I grew up playing EM games in the sixties and seventies. I think the first SS game came into being my senior year in college. By the time SS games advanced to having DMDs I was spending less time playing pinball and more time making a living. I did not often seek out pinball but certainly played whenever it showed up in front of me, in taverns, casinos, hotels, amusement parks, movie theaters. DMDs have always felt at odds with the pinball games that were taking place below them.
Back in the days of EM scoring reels in the backbox, my eyes were always on the playfield during ball play, only glancing up at my score between balls when nothing was happening on the field. During play, I kept track of my “success” with the sounds of bells and chimes and - YES! - knockers, all audio clues. With a DMD, there seems to always be something happening up there when my eyes should really be on the playfield, but all that DMD action compels me to look up when I really shouldn’t. Should I just ignore that “loud” DMD except between balls or at the end of a game?
I understand that game modes and quests and progress have become more complicated the last thirty or so years, so it takes more than a paper rule card in the front corner of the machine to elucidate and keep track, and DMDs are one way to do that.
But there is something else going on in my head. Pingames are beautiful machines, often true works of art, on the playfield, on the back glass, uhhh the translite, on the cabinet. Colors at play all around, an amazing interactive kinetic sculpture on the playfield. With all that beauty around it, a DMD seems like a (usually) monochrome Lite-Brite toy; blocky, rigid, sterile, primitive. But loud.
I am happy to see some manufacturers using high resolution LCD monitors instead of DMDs, providing something closer to the eye candy that is all around it. But DMDs still seem to dominate.
A newbie pinsider, a pinball fan for closing on six decades.