(Topic ID: 11231)

unlicensed themes for pins.


By mrgone

7 years ago



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  • 22 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by ovfdfireman
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    #1 7 years ago

    I know this topic has been brought up many times. However,it seems to me that pinball manufacturer x could save quite a bit on development of a game by not having to shell out big money for licencing rights and voice over work etc. everyone always says that the ops aren't buying unlicensed themes. that's because no one is making them.add to that most new pins are purchased by private collectors any way.if you look at the a list of 90's games. all but Adams family,twilight zone, are original themes. just my own thoughts on the subject.
    add to the list Indiana Jones and sttng of licenced titles.

    #2 7 years ago
    Quoted from mrgone:

    .if you look at the a list of 90's games. all but Adams family,Twilight Zone, are original themes. just my own thoughts on the subject.

    What about all the DE/Sega games? Those were ALL licensed pins.

    #3 7 years ago
    Quoted from mrgone:

    I know this topic has been brought up many times. However,it seems to me that pinball manufacturer x could save quite a bit on development of a game by not having to shell out big money for licencing rights and voice over work etc. everyone always says that the ops aren't buying unlicensed themes. that's because no one is making them.add to that most new pins are purchased by private collectors any way.if you look at the a list of 90's games. all but Adams family,Twilight Zone, are original themes. just my own thoughts on the subject.
    add to the list Indiana Jones and sttng of licenced titles.

    Gary Stern has said many times that all his games will be Licensed titles. It all comes down to sales. Sales over seas are driven by something they can recognize. If you want an unlicensed title you maye have to wait for JJP's future offering.

    #4 7 years ago

    It's certainly a cop-out. Just played AC/DC today for the first time and I'm reminded why I love my 90's W/B games so much. There's just not enough there in terms of design, variety and even quality of components. The flippers on my twenty year old TAF would break anything Stern has built in the last decade.

    On the other side, I can totally see the appeal. You design a game around a licensed theme or a personality with a loyal fan base and you have guaranteed sales. It's a lot easier than relying on true creativity to knock one out of the park. Who is willing to take that kind of risk today. It works because I would totally buy a Tron (if I could find an LE) as I love the theme and the game is actually fun. For others it's spider man, wizard of oz or some rock band that they've always had an affinity for. You don't need to build demand based on quality when you can ride the coat tails of another franchise.

    That being said, I'm not hating on Stern. For a family run business trying to keep pinball alive, they've done a fantastic job... but there's a reason values of A-list W/B games continue to rise.

    #5 7 years ago

    Being a marketer I can tell you licensing sells, it get players to stop. Only a true pinhead would stop to check out an unliscensed theme. In the scheme of things the license is only a very small part of the pinball making expense, I asked this question of Gary at expo.

    #6 7 years ago

    yes,that's true.de did have some original themes when they 1st started. my point is that some of the most sought after pins today are original themes. i.e., afm,cv,mm,ngg,cc,bbb,fh,hs2,wh2o. some of these titles did not sel that well when released but have become very sought after for their game play and theme. with pin prices on the rise it is my thought that the makers of pins might be able to save some money by not having to pay licensing fees and create some great original themes while passing the savings on to the customer=us.although i like many de games and have owned 2.very few of the de games are in the a list and none of the sega games have that status. not that i personally care. one of my all time favorite games is lw3 which many pin heads will tell you is a c list game. again,my point is,Someone grow a f_cking sac! build a kick ass original theme and wake the sleeping giant of pinball again!if you build it,people will play it.

    #7 7 years ago
    Quoted from mrgone:

    people will play it.

    Yeah,
    And by people you mean "Pinheads" only...
    The sad reality is very few non-pinball players would gravitate to a machine, especially in a bar, that could draw someone in as fast as a licensed title does. Gary knows that, Jack does as well.
    In fact, I bet Jack will go license on every other machine, starting with WOZ.
    It is just smarter business, plain and simple.

    Either way, we all win at the end of the day!
    With NEW tables to play every year, who cares if they have an original theme or not???
    No offense mrgone but, I still have a MILE long list of licensed themes I'd like to play...
    As long as the ramps are in a different place and the flow is there, sign me up for pinball's next ten years!!!
    I will be ready to play.

