(Topic ID: 172629)

Questions for John Trudeau, Steve Ritchie, George Gomez, and John Borg


By JoeDP

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 58 posts
  • 30 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Razorbak86
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 2 years ago

    If you could ask your favorite Stern game designer any question, what would you ask?

    Game Designers: John Trudeau, Steve Ritchie, George Gomez, and John Borg

    #2 2 years ago

    Why are do you guys suck so much at playing pinball?
    (I always wondered this )

    #3 2 years ago

    I would ask Steve Kirk, the designer of Stars, if there is a chance we might see a VE.

    That is if I could...

    #4 2 years ago

    I would ask SR when he plans to get going on High Speed 3 ...

    #5 2 years ago

    I would ask George Gomez if he ever considered writing a book about his career thus far. I'd love to hear more on his time at Williams.

    #6 2 years ago

    How much $ they make per year.

    #7 2 years ago
    Quoted from mswhat:

    I would ask George Gomez if he ever considered writing a book about his career thus far. I'd love to hear more on his time at Williams.

    We are actually talking to George Gomez and Steve Ritchie about books dedicated to their entire careers, if our current book on Kickstarter is successful!

    Quoted from hassanchop:

    Why are do you guys suck so much at playing pinball?
    (I always wondered this )

    I actually have a clip of John Trudeau talking about this. He says he used to be better when he was younger, but his love of the game is in the design aspects not the playing aspects. So in his way he is doing what he loves in regards to the game. Maybe I'll make another video with this content in it

    Quoted from SUPERBEE:

    I would ask SR when he plans to get going on High Speed 3 ...

    Thanks and noted!

    #8 2 years ago

    John Trudeau - Any chance of a new Chicago Cubs pin in your future ?

    Steve Ritchie - Do you think your rumored Star Wars pin ( maybe with LCD ? ) will surpass the greatness of your last two games ?

    George Gomez - You did a great job on the Sopranos pin. Any chance you could do a Godfather pin ?

    LTG : )

    #9 2 years ago

    Steve Ritchie.

    Q: What would be the craziest design idea you pushed but got cut do to cost?

    George Gomez. Hooked up to a lie detector.

    Q: What really happened with Transformers?

    John Borg.

    Q: What do you really think about the people who code your great layouts who are not LS?

    John Trudeau

    Q: Does Barry Manilla know you raid his wardrobe?

    #10 2 years ago
    Quoted from hank527:

    What would be the craziest design idea you pushed but got cut do to cost?

    i think this would be an interesting question for all of them.

    #11 2 years ago

    Given that your greatest, most innovative , games were from your earlier days, don't you think younger designers need to be brought into pinball?

    #12 2 years ago

    Steve stayed at the same hotel as me a couple of PAGGs ago. I geeked out and respectfully peppered him with questions that he gracefully answered.... He even answered an AC/DC query in his "Devil" voice.

    Total class and a super sweet guy.

    #13 2 years ago
    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    Given that your greatest, most innovative , games were from your earlier days, don't you think younger designers need to be brought into pinball?

    Hmmm.. im not sure if the lack of design innovation is more about designers getting older or more the fact that at the end of the day, pinball is pinball and it must be pretty difficult to come up with new , truly innovative designs, young or old. Im talking about true design, not just new screens, toys etc. It must be very difficult to keep coming up with new ways to reinvent the wheel so to speak.

    #14 2 years ago
    Quoted from SUPERBEE:

    Hmmm.. im not sure if the lack of design innovation is more about designers getting older or more the fact that at the end of the day, pinball is pinball and it must be pretty difficult to come up with new , truly innovative designs, young or old. Im talking about true design, not just new screens, toys etc. It must be very difficult to keep coming up with new ways to reinvent the wheel so to speak.

    Take a look at SR early games most of them are highly prized by the hobbiests , each one brought something new, but none needed useless toys

    #15 2 years ago
    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    Take a look at SR early games most of them are highly prized by the hobbiests , each one brought something new, but none needed useless toys

    I agree. I have 2 of them. SR is amazing ! Just saying that it must be hard to come up with new ideas after all the years of pinball designing that has gone on. Again, im talking about pure design, not toys and new tech but i do agree with you that some new young blood may very well help but just not sure by how much.

    #16 2 years ago

    BTW , just looked at your collection... im truly envious !!

    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from MotorCityMatt:

    How much $ they make per year.

    Cmon man..... these guys are the rock stars of pinball. Jeeze...... it's not about the money. It's about the "Hot and Cold running chicks"!!

    QSS

    #18 2 years ago
    Quoted from SUPERBEE:

    BTW , just looked at your collection... im truly envious !!

