Gary was pretty into himself and carrying on his legacy. I have heard this is how he is. I couldn't believe it, until I experienced it for myself. He compared his games to American made cars which seems pretty accurate. To me, that says cheap quality. He also said that we are not his priority market, and he was more concerned about shipping overseas, because that is where he makes his money. The vibe I got from him was, regardless of quality, someone will buy his games. If you don't like them, too bad. He was also pretty firm about how true pinball is made where he makes them, and no where else. This was an obvious jab at other new manufacturers.
During the Q and A a few guys asked about updates to recent games like Transformers, Tron and X-men, but he pretty much shot them down saying those games are done, but a update was coming for AC-DC. Those guys seemed pretty disappointed. I would be too. After all, I played the brand new X-men Pro they had on the floor and I couldn't believe how many times I had to hit Wolverine before it registered a hit. It also reminded how screwed up the Transformers LE was with the misfiring of Mega-tron's balls and the multiple balls getting stuck in the shaker shot. I was left thinking, Is this what you get for your thousand's of dollars? His audience was begging him for an update and they were met with a too bad, so sad.
There was a Color DMD panel before Gary's, and one of the final questions was if there was any hope for Color DMD's to come in a Stern game. These nice guys didn't rule it out, and obviously want to, but Gary pretty much shunned the notion in his panel.
Gary wants you to continue buying his games, because he is worried about his factory closing down. All of these families seems to be his priority, rather than delivering to you a quality product. He urged the crowd to stop collecting and start businesses like the recent Barcade movement. Gary want's to relive the past where he made millions on quarters on his routes, and you can help him by opening up your own business, while he sells you more machines. I tell you, it was around this time, when I thought this was getting pretty creepy.
He touched on the three legs of why games are made. Pros are for routes, LE's are for the collectors as he gestured us in the audience, but he also had a third tier for Rich people, who apparently weren't in the audience, but he wanted to acknowledge them and their multi-car garages filled with his games. Nice.
He also commented and seem pretty bothered that guys who harass him about making another wide body game. In a nutshell, he said he wouldn't. The perception I got was he doesn't want to spend more to make a wide body game when he can sell you a standard sized game for the same money. Gary claims that wide body's are slow and he is only interested in making fast paced games. This to me was absolutely stupid. I found myself enjoying a ton of wide body games on the show floor from Genie and Superman, to 4x4 and Gun and Roses. Personally, I got the feeling that he meant faster paced games means losing faster. Losing faster means more quarters in the machine. His explanation also included that Pros are easier for the new players that don't know how to play, and LE's have more stuff to satisfy the experienced collectors.
To sum up, Gary is old school, and he doesn't want to learn new tricks to stay current in the market. When asked if he visited blogs for opinions, he proudly said no, and joked that he actually uses his iPhone as a phone and nothing else. When questioned about the upcoming competition of quality between him and Jersey Jack Pinball, he decided not to comment at all, because the question clearly aggravated him. He finished the panel by throwing on the floor a stack of flyers from his X-men game. He just seemed to not give a crap about anyone and he sounds as if he doesn't plan on changing.