(Topic ID: 127186)

Is it time for a reshaped head on pinball machines


By Jasontaps

4 years ago



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  • 65 posts
  • 35 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Craig
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    There are 65 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 4 years ago

    With todays motherboards getting smaller, there is a lot of empty room left in the head.
    Is it time for pinball manufacturers to adopt a new shape for each individual game that incorporates the logo and DMD? Even games like the Hobbit using an LCD monitor used a standard size head, when lets face, its mostly dead space in there.
    Maybe a car shape for Mustang or like Gene Simmons head and tongue for Kiss? You could even come up a interactive head with something like a slot machine in it for a casino theme. Or carry that down to the playfield glass like casino machine incorporating special functions.
    I'm not architect, but I am sure some different shapes could be dreamed up depending on the game.
    I'm not saying lets get rid of the head, but a new design would be cool.

    #2 4 years ago

    Interesting idea....but would cost more to do so Stern will most likely not look into it...............Joey

    #3 4 years ago

    No, they cost too much now, that's a big cost increase to do that.

    #4 4 years ago

    Could replace the head with a pachinko machine. Two games in one!

    KISS Pachinko.png
    #5 4 years ago

    I have always wished the DMD was in the playfield, slightly north of the flippers. This would allow the player to see the animations while playing and pretty much eliminate the need for any backbox.

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from Daniml:

    Could replace the head with a pachinko machine. Two games in one!

    KISS Pachinko.png

    This is exactly the idea I am talking about.
    Something different than a square box.

    #7 4 years ago
    Quoted from Jasontaps:

    This is exactly the idea I am talking about.
    Something different than a square box.

    It could also solve a lot of hight issues.

    #8 4 years ago
    Quoted from Breaking_Dad:

    Interesting idea....but would cost more to do so Stern will most likely not look into it...............Joey

    . . . then when someone else does, then they will say they missed the boat! LOL.

    #9 4 years ago

    Don't "need" a head at all. But it's really designed to be a billboard for the game, just like a slot machine doesn't need a topper, nor does it need a big pull handle. Mostly show/attraction. EDIT addition: Pinball is a piece of art as well, and the backlass is the show piece.

    I do agree, a monitor would be great used of space

    #10 4 years ago
    Quoted from pepermintswirl:

    I have always wished the DMD was in the playfield, slightly north of the flippers. This would allow the player to see the animations while playing and pretty much eliminate the need for any backbox.

    These are commercial units. The backbox is the giant ad designed to be seen from across a room and get you to play. W/o a backbox you can't tell what game is in front of you until you are at the machine, if you even see the machine on the other side of the room.

    #11 4 years ago

    the "problem" with eliminating the head is that you also eliminate the "bill board" style advertising of pinball machines in general.

    given their horizontal nature, and packed in a tight as possible, you would literally have to be on top of machine to identify it if there were no back boxes.

    #12 4 years ago

    Ditch the head and provide the option for a hdmi output which a person can hook up their own TV.

    #13 4 years ago
    Quoted from pepermintswirl:

    I have always wished the DMD was in the playfield, slightly north of the flippers. This would allow the player to see the animations while playing and pretty much eliminate the need for any backbox.

    Like the embedded LCD screen on Heighway games?

    #14 4 years ago

    No.

    Whenever anybody tries this, it looks stupid.

    #15 4 years ago

    Maybe they could bring back the wedgehead.

    #16 4 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    No.

    Whenever anybody tries this, it looks stupid.

    I'm with Levi. It's just part of the machine and what we've come to expect from one. Without a proper head it just looks like a tall coffee table or bar.

    #17 4 years ago

    I like the backboxes. As some are saying, they are a billboard for the game. But they also make the game look correct to your eye while playing. If you have an old SS game, next time you are moving it or setting it up, just stand in front of it without the backbox on it. It seems goofy. I don't care if it is completely empty space, leave them on the games.

    #18 4 years ago

    I'm.of the opinion that they should stay as they are, that's where some.of the beat art is on the machine. Be it graphic or video.

    -1
    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from pepermintswirl:

    I have always wished the DMD was in the playfield, slightly north of the flippers. This would allow the player to see the animations while playing and pretty much eliminate the need for any backbox.

    Terrible idea because it limits what can be done in that space. No scoops, no lights, and no ramps. CV worked well, but the game was designed for it. It is different because it is unique.

