(Topic ID: 91301)

MMR Home Run! - My Visit To Chicago Gaming on 5/17


By dougram69

4 years ago



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#1 4 years ago

To all,

I just wanted to take a moment and share my experience and photos from my visit with Chicago Gaming / Churchill Cabinets today, 5/17 to see MMR. (I saw Rick's post about visiting Chicago Gaming today and took advantage of this opportunity.) All I can say is it was amazing! Doug and Roger Duba are two outstanding individuals and made me feel at home. Two super nice guys who have been in the industry for years and know their stuff. Not only did we see, play, and talk MMR, we got a tour of Churchill Cabinets factory, playfield screening room, playfield assembly room, cabinet fabrication and assembly and more. Here is how it went down.

I call my friend Joe Miller and say hey, I saw a post on pinside from Rick about an open house on 5/17. Joe says pick me up in the morning first thing and lets go. Joe, my son George and I get up early on Saturday and head to Cicero. It's only about a 20 minute ride. We get to Chicago Gaming a bit early thinking there would be tons of people, and nobody was around. I mean nobody. We wait until 10:00 AM and head in.

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We are great by a nice woman asking us what we were there for, and just at that time Roger Duba showed up and welcomed us with open arms. He offered us refreshments, etc, and asked us to wait in the showroom until Doug showed up. The three of us head over to the showroom and are totally awed by the history of the place. It has been around forever and has charm up the wazoo. You could tell a lot happened here over the years just by the stuff piled around. Here's a few pics of the showroom where they have some CG games assembled and what looks to be Video Poker / Vide Slot machines.

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Doug shows up a few minutes later and greets us n the showroom. What two great guys Doug and Roger are. Roger told us some great stories about the factory and how he bought it in the 50's sometime from Bally / Midway. One of the engineers, Shawn, also showed up, and they wanted to take a few minutes to get the game ready. In the mean time Doug shows us a bit of the factory assembly area when CG completed "all in ones" are sitting. He also shows us a new line of Poker and Slot machines they are developing for the local market.

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Shawn says they are ready, and we go over to the engineers room where the MMR is located. In the mean time one added person, (Dave - Chicago Fireman) show up to see the MMR. (It was just the four of us all day.) Note, I don't have any close-up pictures of the MMR. Everyone has seen it in previous posting on pinside, so this part will be mostly verbal. If you want to see close-ups, go search pinside or PPS blog.

MMR Observations:

First, let me say that Doug and Shawn have a real passion for the Medieval Madness remake. The way they talked about it, and the modifications they made based on pinside feedback and show feedback was amazing. They are making every effort to make us happy, and in my observation, it's a home run! If you had any reservations about buying one, don't. Its a hit and in many ways looks better than the original.

Right away I notice the playfield and entire game is stunning. Real deep colors, sharp registration and super high detail. Later Doug showed us how they tested various color processes to get the look and detail just right. They hit it right on the mark. Playfield also had a very glossy, high luster look. Everything you want. I also notice how the ramps, are super clear, plastic assemblies look dead on. Castle looks perfect, drawbridge / gate right on the mark, and trolls look great. Dragon wings and dragon body are a dead match to each other, and he looks menacing. Cabinet also looks amazing. Detail super sharp and crisp. Doug goes through the process and detail they went through to get the cabinet right. He also mentions that the cabinet will have a layer of protective UV automotive clear coat on it. It will glossen up the graphics while having UV protection.

Shawn fires up the game and Doug shows us the new menu features, how they solved the castle tower timing sequence and how they solved / simulated the timing of the light strobing aspects of incandescent bulbs. They really took a lot of time, and expense to ensure all the little details are just right. This is what I mean when I say these guys are passionate about this project. Here is a list of the new features and some upcoming features. Note, the game plays dead on to the original. I have spent a lot of time playing the original Williams version and this is dead on. Lighting looks great, and we even played it with the lights off for a bit. It looks killer!!!!

