(Topic ID: 256876)

Stern's playfield design is super disappointing


By pinballOsp

7 months ago



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  • 122 posts
  • 50 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 months ago by legendpin
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    There are 122 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 3.
    #51 7 months ago
    Quoted from pipes:

    Well AP, JJP and Spooky don't seem to be plagued by this for some reason.

    Ur right they are plagued by so much more.
    There's plenty of pretentious pinball douchbagery at play here, if its not full of plastic toys and some kind of gooky new shot then its a rip off. I played some Wonka and Oktorberfest the other night, I'll take BK3 pro anytime. The other 2 look good and have lots of crap but that doesn't make them better pinball machines.

    #52 7 months ago
    Quoted from FatPanda:

    They're the pop genre of pinball. They know that something works, and it makes them money, so they rinse and repeat, like what they play on Top 40 radio.

    Crap

    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    If Stern wants to charge $9k+ for their games that's fine but they need to include multiple 3D molds (not flat plastics...JP, BKSWOR),

    Garbage, ur generalizing like theres only one model.

    Quoted from loneacer:

    For me, a fun game starts with more than 2 flippers, more than 1 ramp, and a subway.

    why would u do that? Ok theme I can see but setting a limit on the number of flippers/ramps and the need of a subway.

    Well this all kinda proves what ur dealing with on Pinside a lot of the time. Now I'll be deemed a Stern fanboy for this, just watch it will happen.

    #53 7 months ago
    Quoted from Krupps4:

    I think the biggest issue is that, as of late, Stern hasn’t had any incentive to not play it safe. Their products sell. Until that changes, you won’t see the pattern change.

    I think you nailed it... the products sell. So why change -- although why is Keith putting out something different??

    #54 7 months ago
    Quoted from yancy:

    I've never understood the subway fetish. Ball goes somewhere I can't see then comes out somewhere else? Ho-hum. Always felt like lazy design to me, like they couldn't figure out a good ball path on the topside, and "cheated" on the bottom.

    Actually it is just the opposite. It provides 'more' area to get the ball around to where you want it without sacrificing other interactivity on the main playfield.

    #55 7 months ago
    Quoted from yancy:

    I've never understood the subway fetish. Ball goes somewhere I can't see then comes out somewhere else? Ho-hum. Always felt like lazy design to me, like they couldn't figure out a good ball path on the topside, and "cheated" on the bottom.

    Hmm...I like them because they add a secondary path without disrupting the existing shots on the topside. I want designers to think in 3D.

    Quoted from Zablon:

    Actually it is just the opposite. It provides 'more' area to get the ball around to where you want it without sacrificing other interactivity on the main playfield.

    Jinx

    19
    #56 7 months ago
    Quoted from pinballOsp:

    Having put in a couple of days on Elvira I can't help to feel tired of the minimalist, boring designs coming from Stern -- Keith obviously excluded, proving that you CAN have an awesome design and the game doesn't have to cost $10K+.
    While the minimalist playfields made sense during the Big Buck Hunter Pro era everyone other pinball designer is putting out a pretty creative product out there -- and it's different every time.
    Stern is the same thing, over and over, different themes -- which seems to please the buyers.
    The programming is exceptional which I do believe is the only thing that makes these games actually stand out in any way. That seems to be one thing that other manufacturers (most notably JJP -- I can't tell what I am supposed to do in most of their games and I like complex rules) struggle with.
    It's disappointing honestly esp when LEs cost $10K. I also can't help to be befuddled that the designers wouldn't try something different out of sheer boredom alone.
    Oh well.

    The main thing I find disappointing is the amount of complaining when there are so many choices. Some of the best games ever made have come out in the last few years. The hobby has never been better for different manufacturers, machines and choices.

    #57 7 months ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    I played some Wonka and Oktorberfest the other night, I'll take BK3 pro anytime.

    See we differ greatly here because I'd take just the thought of owning a Wonka or Oktoberfest over actually owning a BK3.

    #58 7 months ago

    You know why a ramp is 100x better than a subway? Because I can see the ball. It's a bat & ball game. No see ball, no fun. It's that simple.

    #59 7 months ago
    Quoted from pipes:

    See we differ greatly here because I'd take just the thought of owning a Wonka or Oktoberfest over actually owning a BK3.

    Exactly.

    #60 7 months ago
    Quoted from yancy:

    You know why a ramp is 100x better than a subway? Because I can see the ball. It's a bat & ball game. No see ball, no fun. It's that simple.

    People want what they can't have.

