(Topic ID: 298359)

Older machines that shoot like newer Sterns

By UCFKnight71

79 days ago


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  • 41 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 76 days ago by Methos
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    #1 79 days ago

    The more I play real pinball on location lately, the more I notice that newer Sterns are hard to beat for playability. What older machines shoot closest to them? I'd be really curious to hear about solid states that have a similar feel.

    #2 79 days ago
    Quoted from UCFKnight71:

    The more I play real pinball on location lately, the more I notice that newer Sterns are hard to beat for playability. What older machines shoot closest to them? I'd be really curious to hear about solid states that have a similar feel.

    Hard to tell what part you mean...
    Layouts, flipper feel, depth of code?
    Keep in mind that the Sterns you are playing also havnt been on route for 40 years.
    I love Stern games but i also love 80s SS games. Different beasts all together. Iron Maiden feel like a modern SS game. Obviously TNA as well.

    #3 79 days ago

    The factory that has been making Stern pinball has been in business since 1932. Modern Stern bought out Sega's pinball division, which had bought out the Data East pinball division, which had bought out the classic Stern Electronics division, which had bought out Chicago Coin Pinball, founded in 1932. My 1987 Torpedo Alley was made in the same factory as the Mandalorian, and from what I understand using some of the same equipment (like the playfield stamp/cutter).

    #4 79 days ago

    To expound on the history Satan alludes to above... It is well known that DE/Sega/Stern heavily "borrowed" from the great williams layouts in the late 80's all the way through the 90's. Until recently the great williams designers were working with Stern (Lawlor in early/mid 2000's and Ritchie until last week). Stern still has Brian Eddy. Long story short, late 80's and most of the 90's williams games should scratch the itch gameplay wise. The rules might not be as deep as some of the sterns but not every game should be a 45 min marathon to get anywhere in a game.

    #5 79 days ago
    Quoted from sataneatscheese:

    The factory that has been making Stern pinball has been in business since the mid 1980s. Modern Stern bought out Sega's pinball division, which had bought out the Data East pinball division. My 1987 Torpedo Alley was made in the same factory as the Mandalorian, and from what I understand using some of the same equipment (like the playfield stamp/cutter).

    Yes but lets be real here, a SS Stern isnt comparable to a Whitestar, SAM, Spike game for the purposes of this discussion. I think this guy is looking for some snappy fast paced games from the past. Obviously High Speed if well maintained or something along those lines. I know the SS games ive owned dont get the love they should from anyone else but me. New players want Spike2 games. No appreciation for a game with no multiball or no ball save lol

    #6 79 days ago

    Richies 90s games are all pretty comparable I think. Getaway 2 and No Fear are good ones. Not sure about wizard modes and what not but they’re great feeling games.

    #7 79 days ago

    I’m a big fan of NBA fastbreak as well.

    #8 79 days ago

    Yeah, I mean snappy, fast paced games. Also, flipper feel and layout. I'm not so worried about depth of code, as I'm relatively new to modern pinball.

    #9 79 days ago
    Quoted from sataneatscheese:

    The factory that has been making Stern pinball has been in business since 1932. Modern Stern bought out Sega's pinball division, which had bought out the Data East pinball division, which had bought out the classic Stern Electronics division, which had bought out Chicago Coin Pinball, founded in 1932. My 1987 Torpedo Alley was made in the same factory as the Mandalorian, and from what I understand using some of the same equipment (like the playfield stamp/cutter).

    Wow, I had no idea that's the way it progressed!

    #10 79 days ago
    Quoted from sataneatscheese:

    The factory that has been making Stern pinball has been in business since 1932. Modern Stern bought out Sega's pinball division, which had bought out the Data East pinball division, which had bought out the classic Stern Electronics division, which had bought out Chicago Coin Pinball, founded in 1932. My 1987 Torpedo Alley was made in the same factory as the Mandalorian, and from what I understand using some of the same
    equipment (like the playfield stamp/cutter).

    alot of that was true as far as equipment stamper but they moved locations i want to say in the last 10 years to a location to make things more efficient so not the same building your old machine was made in

    #11 79 days ago

    You just need to play restored machines then. The brand new stern plays that way because it’s brand new. Play any game that has been completely restored with every mech rebuilt and you will notice a drastic difference.