    #8 7 years ago

    it's the same reason why hollywood is turning every generation X tv show from when they were kids into movies (GI joe, smurfs, yogi bear, iron man, batman, dukes of hazzard), it's safe and easy money. I too would love to see an original theme for a change, but I just don't see it happening in an unsteady pinball market.

    #9 7 years ago

    sorry if i sounded angry on that last post. im not. and i have great respect for gary stern for keeping pinball alive for the past 12 years.non pin heads are not playing pinball now. at our company christmas party we all went to a local watering hole after dinner. they had 1 pin wcs 94. my wife and i played it while i watched my co workers and many others pump well over 200 dollars into 2 of those punch the speed bag games. after we got done playing wcs no one touched it the rest of the night. 2 weeks ago,my wife and i had a date night.after dinner we were going to catch a movie. nothing looked good so we went to a local pool room. they have 2 pins there and i know the op who owns them so we went to play some pool. after 2 hours or so of pool we played the pins. the whole time we were there we were the only ones who touched the pins.the pins at the pool room are dr.who and road show.anyway,i know its a tired argument.i believe that since pinball is a now home market why not build to that market.

    #10 7 years ago

    seems like we all agree that we want an original theme pin but it most likely will not happen.

    #11 7 years ago
    Quoted from mrgone:

    if you look at the a list of 90's games. all but Adams family,Twilight Zone, are original themes

    Quoted from mrgone:

    add to the list Indiana Jones and sttng of licenced titles

    What list were you looking at? I think you missed just a few. In the 90's there were way more licensed than unlicensed pins....even from B/W.

    Besides the 4 you listed, just from B/W there were also; BSD, CFTBL, The Shadow, Flintsones, Corvette, JD, DM, Congo, Popeye, T2, JM, MB, SS, DW, DH, EATPM, I500, HD, GI, BBBB, NBAFB.

    Gottlieb and DE/Sega had a ton of them too. Why? Because name/image recognition helps sales! If Stern had put out a generic pirate game instead of POTC, do you really think they would have sold around 6000 of them? People gravitate towards popular things...movie themes, etc. Gary has said before that it's somewhere around $50 per pin for the license. That seems pretty cheap for good advertisement, IMHO.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see an unlicensed pin again, but that's not going to turn things around for pinball (and I have no idea what could).

    #12 7 years ago

    Sorry, I just noticed the "a" in your list. So....you were just talking about A-listers, but still, some of the others I added are in that group too (MB, SS, CFTBL). At any rate, my whole point was that licensed pins seem to be selling, so it's unlikely that we'll see anything but them from now on. Maybe we'll luck out on JJP's number 2 pin??

    #13 7 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    hollywood is turning every generation X tv show from when they were kids into movies

    Too true...
    We also have the Japanese Animation typhoon coming as well. (Dragon Ball aside... )
    Robotech, ThunderCats, Voltron, Akira, Cowboy Bebop, Battle Angel, are all making their way through the Hollywood "live-action" sewers, to try yet again to ruin the animated legacy of these cherished Gen-X shows.

    I have hated every movie Hollywood has dumped out, trying to "cater" to the Gen-X crowd. (Iron Man and Batman aside, of course.) If you are going for nostalgia, keep it true to the series! That goes for pinball licenses too!!!
    If you can do that Hollywood/Stern/JJP, I would be STOKED to give you all the $$$ from the pocket of my pegged Z Cavaricci pants!

    I will start counting down the minutes too, on my jellyfish Swatch!
    images.jpeg

    #14 7 years ago

    i hear what everyone is saying and i have to agree. what got me thinking about the topic was the thread on king pin. i have not played it but would love to. i see ops buying old pins and sticking them on route because they cant make back their money on a new pin at 6-7 grand. like everyone else here i just want to see pinball thrive and survive. i also follow the mantra of no guts no glory.i would love to see someone take a chance and put out a kick ass pin that everyone would have to play.

    #15 7 years ago
    Quoted from NimblePin:

    toyotaboy said:

    hollywood is turning every generation X tv show from when they were kids into movies
    Too true...
    We also have the Japanese Animation typhoon coming as well. (Dragon Ball aside... )
    Robotech, ThunderCats, Voltron, Akira, Cowboy Bebop, Battle Angel, are all making their way through the Hollywood "live-action" sewers, to try yet again to ruin the animated legacy of these cherished Gen-X shows.
    I have hated every movie Hollywood has dumped out, trying to "cater" to the Gen-X crowd. (Iron Man and Batman aside, of course.) If you are going for nostalgia, keep it true to the series! That goes for pinball licenses too!!!
    If you can do that Hollywood, I would be STOKED to give you all the $$$ from the pocket of my pegged Z Cavaricci pants!

    i concur.i rarely go to the movies any more.