    I've been collecting for 30 years though

    #19 2 years ago

    Question for all of them: If you were 25 again; would you pursue a career in pinball again?

    #20 2 years ago
    Quoted from Eskaybee:

    Question for all of them: If you were 25 again; would you pursue a career in pinball again?

    They have done well and they all seem to truly love the hobby. Im sure it would be all yes across the board.

    #21 2 years ago
    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    I've been collecting for 30 years though

    Well great collection regardless !

    -1
    #22 2 years ago
    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    I've been collecting for 30 years though

    Collecting? Your list is 30 machines and 2 in the "past" list. You are a hoarder not a collector.

    #23 2 years ago

    How long does it take George Gomez to sign 500 playfields?

    #24 2 years ago

    Do you design playfields with rules in mind, or do you leave all that up to the programmers and just concentrate on satisfying shots?

    #25 2 years ago
    Quoted from DanQverymuch:

    Do you design playfields with rules in mind, or do you leave all that up to the programmers

    Im thinking popbumperpetes thoughts

    Quoted from DanQverymuch:

    just concentrate on satisfying shots?

    My thoughts....

    Please keep in mind that im not saying that this is what is happening.. Its just food for thought.

    #26 2 years ago
    Quoted from Travish:

    Collecting? Your list is 30 machines and 2 in the "past" list. You are a hoarder not a collector.

    Dang, PopBumper, it was a joke. Didn't you see the Guess I should have put this instead.

    Nice list, I would happy with any of your machines.

    #27 2 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    John Trudeau - Any chance of a new Chicago Cubs pin in your future ?
    Steve Ritchie - Do you think your rumored Star Wars pin ( maybe with LCD ? ) will surpass the greatness of your last two games ?
    George Gomez - You did a great job on the Sopranos pin. Any chance you could do a Godfather pin ?
    LTG : )

    Thanks for your questions I will ask JT about Cubs, and GG about Godfather for sure!
    As far as SR's current game, whatever it may be. When we asked him what his favorite games were, he said he "Really likes the game he's working on now!". So I would think yes, he believes the current game he is working on is one of his best, again, whatever that may be.

    Quoted from hank527:

    Steve Ritchie.
    Q: What would be the craziest design idea you pushed but got cut do to cost?

    Great question for all of them I think!

    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    Given that your greatest, most innovative , games were from your earlier days, don't you think younger designers need to be brought into pinball?

    I don't think I would phrase the question that way, especially since in my opinion Ghostbusters is one DAMNED innovative game (magnet slings and all) but I know that JT did say in one of our interviews that he does often think about how few young designers there are, and that he wished there was new people to pass the knowledge on to.

    Quoted from Eskaybee:

    Question for all of them: If you were 25 again; would you pursue a career in pinball again?

    I believe they would all say yes, they would still pursue pinball, they all in one form or another said they were among the luckiest people in the world to get to do this for a living.

    Quoted from FlippyD:

    How long does it take George Gomez to sign 500 playfields?

    I will ask, I do not think he does them all at once though, so it may not be an easily calculated thing.

    Quoted from DanQverymuch:

    Do you design playfields with rules in mind, or do you leave all that up to the programmers and just concentrate on satisfying shots?

    This is a great question for all of them! I believe SR does a significant amount of the rules designs, as he told us that he does that at the same time as laying out the play field, but we didn't ask any of the other designers about the rules.

    Thank you all for your questions, I have noted them in document we will refer to when producing the book!

    If you haven't checked it out please do: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paperflock/keeping-the-ball-alive-30-years-of-stern-pinball

    #28 2 years ago

    Q: If budgetary considerations were completely irrelevant what would you most like to see implemented into a modern pinball machine to remain salient to modern consumers?

    Quoted from SUPERBEE:

    Hmmm.. im not sure if the lack of design innovation is more about designers getting older or more the fact that at the end of the day, pinball is pinball and it must be pretty difficult to come up with new , truly innovative designs, young or old. Im talking about true design, not just new screens, toys etc. It must be very difficult to keep coming up with new ways to reinvent the wheel so to speak.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark > Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Both movies made close to 30 years apart with the same subject matter with largely the same people involved but I think most of us would agree that something just wasn't there in the latter.

    Plenty of new innovative tech out there that is being overlooked in favour of either managerial decision making focussing too much on the BOM/profit margin or the designers themselves are just not keeping up with the technology itself.

    To the designers credit in Stern's case, I would say it is more from column A than from column B.

    Quoted from FlippyD:

    How long does it take George Gomez to sign 500 playfields?

    Based on pics I have seen, they get signed unpopulated whilst they are stacked in the playfield racks.