    #61 7 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Dialed in is a great game.
    It's also an immediately familiar layout to anybody who has played and enjoyed Pat Lawlor's games before. I don't understand using it as an example of "innovation" when in fact it's an endorsement of designers tweaking their comfortable layouts from their popular legacy works.
    NASCAR shows you what you get when guys like Lawlor try to "think outside the box," and it ain't pretty.

    Totally. Dialed In is excellent. As are so many Lawlor games. But Dialed In is a poor example here. There's elements of NGG, Whirlwind, Monopoly, Funhouse, heck even TAF in Dialed In. All terrific games. All very much Lawlor designs.

    Thanks,
    Blake

    #62 7 months ago
    Quoted from pipes:

    See we differ greatly here because I'd take just the thought of owning a Wonka or Oktoberfest over actually owning a BK3.

    +100! BK3 has got to be THE blandest game Stern has put out in a very long time.

    -1
    #63 7 months ago

    If Stern puts in a toy one would think would be liked yet the game bombs it tells them don't try too hard. Aerosmith had a cool toy box and The Munsters had a second playfield both bombed

    #64 7 months ago
    Quoted from pinballplusMN:

    When you consider the footprint of a playfield 43 by 21 and the amount of time that space has been utilized 60+ years its hard to come up with new stuff to fill that space.

    I always thought flame machines would be cool

    #65 7 months ago

    Better players make better games.

    Keith Johnson and Lyman Sheats are top level players and IMHO the best rule designers and coders in the field. Their games are fun to dig into even when the playfields aren't that great (lotr, bm66). Keith Elwin and Tim Sexton are rookie designers but expert players, and they're knocking it out of the park because they know what makes pinball fun and exciting.

    I want to like BK3 due to art and theme, but it's just boring to shoot. I don't even care what SR makes next anymore, and I don't even know the last game programmed by LR or DS that I really enjoyed... maybe Deadpool but need more time on it. Elvira is dull to shoot (like bm66) but I know the rules will eventually squeeze every bit of fun possible from that layout, because Lyman. Just sad he's stuck on "premium-only" titles, but at least Stern knows who is best..

    #66 7 months ago
    Quoted from Zablon:

    Actually it is just the opposite. It provides 'more' area to get the ball around to where you want it without sacrificing other interactivity on the main playfield.

    And it provides a sense of magic and wonder to the player. I'll never forget the first time I saw thing pick up the ball and then it came out somewhere else. To a teenager that had never seen the underside of a playfield before, I didn't know what just happened.

    #67 7 months ago
    Quoted from yancy:

    I've never understood the subway fetish. Ball goes somewhere I can't see then comes out somewhere else? Ho-hum. Always felt like lazy design to me, like they couldn't figure out a good ball path on the topside, and "cheated" on the bottom.

    I don't love or hate subways. As long as the subway has a purpose for moving the ball somewhere it needs to be, then I got not problem with it. I find the VUK to be the laziest design element. No fun to shoot and reliability of them usually sucks.

    #68 7 months ago
    Quoted from RazerX:

    I find the VUK to be the laziest design element. No fun to shoot and reliability of them usually sucks.

    Yeah, VUKs/scoops are boring. Call me a KME fanboy, but I love the method of using multiple up-posts that only stop the ball when necessary.

    #69 7 months ago

    Aren’t a majority of the pins near the top of the top 100 list a fan layout? I personally think Elvira is one of the best modern day Stern pins out there. So much so I bought one. Stern did their very best to make a Bally type game (even got an old Bally designer and artist to do it.) I understand if you don’t like the theme (hey, I hate the old guy music themes myself) but the pin is solid. How come the Porsche 911 still looks the same after all these years? It’s because it is a time tested design. Not for everyone but damn fun to drive.

    #70 7 months ago

    VUKs still have potential. If the goal is to just stop a ball, use something else, but if you want to fire the ball somewhere they can be effective. I think both up-posts and VUKs have there place.

    #71 7 months ago
    Quoted from yancy:

    Yeah, VUKs/scoops are boring. Call me a KME fanboy, but I love the method of using multiple up-posts that only stop the ball when necessary.

    Yeah, I like how he uses the up-posts as well. JP2 is easily one of the best playfield layouts we've seen in years.

    #72 7 months ago
    Quoted from loneacer:

    To a teenager that had never seen the underside of a playfield before, I didn't know what just happened.

    Ok well as a 5 year I could maybe see the wonder in the whole subway thing but as a teenager? The magic just wasn't there.

    #73 7 months ago
    Quoted from pinballOsp:

    +100! BK3 has got to be THE blandest game Stern has put out in a very long time.

    Agreed. Only looks good sitting next to a Thunderbirds IMO.

