(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over

By HeighwayPinball

5 years ago

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  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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Topic index (key posts)

53 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 10 items.

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Post #9151 Insight from Alien's programmer on tournament mode Posted by Ferret (3 years ago)

Post #9234 Update on distribution Posted by HeighwayPinball (3 years ago)

Post #9660 Here we show you a short clip from the 'Ambush Multiball' mode Posted by HeighwayPinball (3 years ago)

Post #10128 Photo of Alien at UK Trade Show Posted by unigroove (3 years ago)

Post #10230 game play video from EAG UK tradeshow Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (3 years ago)

Post #10231 game play video from EAG UK tradeshow Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (3 years ago)

Post #10914 Alien ships Posted by ZenTron (3 years ago)

Post #10916 Alien ships Posted by HeighwayPinball (3 years ago)

Post #11230 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by ezeltmann (3 years ago)

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#18253 2 years ago

This is probably of no help to any of you, but I recently bought a Twilight Zone from a collector/restorer in the UK who has 2 Alien machines (standard I believe). I got to play on it and agree with what has been said already about it being a very impressive machine. At the time of playing it, and until finding this thread by chance this morning, I had no idea of the scale of the issues in acquiring one.

He is selling them (he tried to sell one to me) but unfortunately as far as I know the UK price for these pins new was higher than the US one, and shipping would of course be prohibitively expensive. It could be an option if someone is desperately after an Alien pin with the cost being a secondary concern. Obviously parts / support would still be an issue in any event.

EDIT: Seems he listed one previously on Ebay at £7995, which is a serious amount of dollars and presumably many thousands more than you guys would've paid new.

#18261 2 years ago

I have to say though, even just skimming the accounts for the company, it looks to be in pretty bad shape. Next to no cash on hand, profit/loss circa -£500k up to last years accounts and trending down from the previous also-negative year, etc. Opinions are just that, but accounts are fact.

It's a real shame because the machine itself is very impressive. BUT it's no use being impressive, even if you got your pin eventually, if you bought it and had zero warranty and practically zero chance of replacement parts or support, outside of every other owner scratching around trying to reverse engineer it. You'd have to be very brave to stick it out I think.

2 months later
#19573 2 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Hopefully to clarify some of the file confusion, I did some short research. The file you download from the Heighway site currently is a tar file, they just renamed it to .upd instead of .tar.gz. They also have a bit of unfortunate naming going on.
The downloadable file is named hpa11.upd and is 10,897,267 bytes. This may show as 10,642KB or 10.3MB depending on how your system is displaying file sizes.
[b]If you crack open the tar/gz file, there is a file inside of it also named hpa11.upd. If you extract it, it weighs in at 16,640,000 bytes. This may show as 16,250KB or 15.8MB depending on how your system is displaying file sizes.[/b]
I think it would be more user friendly if Heighway would change the name of the tar file to retain it's proper file type, and also give it a filename that is different than the file inside of the package.

The above seems wrong, sorry.

I just downloaded hpa11.upd from http://files.heighwaypinball.com/hpa11.upd and unzipped it, and there is a directory structure there, and no hpa11.upd file inside. Here is a list of all of the files contained within it: https://pastebin.com/9eQFCk88

MightyGrave - have you tried redownloading the .upd recently? If you have it could be that whatever browser you're using is mangling the file somehow.

#19579 2 years ago

The bootup screenshot shown before shows that a process is trying to untar/gunzip the hpd11.upd file. If it can't do that - as in MightyGrave case - then it will just abort. Basically that hpd11.upd file should just be put on a FAT32 formatted USB stick "as is", as said above.

#19594 2 years ago

This service reminds me a lot of what I went through with OnePlus (phone company). If you got your phone from them, and it worked, it was brilliant and from your perspective the company was awesome simply because you'd never had to experience their customer service from the position of needing something from them.

Furthermore, people having good experiences struggled to understand or sympathise with those that were experiencing difficulties, believing them to be either melodramatic or that "something else is going on that we're not being told about", etc. Not saying that's what is happening here, but it's understandable that people who lucked out with actually getting a pin might tend to minimise the problems others are experiencing.

It seems that those people who have gotten an Alien machine, fully working, are loving it, whilst there are numerous others who for reasons unknown have had next to no communication at all. It is strange that there is such a spectrum of experiences coming from the same company, even post buyout.

#19650 2 years ago
Quoted from Marv:

You remember them. Whitman, Price and Heighway...

Last seasons winners?

#19663 2 years ago
Quoted from jq-pinner77:

Thats the issue , I and we were told the game was shipping in 2 weeks , been paid in full since sept 2016. Was told by Melissa there would be 45 le's coming in 45 days and I can place a order for one, When I informed her I was already paid in full she replied that she would check on that , have heard nothing since , That was last week. Seems like the new money will be getting games first , I hope I am wrong as I will need heart medication for sure , numb just thinking about it uggggg

Sadly your money might as well not exist as far as the new owners are concerned. They never saw it. As they said when the previous owner disappeared he left them with an empty bank account. Your money might as well have gone towards renovations on that guy's house (or boat) for all the relevance it has to pinball, and quite possibly did.

People buying now are actually paying money to the new owners. They're receiving that money themselves.

This doesn't help you of course, but to be honest it is fortunate that the new owners are trying to make good existing customers out of their own pocket. They could easily have phoenixed the company leaving you with no hope of getting anything back.

Don't mean to diminish your very genuine gripes at all. I'd feel exactly the same in your shoes. Just saying that unfortunately people who subsidised the previous owner's retirement fund have no leverage now, and will basically have to hope that at some point the new owners altruistically make them whole.

