Hey everyone, how’s it going?
I’m Jeff bakalar and this is ces 2021.
I guess it’s pretty great because I’ve got a couple pinball machines in my home.
I’m here with Director of Marketing Zach Sharpe from stern pinball.
Wanted to talk to us all about the brand new Led Zeppelin game that’s coming out as well as recent games like avengers infinity quest and another personal favorite theme Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Zach, thank you for joining me.>> Thank you for having me.>> Last year you guys were at the stage in Vegas and you brought over the new Stranger Things game.
This year we’re talking about the Led Zeppelin machine.
Tell me everything about this game and how It came to fruition.
Sure I mean, if you’ve never heard of Led Zeppelin, we should probably just end this call right now.
But [LAUGH] No, I mean they are one of the most iconic rock bands of all time.
I mean Even for me, I’ve never been like a huge Led Zeppelin fan but I hear their songs in the game.
I’m like, That’s Led Zeppelin.
I didn’t know that
Right just like all the bangers, man.
I mean, like immigrant song.
And how can that not get you pumped up so,
That marriage and synergy of Music and pinball is just perfect for this property.
You know, the first thing a lot of people look at is what is the playfield look like?
What are what are the toys, what are the shots?
What is putting Led Zeppelin in sort of a category by itself in terms of all the toys and all the all the shots going on in that game.
There’s this device that will rise up out of the play field and it reveals a spinner, optical spinner.
You can shot through it and you help charge this electrical magic device.
And after you reach a certain threshold, it will become a magnet and it’ll just stop the ball right in the middle of a play field.
And then, raise below the play field.
So, it will lock a ball inside the game.
And you don’t know where it went, you know, when’s it coming back out.
[LAUGH] And it’s really cool because not only will it stage the ball, you can knock the ball out for a multiwall.
It can become a captive ball.
The magnet can pulse so it can throw the ball up and down.
And they’re flashing lights in there.
So that device is really the star of the show for the premium Anneli model.
And we also have the new expression lighting system so really to have that whole concert vibe, you’ve got 96 intelligent RGB lights on the inside part of the cabinet with artwork and it just pulses with the music so you know your immigrant song or you know a whole lot of love the song remains the same any of those iconic songs.
If the lights will just pulse with the beat, and that kind of ties into the gameplay.
Our programmer did something that’s never been done before in a pinball machine where typically, if you’re in a mode, it’s kind of a set shot pattern or you’re gonna shoot this left ramp and right spinner Well, depending on where you are in the song, the shots will change whether you’re in the verse or chorus.
So as you’re trying to accumulate points and get, you know, platinum records which kind of goes to the deeper end of the game.
It’s cool because, I mean you could be playing the same song but depending on where you are in that song, the shots are constantly changing with the motion of The machine.
Led-Zeppelin is, correct me if I’m wrong, it’s available for pre order now, it’s starting to ship.
How’s it rolling out?
Its shipping right now.
So the pro model is available right now.
Our dealers might be sold out but it is available right now.
The lees will be shipping out In the middle of January and then the PREMIUM shortly after.
So pretty much you can get in line and well not with the LEDs, they’re all sold out, but the PREMIUMs you can get and they’re all available.
All right, let’s move down the line of some of the games I wanna talk with you about today I in my possession, I have had avengers infinity quest for a couple days now and Zack I gotta say, this is my new obsession, my son and I’ve been playing this game non stop.
What’s the story with Avengers?
Well first let me say I am jealous that you have one to play.
You’ve probably played it more than I have now.
I mean, that game is truly unique and special.
Keith Allen was the designer of that, who did Jurassic park right behind you and Iron Maiden and his.
Besides being arguably the best competitive pinball player of all time, he just has a really unique perspective and approach to game design.
So every one of his games looks and feels different.
So as I’m sure you seen firsthand, you just see all these wireframes all over the place.
The shot geometry is just something that has never been seen before in pinball.
It is wild.
When We were first looking at it, it looked like an actual roller coaster.
It was just the the dimensionality of everything to is so fresh you have ramps that sort of put balls further back in the playfield.
And almost this sort of optical illusion that happens where you’re just like That’s not how gravity works like why is a ball going this way unable to come back to me and just such really smart design with all that.