    #74 7 months ago
    Quoted from FatPanda:

    Like OP said, Keith really did a great job on his two games. Very fresh in today's time. Also, having played a few home brews, there are still a lot of creative things that can be done. It's more of the "risk" factor with making a playfield design that is too unconventional. Stern knows that there is a certain formula that shoots well and feels good. They're the pop genre of pinball. They know that something works, and it makes them money, so they rinse and repeat, like what they play on Top 40 radio.

    Hey! ... some people Genuinely Love the "pop" repeated garbage that dominates top 40!!!

    Clearly the same thing going on with stern...

    #75 7 months ago

    Stern has definitely felt hit or miss to me throughout the 2010s. I was very disappointed in Elvira HOH. Love the theme, saw all the movies in the game, love Elvira, and the house in the game is cool and so is the lighting, but the gameplay is a pretty big yawn. It's so basic and uncreative. Kind of like BKSOR. And Star Wars. But then lately they also had the two great Keith games, plus Deadpool. I thought Munsters played pretty well too, but don't have enough time on it to comment on the code, which is a lot of people's sticking point.

    For me ever since about AC/DC, out of every three pins they release, one I love, one is decent, one is just bland (which is better than they were doing in the 2000s, anyway).

    #76 7 months ago
    Quoted from pinballOsp:

    I think you nailed it... the products sell. So why change -- although why is Keith putting out something different??

    "The products sell" because Stern is making some excellent games!

    Why is that so hard for some people to understand? It's about the WHOLE PACKAGE.

    It's also why 3 recent Stern pins are in the top 10. IMDN, JP and Deadpool. Elvira is also a great fun game. So is Munsters btw. Those are 5 pretty damn good games.

    Sound, callouts, video, light show, coding and yes fun layouts, are what make these games great and HUGE sellers.

    Once again, it's called the TOTAL PACKAGE.

    And i can't wait to buy what's next, Stranger Things, if its in the realm of what i'm hearing.

    11
    #77 7 months ago

    Stern has gone from 10,000 pins delivered a few years ago to 15,000 pins a year now, per Dwight.

    The facts speak for themselves.

    Stern has hired a TON of new talent the past few years and its shows in their games. It's not hard to miss.

    Some people just can't appreciate the sum total of all the little things that go into making a great pin.

    And Stern is CRUSHING IT right now.

    #78 7 months ago

    Would have been nice to see a slightly creative layout for Elvira, with more than just two flippers and a run of the mill layout.

    I would have thought the game/theme would have been worth a little more effort for a different more interesting layout.

    Stern killed it, no argument on that.

    #79 7 months ago
    Quoted from razorsedge:

    some people Genuinely Love the "pop" repeated garbage that dominates top 40!!!

    one parallel between songwriting and pinball design ...

    four chord song = fan layout.

    #80 7 months ago
    Quoted from VALIS666:

    For me ever since about AC/DC, out of every three pins they release, one I love, one is decent, one is just bland (which is better than they were doing in the 2000s, anyway).

    You should take a longer view of history. I can run that logic back decades across multiple different pinball companies. There have always Been games I like, and games I don’t like, and games I think suck.

    #81 7 months ago
    Quoted from RatShack:

    NASCAR was Lawlor doing a fan layout on a mid 00's Stern budget. It's an acquired taste for sure but it's a good shooter.
    Rollercoaster Tycoon, there's a real Lawlor POS.

    Agree ...I recently acquired a Nascar in a job lot of games. I thought I would move it on swiftly. It's still here !

    Its fast and furious, surprisingly flow-y for a Lawlor design. And compared with todays Pro models it is stacked with features ..... the awesome 3 magnet racetrack , drop targets, bash toy that raises to reveal scoop and targets, a 'windmill' target which can block/allow access to a hidden launch ramp, captive ball , spinners, multiple playfield and ramp divertors

    #82 7 months ago

    Gosh darn it Shula’s steak menu is Super Disappointing.

    #83 7 months ago

    Some games are better than others. Some games appeal to people that aren't you. Just because Munsters and Black Knight didn't hit a home run, doesn't mean that Deadpool and Jurassic Park are bad. Deadpool is the most variety I've ever seen with 2 flippers and JP has 4 ramp shots along with a wide open playfield (which is a major accomplishment).

    Not every game kills it, but it doesn't mean Stern on the whole is bad and it certainly doesn't mean every game has a bad layout. I used to agree with you, I agreed with this for many many years, but not anymore. Stern has stepped it up with layout and code, making excellent hiring decisions and FINALLY (fucking FINALLY) realizing that code and rule set is just as important as the layout.

    Saying Stern has bad playfield designs is just untrue, even if half the designs don't hit home runs, it's not fair to categorize all the games that are really really good.