    #16 7 years ago
    Quoted from mrgone:

    i also follow the mantra of no guts no glory.i would love to see someone take a chance and put out a kick ass pin that everyone would have to play.

    Your wish is JJ's command.. we shall see in the near future.

    #17 7 years ago

    When I think of unlicensed pins, I think of creativity that would have been otherwise pre-manufactured for the table designer. Look at the early 80s pins like Xenon. Do we know what the heck is going on in the artwork? No, but we like it. It makes us do the imagining of what's going on, like most video games of the day.

    #18 7 years ago

    Just make a kickass AFM-like game and I'm there...NIB...

    #19 7 years ago

    I'm sure licensed themes benefit all involved. The theme owner gets licensing fees and advertising along with a say in how the theme is presented (for good and bad).

    The manufacturer saved a lot of time and uncertainty involved with creating a theme. They will typically have a lot better idea of the appeal of a licensed theme (based on franchise popularity, sequel performance, etc) than with original art/theme.

    Of course ops and players love them because of the instant association that adds considerably to the "attract" mode and coin drops.

    I don't know if there's been a look at quantities of licensed machines produced vs unlicensed. But looking at the system 80B theme-knock-off games, they seemed to produce quantities similar to system 80 and better than system 80a licensed themes. So maybe its only necessary to be close to a licensed theme to sell. I wonder if a pin company could even get away with those sort of knock-offs today. Perhaps mix licenses up to help keep the lawyers busy - Unobtainium Man, Indianapolis Jones, Attack from Mordor, Wizard of Ozzie

    #20 7 years ago

    When it comes down to it for pinheads it's the play that matters. For the general public, not so much. I like the older B/W's unlicensed pins because they hold up over time, but there are some good pins with bad themes that still do well, TS, JM, etc. Would FT be as good of a game if it was titled "Bill Dance's Bass Fishin'"? Maybe not the best example.

    What is worse, the blatant knock-off's that Gottlieb put out towards the end of their existence, or the pins based on movies that don't hold up over the years? LW3, DM, TS, etc? When they were new those games got played because they were tied into current movies and made money for operators. No one was thinking about 20 years down the road. It's even more of a factor today.

    #21 7 years ago

    I find it interesting how many new machines sell out or are secured prior to even seeing the machine, for example Transformers LE's sold out instantly, as did the AC/DC LE's. I believe license has everything to do with this. Even though they are limited, it is all about license and not game play in this instance anyway. If someone said that "Mega Heroes" or "Army madness" was coming out next month, people would not go crazy, or preorder

    I agree game play wins all day for a pinhead. But even theme gets the pinheads to jump in or come running for the next title. I guess for the money, a them does one thing, it grabs attention, and bring in players, and buyers if nothing else.

    Just to prove my point, IF same exact game play, what would sell or get played more on route? Army Madness, or Call of Duty/Modern Warfare..........Mega Heroes or Avengers? Unfortunately, a lot has changed in society, fast pace, a lot competing for attention, and if you loved the Avengers movie, you might just take time out of you day to give the pin a whirl.

    Now me being a pinhead, I will play anything at least once BTW, no one is right or wrong here, just good conversation! As a pinhead, I am interested in any title if the game play is good!

    #22 7 years ago
    Quoted from Dewey68:

    When it comes down to it for pinheads it's the play that matters. For the general public, not so much. I like the older B/W's unlicensed pins because they hold up over time, but there are some good pins with bad themes that still do well, TS, JM, etc. Would FT be as good of a game if it was titled "Bill Dance's Bass Fishin'"? Maybe not the best example.
    What is worse, the blatant knock-off's that Gottlieb put out towards the end of their existence, or the pins based on movies that don't hold up over the years? LW3, DM, TS, etc? When they were new those games got played because they were tied into current movies and made money for operators. No one was thinking about 20 years down the road. It's even more of a factor today.

    Its true, license or not, the game has to be good to be played. Solid point!

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