1 week later
#19829 2 years ago
Quoted from Oldgoat:

It's a bit of a predicament. HW is obviously insolvent at the moment. They need to sell new games to cover their current liabilities (preorders). Regardless of how great the game is, there is a limited number of people who will buy it. To become a viable company, they have to produce new titles. Unfortunately, the time from game idea to full production is measured in years. So, they have to work on new titles now. While people may be pissed off at announcing the next title at TPF it doesn't change the reality that HW is spending time and $ on that next game. They really have no choice.

I think it's worse than that. The new money coming in is (in some cases at least) resulting in a game being delivered to that person, but people who paid much, much earlier, years ago in fact, are not being made whole at all and there doesn't appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel for them. The new money, whatever new money there is, seems to just about be keeping the ship afloat rather than building towards them clearing their order books pre and post-Andrew.

One wonders how big the pinball market is, or rather - how big is the part that isn't already acutely aware of HW's troubles.

You're right in that they seem to be in a position of needing to sell new games to be able to deliver older ones, and perhaps that's the logic with releasing a new game entirely. One wonders how much goodwill is left though. No one wants to have to imagine that their new money is going towards making good someone elses position, people understandably just want what they've paid for. Equally, if HW were to announce a new game how many people are going to be chomping at the bit - knowing what we know - to get in early when there is every chance that *your* game might not come to fruition until they release another game down the line.

This "delivery in arrears" mode of operating is very toxic to their reputation.

1 week later
#20056 2 years ago

Old money is gone.

I know it's a bitter pill to swallow but your old money has gone on the previous owner's boat(s), or an extension to his house. The reality is that you need to hope that Heighway makes enough profit from selling these pins to new money to be able to honour your orders, which are basically write-offs for them.

The new owners even said that they came in facing an empty bank account.

#20058 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

With all due respect, how do you know this? Given LEs are limited, how would this be possible... given LEs are limited in number? Many people with money in already have numbers reserved. Say that they sell all 500 LEs to alone new money, when they have enough profit to cover the new money order, what numbers would go to the previous people with money in?
Are you suggesting that they are selling people’s specific LE’s numbers to other people? I’d think either the LE number would to the person for whom it’s reserved or it doesn’t get made. At the very worst, only non reserved LEs should go to new money.

I obviously don't know for sure, but the new owners said that when they came in there was "an empty bank account, many refund requests, paid for and deposit down orders, supplier and other bills and hardly any parts at the factory with which to make machines". Their words, not mine.

Logic dictates therefore that the money that came in early was withdrawn from the company by the previous owner, and hasn't gone towards parts, etc needed to actually assemble & deliver the machines that they were meant to pay for.

Did early (any?) LE preorders get given a number for their machine when they ordered? How can anyone outside of Heighway know when 500 units have been manufactured? For all anyone knows the early preorders made up 100 of these units, and Heighway have plenty more to sell. Assuming they are sequential, perhaps people who have had one recently could confirm their numbers...

I've got no dog in this fight, but I think it's unfair for anyone to build up their expectations too high. Heighway could've gone under, or been phoenixed into another company - leaving early pre-orderers with no legal recourse. As it is they pretty much have to hope that Heighway remains profitable and that new money (profits) translates to their machines getting made and delivered at some point in the future.

(As an aside I note also that Heighway Pinball (Sales) Ltd was dissolved at the end of 2016. How many people who have pre-ordered years ago paid money into that entity?)

#20064 2 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

The new owners are obligated to fill the old orders, since they took the company on as a going concern, however noble and ultimately unwise that may have been.
Newer orders being filled first is likely due to trying not to haemorrhage unacceptable losses / negative cash flow in the short term.
Whilst a bitter pill, this should be acceptable to old orders since; the money was all gone; they never saw a penny of it; no-one was going to get a machine if they hadn't stepped in; the machine you get will be a vast improvement on the piecemeal crap Andrew tried to peddle as 'production'.

I don't disagree, however they're under no obligation as far as I'm aware to deliver them in any particular timeframe.

Fingers crossed this new money, 45 LEs etc will pave the way for people who have pre-ordered and paid in full years ago to get their pins.

2 weeks later
#20194 2 years ago

So where's this boat then? Presumably hallway across the Atlantic? I guess by now there would be some evidence of it actually existing?

#20225 2 years ago

Why are you being such a dick about it?

Cointaker are not Heighway, but Cointaker are dealing with Heighway.

If they're asking for payment to be made in full, I don't see how it impacts them to wait until the machines actually arrive? What if they turn up broken? What if they don't turn up at all? In those situations the Cointaker customers who had paid the balance of their order in full - because they were asked to - would be at the mercy of Heighway (via Cointaker) as to when replacement pins would be shipped again.

Given how delicate cashflow appears to be at Heighway I'm not sure I'd want to gamble on them replacing 15+ LE pins (allegedly the number on this mythical boat) in a reasonable amount of time.

Hopefully this boat actually exists and these pins are on it, and arrive safely. In the absence of any proof whatsoever I'd advise caution.

#20247 2 years ago

Isn't it a lot more expensive here in the UK? (for some unknown reason)

#20249 2 years ago
Quoted from SLAMT1LT:

Yes, I completely agree. This whole situation has been handled poorly. Game number 3 is in development but no way in hell are we making any announcement until everything that's wrong with the Alien fiasco is fixed. And we can and will fix it.
Will anyone buy game number 3? Right now, I'd say not a chance. Or at least not in any significant number. We have to fix this, rebuild our reputation. Start over. And it all starts with making sure our games are reliable and backed up with a solid support structure.
To be frank, Andrew was only ever a half decent salesman (much like David Brent from The Office...in fact EXACTLY like David Brent from The Office.) Completely hopeless at managing a company and we've been dealing with the shit storm he left behind.
We've all come so close to losing our jobs so many times over the past few years, and many have quit. Those that remain, are completely committed to making this work. It would be very easy for us to just say "fuck it" and close the doors and move on, but we're not doing that. We have a plan and there is a future for this company.
If it helps (and it helps me), open your window right now, stick your head out and scream: "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore".