    #84 7 months ago
    Quoted from DaveH:

    You should take a longer view of history...There have always Been games I like, and games I don’t like, and games I think suck.

    And games that have the same layout, and fan layouts, and layouts that are basically the same etc etc

    #85 7 months ago
    Quoted from DaveH:

    You should take a longer view of history. I can run that logic back decades across multiple different pinball companies. There have always Been games I like, and games I don’t like, and games I think suck.

    No doubt. And I think Stern is in a good place overall and has made some amazing games lately, but they also have made some very generic/uninspiring games lately, which seems to be a bit of a taboo topic here. When JJP, AP, or Spooky releases a new machine, it's very rarely, "Oh, this again. It's pretty much a re-skin of X." Stern, on the other hand...

    Mind you, no hate here. I have two new Sterns (DP, IMDN) coming next week. But I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't really disappointed in some of their recents like BKSOR and EHOH, two games I had pretty high hopes for given their pinball lineage. When 1980's Black Knight is far more creative than 2019's, this seems like a reasonable topic to discuss.

    #86 7 months ago
    Quoted from VALIS666:

    But I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't really disappointed in some of their recents like BKSOR and EHOH, two games I had pretty high hopes for given their pinball lineage. When 1980's Black Knight is far more creative than 2019's, this seems like a reasonable topic to discuss.

    Sure but you can't expect to be pumped up all the time aboot every release; not every game is loved by everyone in any era. There are classic Ballys, Classic Sterns, EMS, Sys 11, W/B etc etc that I don;t like even though mostly they are great. I literally played Alien Poker and laser cue last night, so similar.
    I don't need to go on aboot how shit always been the same, it's just a fact.
    1980s Black Knight invented the upper PF for Pete's sake...is that what you really want to hold up as the poster child of "why can't every game do this?"
    That's without even getting into the financial situation of it.

    #87 7 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Sure but you can't expect to be pumped up all the time aboot every release; not every game is loved by everyone in any era. There are classic Ballys, Classic Sterns, EMS, Sys 11, W/B etc etc that I don;t like even though mostly they are great. I literally played Alien Poker and laser cue last night, so similar.
    I don't need to go on aboot how shit always been the same, it's just a fact.
    1980s Black Knight invented the upper PF for Pete's sake...is that what you really want to hold up as the poster child of "why can't every game do this?"
    That's without even getting into the financial situation of it.

    People are getting confused regarding dropping quarters in a pin, and buying a $5-11k pin. Completely different considerations and things that are acceptable. I'll gladly throw a few bucks into any pinball machine, it's another thing entirely to think I'm going to buy up every NiB pin that comes along just because I should be thankful some company is making them. It's the opposite, the company should be thankful people are buying and always looking to improve, and wow us without sacrificing quality.

    #88 7 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    1980s Black Knight invented the upper PF for Pete's sake...is that what you really want to hold up as the poster child of "why can't every game do this?"

    Nah, I wouldn't ding 2019's BK for not being as innovative as 1980's, because it would be pretty hard to do. But how about not another fan layout? How about an upper playfield on the Pro, too, because a Black Knight without an upper playfield is like an Elvira without double entendres? I wasn't hoping they'd be dazzlingly innovative, just something more than they are. A homage to those past titles (they kinda got that) with something to also remind you it's 2019 (not so much).

    I'm not trying to set a super high bar for Stern to hurdle, to me it seems more like everything they do now is given a pass because lately they've had some big winners. And this isn't about what I like or anyone else likes. If someone thinks EHOH is one of the best games they've ever played, that's great. There are few pinballs I don't like starting about the mid-'60s. But if someone says it doesn't matter that EHOH and BKSOR have generic layouts because IMDN and DP and JP don't, I don't get that argument. I just wish EHOH and BKSOR came out better than they did. The fact that Jurassic Park exists doesn't improve either of those games.

    #89 7 months ago

    Until a Robotics Engineer is employed at one of the Big 3 (4?) innovation may be slow coming in pinball. A lot of
    near duplicate play fields were utilized for EM over the years and looks like the trend continues till today.

    #90 7 months ago
    Quoted from VALIS666:

    How about an upper playfield on the Pro, too, because a Black Knight without an upper playfield is like an Elvira without double entendres?

    Shit, no doubt there brother, luckily not a big BK fan but that was mine and probably everyone else's first thought.

