(Topic ID: 4906)

Stern game evolution


By emo

8 years ago



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  • 29 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 years ago by emo
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    #1 8 years ago

    This post comes from reading some of the comments in the WOZ white-wood play-field thread, which made it sound like Sterns Product hadn't developed much. Personally I disagree and think they have made progress. I wondered what others thought and if people think Stern pins have improved, how have they improved?

    The thinking behind this post in NOT to organise a fight between Stern fans and haters so please don't turn it into one.

    #2 8 years ago

    When I read the posts, I don't think anybody is trying to bash Stern. I get the feeling most want more players in the production of machines to compete. Competition makes it better for everybody.

    #3 8 years ago

    Stern machines are much better than their reputation. Both in terms of game design and technical quality. They're often spoken bad about which is a shame.

    I think it comes down to two things. They're rare to find in the wild hence not a lot of people have really played more than a few of them. And they are heavily theme-based and mostly on movies and TV, which for natural reasons, and for good and bad, affect players attitude towards them.

    More power to them.

    #4 8 years ago

    There is definitely a build quality thing as I have CSI (2008/9) next to RBION (2004) and I can see the difference.

    #5 8 years ago

    I have quite a few Stern games in my wishlist, but I still don't like the feeling of them as much as the 90's WPC games. That being said I've played Tron quite a few times and love the lightshow/music of the LE and it is a great pin. I'm also really hoping Stern hits a home run with Transformers!

    #6 8 years ago

    I just recently played a LOTR for the 1st time. Stern released it in 2003. When I compared that to Tron, Avatar, Rolling Stones, IM, etc - I don't see much evolution. And maybe it was just me, but the quality didn't seem as good in the newer machines. Of course, it's probably not accurate to base this on one pin alone - but as an example, compare the ramps in LOTR to any of the newer plastic ramps. Seems to me there's been a lot of 'cost cutting' in Stern's recent pins.

    #7 8 years ago

    I don't think the quality of the machine is the issue with Stern although some may disagree. The issue with me is the quality of game play and Theme. Maybe it's just me but I don't like Pins based on Movies, especially bad movies.
    I made an exception in my collection with IJ because the movie was really a big hit and I liked it. Same with WOZ.
    But as long as they keep basing pins on Movies that will be forgotten in a year or so collectors will not want them. Those are great for Operators and arcades as it makes your arcade feel new and modern, at least for a year anyway. So those people will still buy.

    They should follow JJ's lead. Either a blockbuster license like a WOZ or something original.
    NO MORE BAD MOVIE BASED PINS PLEASE. It will put Stern in thier grave if they continue. Times are changing in the pinball world and collectors want pins that are not dated and won't feel old after a year.

    JJ is winding up to give Stern a solid right hook. I'm hoping Stern will return with a big punch of his own.

    #8 8 years ago
    Quoted from SunKing:

    I just recently played a LOTR for the 1st time. Stern released it in 2003. When I compared that to Tron, Avatar, Rolling Stones, IM, etc - I don't see much evolution.

    In a way, the evolution is de-evolution, and that is on purpose with Stern with their newer games. Games like Tron, Avatar, Rolling Stones, and IM are designed to be more random with shorter ball times. Gary did this on purpose for the operators benefit. Think about it- I can go in an arcade and play LOTR on $0.50 for a half hour. Most games on Avatar, Tron, IM etc. last only a few minutes. If the game is done right, it's addictive and people pump in more quarters and operators make more money based on Stern's shorter ball time philosophy.

    #9 8 years ago
    Quoted from wesperron:

    Times are changing in the pinball world and collectors want pins that are not dated and won't feel old after a year.

    Pinball sales are still driven by operators (who are mostly overseas). Until that changes, Stern's got the right idea licensing movies b/c it instantly attracts a person to the game b/c they like said movie. An "original" title has a hard time doing this for the average person.

    #10 8 years ago
    Quoted from Gusphan:

    Pinball sales are still driven by operators (who are mostly overseas).

