
Star Wars
The Jetsons
Total Nuclear Annihilation

(Thanks to all the input from the pinball community in determining which nominees should be eligible!)

Zach and Greg from Straight Down the Middle: a pinball show!



  • Stern Announces AC/DC Luci Premium Vault Edition
  • TWIPY Pinball Awards Show Results
  • Straight Down the Middle: a pinball show (thanks!)
  • IFPA State Championship Series
  • EAG Expo 2018 Report - Pinball Magazine
  • Super Pinball Pong Pong Bar - New Machine!
  • deeproot Pinball Update - Three New Designers, the Five Days of deeproot, More
  • Pinball Bulbs advertisement
  • Bible Adventures Pinball Update
  • American Pinball Production Begins/Resumes
  • Zombie League All Stars and All Star Baseball
  • Tron VE Rumors
  • Victory Laps - End of Post Bonus
  • MATCH! Next Game…What is Coming Up on This Week in Pinball



If anyone has information about if Tron VE will be released this year, please tell me so I can start selling my organs now.


From This Week in Pinball:

deeproot Pinball: New Home, New Hires, 5 Days of deeproot, EXCLUSIVE follow up interview:



  • Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle Teaser
  • ACNC Teaser Breakdown
  • Artwork and More Info on the Rumored Kingpin Remake
  • deeproot Pinball Interview
  • Thunderbirds Being Built
  • Pinball Bulbs (advertisement)
  • Interview with Eric Meunier from the Head2Head Pinball Podcast
  • Total Nuclear Annihilation Soundtrack
  • The End of the Gameroom Junkies Arcade Podcast
  • Tron VE Rumors – CLARIFICATION
  • Victory Laps – End of Post Bonus
  • MATCH! – Next Game…What is Coming Up on This Week in Pinball
  • Upcoming Games and Rumors



  • American Pinball - Oktberfest Pinball?
  • Interview with Dave Sanders (Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast)
  • Interview with Charlie Emery (The Pinball Profile)
  • Houdini Pinball Machine Review - Deluxe Edition from SDTM
  • First Pictures of AC/DC Luci Vault Edition
  • deeproot Pinball and American Pinball
  • Pinball Bulbs - advertisement
  • Heighway Pinball Update and Timeline for Game #3
  • Interview with Eric Meunier (Head 2 Head Pinball Podcast)
  • Metallica Premium Pinball - The Tunatorial
  • Victory Laps- End of Post Bonus
  • Match! Next Game…What is Coming Up on This Week in Pinball
  • Upcoming Games and Rumors



Open letter to J.K. Rowling: Pleas for Harry Potter Pinball


I so agree. A HP machine would be awesome. Playing through the 7 years at Hogwarts for Wizard Mode and maybe have it be the Battle of Hogwarts! I envision GOT type of rules and playfield!!! I started this page back in 2012!!!



  • deeproot Podcast Interview with Eclectic Gamers Podcast
  • deeproot Settles with Zombie Yeti
  • deeproot Opens the Zidware Claims
  • Stern of the Union – New Hires
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – Live on Twitch this Wednesday with the JJP Team
  • The TWIPY Award Winners Photos
  • Behind the Scenes at the TWIPYs
  • Roman Glass from Heighway Pinball
  • Pinball Bulbs advertisement
  • IFPA: Fort Wayne Pinball Wizard’s World Arcade hosts the largest ever Indiana Women’s Pinball Tournament and the 2nd largest in the World for 2018
  • Stern Pro Circuit Championships
  • NYC Pinball Championship Updates
  • Victory Laps – End of Post Bonus
  • MATCH! Next Game…What is Coming Up on This Week in Pinball
  • Upcoming Games and Rumors



11 different games, huh? And they’re going for licensed themes too. I wonder if they’re going for more modern, current themes. As much as I like the new releases coming from Stern, Jersey Jack, Spooky, and such, most of them are before my time, and I’d like to see some themes, besides movies, that came out in the 2010s. (For that matter, while it’s not a 2010s thing, I have been waiting for a full-size Sonic the Hedgehog pinball machine for longer than I have been into pinball. It’s weird. SEGA made pinball machines, and Sonic is the game franchise most closely tied to pinball, but none have actually existed.)

I may also be insane for saying this, but I also would like one of Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Boy, that show is getting really good around now. And while I highly doubt it, I do hope deeproot gets at least one anime license. I have NO clue why, but there has never been any physical pinball release with an anime theme. (I’m guessing it has something to do with the strictness of the licensors. I know Toei is notorious for it, especially in regards to Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon. It may also be due to the production committee system requiring talks with several companies rather than just one or two.) I’d like one themed on One Piece, One-Punch Man, Attack on Titan, or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, all four of which are quite popular. But who knows? Maybe they’ve secured the rights to a pinball machine of Pop Team Epic, which got really popular really fast. If they don’t make one, maybe I’ll give it a try.

(Yeah, I know, Pop Team Epic began as a webcomic. But it’s gotten more famous thanks to the anime. Also, it’s that sort of series that’s impossible to really depict with only one image, as it isn’t about anything in particular.)

I’m guessing not all of them will be licensed themes. As a startup company, I can’t imagine them having more than a few. They did themselves mention about having to build trust though, so they got that part in.

I forget which podcast it was (I think it was Coast 2 Coast), but I remember hearing about how J.K. Rowling herself does not want a Harry Potter themed machine, as pinball is associated in the UK with bars and she considers Harry Potter a kids franchise. I’m guessing if this is true, she might allow it if owners agree not to put it in places where kids are not allowed to enter.


If any anime theme were to get the green light for a pinball machine, I would guess it would be Cowboy Bebop. Extreme cross-over appeal to mainstream audiences (for many Americans it was the first anime they took seriously), its air-date was long enough ago that fans of the show are now in a financial/home-owning position to acquire pins, excellent music to draw from, good toy potential (Ein, the Bebop, etc.), and the pinball storytelling could be as simple as pursuing bounties to as advanced as the Spike/Vicious confrontation as the wizard mode.


I guess it’s because I go out on location to play these as I don’t have the income to buy them for home use, but I would really like to see something that, say, is currently on the air in Japan or is recent enough to be recognizable to most anime fans. Not that Cowboy Bebop isn’t (and I think it’d be a great theme to use), just that when I see stuff like Aerosmith or Total Nuclear Annihilation pop up, it always feels like the industry overall is one that’s stuck in the past. I do understand the logic though: These are machines now built with the home user in mind, and fans of current, popular things are rarely expected to have the income necessary to buy a pinball machine.

Admittedly, your typical western anime fan is NOT wealthy enough to get a pinball machine (the Toyota campaign a few years back centered on Hatsune Miku fell completely flat on its face as they failed to take into account that most anime fans cannot afford a new car, or even have the credit necessary to make monthly payments).

Your JAPANESE anime fan, on the other hand, well, they’re already spending hundreds of thousands of yen every year on their favorite franchises. But I think that’s another kettle of fish entirely and is likely best left to a Japanese company that wants to make pinball machines, as they’ll know the Japanese audiences better and can navigate the production committee maze a lot more skillfully. (To my knowledge, they have little interest in Cowboy Bebop though–they are a psychographic that either attaches intensely to one franchise or rapidly moves from new show to new show and will forget about the previous show once they move on, which is reflected in the strike-while-the-iron’s-hot nature of most anime merchandise.)


Akira would be cool.


Akira was huge when I was young. Everyone had seen Akira and Ghost In Shell and thought they were cool because of it. Has it held up as a part of pop culture. If I go to the CS department at a random university, will all the students still claim to have seen it?