Communication is key. Posts like this help to reassure people even though ultimately you haven't given any concrete details of shipments, etc. When there is radio silence, and emails go unanswered for weeks (or don't get answered at all), that's when your customers lose faith, and start telling anyone who will listen of their bad experience. When there is enough negativity swirling around you end up in a situation which can quickly become unrecoverable.

No one wants new Heighway to fail, but there are a number of people who have money down who deserve to know where they stand, even if it its the cold, hard truth of "we don't have an update for you right now, but we are committed to making you whole, please bear with us", etc. In the absence of any updates people start to speculate, and fear the worst.

#20280 2 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

The Cointaker shipment is fine and on the way?

The Cointaker shipment of ~75 LEs is both on its way and waiting to be fulfilled. Schrödinger's boat.

#20306 2 years ago
Quoted from Whridlsoncestood:

Daily emails to Heighway finally received a response a few months later. Before it was always about the shipping crate for the kits to be ready. Prototyping, almost ready, blah blah blah. This time it wasn’t very optimistic.
“I regards to your order we will do all that we can to get this out to you as soon as possible but we are still dealing with the back log from the old management and therefore there may be some time until we can fulfil your order.
I am sorry that this is not the best news and I wish I had more exact information to share with you at this point. We will be in contact when we have more details to share about your order.”
Less than thrilled. Paid for a kit in full like 2 years ago.

To be fair - the situation is what it is, but would you rather have no communication or some communication, even if it's not what you want to hear?

As grim as it is - I'd rather know where I stand than be ignored, and left to speculate.

#20317 2 years ago
Quoted from Whridlsoncestood:

Didn’t say I was upset for the communication but I believe I asked about this back in December time frame (for the umpteenth time) with no response and kept asking the question every other week until I got a response now. So hardly a level of communication that raises praise.
I did thank Morgan for his response.

Sorry, I wasn't criticising you. You're right that several months of being ignored before finally getting a response doesn't merit praise.

#20346 2 years ago
Quoted from RTS:

Hmmm... let's imagine....20 years from now...
Maybe all the games will be worth nothing.
Or maybe they'll be rare like Big Bang Bar.
Or maybe somewhere in between.
That pretty much covers it.


I don't think people buying pins in the heyday would've necessarily thought that the company making them would still be around in 20 years or not. Williams isn't around anymore - at least not in the pinball business.

All Heighway really need to do is release schematics for their boards, and in a perfect world open source their software once it ceases to be a going concern (ala ID Software with Quake, etc). The community will do the rest.

1 week later
#20385 2 years ago
Quoted from BillySastard:

Did Heighway 2.0 hire a Nigerian Prince to write their emails?
Someone take advantage of this opportunity!

The language used deliberately avoids to make any kind of clear commitment to an actual delivery date. Scary.

#20425 2 years ago
Quoted from legionsoup:

While I agree that it sucks for people who have been waiting for years (I can't even imagine the frustration - I feel for you guys), if you don't get the machine, someone else will. If you want it, get it. You haven't done anything wrong or stabbed anyone in the back to get it. It's just a lucky opportunity. There's no bad karma. If anything, you wouldn't even KNOW about this unless your karma was great.
I got in from Cointaker. I wasn't even around for the original Heighway fiasco, and honestly, I wasn't aware of any of it when I was on Cointaker's website last summer clicking the "preorder" button. I found out about Alien Pinball on a facebook post and wanted it, knowing nothing about the history, troubles with past customers, etc.
I can sympathize with people who have been screwed. It's a terrible situation. But if there's any blame and ill-will to be directed, it's at Heighway for not fulfilling purchases in order. Blaming people who were able to buy a machine after the initial group seems a bit unwarrented (unless that person really did do something underhanded to jump the line).

I agree with this. You shouldn't really feel too bad about this, not any more so than happening to buy the last of anything in a shop and depriving anyone else who might have bought one after you.

You shouldn't beat yourself up about this.. things are so scattershot in terms of when people are getting pins (or not at all) that there is clearly no real queue to speak of at all anyway. People are getting orders honoured seemingly randomly, with a clear preference towards new money. Under the circumstances you should just treat it as an fortuitous opportunity.

#20428 2 years ago
Quoted from bigdaddy07:

I agree, however, its nothing short of a travesty that early depositors like MK6pin are not getting offered that LE. I could understand when it was the standards going out, since most early depositors were in for LEs, let the standards go out to get the cash pump primed and bugs ironed before shipping the LEs. I was actually OK with that. Now that we offering (supposedly available)LEs to people dropping off their orders, why the heck would they not go down the list chronologically?? I'm expecting my game within the next two weeks and have been in for a preorder for almost two years, the only difference between myself and guys that have a cash down a year earlier than me, is that I put my cash down with Cointaker, and those guys direct with Heighway.

From the perspective of Heighway 2.0 - would you either give a pin away to someone you have seen no money from, or give it to the person who has actually paid you money?

They said when they took over that the bank account was empty. It's a grim situation for sure, but "early depositors" have got no leverage at all. It is fortunate that (at least at the moment) Heighway 2.0 is trying to make them whole, out of their own pocket. Unfortunately the timeline for that seems to be measured in months & years, not weeks. Under the circumstances though there isn't a whole lot they can do about it.

If they had phoenixed the company the early depositors would've straight up lost their money. As it is right now, they have a slim chance of getting a pin at some point in the future, dependent on new money orders being fulfilled and enough profit (and goodwill) to write off to fulfill these Heighway 1.0 deposits & pre-orders.

#20430 2 years ago

I agree, however with my "harsh but true" hat on - someone who had put a deposit down with Andrew is pretty much no different to me phoning Heighway today and demanding an Alien pin for $1000 off (or whatever the deposit was) the asking price.

#20450 2 years ago

Otherwise known as confirmation bias.