    #12 78 days ago

    I love fast paced games, another early example of fast paced steve ritchie games is firepower. No depth to speak of, unless you consider multiball, but just fast snappy shots. Just find a nice example to play on. They got played hard back in the day.

    #13 78 days ago
    Quoted from shlt_thunder:

    Richies 90s games are all pretty comparable I think. Getaway 2 and No Fear are good ones. Not sure about wizard modes and what not but they’re great feeling games.

    Yup, BKSOR pro is basically No Fear 2 with a different theme, even the mode design is pretty similar.

    #14 78 days ago
    Quoted from Phat_Jay:

    I love fast paced games, another early example of fast paced steve ritchie games is firepower. No depth to speak of, unless you consider multiball, but just fast snappy shots. Just find a nice example to play on. They got played hard back in the day.

    I love 80s SS and owned Firepower for 3 weeks. Iwas so happy to see it go. I would not recommend it to most but especially not for what this user seems to be after.
    This guy needs to play a restored High Speed, SoF, Whirlwind, Funhouse, etc.

    #15 78 days ago
    Quoted from UCFKnight71:

    The more I play real pinball on location lately, the more I notice that newer Sterns are hard to beat for playability. What older machines shoot closest to them? I'd be really curious to hear about solid states that have a similar feel.

    Not talking from a History point of view, I would say alot of the earlier 3rd flipper and ramp games shoot similar to modern Sterns. The early Pat Lawlors, especially Whirlwind, Funhouse, and to a lesser extent earthshaker fit this bill. Steve Ritchie's High Speed and (a little bit later) Star Trek, The Next Generation would fall into this category. My ST:TNG has code that is nearly as deep as a Modern Stern, with many modes, a full voice cast, and many, many more toys.

    #16 78 days ago

    Really interesting question.. Totally agree with sataneatscheese that ST:TNG has to be included for ruleset and assets alone. A few more that came to mind based on layouts, rules, and the "feel" of a newer Stern:

    Stern Cheetah
    Three flippers, lots of tight lanes, drops with progressive awards, under-the-upper-flipper shot.. feels proto-Elwin in some ways

    Sega The X Files
    Lots of bad examples of this game out there, but when it's shooting smooth X-Files has some of my favorite shots in pinball. Both ramps are fairly challenging and the game plays FAST even if the code isn't the deepest. Watching Robert Gagno light it up is always a treat.

    Williams Demolition Man
    Code and layout that pushes the player to shoot quickly, know the rules, and execute. Played this game a lot on location at No Quarter and it grew on me more than I expected.

    Gottlieb Victory
    Four flippers, super cool upper playfield with multiple ways to get there, and rules that lend themselves well to the theme. When Victory is playing fast it FLOWS. Lack of multiball is kind of a bummer, but I dig the music and there's just something about trying to hit each checkpoint that keeps bringing me back.

    #17 78 days ago
    Quoted from KnockerPTSD:

    Yes but lets be real here, a SS Stern isnt comparable to a Whitestar, SAM, Spike game for the purposes of this discussion. I think this guy is looking for some snappy fast paced games from the past. Obviously High Speed if well maintained or something along those lines. I know the SS games ive owned dont get the love they should from anyone else but me. New players want Spike2 games. No appreciation for a game with no multiball or no ball save lol

    Specifically for shots, High Speed all the way.

    I played basically every pinball machine I could find in the 80s and early 90s but most memories have blurred together to a vague memory of "yes, I remember that one." High Speed is one of 3 that had a special something I can recall multiple individual games played on them 30 odd years later.

    Specifically that adrenaline rush that hits when you start blasting shot after shot one to the next faster and faster right back the moment it reaches the flipper. The ball is just a blur bathed in the blinking lights while everything else in the room seems to slow down. I can see the entire pizza parlor in my mind just thinking about it, and for one particular game even feel the hot sun hitting my skin when I walked outside after it ended. I don't know that any game since has quite matched that feeling for me but if anything comes close it's when I get in the zone on Maiden and hit a bunch of ramps, orbits and loops in a row, or maybe Star Trek on the right day.

