Hey Guys. Well, as I promised, here is my short review on my Alien pinball unboxing.
I have to admit, I was nervous as hell when I got my pin in. Before I go on, a HUGE thanks to my buddy Marcus for picking it up for me at the terminal. It saved me a day of reviewing, plus I already planned a big welcoming party for the Alien pin. Thanks Mark! Okay, here we go.
Before I start, my buddy Greg from SDTM filmed the entire session of me and my pinball buddies (Rick, Greg, Hoagie, Mark) unboxing the pin, as well as putting this monster together and getting it ready for play. So, Greg should have the video up soon and it will explain more better than I can put in words.
When I got the box, it had a huge dent on the top side which worried me more. However, upon opening the box we didn't notice any type of damage within. The box had all kinds of warning stickers on it saying it was a high dollar item, but it's all good.
Let me say the first thing about the build of the pin. It's built like a tank. I can't describe the outer part of the cabinet, except the material used on the outside of the cabinet feels like a surface of a truck bed liner, only smoother. It has grooves notched on the cabinet to perfectly fit the legs and looks great. Don't worry about buying some button protectors for this baby. The game didn't come with any type of instructions or goodies (key fabs, extra plastics, etc), but no biggie. It took us awhile to figure out how to properly install the backbox, but after doing so we kinda looked at each other and told Greg to edit that part out in his video. LOL Speaking of backbox, it it a lot skinnier than Stern or JJP and, upon looking at the top part, I don't know how or where the optional beacons will sit or fit on it. There is no pre-drilled holes on it or anything like that or places where wires can be run later to the beacons, but maybe the LE models will already have them on them. Still, if this was going to be added on later as an option, I don't know how I could do it. Still, a minor complaint. The cabinet I have to rate a very solid A Plus!
The playfield looks stunning and the art package is great. I swear to you, this is one of the BEST playfields I have seen in quite some time in regards to the toys and overall look of the area. It reminds me of JJ Woz pin in regards to the toys and the interactive playfield toys just making you feel like your part of that universe. I'll say this again, it just looks like Alien. I also did love the way each alien creature is put on the playfield, from the eggs to the facehuggers to the adult alien head. Only thing missing is the chestburster. I do want to bring up one thing for Delt, maybe it will help solve his problem.
I was lucky enough to have pinball buddies, who I would officially call "Pinball Surgeons", who was there with me when I initially opened the pin. I wanted to make sure they were there just in case something broke or came loose that I didn't detect and they could fix it in minutes which would take me hours to do. When I was unboxing the pin, I began to remove the Styrofoam pieces from the corners of the pin. While doing so, one of my buddies asked me what the plastic baggie was that was found almost underneath the Styrofoam piece. I reached down and pulled out the baggie from behind the piece (like a small Ziploc bag) and on the outside was a small note stating something about "before you power up the machine, be sure to replace these fuses (which was in the Ziploc bag) with the ones currently inside the board of the pin". I don't know if Delt saw this or not, but I could see if he somehow overlooked it because it was well hidden. I thought about Delt the whole time, thinking maybe that was why he was having problems with lights not working properly on his pin. Anyway, if you did see it Delt and was able to replace the fuses,I hope you get your pin up and running soon.
We did replace the fuses and, after getting everything done, finally powered up the pin. Okay, everything looking good. The alien mech head began to move and the tongue came out perfectly. All of the monitors fired up and the light boards all worked. One thing to note. When I removed the playfield glass, this thing is a beast in terms of weight. Very well made and protected and slid off pretty good, just be forewarned it's going to be heavy since you probably will be so use to lifting and pulling out the lighter weight glass only.
The side art worked and lit up nicely, just not really too bright (which is fine with me). I really liked the small handle they put on the plastic side art, making it easier to pull it out of the pin (even though on Greg's video I struggled with it with other guys pulling it out with ease). I swear, sometimes I have problems peeling off the wrapper of a Tootsie roll, but I blame that on my old age.
The game played great and any Alien fan will truly appreciate the work that was done with this pin. The overall look and atmosphere just screams Alien. The pin is dark, but it just fits the mood perfectly. I don't know if I'll get the pinstadium light for it or not (because they do look great), but at least it's an option later on. In terms of other mods, it always had a color screen and button protectors, along with side art inside the pin, so that's a big plus in terms of spending more money on it.
The modes are sweet and there is all kinds of sweet and tricky shots in the pin. I kept forgetting about the upper left flipper on the pin for some reason, but I know over time I will get used to using it. The ramps feel like they are actually built into the game and just shaking them will shake the whole playfield (again, see Greg's later SDTM video), which is good. Early impressions I have to tip my hat to Ferret for helping putting this together.
I had a blast that night with it and it was played probably non-stop for around 6 1/2 hours. All of my guests really loved it as well and bragged about it. The only negative thing I can say about the play is sometimes it would take a couple of hits before the ball was ejected properly from the shooter lane. One time my daughter was playing the pin and she had a mutiball going that seemed endless. I think it happened during "Bug Ambush", but don't quote me on that. Anyway, I went ahead and turned off the pin and waiting a few seconds before re-booting it (much to my daughter's dismay LOL She had one hell of a score going) and, upon doing so, the pin played good the rest of the night. After the party I played one game and it did the same to me, but the game finally quit shooting out the balls. I don't know, maybe I was just kicking ass during that mode, but I doubt it.
Anyway, that is my review. I think if Heighway can get this thing going and get these puppies shipped out to eager pinball fans' hands, they are going to see strong sales in this one. Heighway has to understand they can have a winning horse in this race, with a lot of pressure on them to see this thru. Alien is the PERFECT pinball theme, with non-stop action and a loyal fan base. They opened a HUGE can of worms upon obtaining this license, knowing the fans would want this pin and the expectations will be high and I thank them for it. I think Gary Stern is kinda feeling it right now with the Star Wars fans out there watching his pin.
A special "Thank You" to everybody who came last night for some good food, pinball playing and laughter. This is what the hobby is all about. I think we talked more pinball than anything else, so thank you to everybody who came out and made the arrival of the Alien pin that much more special to me.