2 weeks later
#20546 2 years ago

Previously the "it's your lucky day, someone who ordered an LE with green trim dropped out! All you have to do is send us the full balance now and maybe you'll get one when we've got enough money to ship them" email - which several people got carbon copies of - suggested that there wouldn't be a shipment until such time as people with deposits sent the full balance along.

I'm naturally pessimistic but it doesn't sound like that ship is sailing anywhere until more victims customers pay the full balance.

Funny thing is, HW could dispel all of the skepticism simply by providing photos of the LEs/non-LEs ready to ship, etc. At this point I'd want to see a copy of todays paper in the photo too. Even regular production updates would help, with photos & videos of the processes, etc. Would cost them nothing, and give customers new and old alike confidence that they're actually doing things behind closed doors. Right now radio silence in between Nigerian-prince-scam looking emails does the opposite.

#20623 2 years ago

It is a shame really, all things considered, because having played it myself it is a good game. Of what I've seen of it the tech involved looks like it's decent too, the redesigned bits anyway. A small Welsh company designing & building bespoke pinball components, boards, etc. It should be something to crow about in the UK, but the way things are it's just embarrassing.

I really feel for those who have skin in the game, particularly those that paid in full years ago. I don't know what stomach the current investors have for all of this, or even for pinball in general. There must have been some enthusiasm for it beyond making a profit because what they bought into was a company that had been drained financially and reputationally.

It would be nice if Heighway would at least start releasing schematics so that people who are actually getting machines (new money it seems) can maintain them in 5-10+ years time.

#20631 2 years ago

The boat isn't leaving until sufficient people have paid in full, and I doubt many people with any clue about the situation are keen to pay in full knowing how flaky the promises are. Bit of a chicken & egg situation.

As said before - Heighway would do themselves big favours by posting updates of pins going out the door, "blogs from the production line", etc. Just stuff to show all the doubters that things are moving along. If it wasn't for the fact people such as neilmcrae, royneblom, aeonblack, etc were posting their own experiences on here everyone else would be none the wiser.

Normally I would say that what pins are going out the door to which distributors is privileged information, but these aren't normal times - Heighway's reputation is such that they should be the ones proactively posting these photos, to their social feeds, etc, to start building back confidence in their business.

They really need to cut out the whole "if you pay in full maybe you'll get a cancelled LE order" mail spam too, that is really disingenuous behaviour. Same goes for Schrödinger's boat that simultaneously set sail/is sailing/will sail - there should be no talk about a ship "just about to leave", "leaving soon!", etc if that patently isn't true, which clearly it isn't.

#20638 2 years ago
Quoted from Jvspin:

I thought there were a lot of people who have already paid in full with Heighway.

Not enough I guess. And Heighway 1.0 customers don't count at all, unfortunately.

#20722 2 years ago
Quoted from libtech:

Cointaker being out is bad for distribution in the Americas, I assume Nitro is still a distro and is a very trustworthy place to send your cash.
Also I think there are more machines moving in the UK that we dont really see here.
I had pretty good response and had all my issues fixed on both my games, however if Helmut is no longer there that sucks..

I wouldn't be so sure. Firstly, it costs more over here in the UK for some bizarre reason. Also, it's not like we don't know the state of affairs with Heighway as well.

#20815 2 years ago
Quoted from Andy_B:

So how do the US customers with money down on an Alien pinball that is ready to ship feel about CT's refusal to pay for the shipment?
No supplier in their right mind would ship the container without payment regardless of what has gone on before.
I hope it can be resolved but what could Heighway do for CT to released payment?

Payment terms of 30 days or more is pretty standard practice, certainly for businesses operating in the UK. I would say it is unreasonable for HP to expect full, upfront payment from a customer who is a) ordering 30-40+ machines, b) has already ordered X machines in the past and therefore established themselves as a trustworthy partner.

As a rule of thumb, companies operating hand to mouth don't tend to last very long because it's a vicious circle. Suppliers doing business with them will look up their credit rating and decide not to give them preferential terms, which leads to a knock-on situation where the company itself can't afford to offer terms itself.

EDIT: I don't know if this is a recent development but I can't see Alien for sale anywhere on the Cointaker website.

#20822 2 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

You suggested they buy them "as is". That's not what people are doing now or have been.
As already reported, many of those people have return those games to Cointaker for a full refund. And it would seem Cointaker is now stuck with those machines.
Without some kind recourse, why take the chance especially during such desperate times for Heighways's future. Without a significant price reduction, your offer wouldn't even appeal to the extreme fringe customer.

Even if CT suggested this sort of thing, I'm not sure how it would stand up in a US court? I have no experience but I assume like most first-world countries consumers have certain protections that supercede any terms a company may seek to impose. In essence you can't waive away your statutory rights.

In the UK, even if you're selling something as "used" as a business you have obligations regards its "fitness for purpose". In other words, you can't just go around selling stuff to people saying "sorry it's sold as seen!".

With the best will in the world CT might (and seem to) decide that the availability of spare parts and response times make continuing to do business with HP untenable.

#20858 2 years ago

Has any European ended up with a LE number that was previously promised to someone in the States?

#20870 2 years ago

lol check out this guy talking about a parts catalogue. Next you'll be saying to check the schematics.

#20885 2 years ago

To echo what Neil said, I've played on a working Alien (the ball launch wasn't 100% reliable, often needing more than one attempt to get the ball in play) and it's a damn fun game when you can actually play it. A lot of nostalgia wrapped around a solid ruleset. The callouts, animations, etc really feel Alien-esque.

It is a crying shame really because this game in the hands of a decent pinball company, one you can trust to provide spare parts, manuals, schematics, etc would be a big hit.

#20887 2 years ago

Isn't it pretty hard to prove one way or the other if someone gets someone else's LE number? I mean, it relies upon both the person on here (assuming a US customer) saying what theirs was, and the recipient (likely Euro at the moment) posting photos of theirs too. It's possible, but statistically improbable.