    #91 7 months ago
    Quoted from VALIS666:

    I'm not trying to set a super high bar for Stern to hurdle, to me it seems more like everything they do now is given a pass because lately they've had some big winners. And this isn't about what I like or anyone else likes. If someone thinks EHOH is one of the best games they've ever played, that's great. There are few pinballs I don't like starting about the mid-'60s. But if someone says it doesn't matter that EHOH and BKSOR have generic layouts because IMDN and DP and JP don't, I don't get that argument. I just wish EHOH and BKSOR came out better than they did. The fact that Jurassic Park exists doesn't improve either of those games.

    Great post!

    Stern also gets a pass because "they saved pinball when Williams went down". It's not like pinball would have ceased to exist AND also -- that was a long time ago

    I also don't get the argument of "it shoots well". By that logic, why isn't every single game exactly the same layout but with different art on it?

    #92 7 months ago

    There’s always something to bitch about.

    If you are disappointed about Elvira then that’s on you.

    Not sure what some people expect when you have the very cool haunted mansion which takes up a hug chunk of real estate along with the excellent Dead head crypt.

    Think total package, I’m sorry you can’t buy a soda anymore for a nickel

    Get over it

    #93 7 months ago

    Btw, if you think the great BM66 pin is some kind of groundbreaking layout and Elvira is not. .......?

    Lyman is just just started with Elvira and it’s pretty F ing good right now

    #94 7 months ago
    Quoted from greenhornet:

    one parallel between songwriting and pinball design ...
    four chord song = fan layout.

    Excellent analogy, hilarious video!

    Less funny, but definitely on-point:

    #95 7 months ago
    Quoted from pinballaddicted:

    Some of the best games ever made have come out in the last few years. The hobby has never been better for different manufacturers, machines and choices.

    I am not sure any of that is based on fact. The highest ranked and most expensive games (so 'best' by some definition) are actually old games... and there were just as many manufacturers and choices in the 90s.

    I do agree it's great to have choices. It would be nice to see more choices coming from Stern.

    #96 7 months ago

    I’m *more* concerned with code and gameplay than if xyz is original. I mean I read that some people think Tron is just Funhouse layout or Congo (I don’t know anymore at this point). So their reasoning is because Tron is a rehash of another game then by default Tron is not good. I’m not making this up I’ve read it before.

    I don’t care if it new or old design, I’m buying what I like to play. If I like AFM and maybe it’s similar to IM or Metallica or whatever that’s because I like this type of layout and I’ll but several.

    I like ST and SM which are quite similar. Also both highly rated and big sellers. My point is I don’t wish ST was some off the wall layout that may not shoot as well. I’d rather have a nice proven layout.

    Sure ST could have been different and good like Maiden but also could have been different and bad like WWE. But one proof of success is taking something people love and making it slightly different.

    I think we can see some different pins like WWE haven’t sold well.

    #97 7 months ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    There’s always something to bitch about.
    If you are disappointed about Elvira then that’s on you.
    Not sure what some people expect when you have the very cool haunted mansion which takes up a hug chunk of real estate along with the excellent Dead head crypt.
    Think total package, I’m sorry you can’t buy a soda anymore for a nickel
    Get over it

    You keep saying 'think total package' as if that somehow has went over everyone's head. It's exactly that, if you don't like the entire package, then you most likely aren't going to buy it. There is nothing to dispute there. You telling everyone they don't see the total package is very much you not seeing anyone elses perspective. A person is also much more likely to let a thing or two they don't like slide if the price is way lower. With increased costs comes increased expectations....

    #98 7 months ago

    Theme
    Theme integration
    Code
    Lighting, call outs, LCD video and sound
    Layout

    In that order for me. If “layout” is an Elwin home run like JP then the rest should fall into place. And it does to make it one of the top pins ever at this point

    #99 7 months ago
    Quoted from pinballOsp:

    I am not sure any of that is based on fact. The highest ranked and most expensive games (so 'best' by some definition) are actually old games... and there were just as many manufacturers and choices in the 90s.
    I do agree it's great to have choices. It would be nice to see more choices coming from Stern.

    If what Stern has to offer right now does not interest you maybe look else where to find and play other games that you like.

    Stern have smashed out 4 and possibly 5 choices this year alone. I think that is a pretty good achievement.

    3lvira rocks by the way. We got our game yesterday and love it. Closest feel to a BW yet.

    #100 7 months ago
    Quoted from pinballaddicted:

    If what Stern has to offer right now does not interest you maybe look else where to find and play other games that you like.
    Stern have smashed out 4 and possibly 5 choices this year alone. I think that is a pretty good achievement.
    3lvira rocks by the way. We got our game yesterday and love it. Closest feel to a BW yet.

    Pure fun right?!

    JP and Elvira are a great one two punch right now

    For pinball lovers of course

    There are some clueless numbnuts out there. LOL

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