(Topic ID: 172477)

I've been a long time Stern Pinball fan, but I'm done with them.

By jar155

2 years ago

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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by kpg
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    #170 2 years ago

    I agree, I own 9 Stern plus SM sold so out of 18 total pins I've owned 10 Stern

    But their lack of code particularly bug fixes and basic polish have got me fed up.

    Their cost cutting such as cheap locking mechanisms on STLE for the head and lack of basic PF support.

    I always buy PF support for $60 or whatever they cost and put them on my pro pins but now I found on Met pro they stopped putting in the recieving screw hole in the PF like they had in the past, I mean it's insulting cost cutting.

    My main think is code not being completed ever and QC issues which fortunately for me have been few, but my last new pin from Stern was IMVE

    I think they're a bunch of greedy buggers with the prices they want for such things as toppers or tower mod for TWD which should have been included in the first place IMO

    #176 2 years ago

    Hey, I've bought $30 widget from Amazon and gotten a survey asking how I like it was there anything that could be better? Etc..

    But Stern could care less after I buy $6600 XMLE or $7700 for STLE

    It's preposterous, I can ask a question if this or that might be address in the code and I don't get a response at all.

    #202 2 years ago
    Quoted from yuriijos:

    I'm with ya bro. Their increasing prices is just getting to be too much. Lack of completed code and quality issues doesn't help either.

    IMO the price is not as big an issue for me its the other things we've said, lack of code. I could go along with the price if Stern was doing something to justify the price rather than strip out as much basic features as possible.

    Am I spoiled to expect excellent code for multi thousand dollar new pins? Stern has made Tspp and LOTR and JJP apparently knocked it out of the park with Woz so it is possible to code a game properly. Heck even recent Stern (some) are outstanding but it's totally hit or miss and to me Code is the key. It's like a billion dollar rocket sent to Mars is useless if they put in the wrong coordinates. Same thing when XM shipped basic score keeping was absent, the update had so many bugs one of which was every shot would lead to Wolveriene call out. I mean what is that? Is this amature hour? Are we expected to be the lab rats and pay for on the job training of people that can't code their way out of a paper bag?

    XM took *TWO* years to get a working code, and even then the code was acceptable but not great. Numerous issues with games that need to be ajusted or jury rigged by the home users. TAV (hulk). XM (Wolverne figurine). GOT (orbit issues). Metallica coffin lock issues.

    heck even they can't get drop targets to work properly out of the box. Instead of fixing later runs they'll just offer a service bulletin.

    I'm sure there are many other issues too numerous to go into.

    Code with bugs (that are noted and not addressed)

    Getting to Batman, Stern has released a picture of the PF with ramp flap extending over the artwork. It's just preposterous. If this was a third grade art project I'd say ok but this is a multimillion dollar corporation for a game costing as much as a small car. Also while a $4700 pin like ST pro can have 6-7 color changing inserts (while ST premium has 30-40 color changing inserts) that makes sense to me. But Batman premium costs as much as STLE and Batman LE costs almost $2000 more than GOT LE which has full color inserts yet premium, LE and SLE apparently have all of 6 color changing inserts. That's to me utter crap.

    I'd suggest Stern start with a suggestion box and not just that but actually look at the suggestions and do something substantial regarding those suggestions. Stop being so arrogant like charging for their birthday bash and by cutting off Pinball News if they happen to question the pricing practices or by raising the number of SLE although if it was up to common sense not a one of these would have sold, NOT A ONE.

    There's as old saying: Pride goes before the fall.

    #206 2 years ago
    Quoted from Eskaybee:

    Price and quality aside; it's sterns consistent lack of code development, polish, and updates that puts a sour apple in my mouth.
    Great designs and good rules can only go so far without a commitment to code support.

    Guess you said with a few dozen words what I was trying to say with hundreds. This is so true, and Stern will just flat out not finish some code. Or there can be a roadblock or not often encountered end of the line in a game and Stern could care less. Big FU. Can have inserts on a Pf that don't represent anything in the game, another big FU.

    #234 2 years ago

    Good point, many people keep games less than 2 years. In many cases the game codes are not even finished in 2 years. I believe TF was updated 4 years after release.