It seems like there was a lot of risk taking and you know, kind of gambling there.
What was a big sort of hurdle with.
Getting all that to flow and all those shots to kind of speak to each other.
A vendor was definitely the most unique game launch because in terms of its development cycle, it was right at the point of where the pandemic hit and we, had a stay at home back in March.
So just as they were building these white woods to test out some of the shots like the Captain Marvel ramp which looks vertical and almost impossible that it was right at that time where Keith is working on these white woods at home and working with the engineer from his respective location and.
It was definitely challenging but I mean they made it work.
That’s out now, correct and I know for sure because I have friends, yourself included who, who work for the company, trying to get their hands on that.
How’s that rollout schedule shaping up.
Contact your local dealer, and they, they’ll know more than I do, in terms of when they’re getting their allocation filled, You know we are trying to build them as safely as possible, and as quickly with the highest starndards possibles.
We know how much they want this machines.
We wanted to wither them and yeah, you will not be disappointed.
Finally we gotta talk about a game that was probably the worst kept secret in all of pinball.
Which one Jeff?
Teenage Mutant Ninger Turtle, That was not a surprise to many people when they came out.
We’re obviously happy to see it.
This game has its own set of wild toys.
It’s got a turtle van that houses four balls in the lie in the preen and that spinning pizza disc I mean this game really is a wild sort of ride What sort of things went into this game?
That was maybe a stern first.
You know, it wasn’t a first but it was definitely more prominent was a player controlled diverter.
So, you have Rafi on this glider in the middle of the playfield and you can control.
Which direction you send the ball.
So if you wanna just, you know, keep looping off ramp, you can do that.
While on the pro there’s only one path the ball can take.
But that was really a cool moment for him to kind of implement this new way for a player to control the pinball action.
In terms of the software It was definitely a first for Sturm but it implemented Co Op, where you can play, three people versus one so or you know, say that you have a family and dad or mom’s the ringer and everyone else is not really good.
You can combine and face off is kind of like a handicapping system for one player versus three.
Sure For your, you know, joining forces, I mean, it was a perfect synergy got four turtles, you got four players, and for him to implement this code where, you know you’re working together to kinda get through the, you know, deeper code of the machine.
It’s just really, it was just a kind of groundbreaking way to implement Co Op and Mr. Machine.
Yeah, I mean, it’s like I said paying homage to that episodic cartoon series where the objectives of the game are sort of gated behind episodes and getting to choose your turtle at the beginning of the game and all that sort of stuff.
I think a lot of people when they think of a pinball game, they don’t necessarily think about Objectives and the rule set and you know how everything sort of plays in harmony is all tied together.
But with turtles all those things kind of fire off and make sense to you.
You know, a if you just play games and you understand how like objectives sort of work, but also the theme integration kind of.
You know, lends itself to being like, I don’t really, you know, I don’t necessarily know how a pinball game sort of works, but I see what they’re doing with the episodes and I see how this all is tied together and make sense.
So really just an awesome job with with that kind of stuff.
And, you know, I think that’s something people when they do get their hands on this or they watch it.
Streaming is is something they’ll really get a kick out of for sure.
Yeah, I mean, just a follow up on that.
I mean, it’s kind of cool because you have the original fan base of people who grew up with the turtle,
Property from the Ladies and you know, it does the theme so much justice.
So they’re fans.
And I’ve seen so many people who have become fans because of the pinball machine.
You know, they were never really a big turtles fan or they were simply just too young.
Yeah, my son’s in that in that group.
You talked about really no understanding of what the turtles were
Plays this game and then just like, decides to binge the entire cartoon series from the 80s and 90s.
And just like yeah, of course, like I know what all this stuff is I’ve played the game enough and and there you have it.
All right, Zach, thank you so very much for being here.
I know the circumstances are weird, but nevertheless appreciate you taking the time.
No thanks for having me on.
I’d say support your local arcade.
I mean, you might not be able to go there in person, but maybe you can buy an eGift card or, merchandise from them help them stay afloat until we kind of get on the other side of this thing.
I know it’s not good enough for many out there but just stay safe.
Keep flipping, whether it’s at home, digitally, mentally.
I mean, they say play pinball and rock on.