1. Flipper strength is adjustable. We felt +5 was dead on. Some discussions going on about how it will ship, but flipper power is adjustable from weak to super powerful.
2. You can adjust the display color to any color possible by upping one color aspect ratio and reducing another to get the mix you want. Gives you an infinite number of color possibilities.
3. The timing of the GI attract strobing feature is adjustable. From slow to fast. Default is dead on to incandescent bulbs and how they power up and fade out as power is added and cut to them. Again attention to the small details.
4. Code can be updated via a small SIM card that can be plugged into the small board in the back box.
5. One cable connects the head to the body of the game. Makes it easy to remove the playfield if necessary.
6. Confirmation of three leds per illumination and leds getting stronger if another fails.

Future Features:

1. Shawn showed us an example of a completely colorized display. The game will ship with the display selectable to one color as discussed, and is adjustable as the user desires. New code will be made available, post go live, that will allow the display to display full multicolor capabilities. (Similar to multicolor displays being sold today.) They showed us a partial sample and it looked awesome.
2. Before the game ships, all connectors will be labeled for location. I don't have anymore detail on this one as I was playing the game and conversations were happening behind me.
3. The intent is to run additional game titles. Time and money was spent on ensuring the OS and PCBs were extendable, and robust enough to support future titles. Doug wouldn't say what the next title was, but I am sure it will be right based on market desire.

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We then take a break and Doug buys us some sodas. He then asks us if we want to take a tour of the Churchill factory and playfield screening process. Note, CC makes all the playfields and cabinets for Stern and used to make the cabinets and playfields for Bally / Williams. Here are some photos.

Tons of wood, cabinets, playfields, giant machinery and paint booths everywhere.

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Stacks of cut but unscreened Stern playfields. (Family Guy, Spider Man, Iron Man, LOTR, etc.)

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More cabinet body wood. Note, I didn't realize how well the cabinets were made until I saw all the parts disassembled. Doug commented on how well a cabinet needed to be made to sustain weight and abuse.

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We then get to the playfield lens assembly area. This is the room where the workers pound in the lenses into the cut playfield before screening. It's a totally manual process. Note the cartons of lenses. They are running MMR playfields right now. Interesting fact, the hardest part of the process is to insure the right colored lens gets into the right hole. A completed playfield is placed underneath as a color template.

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Assembled cabinets

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We finally get to the playfield screening room. Check out the walls. Lots of playfields they previously ran. Also, note the machine used to apply the ink and draw it across each screen one at a time. Very labor and time intensive process to create a playfield.

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Mustang playfield in various color stages drying.

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More wood as we leave the screening room. Note, the naphtha smell is so strong, my sinuses are stinging. Have no idea how someone works in there for hours.

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Some assembled games on our way back to the front of the factory.

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My son and I taking some final shots.

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Lastly, I just wanted to thank Doug, Roger and Shawn from Chicago Gaming for making this visit a really unique and awesome experience for us. We really appreciated it. Also, super thumbs up on the Medieval Madness remake. It's a home run all around and their hard work looks fantastic!!! Can't say enough good things on how the game played and looked. Go get one!

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#2 4 years ago

Fantastic post, well done. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

#3 4 years ago

thanks for sharing..

#4 4 years ago

Great insight.Thanks .

#5 4 years ago

Very Nice. Thanks for sharing this.

#6 4 years ago

thank you and we get to see a full machine shot of the gold and black side bye side, know which one i will pick now.cant believe only few of u guys turned up lol.thanks again

#7 4 years ago

thanks for sharing, great stuff.

#8 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing
Great write up!

#9 4 years ago

Thank you vey much for the detailed write up and pictures, excellent work. Nice to see you again, in a photo at least. I still have those NOS parts you sold me when I came to visit all those years ago! Not sure how long ago that was now, your son is about 4 times the height he was then!!

#10 4 years ago

Thanks for the information and the pics.

#11 4 years ago

Thanks for the great write up!

#12 4 years ago

Nice write up - thanks.

Does the gold trim look better on the game in person? Based on what you saw - would you pick gold or black trim?

#13 4 years ago

Thanks for the review and photos.

Let's play name that playfield for all on the walls.....

#14 4 years ago

Excellent write up. Thank you.

#15 4 years ago

Wow that's really great you got to check that out. I'm impressed and can't wait to play one.

#16 4 years ago

Thank you very much for the great and detailed writeup.