    Sometimes the game is out of production before the code is done and often known bugs are not addressed.

    #237 2 years ago
    Quoted from Monster_Bash:

    Still waiting for Xmen to be finished. The game basically ends after Dark Phoenix and Danger Room. It would take very minimal effort to fix the problem. Basically reset the heros and villains and your done

    It's a joke Stern doesn't care about collectors. People will say old games have bugs too but the difference is Stern is still in business, more games go to collectors where the bugs are apparent and Stern has a ready distribution method to upgrade the code.

    ST has a similar bug apparently that locks you out of a wizard mode.

    I have 3 games from Stern from a decade ago without shooter lane wear or insert issues. Also complete code.

    I would have called myself a great customer buying 4 NIB from Stern over 2.5 years but after STLE code still needs something and IMVE decals not 100% secure. On top of XMLE code debacle. I could be done with Stern, unless they do more especially code related.

    #350 2 years ago
    Quoted from dung:

    Sorry, but this one made me laugh audibly at work. Stern's PR is TERRIBLE. How many years have they been banning people from their Facebook page when asking legitimate questions? I am not even talking about people trying to make Stern bad or shame them like the Where's the Code crap. Just the honest to goodness questions that you constantly hear got someone banned.

    PR is terrible (god awful) but their service department is first rate. It's almost like they don't work for the same company.

    Code department is another department which is good or bad. I wish they could be more consistent in the code. I realize there will always be better code here and there. But to me, if you saw XM code for 2 years and ST code for at least a year being unplayable (XM) or just meh (ST) and Stern getting thousands of e-mails or messages to the effect. You would think the higher ups would say this is going too far and they would sit their code guys down and say get you act together.

    I see that Stern had pins in the pipeline and can't stop the endless parade of new pins and they all need code. But they just need to communicate better such as saying I know this code is broken we will be fixing it. Instead they don't say anything or make promises and just let the deadline pass. plus valid suggestions or bug fixes are ignored completely.

    #351 2 years ago

    As far as sending out a replacement PF. Is that all they do to correct a major PF issue? Am I (a person who has trouble installing Cliffy scoop protectors) supposed to swap in a whole new PF?

    OK lets get to the Cargument. I buy a new Ferrari and the dashboard is starting to crack. So Ferrari just sends me a nw dashboard and says good luck?

    Edit: I am not sure what the replacement is for the defective PF do they send a whole populated PF or just a replacement PF?

    #353 2 years ago

    I am not sure if they are sending just a replacement PF or a populated PF?

    That said, some of the photos I've seen have been what I'd call nit picky. I'm not saying the issue is not real. But more that not everything is perfect and over time things can get less perfect.

    I saw one picture of someone with Met coffin insert with 'ghosting' and my gosh it is ghosting but it was a miniature speck of ghosting which I'd never even notice unless you pointed it out to me.

    #361 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAlley:

    You know what is so very funny. Most of the folks buying pinball have no idea what code even is. Completing code and updating code is really for the hardest core of players. I think that when you look at the volume of code written who even comes close to Stern?

    I agree to a point.

    Used to be when I played I just made shots and got points, maybe loaded the gum ball machine or destroyed the castle, but I didn't really understand rules.

    I owned Potc for years before I even knew there was an update or how to update.

    So to a degree I believe that *some* code is all the unwashed masses care about.

    But the next 10-20 percent who do know what code is and knows when a game is meh or a game has a roadblock or an unbalanced scoring. If a game just ends after the wizard mode for example or if the call outs don't match the results that's a problem and Stern should care more about the 10-20% who do know the rules matter because we are the ones with $50,000 worth of games in our basement. I'd say we are the ones that matter more than the 80% who spend $10 a year on pinball at an arcade.
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    #365 2 years ago

    To illustrate how small of a nitch Stern is.

    Let's have as a WAG and say Stern sells 10k pins in a year at average price of $6500 that's $65M dollars.

    The tobacco industry spend almost $10B *in advertising* in a year in the US alone.

    Harley Davidson sales one year was $6B and I'd wager that most HD buyers is more of a hobby or luxury item not as a primary transportation vehicle. In 4 days HD would sell more inventory than Stern does in a full year.