Not sure why they would even bother changing the plaque on orders they appear to have little or no intention of fulfilling.

#20899 2 years ago

Yup, multiple sources saying that it is true. Heighway Pinball Ltd have gone into administration.

A sad end to a shambolic tale.

#20919 2 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Many predicted this last Summer. Anyway K said LE pics this morning - no pics!
Anyone know what happened to the container of games that were scheduled to go to Cointaker?
If rumors true, liquidators will now have all the assets at HP HQ.


1) The container never existed / wasn't ready to go
2) Most/all of the pins that were due to go out have been sold to others in Europe
3) The container never left due to CT backing out due to a breakdown in the relationship / lack of confidence

Any of those three are possible to be honest, with 3 being the least likely in my opinion.

#20925 2 years ago
Quoted from Zennmaster:

#3 is pretty close to what Melissa told me: The container was ready to go, but CT wouldn't authorize payment without assurances that HW would make good on spare parts and support.

Fair dos. I'm very cynical, so would've assumed they would take money and then tell CT the container was delayed "for some reason" while they actually tried to source the parts / build the machines they'd told them were ready to ship.

Complete shambles whichever way you look at it. What kind of company can't produce even a manual for the game, it is staggering.

EDIT: What he said ^

#20928 2 years ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

Yeah - if it’s the end. I think this is a scam to clean the debt book sell the assets to a new company rinse and repeat.

Yup, pre-pack liquidation seems likely.

#21104 2 years ago
Quoted from SLAMT1LT:

Happy Alien Day! I was hoping the investors would've made an official announcement but no, the story leaked. Yes the doors are closed and no one is employed at Heighway Pinball anymore. The company is done. Quite frankly, I would've plugged the plug a year ago. But at least some people got their games.
If it makes you feel any better, the investors were bullshitted by Andrew just as much as you guys were and they too fell for it hook, line and sinker. And those guys lost a serious amount of money. Ouch.
I lost my job but whatever, I can get another one.

Commiserations, hope you are able to find alternative employment quickly.

Are you able to say whether or not there was a container of Alien LEs "ready to ship" to Cointaker?

#21112 2 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

oh boy. what a coincidence.

Why change what (didn't) work for them and start communicating now? That never helped things.


As much as I'd like to sympathise with the new investors (someone else on here said they were the old/original investors, involved during the Andrew days), they haven't exactly acquitted themselves very well either. Barely any communication, negligible and inconsistent customer service, no apparent desire to make good on liabilities (orders placed prior to them coming on board) and a complete breakdown in a business relationship with their own US distributor.

Andrew may have been a fraud, but the best you can say about the new investors is that they are incompetent (in either due diligence before getting involved, running a business, or both)

#21122 2 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

Hearing stuff like that, the "you can have a green LE", makes it impossible to feel sympathy for the investors. They can blame Andrew all they want, but those choices were on them.

I agree.

That email was a really bad omen, especially as the same email went to several people just on here, let alone how many others, and was filled with non-commital language. It should have been clear to anyone at that point that there was real capitalisation problems.

It's a real shame for ground floor employees, who are completely blameless. Hope you guys had enough notice internally that this was coming down the pipe.

#21139 2 years ago
Quoted from simon:

No, was one of the first investors, unfortunately. Tried to have a positive influence but failed in just about every way.
Been a steep learning curve as I was used to running my own business and having a proper say in things, this just brought home to me very fast that 'minor' investors (But not minor enough it doesnt sting a bit) can say what they like but at the end of the day just have to sit there watching it crash and burn, while also occasionally being offered the 'privilege' to bail it out financially when the mistakes you had warned about came to fruition.
Like banging your head against the wall day in day out, and now those early investors have probably been screwed, along with various other creditors I would guess - but, to be fair 'maybe' not the customers judging by that hint I just quoted and all the other evidence I see around, hopefully something might get sorted on that front at least.
Leaves a very bitter taste this whole sorry saga

Since a liquidation partner is involved, they're surely not going to let assets start walking out the door to unsecured creditors? SLAMT1LT commented earlier that the premises are locked up and all staff dismissed.

It sucks of course, but customers are almost always at the back of the queue when it comes to this stuff.

Guess we'll see how it plays out.

#21154 2 years ago
Quoted from simon:

But, completely hypothetically of course, what if those new directors sold the ip / Heighway tech to another company, say for instance if they maybe already had one set up ready since say, hypothetically again, last summer?
And then , hypothetically, liquidated the company to lose minor investors and other 'less critical' creditors who werent key to restarting the whole process again - those sort or creditors would be unlikely to be customers as without some goodwill there is no future business.
All completely hypothetical of course and completely my own unfounded opinion in case anyone decides to be silly and go legal for no good reason

I see what you did there. Hypothetically of course.

#21157 2 years ago

Regardless of how it pans out, based on the current investors behaviour (I'm thinking primarily of that "someone elses's LE is waiting for you to buy! all you need to do is send us all the money" emails, and complete absence of customer service) I can't see customers being made whole, particularly ones circa Heighway 1.0.

What would they hope to achieve in setting up under a different name anyway? I mean, it might enable them to carry on trading, shedding their liabilities, but it's not like pinball machines are big business. Their association with Heighway would follow them around.

That said - I hope something positive happens with the parts and any built machines, rather than them just getting auctioned off.

#21332 2 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

A lot of people hear a lot of things.
But they don't SAY anything to stay in the good graces of pinball companies they want to be buddy-buddy with.

Yup, such is life sadly. You can bet too that if Heighway or whatever they call themselves next say that there are a few LEs for sale that should've gone to other people that have already paid for them that there would be people who wouldn't hesitate to jump on it.