    I didn't know that. Is that true? There are an awful lot of collectors out there.

    #11 8 years ago
    Quoted from wesperron:

    NO MORE BAD MOVIE BASED PINS PLEASE.

    In Stern's defense, most of the movies that they licensed were huge hits.

    #12 8 years ago

    I don't see the latest Stern pins as being any better than the Williams/Bally titles that were released during the 90's and the themes are worse. So no, I don't think they've evolved much. I'm mean comon, they are still using DMD's?

    Not a fan of the WOZ theme either. What's next, a Sound of Music pin? If you're gonna use an old movie for a theme, how about one that better fits the demographic of the average pin buyer (Jaws, Animal House, Caddy Shack, etc.)

    #13 8 years ago

    From the responses so far it sounds like the choice of theme and game-play rules.

    I was actually thinking of evolution in terms quality like lights, sounds, depth and gameplay. The way I see it is:
    1. Stern takes over from a failing Sega and start off producing games like HD, SE and Sharkeys

    2. They moved up a gear as LOTR, RBION and TSPP were landmark games in that it was only then that Stern showed that they could make good successful complicated games of a good standard. They also investing in top designers for one off games and put more money into the product.

    3.That was followed by a mixed bag of games for a couple of years

    4. Then the SAM board system marked better sounds better graphics and a bit of physical refinement, with games like LOTR and Spidey, Iron man, Batman.

    5. Financial problems saw a some games go to the market too early (Batman/CSI/NBA/24 updates were too late)

    6. Then a change to simpler games

    Quoted from Gusphan:

    Games like Tron, Avatar, Rolling Stones, and IM are designed to be more random with shorter ball times.

    7. Then hopefully back to more balanced games with Tron.

    Over the years there has been a lot of improvement. Striker Extreme>Tron but I guess unless the theme is right it is all wasted.

    #14 8 years ago

    I think Stern is coming along fine especially in the software,They went through hard economic times and are coming out of it better than ever with Steve,Lyman and George their games should be innovative and fun!!!!

    #15 8 years ago

    I guess I have been lucky and have had no issues with my LOTR LE or SM. I do agree that the newer Sterns I have played, especially IM, just seem lighter/flimsier to the feel. The thin plastic ramps exacerbate this feeling. I think IM was the low point for Stern as far as construction goes.
    My LOTR and SM do not feel cheaply constructed to me.

    Gameplay wise, There def has been a change. From slower games with deep and complicated rulesets to now faster games with simpler and shallower rules.

    IJ4 may have been a hit, due to theme alone, but that was one of the worst movies I have ever seen IMO.

    #16 8 years ago
    Quoted from SealClubber:

    I guess I have been lucky and have had no issues with my LOTR LE or SM. I do agree that the newer Sterns I have played, especially IM, just seem lighter/flimsier to the feel. The thin plastic ramps exacerbate this feeling. I think IM was the low point for Stern as far as construction goes.
    My LOTR and SM do not feel cheaply constructed to me.

    I agree, quality was better in these games. Wish they could add wireforms again.

    #17 8 years ago
    Quoted from Shapeshifter:

    Wish they could add wireforms again.

    I think they will,if only to compete with Jack.Anxiously awaiting to see Steve's next pin!!

    #18 8 years ago

    I do like the TRON machine they just came out with but haven't had a chance to put my hands on one. Competition is going to be a good thing for all of us.

    Too bad you are so far away NimblePin and also that we can't share putting our hands on more than just the pinball machines we love

    #19 8 years ago

    I would bet that Stern will make some big changes in the near future, just to try and stay on top. If you think Stern is not watching JJP and taking notes, you are crazy.

    The downside is those notes may include price.

    #20 8 years ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    In Stern's defense, most of the movies that they licensed were huge hits.

    Yes, I may have spoken out of personal opinion there. Like pinball machines movies are also a personal thing.

    #21 8 years ago
    Quoted from soren:

    Stern machines are much better than their reputation. Both in terms of game design and technical quality. They're often spoken bad about which is a shame.