    #385 2 years ago

    In defense of PinballAlley:

    He's a brick and mortar shop. He's got overhead such as rent, employees to pay, heat, electricity, delivery trucks, taxes, advertising, insurance and what all to pay etc....

    It's not the same as myself selling a pinball that I've played to another pinsider at a 'normal' price.

    He does perform a service. Before I was trading on Pinside, I had a retail guy like this who would deliver, set up,and service my pins.

    A lot of folks may not know of Pinside or even that pinball conventions exist or even mail order/phone order dealers.

    So while I can see looking down your nose at his kind as exploiters of newbies, recall that I was once a newbie and I paid 'overpriced' rates such as $3500-$4000 for when I was buying TZ, TOTAN, IJ (back when prices were much cheaper thank goodness).

    That was many moons ago, but the point was I was paying retail because I didn't know how to buy or how to fix pins and Pinside which I was a member was much different 12 years ago.

    I'm just saying cut the guy some slack when you think he's got a $2K +\- nut to pay every month just to keep the lights on. He needs to make money on a sale.

    I'm not saying he may or may not be going overboard in his enthusiastic prices but just pointing out that the phone dealers we use for great prices don't need to make a ton of money if they're just being middle men for the most part whereas someone who's driving around and breaking his back picking up pins and cleaning them up needs to make some money in order to keep doing that.

    #406 2 years ago

    Don't forget Tron code!! (maybe IM too?)

    I don't have a LE but I have read that they have call outs for double scoring, super pops and super spinners. ( I mean an actual callouts) the pro does not.

    Would it be so hard to put in three call outs into the pro? (I have heard they are already in the LE so they are recorded and coded they're just are not in the pro).

    I know some people have Lyman's ear and maybe could ask him about this?

    *My point* is Stern doesn't have any place for me to ask this question. I can send an email which will never get answered? I can post on Facebook which will get deleted.

    MY suggestion, is for Stern to have a suggestion box where our suggestions can be read and maybe acted on I think we may have some ideas or insight that may be overlooked by Stern who is looking at the Big Picture or the bottom line. Especially if it's a minor code issue like this.

    It's pointed out Stern is not a Megacorp like Microsoft or Ford. They are a few dozen skilled employees in one building. I'm sure it's easier for them to be nimble and make some minor but important changes that the customers are asking for.

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    #498 2 years ago

    What do the cannon inserts do?

    #543 2 years ago
    Quoted from Razorbak86:

    Yes, please add LOTR to your list, because v10.02 is still chock full of typos like "multipiers"!

    Come on, Stern...

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    #555 2 years ago
    Quoted from Barakawins1:

    We want code, we want code, we want code!
    Game of Thrones
    Ghost Busters
    Star Trek
    Wheel of Fortune
    Can someone tell me what other machines are not complete?

    Tron (see my post above)

    IM there is a whole thread about it can't find it now but this thread had a bunch of code that's desired.


    I don't say the games are broken, more that they are like 95% done, it'b nice for once if Stern gave us more than we are expecting. Plus a good will to make people more accepting of the super long delays in code.


    #574 2 years ago
    Quoted from flashinstinct:

    My only beef with ACDC is the damn inserts that do nothing. But I will agree that IM, TRON, TWD, MET, AVENGERS are very solid and should be considered "as complete as they will ever get".
    ST still has bugs that should be fixed on another wise very solid game.

    Tron is fine however would it be worse or better if it had a callout for double scoring, super pops, supper spinner? The LE has this already it's standard curtesy to give a callout when possible. I mean it wouldn't kill anyone at Stern, it wouldn't bankrupt the company to drop it in the pro version.

    I don't think it was left out on purpose like they said it's better if we leave them guessing. It's probably just an oversight, I'm not saying the pin is terrible but if a simple code fix or some thing in IM that people have asked for it could make a great game even better.