#17 4 years ago

Wow! Very impressive. Slowly but surely I have come to the realization that I would much rather have one of these than an original.

#18 4 years ago

Awesome. I would have loved to see that, but live a little too far away. Nicely done!

#19 4 years ago

I won't get a chance to see it in person before delivery, so after seeing the side by side pictures I think I'll be going with the gold trim. The gold just seems to give it some more pop.

#20 4 years ago
Quoted from dougram69:

Stacks of cut but unscreened Stern playfields. (Family Guy, Spider Man, Iron Man, LOTR, etc.)

Whaaaa.....for real? Someone show me the hookup on some NOS LOTR PFs... cripes..

#21 4 years ago

Ya not to change the thread but stacks of unscreened iron man pf. Stern needs to run old games lol

#22 4 years ago

Well written & photographed tour! Great planning too! The blueprint of how to do it correctly.

This tour of the factory writeup has influenced me to consider putting a deposit on the MMR.

#23 4 years ago

Thanks for the great review of your tour. After seeing where these games are going to come from, how can you not be impressed? Also, thanks for all the pictures not related to MMr, they were the cherry on an already great dessert!

#24 4 years ago

Thanks for the great post and sharing. We appreciate it.

#25 4 years ago

Great post and pics, thanks for sharing. And VERY gracious of the Chicago Gaming / Churchill Cabinet folks - hats off to them!

#26 4 years ago
Quoted from peaceboy666:

cant believe only few of u guys turned up lol.thanks again

I'm a bit surprised at the low turnout too. I'm hoping to make it down there if they offer more invites. This weekend just didn't work out for me.

Thanks for the detailed writeup and all the pictures Doug.

#27 4 years ago

this was a great writeup/description of your experience. I didnt realize all that went into making pinball playfields and cabs. Thanks for documenting it all.

#28 4 years ago

They're remaking Medieval Madness?
: )

#29 4 years ago

Great post, great writeup...thks for sharing

#30 4 years ago

What a great thread,everyday more and more better news about the MMR LE can't wait tell i get mine!

#31 4 years ago

Great write up, would have gone for sure if this was close by.
Notice the colorized DMD on the black trim MM, that must have been the one with some color samples. Was that one gloss black?

#32 4 years ago
Quoted from dougram69:

They really took a lot of time, and expense to ensure all the little details are just right.

It's the little details that will make or break this or any title, glad they are so on top of it. Really excited to get my MMR!

#33 4 years ago

In response to the person asking about the Gold or Black trim. Note, the MM next to the prototype is an original MM that was being use to test fit and test finish of some parts, and to compare cabinet colors, etc. The black trim on it was the matted black finish similar to the Stern games. I know Rick mentioned in a post, and I think Doug also said, they would be offering a shiny black option.

Regarding the gold trim on the MMR, it was also a matted (non shiny) gold. Doug said one of the reasons they didn't want to go with the shiny Gold option was that it immediately took away from the cabinet, and in some ways was too much of a contrast, and diverted your attention away from the cabinet. It just didn't look right. I would call the color of the trim more of a matted mustard type color that complimented the cabinet without diverting your attention. It a subtle color choice. The best way to explain it is as follows.

1. If you are looking for a real pop, attention grabber on the trim, go with the shiny black.
2. If you want some subtle color that compliments the cabinet, and looks to be real durable, go with gold.
3. If your a pureist, and don't like the trim colors offered, go with the classic stainless.

One of these will make you happy. I was personally good with the existing matted gold option. Not sure where this will wind up in choices for shipping, as I think it was still under discussion by CG.

Thanks

#34 4 years ago

Super impressed with the whole MMr release so far. To take the time and do this for their customers is pretty awesome.

#35 4 years ago
Quoted from dougram69:

The black trim on it was the matted black finish similar to the Stern games.

To me the Stern textured black is my favorite trim of all. I like black on almost every game and the textured finish makes the game feel better while playing because is less slippery. It also doesn't show fingerprints.

The way these games are designed really cuts down on the wiring and makes the game a lot simpler and therefore should be more reliable. I also love the idea of an updated board set. The WPC boards were crap compared to more modern systems like SAM and even SAM is now being replaced. It's cool that MMr will basically have LED OCD functionality built in to make the LEDs flicker/ghost free. All this combined with the color display and possible 2.0 software is really revolutionary in my mind.