    The other 2 had nothing to do with the shots. Cyclone because 9 year old me was irrationally drawn to amusement parks and Bride of Pinbot because 12 year old me was irrationally drawn to whatever the hell was going on inside that pinball cabinet.

    #18 78 days ago
    Quoted from Yuuichi:

    Yup, BKSOR pro is basically No Fear 2 with a different theme, even the mode design is pretty similar.

    Not seeing this.

    #19 78 days ago

    I would say most wpc games would meet this request AFM taf bsd all as good or better than modern sterns I just traded my stranger things premium on a mando premium because I already own an original mm and AFM. Who needs 3 of the same game with fan layouts. That being said Irion Maiden and JP are both incredible games good to see the new generation of designers take the lead for stern. High speed is a classic and getaway is another fast paced wpc that checks all the boxes only wpc I would avoid is Popeye.

    #20 78 days ago

    I noticed that I had a blast playing Funhouse, and I was surprised by how modern it felt. However, Xenon and Eight Ball Deluxe did not feel great, but I don't think they were restored. For example, the flippers felt kind of weak.

    #21 78 days ago

    Fellow UCF Knight come over some night and play my ebd with a new playfield and rebuilt flippers you may change your mind. Send me a pm.

    #22 78 days ago
    Quoted from Deadlander:

    Fellow UCF Knight come over some night and play my ebd with a new playfield and rebuilt flippers you may change your mind. Send me a pm.

    Nice, someone from Deland! I always hear that EBD is still a great pin, but the one at the Pinball Lounge in Oviedo did not shoot well.

    #23 78 days ago

    Whirlwind comes to mind when fresh and setup nicely. That game is about as close to feeling Stern like that I can think of besides DE/Sega games.

    #24 78 days ago
    Quoted from Deadlander:

    I would say most wpc games would meet this request AFM taf bsd all as good or better than modern sterns I just traded my stranger things premium on a mando premium because I already own an original mm and AFM. Who needs 3 of the same game with fan layouts. That being said Irion Maiden and JP are both incredible games good to see the new generation of designers take the lead for stern. High speed is a classic and getaway is another fast paced wpc that checks all the boxes only wpc I would avoid is Popeye.

    Quoted from caseywreed:

    Really interesting question.. Totally agree with sataneatscheese that ST:TNG has to be included for ruleset and assets alone. A few more that came to mind based on layouts, rules, and the "feel" of a newer Stern:
    Stern Cheetah
    Three flippers, lots of tight lanes, drops with progressive awards, under-the-upper-flipper shot.. feels proto-Elwin in some ways
    Sega The X Files
    Lots of bad examples of this game out there, but when it's shooting smooth X-Files has some of my favorite shots in pinball. Both ramps are fairly challenging and the game plays FAST even if the code isn't the deepest. Watching Robert Gagno light it up is always a treat.
    Williams Demolition Man
    Code and layout that pushes the player to shoot quickly, know the rules, and execute. Played this game a lot on location at No Quarter and it grew on me more than I expected.
    Gottlieb Victory
    Four flippers, super cool upper playfield with multiple ways to get there, and rules that lend themselves well to the theme. When Victory is playing fast it FLOWS. Lack of multiball is kind of a bummer, but I dig the music and there's just something about trying to hit each checkpoint that keeps bringing me back.

    Except the post specifically asks for solid state games

    #25 78 days ago
    Quoted from KnockerPTSD:

    Except the post specifically asks for solid state games

    None of those games are EMs, but I can understand separating early-SS and DMD-era games if that's what you're getting at.

    #26 77 days ago

    I'd be curious to hear about older DMD games too, even though I originally mentioned Solid States. I've noticed that the newer Stern games I am having the most fun with and can get into a flow with so far are:

    Stranger Things
    Led Zeppelin (Premium)
    Iron Maiden
    Elvira's House of Horrors
    Deadpool
    Mandalorian (Starting to get the hang of this one!)
    Metallica (even though it's not quite new)

    However, games like the new TMNT, I'm just not feeling. So maybe my question is, what older machines play most like the list above? I've played quite a lot of Medieval Madness, Attack From Mars, and Monster Bash (remake versions) as well, and I can definitely see the similarities in Stranger Things and Elvira. A few people mentioned High Speed, which I played back in the day, but haven't played recently. I'd love to check out some older games that play fast like Deadpool, Iron Maiden, and Led Zeppelin.

