I was hoping to add the side rails and topper prior to posting, but it seems both are still in production. In March I ordered a Munsters Pro NIB from Curly at Little Shop of Games here in Central Florida. I’ve been a long-time pin enthusiast but had never committed to purchasing a game of my own, and Curly’s professionalism, knowledge, and sense of humor, made for a memorable unboxing experience. Pinball locations in Florida are limited to a few that are a considerable commute, and I therefore don’t get to play as much as I would like. I am admittedly a novice player, so my review is from that perspective.
Theme & Art
As a kid growing up in Southern California with two working parents, I have fond memories of watching re-runs of The Munsters on a small black and white tv. The show was campy fun set against the creepy ambience established by the Universal monster movies. Christopher Franchi’s art package is undeniably my favorite, and his talents elevated this pin to an aesthetic that sets the bar for future titles.
Shots & Layout
I always knew that when I purchased my first pin it would be designed by John Borg. He is an icon in the industry and Munsters was a long-time passion project for him. The game shoots superbly, as the staircase, ultra-fast orbit, Marilyn’s 180 degree ramp, scoop down to Grandpa’s Lab, and challenging Kitty shot, all feel smooth and very satisfying to hit.
Rules & Coding
I know this is where Munsters gets some bad press, but as Dwight reiterated at TPF, George Gomez specifically instructed that he create coding that would appeal to the new or average player, a departure from the deep ruleset of his previous work. The coding is perfect for my current skill set as stacking super jackpots, boosting Raven during multiball, hitting Kitty to create bonus multipliers, and completing characters to start Munster Madness, are all obtainable and enjoyable objectives.
Toys, Lights & Sound
Borg and team definitely brought the world of The Munsters to the playfield, from the Herman sculpt, to the staircase ramp to reveal Spot lurking beneath, to the Dragula race into the orbit. The single drop targets are certainly easier shots, however, Borg confirmed during the TPF panel that it was an intentional design decision that allowed average players to complete modes, and for financial resources to be redirected to other mechs such as Spot. The light show throughout the game is excellent, and the color scheme complements Franchi’s palette. Jerry Thompson created the perfect era and show-appropriate music track and sound fx accompaniment, and I smile every time I hit the orbit and hear the iconic wolf howl from the show.
What my Munsters Pro represents to me is my first experience with actually learning the game of pinball. Over the past several months I have been practicing the techniques Jack Danger demonstrates on tutorials and am now feeling more confident with trapping up the ball to pick a shot, performing a post pass or drop catch, and handling the chaos of multiball effectively. I also am comfortable working with the playfield, and highly recommend the Pinball Universe interior game blade protectors available through Pinball Life. Mods I have added include:
• black leg bolts (Marco) and black nylon leg protectors (Pinball Life)
• black heavy leg-levelers, black silicone casters (Pinball Life) and black oxide nuts (Planetary Pinball)
• art blades (Stern)
• staircase railings and bat (Mezel)
• green LED flipper buttons (Pinball Life)
• blue slingshot and return lane protectors (ULEK)
• 6/32 and 8/32 clear Lexan ¾ washers and black oxide stop nuts on slings (Marco)
Thanks to all the Pinsiders and podcasters who continue to commit time and energy to keeping this awesome hobby engaging and rewarding, and I look forward to meeting many of you at Expo in October!