    P3 avoids a little of this since the screen is interactive and you can show inserts so to speak wherever you like. They can also overlay things ontop, but cannot cut into the play-field where the screen is.

    In regards to the op, the head acts as a way to attract players. It advertises the game. Custom designs cost more which is why you rarely saw additions a la CV or Safecracker.

    #20 4 years ago

    You need something to keep the traditional shape of pinball. It also helps hold up the playfield, hold the display, and speakers. Moving the display to the playfield doesn't work well imo. It takes up valuable space and clashes with good artwork.

    I do agree that the backbox could be redesigned. Make it more appealing, more unique per game, and add better lighting for gameplay/attraction. For all the music pins Stern keeps making, you could have a display for playing videos of the band playing the songs with stage like lighting. If not all that, how about spinning award wheels, mini games, or such like was done in the past.

    #21 4 years ago

    If it will cost more, then no. Pinball is pricey enough without a redesigned cabinet head that doesn't improve or affect gameplay.

    #22 4 years ago

    All that room could be filled with score reel assemblies, relays, and stepper units!

    #23 4 years ago

    Mess with the backbox too much and it just stops looking like pinball. Don't do it.

    #24 4 years ago
    Quoted from PoMC:

    If it will cost more, then no.

    It will. Modular designs are the only reasonable solution to keeping costs down. You can use the same cabinet design for multiple titles.

    #25 4 years ago

    Should have a beer/liquor dispenser there instead....

    #26 4 years ago

    Done!

    Trilogy.png
    #27 4 years ago
    Quoted from Daniml:

    Done!

    Trilogy.png (Click image to enlarge)

    Hey, you can buy one of those soon!!!!

    #28 4 years ago

    I wish there was one standard (size and shape) head across all the manufacturers so the pins would all look great side by side. I like having my pins grouped by similar backboxes.

    Edit: I know this won't happen unless there is only one manufacturer. And I don't want this to happen.

    #29 4 years ago
    Quoted from calvin12:

    These are commercial units. The backbox is the giant ad designed to be seen from across a room and get you to play. W/o a backbox you can't tell what game is in front of you until you are at the machine, if you even see the machine on the other side of the room.

    Exactly... all modern arcade and gambling machines have big advertising signs on top of them. In fact, toppers on pins were invented to one-up other pinball machines in an arcade, and are also still commonly used in modern arcade and gambling machines. There are plenty of creative examples of use of the empty backbox space with interactive features from Scared Stiff to Bonzai Run, but of course that is predated by decades in many EMs.

    I wouldn't be opposed to redesigning it in some way, but the value is based on decades worth of on-location experience.

    #30 4 years ago

    But where would we put our toppers?!?

    #31 4 years ago

    Pinball Machines have an "iconic" design. The head is a part of that, even if it is not really needed anymore.

    It is not going anywhere.

    #32 4 years ago

    The head IS a topper now. You'll need a topper topper if you want a different topper. Could stack them up like a totem pole. The sky would be the limit for those with high ceilings.

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from Jared:

    Pinball Machines have an "iconic" design.

    I find the "tombstone" shaped head very iconic.

    TombstoneHead.jpg

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    Like the embedded LCD screen on Heighway games?

    Long story short, I will be in the market for my next pin in October. I already have Alien near the top of the list. This will only push me further from a NIB Stern or used WPC and closer to you.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from dung:

    Terrible idea because it limits what can be done in that space. No scoops, no lights, and no ramps.

    I guess I fail to see how having the dmd in the playfield prevents these three things. Take the new ST for example. The entire center of the playfield is wasted. If the screen were there I could see all the cool screen action without really losing track of the ball and all of the current features would still fit exactly where they are.

    #36 4 years ago
    Quoted from calvin12:

    These are commercial units. The backbox is the giant ad designed to be seen from across a room and get you to play. W/o a backbox you can't tell what game is in front of you until you are at the machine, if you even see the machine on the other side of the room.

    I understand this, but I am not a commercial operator. In the land where I wish for things, I don't really care about such nonsense.

    #37 4 years ago

    I would design it to have a slim backbox that slides in/out of the main cabinet - it would be flimsier, but it would recess in the back for when you move it. It could cut down weight.