    #27 77 days ago

    Personally I like the variety in how different eras of pins play, and am glad they don’t all play like modern Sterns. That is definitely something I sort of evolved into though.

    Early Bally and Stern Electronic SS pins can (and should) play pretty fast if they are set up correctly.

    #28 77 days ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    Personally I like the variety in how different eras of pins play, and am glad they don’t all play like modern Sterns. That is definitely something I sort of evolved into though.
    Early Bally and Stern Electronic SS pins can (and should) play pretty fast if they are set up correctly.

    I second this sentiment. Each of the eras have their own feel and I appreciate that. I would hate it if a classic Bally SS played like a modern Stern or if all games throughout history played and felt the same. Embrace the diversity and you'll find that you will enjoy a wider variety of games. That's not to say that you won't prefer some games over others, but I enjoy the fact that there's a time and place for an EM game as well as a modern Stern/Spooky/JJP and everything in between.

    #29 77 days ago
    Quoted from UCFKnight71:

    . I'd love to check out some older games that play fast like Deadpool, Iron Maiden, and Led Zeppelin.

    Deadpool and Maiden have very unique feels.
    Zeppelin.......see High Speed again

    #30 77 days ago
    Quoted from UCFKnight71:

    I'd be curious to hear about older DMD games too, even though I originally mentioned Solid States. I've noticed that the newer Stern games I am having the most fun with and can get into a flow with so far are:
    Stranger Things
    Led Zeppelin (Premium)
    Iron Maiden
    Elvira's House of Horrors
    Deadpool
    Mandalorian (Starting to get the hang of this one!)
    Metallica (even though it's not quite new)
    However, games like the new TMNT, I'm just not feeling. So maybe my question is, what older machines play most like the list above? I've played quite a lot of Medieval Madness, Attack From Mars, and Monster Bash (remake versions) as well, and I can definitely see the similarities in Stranger Things and Elvira. A few people mentioned High Speed, which I played back in the day, but haven't played recently. I'd love to check out some older games that play fast like Deadpool, Iron Maiden, and Led Zeppelin.

    This is more of a gut feeling based on the specific list you've got here having a lot of overlap on with what recent and older games I liked.

    See if you can find a Baywatch. Ideally a fast one with strong, solid flippers.

    The entire package is pretty absurd and it's by no means a perfect game, but I think in a lot of ways it was ahead of it's time. There are an insane amount of shots packed into it that can flow together in multiple ways and some of the modes are surprisingly inspired in how they mix shots and make use of features all over the table while also being well indicated by the lights/callouts and that giant DMD, building up something of a story arc as you complete more of them.

    That's easier to pull off now with HD displays, addressable LEDS, basically infinite storage for media and sheer processing power to run the code on, but once you get past the flagships from that era a lot of games were still basically an art theme and sound effects and maybe one unique feature/mech applied to a bunch shots and targets that mostly existed on their own without building to a late game and little reason to choose one over another other than whatever was easiest or scored a lot of instant points.

    If someone were to reuse the layout/theme, replace the DMD with a modern display and reimplement/tune the code, rules and modes on modern hardware it could be a modern stern. I've got my fireproof suit on and will accept my flames below.

    #31 77 days ago
    Quoted from FatPanda:

    I second this sentiment. Each of the eras have their own feel and I appreciate that. I would hate it if a classic Bally SS played like a modern Stern or if all games throughout history played and felt the same. Embrace the diversity and you'll find that you will enjoy a wider variety of games. That's not to say that you won't prefer some games over others, but I enjoy the fact that there's a time and place for an EM game as well as a modern Stern/Spooky/JJP and everything in between.

    It's been fun trying out different machines from different eras and getting a sense of the unique feel. For example, Gorgar is fun, but feels way different than any of the early 90's games.

    #32 77 days ago

    T2…Flow for days

    #33 77 days ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Not seeing this.

