(Topic ID: 248072)

The Jon Norris (Gottlieb Designer) Q&A Thread

By Matesamo

1 year ago

Topic Stats

  • 10 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by mbaumle
  • Topic is favorited by 15 Pinsiders


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#1 1 year ago

There was a great thread recently about started about a new two player Gottlieb Vs pinball machine that no one had ever seen before that caught a lot of peoples attention: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/undocumented-gottlieb-vs-pinball-machine

The designer of that game, Jon Norris @pinballguru was verified and jumped into the thread to offer some thoughts and clarification on the machine. Questions unrelated to the subject started to creep in and, in an effort to keep that thread on topic, created this thread for any general pinball questions for Jon that the community has.

If you are not familiar with Jon, his had many designer credits at Gottlieb including: #freddy-a-nightmare-on-elm-street #cactus-jacks , #super-mario-bros , #street-fighter-ii , #stargate , #waterworld and the very last machine Gottlieb released, #barb-wire. After Gottlieb closed he would design #golden-cue for Sega in 1998 and contribute to Sterns 2001 release #high-roller-casino

Jon has already added some insight into the cause of Gottlieb closing it's doors:

Quoted from luvthatapex2:

According to the wiki:
" Premier Technology, which returned to selling pinball machines under the name Gottlieb after the purchase, continued in operation until the summer of 1996, when the declining demand for pinball machines forced the company to cease business. Premier did not file for bankruptcy, but sold off all its assets for the benefit of its creditors."

Quoted from pinballguru:

Yes, but inaccurate regarding pinball sales being the issue:
It was pinball keeping the company alive until the end. The issue was that Premier Technology bought a company called SMS with the hope of making video lottery and ultimately, slot machines. They were developing an electronic blackjack table game too (This was the early 1990s). In gaming and video lottery, each jurisdiction requires a separate license and it takes a very long time to get approved. By 1996, Premier only had 1 or 2 jurisdictions approved to sell gaming machines.

In the meantime they were paying interest on the debt for buying SMS and the interest rates were high back in the early 1990s. So this debt sapped the company dry before they could get the video lottery/gaming division producing revenue, despite decent pinball sales.

#2 1 year ago

From the other thread pending a response from Jon:

Quoted from dc2010:

This makes alot of sense, Williams stopped producing pinballs because the slot machines were much higher profit
Jon, did Gottlieb going under open the door for Williams?
If so, makes one wonder what could have been had Gottlieb been successful in the slot endeavor, maybe stern would've failed and we would be buying new Williams/Bally?

#3 1 year ago

pinballguru Hi Jon--I was always curious about the Stargate whitewood prototype that surfaced a few years ago.


What were some of the design plans for it? Since it's so different than the final design, was there a reason why this one was abandoned?

Was anything designed/installed for the bundles of wires to the left of the left ramp and to the right of the pop bumpers? I was curious if something was there originally, especially because of the interesting mechanisms that appeared on the final game.

The playfield has an auto-launcher (with an unusual looking cover plate) and even though the cabinet has a plunger cutout, it doesn't look like there would be enough space for a plunger. Do you have any details on that and why only Super Mario Bros. was the only other game with a launch button rather than a plunger? Or any details on the reason for an auto-launcher on this game, and why the cover plate seems to hide the ball from the player?
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#4 1 year ago

pinballguru Just want to say thanks for all the great games you designed! Stargate was my first pin and I absolutely love it, one of my most favorite pins for sure.

#5 1 year ago

I have been seriously into pinball since 2009 and I have always loved Gottlieb System 80s and System 3s! I can’t see why these games get overlooked as they bring terrific art packages, themes, sounds, and gameplay. Thanks for being a part of such an important part of Pinball. It would be a dream come true if Gottlieb were to ever make a comeback. That name is ICONIC in pinball

#6 1 year ago

I don't have a question at the moment, but you knocked it out of the park with Big Hurt.

#7 1 year ago

Hey Jon pinballguru! Big fan of your work; truly works of art.

I know that when you were at Gottlieb/Premier, you basically had 1 shot at the code (unlike Stern which can gets literally YEARS of development). This meant that in some cases, games went out the door that maybe you would have liked to refine a bit more. I'm curious if you can speak specifically to Super Mario Brothers and in hindsight, what you would have loved to have seen happen (if anything) with further code development? Furthermore, are there ways that code could be developed further for those old Sys 3 gems? Thanks

#8 1 year ago

Never even saw that Stargate whitewood! Sooo Awesome!
Even though I must admit that the final game seems to be a lot better layout-wise!

It's awesome to see Jon Norris here, always love reading his stories and insight in The Pinball Compendiums!

#9 1 year ago

Gottlieb was not afraid to at least try things.!

#10 1 year ago

I've got a Lights Camera Action sitting in the basement. It's a sleeper hit at parties, and everyone can relate to the theme. It's crazy to think that it was released the same year as Earthshaker, and from a rules perspective, LCA is LIGHTYEARS ahead in depth. Even though it interferes with scoring balance, I really like the catch up feature and the random awards. Kinda gives the game a "Mario Party" feel when playing. Tons of fun. Thanks for all your work in the industry, Jon!

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