    #29 2 years ago
    Quoted from JoeDP:

    We are actually talking to George Gomez and Steve Ritchie about books dedicated to their entire careers, if our current book on Kickstarter is successful!

    Great! Dump the Stern fluff BS book and do the Williams Pinball, Gomez and Ritchie book. I bet they have some GREAT stories

    #30 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinsanity:

    Q: If budgetary considerations were completely irrelevant what would you most like to see implemented into a modern pinball machine to remain salient to modern consumers?

    Great Question noted.

    Quoted from pinsanity:

    Raiders of the Lost Ark > Kindgom of the Crystal Skull. Both movies made close to 30 years apart with the same subject matter with largely the same people involved but I think most of us would agree that something just wasn't there in the latter.

    Won't argue with that example, but I think there are lots of examples in which modern games are way more fun and innovative than older games.

    Quoted from pinsanity:

    Plenty of new innovative tech out there that is being overlooked in favour of either managerial decision making focussing too much on the BOM/profit margin or the designers themselves are just not keeping up with the technology itself.

    What kind of tech (besides monitors) do you think should be integrated that is being overlooked? Especially where the play field is concerned*

    I think you may not be considering the most important factor, which I don't believe is budgetary (solely) or designers innovation based. I believe it is time.

    More than one of the designers told us when they got 12 months or even 14 months to work on a game the games get better.
    Todays' market is demanding. Stern is pushing out a lot of designs per year for the complexity level they are at now. Back before these games had a lot of computerized rules systems companies could pump out lots of variations on games by moving pieces on the play field, changing the art, and pretty much nothing else, but these days with the complexity expected in machines it is a very pressing schedule. I know they always feel like they are racing against a clock.

    And integrating new technology consumes a lot of time!

    #31 2 years ago

    Hey JoeDP if you like defending Stern and asking them questions for us, please ask them about Fun playfields and Churchill playfields and what the deal is.

    #32 2 years ago
    Quoted from tacshose:

    Hey JoeDP if you like defending Stern and asking them questions for us, please ask them about Fun playfields and Churchill playfields and what the deal is.

    Sure, can you please phrase the question more clearly?

    I don't consider myself defending them, but there is a lot of misinformation out there, and if I can clear some of it up I am glad to.

    If someone says "I hate Stern" for whatever reason, I usually don't argue with them

    #33 2 years ago

    I didn't catch that you were actually asking questions to the designers. In that way, here is a more interesting one:
    (for all 4)
    - I have designed a few virtual games, and would love to design a real one. How do you think I will manage that in a market so small as this one? How do you think I should start?

    #34 2 years ago
    Quoted from hassanchop:

    I have designed a few virtual games, and would love to design a real one. How do you think I will manage that in a market so small as this one? How do you think I should start?

    Nice which games have you designed?

    I'm not sure designers are the right people to ask about the business side of this industry.

    I will put the questions out there though.

    #35 2 years ago
    Quoted from JoeDP:

    Nice which games have you designed?

    My most famous one was Scarface - Balls and Power
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/scarface-pinball-coming-2013

    thnks!

    #36 2 years ago
    Quoted from Travish:

    Collecting? Your list is 30 machines and 2 in the "past" list. You are a hoarder not a collector.

    Doesn't the very definition of collecting include not getting rid of what you collect?

    #37 2 years ago

    I'd ask the obvious.... if there were no restrictions for rights or intellectual property, what would be your 'dream theme'?

    #38 2 years ago

    A few theme and layout-related questions for everyone:

    - How much research do you do on the theme you are working on at any given time?
    - Talk about the difficulty of working on a theme that you might not be as passionate about
    - Is it equally as hard to work on a theme you love because there is so much you want to include?
    - How much of a layout/design is dictated by the theme at hand or do you shape the theme around a layout that you know will work?
    - When laying out the design, how much thought has to be given to how the art package will be incorporated?
    - Name a machine you've designed in the past that you wish you could have improved upon
    - Any regrets on a feature or aspect of a game that made it into the final product, but you're not as thrilled with it now?

    #39 2 years ago

    I would ask any of them where the original documentation for wood rails ended up.
    And I would ask all of them for a Beer.

    #40 2 years ago

    I would ask them who had the fastest car at WMS; Neil Nicastro or one of them?

    #41 2 years ago

    To all:

    What's your favorite game from another designer and why?

    #42 2 years ago
    Quoted from hank527:

    Steve Ritchie.
    Q: What would be the craziest design idea you pushed but got cut do to cost?

    I know steves idea for avatar got cut and we got the game we got which John Borg desigend.
    I would have liked to known more about it

    #43 2 years ago

    To all:
    Would you like to work on a Forbidden Planet game??