    Well said, I agree with you. I understand everyone has their likes and dislikes. It is just a shame that the only company to stick around all these years gets bashed so often. We haven't even seen what all the innovation at JJP will really produce. While I really do hope it is a great pin I also have some doubts about it.

    Stern created my favorite pinball game ever in SM and I can tell you that mine was well built and flat out fun to play. They have a very talented crew and I am excited to see what the put out next. Innovation is cool but there is something simple about pinball that really draws me to it. I hope with all this innovation the simplicity I love remains.

    #22 8 years ago

    I recentky played BDK ,, It kick's AZZ !! Has Great Flow, Power and the Crane & Turn-n joker are a Blast.. It also had a BDK CoinTaker Led kit installed with up-Graded Flasher's.. I want 1 !!!

    #23 8 years ago

    I was all ready to jump on the Stern bashing bandwagon just by the negative comments but recently got to play a lot of Spiderman and Iron Man (unfortunately the Tron was out of order). I had a really good time with them. Putting some consideration into getting a pin from them... I really want that feeling of uncrating a brand new machine.

    #24 8 years ago
    Quoted from Rascal_H:

    I really want that feeling of uncrating a brand new machine.

    I had the good fortune of doing this very thing for the first time last Thursday. Nothing quite like it. Definitely a feeling worth chasing!

    #25 8 years ago

    I really want that feeling of uncrating a brand new machine.

    It kinda feels like this...

    Joyyyyy.jpeg

    Too bad you are so far away NimblePin and also that we can't share putting our hands...

    0.jpg

    Be still Cody..!

    #26 8 years ago
    Quoted from BLACK_ROSE:

    I recentky played BDK ,, It kick's AZZ !! Has Great Flow,

    Did you really like the flow of BDK??? To me there were way too many things that grabbed the ball.....the only shot in the game that flowed back to the flipper fast was the right loop. Everything else in the game just killed the flow. Dont get me wrong its not a bad game but not quite what I would call a great flow game.

    #27 8 years ago
    Quoted from smassa:

    Did you really like the flow of BDK??? To me there were way too many things that grabbed the ball.....the only shot it the game that flowed back to the flipper fast was the right loop.

    I think you could say it has nice flow as the shots are all very smooth and sweet and it doesn't hang onto the...... ball but your right BR maybe more flow than speed. Having said that it is fast in multi-ball. Difficult to classify I guess but definitely not slow or clunky.

    #28 8 years ago
    Quoted from emo:

    I think you could say it has nice flow as the shots are all very smooth and sweet and it doesn't hang onto the...... ball but your right BR maybe more flow than speed.

    I guess you could put it that way...I had one for about 2 months before trading for a SS. To me too many shots just stopped the ball for a few seconds. Some longer then others.

    Left loop to the back ball scoop.

    Center ramp to the mini playfield n watch the ball dribble around or to the batmobile & wait for the ball to find the back of the bridge to activate the teeter toter bridge.

    Joker Coffee can....(uggh) No need to get into this

    Scarecrow scoop....more holding the ball.

    Something about Gomez Stern games that just want to hold the ball too long.....What happened to his designs like MS, Corvette.....will have to wait n see what happens with Transformers

    #29 8 years ago
    Quoted from smassa:

    Something about Gomez Stern games that just want to hold the ball too long.....What happened to his designs like MS, Corvette.....will have to wait n see what happens with Transformers

    Good point, I'm a Gomez fan but come to think of it Playboy, which I like a lot is another Gomez pin that stops the ball.
    I don't think this is important as long as the games are mixed up a bit. Repeating the same style of game, gameplay or theme always seems a mistake. Even if it appeals to a majority it will eventually lead to less players overall. Also manufacturers need to recognise that varying the theme, game and gameplay will occasionally leave some of the pin fans unhappy but would be a move "for the greater good".
    OMG I just quoted from Hot Fuzz, now there is a title worth doing!

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