    #38 4 years ago
    Quoted from Jared:

    Pinball Machines have an "iconic" design. The head is a part of that, even if it is not really needed anymore.
    It is not going anywhere.

    The design of pinball machines when it comes to dmd placement is flawed. It is very difficult to watch the screen while you play and that is a major focal point of the machine.

    My point being, lots of iconic designs have been changed over the years when something better came along.

    #39 4 years ago
    Quoted from pepermintswirl:

    The design of pinball machines when it comes to dmd placement is flawed. It is very difficult to watch the screen while you play and that is a major focal point of the machine.
    My point being, lots of iconic designs have been changed over the years when something better came along.

    You're assuming the attention-grabbing animations on the DMD are meant only for the player. The DMD is meant to also attract players, so the backbox makes sense.

    #40 4 years ago
    Quoted from radium:

    You're assuming the attention-grabbing animations on the DMD are meant only for the player. The DMD is meant to also attract players, so the backbox makes sense.

    Plenty of other ways to attract players if that is what you are after and a cheap LCD or LED mounted to the wall would be better, easier to deal with for moving, and look more modern.

    It is clear that in the US around 80% of all pinball games now are sold for HUO. As a collector AND and operator I would prefer no more backbox, put the main player display in the apron and give me the option to hook up a tv (even better if I can use a splitter to put multiple games into a single TV) to attract players and let others see the action for multiplayer games.

    The cost savings alone makes it worthwhile to come up with something better.
    OLD or "iconic' is often not better, esp when dealing with more advanced rech that has come along in the past X years. It is honestly kind of sad that so many collectors are so afraid of change.

    #41 4 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    It is clear that in the US around 80% of all pinball games now are sold for HUO.

    How is that clear? I have no idea if that's true or not, if you have something to base it on though I'd be really interested in seeing the data.

    #42 4 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Plenty of other ways to attract players if that is what you are after and a cheap LCD or LED mounted to the wall would be better, easier to deal with for moving, and look more modern.
    It is clear that in the US around 80% of all pinball games now are sold for HUO. As a collector AND and operator I would prefer no more backbox, put the main player display in the apron and give me the option to hook up a tv (even better if I can use a splitter to put multiple games into a single TV) to attract players and let others see the action for multiplayer games.
    The cost savings alone makes it worthwhile to come up with something better.
    OLD or "iconic' is often not better, esp when dealing with more advanced rech that has come along in the past X years. It is honestly kind of sad that so many collectors are so afraid of change.

    A pinball without the backbox wouldn't look right. It's not about advancing the design, it's just simple aesthetics. Collectors aren't afraid of change, they are afraid of losing the beauty.

    #43 4 years ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    How is that clear? I have no idea if that's true or not, if you have something to base it on though I'd be really interested in seeing the data.

    Pretty sure Gary just admitted to this at a recent show and it was covered on one of the pinball podcasts also. 80:20 in US. 20:80 in other countries.

    #44 4 years ago
    Quoted from kaneda:

    A pinball without the backbox wouldn't look right. It's not about advancing the design, it's just simple aesthetics. Collectors aren't afraid of change, they are afraid of losing the beauty.

    yup. aesthetics LOL

    kandckeda.jpg

    #45 4 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    yup. aesthetics LOL
    kandckeda.jpg (Click image to enlarge)

    The LOTR LE is an amazing pin, dick and all.

    -1
    #46 4 years ago

    What about the wasted air in the cabinet? The head of the game is a billboard advertising the game WTF

    #47 4 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    ..
    It is clear that in the US around 80% of all pinball games now are sold for HUO. As a collector AND and operator I would prefer no more backbox, put the main player display in the apron and give me the option to hook up a tv (even better if I can use a splitter to put multiple games into a single TV) to attract players and let others see the action for multiplayer games.
    The cost savings alone makes it worthwhile to come up with something better.
    OLD or "iconic' is often not better, esp when dealing with more advanced rech that has come along in the past X years. It is honestly kind of sad that so many collectors are so afraid of change.

    Clear as mud?

    #48 4 years ago

    I'm thinking you could lose the backbox if you included telescopic legs so your pin would be a great coffee table until you raised it to play it.

    #49 4 years ago

    I like the classic, iconic look of pinball tables. It's been that way since the 1930's.

    image-5.jpg
    #50 4 years ago

    I fear change...

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