    New slogan can be '#Make Stern great again'

    #589 2 years ago
    Quoted from DrJoe:

    This is why this nonsensical talk will go on forever. Everyone has an idea of their own as to what each game "needs" to be better, therefore they are all incomplete. TRON is missing a call out? Really? Others calling a game like AC/DC incomplete is a ridiculous joke, and an insult to one of the greatest pinball programmers ever. LoTR incomplete? Really? These "arguments" kill any sense of respect that Stern (or anyone else) would give to your wishes.

    So you're saying Tron should *not* have a callout for super spinners, Super Pops and Double scoring? when it's already in the code (for the LE) and it should not be that hard to fix? OK got it. Tron does not deserve to be fixed because why? You think it's better to leave out an obvious flaw in an otherwise fine game?

    I am not arguing about AcDc that's fine. I can see that's something that is not in the cards. But if you're saying its impossible to fix Tron (call outs) or that it's better without the callouts you are wrong IMO.

    Also, I am just point out that there are some easy simple fixes that are RIGHT there that Stern could fix/correct without having to really re-write the whole darn code. it's three call outs that are already in the LE code.

    I guess it's better to say (for example) I'm dumb for pointing out a missing piece of code than it is to ask Stern if it would be possible to clean up an already great pin.


    In case you missed the obvious (all the rolling of the eyes) the LOTR spelling error was a joke, in that not everything will be perfect, we get that. At least most people see that is going to an absurd example. But Tron/IM are not absurd examples and some day (I bet) someone will crack the code and make IM better than it already is and that could more easily be Stern with a few tweaks or additions or it could involve a lot of effort and people having to buy new hardware to run the new software.

    IM is a good example, very low on code and an excellent pin but there is some more that could really juice it up to be spectacular.

    #591 2 years ago

    Just played Tron to check, no call outs for Super Pops (etc.) so they may just as well not be in the code because I really don't have much indication when they're active. OK there is the miniature dots on the display (that's really not a big help) and the inserts of course. But for crying out loud, this is a thing that is begging for a call out. I play ST and get super pops or super spinner (etc..) there is a call out.. It would be nice and it wouldn't kill anyone at Stern to pop this in the code. It's in the LE (apparently) I have not really played the LE much so I can't say but the link above said it is in the LE. What's the big deal? I suppose Stern probably didn't even know about it. I made a suggestion before that maybe Stern could have a forum or a suggestion box where we could maybe ask or have a dialogue about these type of things.

    #613 2 years ago

    Well if Pinball machines were like TVs or Computers they'd be about worthless in 10 years so people can almost justify that they are spending on entertainment but not necessarily throwing their money away as you would on say a Hot Tub or season tickets to a sports team etc...

    #621 2 years ago
    Quoted from eggbert52:

    Not to mention the fact I could have read Moby Dick faster than both of his posts.

    My favorite book, darn sight more interesting than those posts.IMG_2524 (resized).JPG

    #627 2 years ago

    That's like saying Hyundai used to make very cheap cars so therefore all their cars are the same as the Excel from years ago

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    #668 2 years ago
    Quoted from jkashani:

    The quality of the Williams Bally pinball games really set the standard as far as I am concerned. Some are over thirty years old and still looking and playing great. Sterns quality is questionable at best and how many of those pins are going to be around 30 years from now?

    I know my Stern pins that have been taken care of, look and play like they just came out of the box. My Potc is 10-11 years old and has not one mechanical issue and it looks 99.9% new. I can't imagine what you think will happen to that pin in another 20 years that hasn't already happend in the past 10 years.

    Someone had a IJ4 with 100K plays it still looks good. The OP of that thread is frozen so I can't get any more info.


    #669 2 years ago
    Quoted from jkashani:

    The earlier games seemed better built and LOTR especially for some reason, or at least from what I have seen. I think that is the exception, not the norm.

    very early to say but my Tron, AcDc, IM, TWD, Met, ST (etc..) have had very minimal wear. I think the shooter lain is not as robust as it used to be. But overall Stern pins seem to me to be reliable at least in my home environment.

    All that said, I am still done with buying any Stern pin until the code is complete.

    #680 2 years ago

    Yet some buyers are paying more than 3x the cost of a Stern pro for the BM66 SLE which for all we know could be another TF or TAV when all is said and done. Crazy.

    P.T. Barnum would be proud.

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