    Me neither... But if you want to call something No Fear 2... Star Wars is essentially an inverse layout of No Fear with a few differences in targets. And of course the required 3 pops on the outer orbit .

    #34 77 days ago

    Everyone is different but T2 is near the bottom of my list of fun games. Like SF2 levels of dislike.

    #35 77 days ago
    Quoted from craif:

    This is more of a gut feeling based on the specific list you've got here having a lot of overlap on with what recent and older games I liked.
    See if you can find a Baywatch. Ideally a fast one with strong, solid flippers.
    The entire package is pretty absurd and it's by no means a perfect game, but I think in a lot of ways it was ahead of it's time. There are an insane amount of shots packed into it that can flow together in multiple ways and some of the modes are surprisingly inspired in how they mix shots and make use of features all over the table while also being well indicated by the lights/callouts and that giant DMD, building up something of a story arc as you complete more of them.
    That's easier to pull off now with HD displays, addressable LEDS, basically infinite storage for media and sheer processing power to run the code on, but once you get past the flagships from that era a lot of games were still basically an art theme and sound effects and maybe one unique feature/mech applied to a bunch shots and targets that mostly existed on their own without building to a late game and little reason to choose one over another other than whatever was easiest or scored a lot of instant points.
    If someone were to reuse the layout/theme, replace the DMD with a modern display and reimplement/tune the code, rules and modes on modern hardware it could be a modern stern. I've got my fireproof suit on and will accept my flames below.

    I love Baywatch. Had a nice one with color DMD, Chad code, and all shopped out. It was a blast to play, even with the theme. Being that it is a Sega (ie, Stern before Stern today), it shares a lot of the same DNA that modern Sterns have, which is why it feels the way it feels. The shots are great and the rules, though it can be a little wood choppy, are generally fun.

    They still hover around the 2500-4K range, and I would consider it best Sega game. I would buy another one if the price was right.

    #36 76 days ago
    Quoted from FatPanda:

    I love Baywatch. Had a nice one with color DMD, Chad code, and all shopped out. It was a blast to play, even with the theme. Being that it is a Sega (ie, Stern before Stern today), it shares a lot of the same DNA that modern Sterns have, which is why it feels the way it feels. The shots are great and the rules, though it can be a little wood choppy, are generally fun.
    They still hover around the 2500-4K range, and I would consider it best Sega game. I would buy another one if the price was right.

    I skipped over it in the arcade when it was new and haven't seen it much since, but ended up with someone else's parts machine with the boards/dmd/plastics/cab art all gone or damaged. Just wanted the mechs and physical cab to test some homebrew ideas. Going through it got me interested enough to eventually find one on location and I was really surprised how good it was. If the secondary market ever cools down it's on my short list.

    #38 76 days ago

    Tempting, but still holding out hope Stern manufactures the Maiden I have on order before the heat death of the universe.

    #39 76 days ago
    Quoted from FatPanda:

    I love Baywatch. Had a nice one with color DMD, Chad code, and all shopped out. It was a blast to play, even with the theme. Being that it is a Sega (ie, Stern before Stern today), it shares a lot of the same DNA that modern Sterns have, which is why it feels the way it feels. The shots are great and the rules, though it can be a little wood choppy, are generally fun.
    They still hover around the 2500-4K range, and I would consider it best Sega game. I would buy another one if the price was right.

    Baywatch is a tough one because I hate the theme, but the gameplay does look fun. Mind is blown that modern Stern is old Sega!

    #40 76 days ago
    Quoted from sataneatscheese:

    and from what I understand using some of the same equipment (like the playfield stamp/cutter).

    I’m pretty sure they call that the “pants presser” and they bought that machine from Gottlieb when they went out of business. And Gottlieb had been using that machine for decades prior. LOTS of awesome heritage in every pinball machine built.

    #41 76 days ago
    Quoted from UCFKnight71:

    The more I play real pinball on location lately, the more I notice that newer Sterns are hard to beat for playability. What older machines shoot closest to them? I'd be really curious to hear about solid states that have a similar feel.

    Find a great playing Quicksilver, Drangonfist, SeaWitch, Metor, etc. They play faster than shit and feel like some of the modern Sterns....obviously the code isn't that deep.

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