#21540 2 years ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

It's the same old - same old - with this guy. To your point astropin, you're right. No one is forcing anyone to pay anything. But the narrative typically is aggressive and let's be honest: in this hobby when rely on information from other hobbyists to make sound decisions. It's just the way it works. At this point, regulars can see a source and recognize its validity and weight or lack there of. But non-regulars who don't spend hours on end here could easily mistake utter nonsense and schilling as legit opinions and facts.

Strictly speaking astropin is right, but he's also wrong, for the reasons you highlight.

It's impossible to have insider knowledge of everything, therefore in situations such as this you have to put your faith in the reputation of others who claim to be more informed. It doesn't excuse not doing due diligence, but in many cases it's not possible to be completely sure - and your choice then is to put your faith in what others say, or do without.

So yeah, strictly speaking no one was forced to buy anything, but that's a little disingenuous I feel. Very few people had insider knowledge of what was going on at Heighway, and the likelihood of them delivering on their promises vs what cheerleaders said they were going to do. It's not fair to blame people for being fooled by this behaviour.

#21640 2 years ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

if you want to see how despicable Andrew Heighway is, read this thread below. The man is a calculating (but stupid) abusive, thieving conman and should be doing jail time.
how he has the nerve to even consider speaking is just mental.

The sad reality is that people like Andrew are unlikely to get their comeuppance. People who do this sort of thing are sharp (I'm reluctant to say "smart" or "clever") enough to know exactly what they can and can't get away with saying, or promising to people, without getting themselves into legal trouble. He will more than likely continue to prevail at the expense of other victims.

And what in reality can most people do about the whole Heighway situation? You can't practically take anyone to court because their business failed. The logistics of it make it difficult for most customers to achieve anything. Even UK-based customers are probably not going to see anything from the liquidation of Heighway Pinball, let alone international customers. And you can be certain that the directors have orchestrated all of this in a way that isolates them from any legal action. Sadly there are legal - if not ethical - avenues for companies to unburden themselves from the debt of unsecured creditors and keep operating. I don't doubt that we'll soon see "The Pinball Brothers" or whatever touting their services again.

Let's also be clear about this - Andrew made promises to people that he knew full well would never be honoured, but the new directors are no saints either. It wasn't so long ago that there was an email circulating inviting people to pay the balance of their order to "maybe" get a magical cancelled LE. And it's this new set of directors that have been hopeless with customer service, etc leading to Cointaker pulling out. That happened on their watch, not Andrews. With the exception of non-director level employees and others involved - the whole Heighway architecture has been rotten from the start.

#21645 2 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

This is all of Andrew's making. Not the investors. They may have been foolish, as so many of us were, and lost a ridiculous amount of money on someone whose sole purpose was to bleed and leech others dry.
The main reason it was such a clusterfuck after they took over was cashflow. The picture Andrew painted, and their interpretation of it were nowhere even close to the truth.
The machine was a wreck that needed many months more revision and testing, to fix all the stuff that was wrong with it and test all the stuff that hadn't been. Overheads were higher. Financial encumberances and liabilities were much worse than presented.
Even if they they were prepared to plough millions into the business in the long run, they could not or would not either justify or afford to so quickly.
They've done the same thing as the others who lost - trusted a cretinous loser, with predictable consequences. Expecting them to continue making everything better for the others, or not to say enough is enough at some point is ridiculous.
ALL the old money was gone when they took over, most of it was the moment it went in, when ever it was deposited. Anyone they made good in part or in whole after their take over, that came directly out of their pockets.
It's my view that they should have let the company fail, and then acquired the company from liquidators, or sued Andrew to wrest control, and not taken over any of the liabilities. Even if they did want to make things good for others, they could have done so at their own speed and therefore not suffered a cash crunch. It also wouldn't have granted him an escape route. He'd have either had to face the consequences, or flee - and from what one heard, his bags were packed until the deal went through.
I think that was their plan originally. But I suspect Andrew managed to give them a better impression of the game than it warranted, and then took an over-my-dead-body approach if they wouldn't pay him, and pay him right now.
I think they're very unwise to continue, however. They're likely going to end up wasting more of their lives and money in chasing an embarrassing mistake, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Andrew gets a great kick out of that.

All of that doesn't excuse their almost complete absence of customer service towards Cointaker or individuals who just wanted parts to fix their broken machines, or that email that they sent to however many people (several people on here got it) just recently offering the chance of a "cancelled LE with green trim" if people paid up in full. That went out after the point at which they must've known the company was terminal. Who knows how many people lost money on that...

#21726 2 years ago

Meh, it looked, played and felt like an Alien themed pinball machine. It was purposefully dark, the video graphics looked like they came from the respective movies, etc. It did everything I would've expected an Alien pin to do. I think I would've been happy to have bought one, were one to disregard for a moment the chaos and drama of the companies and individuals behind it.

At no point playing or looking at it did I think "man this feels cheap", quite the opposite.

Full disclosure: I only played on one (an Alien LE) at a guys house from whom I was buying another pin, I have no idea about reliability (the ball launch was finicky on it, but everything else worked fine), etc.

EDIT: Astropin beat me to it.

#21775 2 years ago
Quoted from ZenTron:

Well, we don’t have a version with or without her to compare. What if the version with her was superior but mishandled funds prevented that from occuring. The game would be compromised at that point, thats all im saying and this is in response to a post i made yesterday.

You could say that about pretty much any themed game to be honest. I mean, with hindsight is there many games that couldn't be improved in one way or another?

Apart from the "Get away from her you bitch" quote, the more memorable ones were Hudson (RIP), Apone etc.

#21809 2 years ago

Not sure how you're supposed to fix the boards if they go, since there are no schematics, no parts lists, not even a manual.

#21826 2 years ago

I take back what I said about believing the interview to be a waste of time and that it would be soft.

The questions were more adversarial than I expected them to be, and I think the interview was a worthwhile contribution. Good job Pinball News.

I have to say also that with the exception of the early replies, Andrew's answers were a lot less inflammatory than I was expecting them to be. There's a lot of conspiracy theory stuff, and contradictions of other people's stories, but there always is.