    #44 2 years ago

    Who's doing Iron Maiden?

    #45 2 years ago
    Quoted from JoeDP:

    Won't argue with that example, but I think there are lots of examples in which modern games are way more fun and innovative than older games.

    Modern games rely on code. The last time someone tried to do a different flipper arrangement was WOF, before that I want to say it was SST. Not saying modern games are not fun, far from it, but they tend to stick to what works and play it safe. This goes for Stern and JJP. Now the smaller upstart are more willing to try new things, but that has always been the case. Just compare Williams to Capcom or Gottlieb to Alvin G and you will see the same pattern.

    In terms of 90s vs now? The 90's were more experimental. There are a few exceptions such as the crane toy from tdk (08), the ship in potc (06), mini pinball in fgy (07), and balloon bumper on woz (13, but the idea was cut from potc so its really from 07). Most modern games just used recycled ideas from the last 20 years with a deeper ruleset.

    #46 2 years ago

    Nice looks cool!

    Quoted from MRudowsky:

    I'd ask the obvious.... if there were no restrictions for rights or intellectual property, what would be your 'dream theme'?

    We actually asked a similar question, but the general answer was they didn't want to tip their hats as to what they want to work on, cause if it's not a secured title than another company could go after it.

    Quoted from BD_Designs:

    A few theme and layout-related questions for everyone:

    These are great questions thank you! I have noted all of them!

    Quoted from BD_Designs:

    - How much research do you do on the theme you are working on at any given time?

    I know that GG said he watched all of the available episodes of Batman while working on the new Batman.
    And SR said he visited set for one of the Terminator movies to get a feel for what they were shooting!

    Quoted from BD_Designs:

    - Talk about the difficulty of working on a theme that you might not be as passionate about

    Both SR and JT said that they have to be passionate about a theme if they are going to work on it, because you spend a lot of time with it and they want to only make great games, so if you aren't into the theme, there is probably another designer that is better for the project.

    Quoted from BD_Designs:

    - Is it equally as hard to work on a theme you love because there is so much you want to include?

    Great Question! We didn't ask this.

    Quoted from BD_Designs:

    - How much of a layout/design is dictated by the theme at hand or do you shape the theme around a layout that you know will work?

    I know JT said that he had been working on a game for 6 months when the theme changed, and he had to basically throw out all the work he did. So I think the theme influences the layout / design ALOT!

    Quoted from BD_Designs:

    - When laying out the design, how much thought has to be given to how the art package will be incorporated?

    This one I'm sure depends a lot on the title, but I know that JT said with Ghostbusters he and ZY worked together almost from the very beginning laying out playfield and art together!

    Quoted from BD_Designs:

    - Name a machine you've designed in the past that you wish you could have improved upon

    Great question! I think JT said he would have liked to include the tachometer in Mustang

    Quoted from BD_Designs:

    - Any regrets on a feature or aspect of a game that made it into the final product, but you're not as thrilled with it now?

    Also good question.

    Quoted from Dr_of_Style:

    I would ask any of them where the original documentation for wood rails ended up.

    I assume all documentation would stay within the company that created / owned them.

    Quoted from MrBally:

    I would ask them who had the fastest car at WMS; Neil Nicastro or one of them?

    I know SR had a Porsche

    Quoted from Jackalwere:

    To all:
    What's your favorite game from another designer and why?

    Great question!

    Quoted from Pinballgeek:

    I know steves idea for avatar got cut and we got the game we got which John Borg desigend.
    I would have liked to known more about it

    I can ask

    Quoted from spfxted:

    To all:
    Would you like to work on a Forbidden Planet game??

    That sounds rad!

    Quoted from BOBCADE:

    Who's doing Iron Maiden?

    They probably couldn't say if that was even in the line up.

    Quoted from dung:

    Modern games rely on code. The last time someone tried to do a different flipper arrangement was WOF, before that I want to say it was SST. Not saying modern games are not fun, far from it, but they tend to stick to what works and play it safe. This goes for Stern and JJP. Now the smaller upstart are more willing to try new things, but that has always been the case. Just compare Williams to Capcom or Gottlieb to Alvin G and you will see the same pattern.
    In terms of 90s vs now? The 90's were more experimental. There are a few exceptions such as the crane toy from tdk (08), the ship in potc (06), mini pinball in fgy (07), and balloon bumper on woz (13, but the idea was cut from potc so its really from 07). Most modern games just used recycled ideas from the last 20 years with a deeper ruleset.

