As many of you know at last weeks Amusement Expo International in New Orleans, Hot Wheels Pinball machine made an appearance. We know this caught many of you by surprise as APIs past reveals were at pinball shows. As we are committed to growing pinball on location, this was an important audience to promote to that Pinball is alive and well. We had plans to have a big reveal at the Texas Pinball Festival, and while it was probably not realistic, we were hoping to keep things on the down low so as not take away from our TPF reveal, but this was a show pinball needed to be at and we felt it was important to have Hot Wheels™ there.
I’m sure you have noticed we have been slow to reveal details of the game, and there are a couple of reasons for that. First, we planned to have the official reveal at the Texas Pinball Festival (TPF) and for a while we wanted to hold back until then, second, given this is a licensed game, we needed to have all the necessary approvals before we could share content. While we have approvals for the physical machine, cabinet, art and playfield, we are still in the process of submitting game content (animations, voice calls, etc.). Since the playfield and cabinet have been approved we can share images of the machine at this time.
We are very disappointed we will not be able to give the game the reveal we had planned at TPF, we had a lot of cool stuff planned. In addition to a dozen games in our both, we had plans to include two life size Hot Wheels™ cars and a giant Hot Wheels™ track for kids and adults to play with.
Unfortunately TPF is not the only show that has been or will be cancelled, and since we won't be able to offer 'show specials' over the next couple of months, we are going to offer everyone a 'virtual show special'. For a limited time, all games leaving the factory, including Oktoberfest and Houdini, will include a shaker motor. Details will be posted soon on our website.
Obviously we have seen the various comments on pinside and elsewhere and we find some of the conjecture to be quite humorous. Now while we can't comment or respond to everything that has been posted, either for sake of brevity or things we are not yet able to talk about, we did want to provide clarity on a few things that have been brought up.
1) Whats with the offset monitor?
Despite some suggesting we did that since we had to fit it into the provided art, I can tell you that is not even remotely close to the truth. It has been our goal to integrate the game display into the backglass when possible, in this case as a jumbotron or digital billboard. The team also felt we could do more with the backglass if we could create a larger canvas for our artist. We did testing of playing the game with the offset monitor and found that it takes very little time to adjust to the different position. After a game or two you don't think about it being offset. And we do believe that the larger canvas allows the theme of the game to come through, even when the machine is turned off.
2) What's with the dinosaurs?
Thankfully there are still toys in the world that encourage kids to use their imagination. And over the years Hot Wheels™ has expanded its' universe to include playsets that allow kids to explore different worlds with their Hot Wheels™ cars. Using your car to battle dinosaurs, gorillas, sharks and other creatures is the norm for many kids now playing with Hot Wheels™. Given our goal was to capture all the different aspects of Hot Wheels™, collecting, track building, racing, the stuff may of us grew up up with, we also felt creature battles should be a part of it.
3) What's with the spinning car?
Without context it easy to see how the spinning car seems a bit out of place. The car does respond to what is happening in the game. And while I won't go into a lot of detail on that in this first post, I will say that we are still adjusting how it is used in game play, regardless, there are settings to control how much it is used, a little, a lot or none at all. So for those who really don't like it, you can just turn it off. I will say that when you actually play the machine, it is not as distracting as it might look watching a cell phone camera video of game play, and it can be quite helpful in knowing when the tach value is dropping -- you will soon learn why this is important.
4) What's the price?
Each of our games has been priced, based on what is in the game. Hot Wheels™ has a lower price than either of our first two games, with an MSRP of $6,295. This price reflects that the game has a little less in it feature wise. Also, as I indicated above, we want to grow location play and operators need a game at a price that works for them, so it was our goal on this machine to make it a little lower priced to better serve operators and to get more pinball on location. Given what is going on right now, there is little doubt that collectors won't mind paying a little less for a great new game.
Even with this lower price, the game is still loaded. Multiple ramps, drops targets, a vuk with loop ramp, a front facing kicker, staggered stand-up targets, real direct printed backglass and tons more. The game is 100% RGB LEDs for inserts and general illumination, using over 140 LEDs, including multiple LEDs in arrow inserts to allow better illumination and lighting effects. Cabinet inside art is included, the first of its kind, 3D Lenticular backpanel is included, art on the front of the apron included, powder coated rails included, and as mentioned above, for a limited time, the shaker motor is included. Oh, and the rules are designed to give you a lot of different objectives to pursue, which will keep this game challenging and entertaining for a long time.
5) What's with the stop motion animation?
Mattel has created a youtube series called Hot Wheels City™ and when we watched it, it just grabbed us. We loved the world they created and just watching it makes you smile. It is about having fun and that is what pinball is supposed to be about, so after much discussion, we decided that we wanted that to be part of the game and our friends at Mattel were willing to let us do so. You will see we mix that bit with some other animations that we feel better capture other aspects of Hot Wheels™ that some of us grew up with, such as track building and car collecting.
This is already getting to be pretty long for a post, so I'll wrap it up here and ferret and I will share more details soon.