I am one of the few people it seems who are very suspicious of the new investors (I keep thinking of that "green trim LE could be yours!" email that went out very recently), so some of what AH said resonated with me. That said, a lot of it could be said to have been "fed" by what others have said on here (eg suggestion of asset stripping, which will come out in the wash in time). A few of the questions were answered in a way that suggested that Andrew simply consolidated a lot of posters suspicions on this thread, perhaps to gain credulity and sympathy, or simply because they are true. Who knows for sure.

The simple takeaway for me, having very little personal experience in this debacle, is that it's a crying shame how it all panned out.

#21835 2 years ago
Quoted from ronaldvg:

Yes, so it seems. But if that is true they never intended to continue the company, seeing the timeframe.

..whilst asking people for the balance of their order for "cancelled green trim LE machines" that probably never existed.

#21962 2 years ago

It's an interesting debate for sure. How many units do Stern & JJP sell, per theme? Anyone have any sales figures for Dialed In?

The days of TAF selling 20k+ are long gone, the question then becomes at what point is the cost of the licensing & R&D so prohibitively high that you would need to sell X thousand machines just to break even?

1 week later
#22125 2 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

So the rumor was Stern wanted the Alien license as well. With the Heighway game being shitcanned and only a handful of them out in the world with no more to come, I wonder if we might see a Stern version down the road? (not a re-release of the Heighway version, but an internal Stern design Alien).

The Alien franchise has serious enduring appeal, despite the latter films. It's a testament to how passionately people feel about it, and coincidentally sadly how easy it was for people to get scammed. Everyone wanted it to succeed, and having played it the design and immersion of it is really good.

It's just a shame that Heighway was at the wheel, as in more capable hands it would've certainly sold a lot.

As for Stern resurrecting it - think there are a lot of obstacles. There's the obvious comparisons that would be made between the two games, as well as the usual licensing issues.

#22177 2 years ago

What's different in 1.2 then? Or does it not really matter anymore?

3 weeks later
#22334 1 year ago

The answer seems obvious to me.

Sometimes being reminded of this stuff is not a positive thing. If you can't enjoy playing it because of what happened, then what's the point? It is after all ultimately a recreational device, and an expensive one at that.

#22361 1 year ago
Quoted from greenhornet:

sell, and let the money work for you in a more positive manner.

What he said.

You sound passionately against it, and seem to want to put this chapter in your life behind you (understandably I'd say). You'd get a decent amount of money selling it, which could be put towards something you truly love. Right now a boxed up LE already located in the US - that's about as premium a price as you're going to get.

Contrast that with if you keep it - you've got a box sat around reminding you of what happened. If you take it out the box you might find it doesn't even work properly straight away (another grim reminder), or if it does work then it's a case of how long until something goes wrong? Best case scenario you start shaving money off the value through use.

If you could disassociate playing it with what happened to you then I'd say it would be worth holding onto, but it sounds like it's still too raw - and you wouldn't enjoy it. Not enjoying something that is sat there, worth ~$15k on the open market that could be put towards something you would enjoy - it's a no-brainer in my opinion.

1 week later
#22399 1 year ago

Off topic - but that pinball lift looks awesome. What is it and where can I buy it?

2 weeks later
#22526 1 year ago
Quoted from Ballypinball:

Heighway and dutch pinball causes these problems

That is the cost (and risk) of doing business.

Any business that isn't in administration is contractually bound to service its customers per their respective contracts.

The fact that we know the circumstances of Heighway's demise, etc is irrelevant really. People with money in CT, or any other business that takes money, have a contract with CT - not Heighway or anyone else. If CT can't service its debts (I'm not suggesting this is the case) then it is trading insolvent.

#22534 1 year ago
Quoted from Jarbyjibbo:

Everyone knows how to run everyone else's business better than they do, it's an age old internet fact that's been around as long as the internet has. Like it or not, a hit as large as 100K plus to a small business is devastating and sometimes not recoverable from. As much as you want a small business to have that kind of liquidity sitting around for the worst possible case scenario, it's just not a reality for the majority of small businesses. Many operate very tight to the line as they try to grow their business to the point that they can be in that kind of position.
I am sure Mellissa and team are doing everything they can to get people paid back as timely as possible. As a customer who lost money to HWP and has no chance to get anything back, I would respectfully put out there to maybe retain some level of perspective on the situation and do what you can to give as much support and patience to the Cointaker team while they try to make things right for everyone else all the while having little to no recourse for themselves.

I would respectfully say that - taking what has been said above as read - telling people that their cheques are in the post, multiple times in some cases it would appear, when they manifestly have not been posted does not help matters.

2 weeks later
#22762 1 year ago
Quoted from SunKing:

I'm sure there are plenty of games where Pinstadium looks great. I've heard they are adjustable, so maybe if you dimmed them a bit, and put on a blue or red hue...maybe. But the last thing the Alien pinball machine needs is blinding bright lights. It's supposed to have a dark atmosphere.

Agreed. The darkness in Aliens as as much as a part of the theme, and the atmosphere, as the callouts and set pieces (sentry guns, etc). Pinstadium on a pin like that misses the point completely.

I should say however that I'm not a fan generally of straying too far from the original intent of the designers. I also don't feel the need to play my pins in total darkness, relying on the pin to be completely illuminated. I just switch an ambient light on and save myself $$$$ ?

1 week later
#22817 1 year ago

It sounds as if someone with an unmolested pin needs to donate all of their plastics to someone reputable who can reproduce them (CPR?) in PETG, to get a free set in return?

Obviously a risk when there are no replacement parts available.