    I don't see it that way personally. I think innovation for innovations sake can be the most gimmicky thing you can do. It has to really be motivated to work in my opinion. Think of any other art form or traditional toy product even. Would you ever say, oh painters these days are still putting pigment mixed with oil on a canvas, they are not innovative? Or that Starwars figure has two arms, two legs, a head, and is made out of painted plastic, so it's not good cause it doesn't have an LCD screen?

    George Gomez talks about this a lot, but a pinball machine is an interactive story, like a video game. How you progress through that story is what makes the game engaging. All the parts / toys in a pinball machine are used to enhance the story, you get to fight the Hulk or a dragon, and so on. The rules they "rely" on are a very deep enrichment of the game experience. You wouldn't say to a writer, hey why are you still using those same english words people have been using for hundreds of years right? So the parts we are all familiar with are like the designers vocabulary, and how they arrange those parts, and how they encourage or discourage the player from interacting with those parts tells the story. There are a lot more books / movies / video games out there than there are pinball machines, and I personally would like to see them make more engaging games with less bells and whistles than vice versa, but we each have our tastes and preferences

    #47 2 years ago
    Quoted from JoeDP:

    I don't see it that way personally. I think innovation for innovations sake can be the most gimmicky thing you can do. It has to really be motivated to work in my opinion. Think of any other art form or traditional toy product even. Would you ever say, oh painters these days are still putting pigment mixed with oil on a canvas, they are not innovative? Or that Starwars figure has two arms, two legs, a head, and is made out of painted plastic, so it's not good cause it doesn't have an LCD screen?
    George Gomez talks about this a lot, but a pinball machine is an interactive story, like a video game. How you progress through that story is what makes the game engaging. All the parts / toys in a pinball machine are used to enhance the story, you get to fight the Hulk or a dragon, and so on. The rules they "rely" on are a very deep enrichment of the game experience. You wouldn't say to a writer, hey why are you still using those same english words people have been using for hundreds of years right? So the parts we are all familiar with are like the designers vocabulary, and how they arrange those parts, and how they encourage or discourage the player from interacting with those parts tells the story. There are a lot more books / movies / video games out there than there are pinball machines, and I personally would like to see them make more engaging games with less bells and whistles than vice versa, but we each have our tastes and preferences

    Pinball is a novelty and novelty thrives on innovation, because a humans we are attracted to new and different. Painters innovate which is why you see different movements within art. With pinball its like we have been stuck in the same movement for 20 years and the designers continue to recycle the same ideas. Think of it more like Warhol painting Monroe. He did different things with it, but if he did nothing but that for 20 years no one would sit around and call him innovative. That is what the manufacturer's have done.

    Code is more a byproduct of the decrease in memory prices. You couldn't fit the code for Metalica on DE System 3. You couldn't have afforded it either because back then things were done in assembly to conserve space. Now they can use a modern object oriented language which saves time on the programming side.

    #48 2 years ago
    Quoted from dung:

    Pinball is a novelty and novelty thrives on innovation, because a humans we are attracted to new and different. Painters innovate which is why you see different movements within art. With pinball its like we have been stuck in the same movement for 20 years and the designers continue to recycle the same ideas. Think of it more like Warhol painting Monroe. He did different things with it, but if he did nothing but that for 20 years no one would sit around and call him innovative. That is what the manufacturer's have done.

    I can see how you would feel that way, but my personal feeling is very different. Maybe I am closer to the titles that are coming out now than you are, or I care more about achieving on screen titles like Hand of the King, but I feel like games in the last 5 or 6 years have grown leaps and bounds over the games that came before them. The rule sets have become so much more complicated, which adds SO much to me.

    For example, in both Candyland and Risk you move little painted plastic or wood pieces around a painted piece of cardboard, but in Risk the rules are so much more complicated, what you have to do to win is so much more involved. I love playing Risk(one of my favorite games of all time, check out warlight.net if you have time), but would not be so into playing Candyland today, at least with adults.

    Just cause the parts are similar doesn't mean the game experience is the same.

    Quoted from dung:

    Code is more a byproduct of the decrease in memory prices. You couldn't fit the code for Metalica on DE System 3. You couldn't have afforded it either because back then things were done in assembly to conserve space. Now they can use a modern object oriented language which saves time on the programming side.

    100% agree! But what does that code allow? That's the exciting thing for me.

    I am editing a Lonnie Ropp video right now where he talks about some of this stuff, I can't wait to share it with you!

    #49 2 years ago

    Lonnie Ropp talking about how he got into pinball:

    #50 2 years ago

    Hey Steve any thought of doing BK2112 a Rush based BK of course. A nice trifecta.

    And any of you guys know the the air speed velocity of an unladen American swallow? Not the European or African kind?!

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