I prefer AFM to MM. I might be in line for AFM when it comes, but CC is the one I'd really like to see. Hopefully the price will settle down to be more in the $6500 range by then.

-4
#36 4 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

Hopefully the price will settle down to be more in the $6500 range by then

Why are these so expensive? Is it because so many in the pin hobby have so much money falling out of the rear ends? 8K? Seems excessive. I do understand how the free market works, but I also understand the concept behind trying to squeeze every last dime out of potential buyers. The backlash that comes along with it is part of the "free market". It's just not the part that sellers like. Any speculation about the profit margin on this game?

#37 4 years ago
Quoted from usandthem:

Why are these so expensive? Is it because so many in the pin hobby have so much money falling out of the rear ends? 8K? Seems excessive. I do understand how the free market works, but I also understand the concept behind trying to squeeze every last dime out of potential buyers. The backlash that comes along with it is part of the "free market". It's just not the part that sellers like. Any speculation about the profit margin on this game?

To me this is because everyone jumped on so quickly at the MSRP, even on the regular version. A lot of the frenzy was because original MMs were so overpriced. I really think there is room to come down on this. I mentioned this before, but I would bet there is more wiggle room in this MSRP than a new Stern MSRP. We all know that no one pays MSRP for Sterns...

Granted this platform took some serious development money, but the machines themselves didn't. MM was completely designed back in the 90s and that has to save a lot of money.

#38 4 years ago
Quoted from usandthem:

Why are these so expensive? Is it because so many in the pin hobby have so much money falling out of the rear ends? 8K? Seems excessive. I do understand how the free market works, but I also understand the concept behind trying to squeeze every last dime out of potential buyers. The backlash that comes along with it is part of the "free market". It's just not the part that sellers like. Any speculation about the profit margin on this game?

300%?

#39 4 years ago

The start up costs on MMR have been huge. They created a whole new pinball platform. But the money MMR is making will help cover the nut, and will probably be able to allow future remakes priced to sell competitively.

-30
#40 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing , the only downside to this, is the shitty camera used to document this visit ..

#41 4 years ago

Oh good grief, please let's not turn this into another pinball pricing thread. It started out so positive.

#42 4 years ago

Thanks for confirming there will indeed be LED fading effects. I have not seen a video that demonstrates this. Also, can someone elaborate on what "multicolor display" means? Will the software have full pre-colorized frames or will it work more like DMD Extender where a custom color palette can be mapped?

#43 4 years ago

Thank you for taking the time to post your impressions and pictures; I am hoping this game still makes the NW Pinball Show so I can get up close and personal myself!

#44 4 years ago

thanks for all the great pix

here's what i saw between the gold and the silver.
wish i could have seen a shiny black in person.

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#45 4 years ago

To McCune,

I didn't think pictures would be allowed so I did not bring a camera. You are lucky I got any pictures at all. I agree some are blurry, but better than nothing. It's guys like you that would complain about a free lunch after devouring it. You are classy pal.

Thanks

-10
#46 4 years ago

If you didn't bring a camera how were the pictures taken?

Thanks for taking the time to document the tour and the experience which was what I was looking forward to. Unfortunately I don't have much interest in a recreation of a 17 year old pin that had over 4000 produced.

#47 4 years ago
Quoted from McCune:

Thanks for sharing , the only downside to this, is the shitty camera used to document this visit ..

Seriously?

#48 4 years ago
Quoted from ZenTron:

If you didn't bring a camera how were the pictures taken?

its 2014. Phones have made leaps and bounds. We can now carry then unattached to the wall. And they have cameras. Not professional ones that would have taken great pics but decent enough ones to give us what we got.
Check them out.

#49 4 years ago
Quoted from ZenTron:

If you didn't bring a camera how were the pictures taken?
Thanks for taking the time to document the tour and the experience which was what I was looking forward to. Unfortunately I don't have much interest in a recreation of a 17 year old pin that had over 4000 produced.

Then why are you in this thread?

#50 4 years ago

OP: Thanks for this. Great info!

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