3 weeks later
#23036 1 year ago
Quoted from Oneangrymo:

I think your right. The Pinstadium lights are nice, but they kept falling off, I dont think I installed them right because the adhesive on the magnetic strips aren't sticking good. I may just remove them completely and use the game as it was made from the factory. My opinion about adding extra lights to a game is kind of like a director making a movie. The game was designed to be this bright or that dark.. its what the designer wanted. Makes sense?

Amen to that.

I can sortof understand lots of extra lighting on old games where they were made with the limitations of technology available at the time (no LEDs), but Alien is all about the darkness and the pin carries on that theme. Blowing out all of the artwork with Pinstadium etc misses the point completely I feel.

4 weeks later
#23262 1 year ago
Quoted from Ferret:

If you haven’t already done so, try replacing the balls.


Magnetised balls?

1 week later
#23370 1 year ago
Quoted from TimeBandit:

Just a point of clarification for the sling lights. They come as a full set of four boards. Some (very wealthy, clearly) customers have ordered four sets when thinking they were buying four boards. I have made the listing on my site more clear.

Unless they are trying to corner the market and flip them for a profit I guess?

#23384 1 year ago

Ironic to think that there is more activity, responsiveness and communication with the community with parts and stuff now than there was when Heighway was doing it, with actual schematics.

3 months later
#23773 1 year ago

Stolen to order. Your average thief wouldn't know what the value of the machine would be, and it's a ridiculously heavy thing to steal compared to laptops, TVs, etc.

1 week later
#23794 1 year ago

Considering there are no schematics and no official support its pretty amazing what has been achieved by the motley crew on here

3 weeks later
#23837 1 year ago

$750 shipped does not sound unreasonable to me, compared to other playfield prices?

1 month later
#24310 1 year ago

How many people are going to sink money into a relaunched Pinball Brothers Alien, knowing how the last venture panned out, how many people lost their deposits & full payments after they wound up HP? You'd have to be pretty desperate and foolhardy I'd have thought?

1 month later
#24687 11 months ago

I wouldn't read too much into it. Compulsory strike off could be initiated by non or late payment of taxes, or failure to file accounts on time, or another administrative oversight. If there are debts or other liabilities it would certainly be objected to by affected parties.

If the directors wanted to wind it up it would be a voluntary strike off.

#24693 11 months ago

Those PCBs look fragile in places too. Definitely would want to store them with protection to avoid any bending at all.

2 weeks later
#24758 10 months ago
Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

That's the rub. Andrew's negligence put me in a position where the 'employment' was never made official. Never got so much as a contract from Andrew. Employment rights groups like ACAS couldn't do a thing about it for that reason, but the tax branch, the HMRC, knows ALL about it (Andrew tried to pass me off as a 'volunteer'). I won't say a bad word about Pinball Bros; there was an agreeable reimbursement plan in place after they took over, and we did our best to make it work as flexibly as we can but in order to go through official channels, the money had to come from the company itself - I couldn't simply be paid off privately - and despite all the extra investment that went into trying to getting workable machines out of door, there wasn't enough left of the company to make it work in the long run.

Surely they are if the deal involves manufacturing based on work and files that at present, don't belong to them because of what Andrew did. I need to chase up on this - I would have done so before but my life since the company closed has been one state of utter shit after another - family members dying, relying on community charity to avoid becoming homeless, serious mental health deterioration, shunted from one department to another and falling through the cracks in the system - with no let up and no real support to get me through it. The situation has got so bad through an utter inability to cope that I've been served with a section 21 notice this week on top of everything else.
Please don't misunderstand me though - despite all the bad memories I'd be delighted to see the game go back into production and see some proper closure on the whole affair with everyone happy, and the last thing I'd want to do is jeapordise that.

I'd venture if you've got nothing in writing in terms of a contract then you've probably got no more say over what you did on the pin than I would if I claimed I did something. Did you have anything in writing regards this reimbursement plan from PB, or was it another gentleman's agreement sort of affair?

Perhaps if you have a contract with PB for this reimbursement it shows at least that there is a relationship between you, them and the pin. As to what weight that has in terms of them selling it to CGC or whatever, it's hard to say. The devil as with any contract will be in the detail.

The elephant in the room with all of this is Fox. Is it likely that they would give a CGC Alien their blessing - which would absolutely be necessary - after what they experienced with Heighway/Pinball Brothers?

4 weeks later
#25045 9 months ago

How on earth did it fall on its side? That's a hell of a story you've got to tell there!

#25059 9 months ago
Quoted from Oneangrymo:

Ok I decided to move on to playfield swap. the new playfield is on the way, so I decided to get started this am by removing the power supply. It made a large snap noise and a flash. Man.. this is not my week.

Please don't swap your playfield based on some swirls. I'm sure they're probably more prominent to you because you know where they are and you're looking for them.

Save the new playfield for when it actually has damage. Swapping playfields is not a simple job on any machine much less one that has limited support and no shared parts.

The saga of how it landed on you sounds horrible! Glad you have recovered though.

With the greatest of respect please don't play about with things if you're not 100% confident of what you're doing, particularly when it involves high voltage.

EDIT: Just noticed you weren't serious, phew!

3 weeks later
#25327 9 months ago
Quoted from Mik-ReadingUK:

Just thought I'd share this pic of the lever assembly for both flippers on Alien, after a fairly busy weekend show. I'm wondering what the origin of these parts might be [quoted image]

Overtightened perhaps?

2 months later
#25730 7 months ago

I also don't really know why you're banging the drum so hard on this. You've pretty much manufactured this sub-plot in this thread all by yourself. As was said above you seem to be getting off on the adversarial and antagonistic nature of it. I'm not sure what you want, really. Is it endless plaudits about how you called it and how you're the Pinball Oracle, etc etc and how we're not worthy? No offence intended, and I have no dog in this fight at all (I don't own an Alien, and am unlikely to be be buying a remake one).

If a new Alien comes out - great, if it doesn't - meh. All this drama manufacturing seems strange when this ought to be a positive thread about keeping discontinued machines running.

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