(Topic ID: 164497)

Who is your least favourite designer and why ?


By Flippermatt

3 years ago



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  • 57 posts
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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by tamoore
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    -3
    #1 3 years ago

    Who should have done other things than designing pinball ? This has probably been up before but I am refreshing the question. Perhaps you have changed your mind since last time ? What does your least favourite designer totally lack that your favourite has ?

    Shoot away

    #2 3 years ago

    Most all of them have good & poor points. DMD era Probably Balcor...just not a big fan of any of his titles.

    #3 3 years ago

    I'm not a fan of Balcer - he mostly did poor knockoffs of Lawlor layouts; generally very clunky and lacking in smooth shots.

    #4 3 years ago

    Lawlor.... everything he does just sort of feels the same to me. Although I felt his change in designs did come through the most when he started at Stern.

    -1
    #5 3 years ago

    It's kind of a silly question. I think all designers have good and bad layouts, just like all of us have good and bad years at work. For example, I think "Hot Hand" has a terrible layout; I couldn't sell mine fast enough. But Harry Williams also designed Big Game and Galaxy, which are both knockouts IMHO. Same with Greg Kmiec: I hated Vector, but Paragon and Skateball are genius.

    -3
    #6 3 years ago

    I personally think Barry Oursler games suck. Deep down there is also Joe Kaminkow.

    17
    #7 3 years ago

    Jpop, he's the only one who took my money and gave me nothing in return.

    #8 3 years ago

    Everyone has good and bad runs. I seriously disagree about Oursler. The quality of his work, especially the early SS games are great! Later on in the DMD era he was partnered with less than stellar software teams and his games tended to be unbalanced.

    There is only a few designers that made real dogs all the time (The market would not tolerate them) and while I'll give him an "A" for effort, this is a 100% barf-tacular record. OK, it's only one game.

    http://ipdb.org/search.pl?searchtype=advanced&ppl=Pete%20Piotrowski

    #9 3 years ago
    Quoted from Flippermatt:

    I personally think Barry Oursler games suck. Deep down there is also Joe Kaminkow.

    All of Oursler's games? That's harsh.

    How many games did Kaminkow actually design? I've always heard it's more of a collaborative effort on the games that list him as a co-designer.

    #10 3 years ago
    Quoted from Caucasian2Step:

    Everyone has good and bad runs. I seriously disagree about Oursler. The quality of his work, especially the early SS games are great! Later on in the DMD era he was partnered with less than stellar software teams and his games tended to be unbalanced.
    There is only a few designers that made real dogs all the time (The market would not tolerate them) and while I'll give him an "A" for effort, this is a 100% barf-tacular record. OK, it's only one game.
    http://ipdb.org/search.pl?searchtype=advanced&ppl=Pete%20Piotrowski

    Man I love Champions Pub. It's got a Punch-Out feel with the colorful characters you fight and the toys are really neat.

    #11 3 years ago
    Quoted from Caucasian2Step:

    I seriously disagree about Oursler. The quality of his work, especially the early SS games are great!

    The thing about Oursler is that he did all his games in collaboration with another designer. So, quite often the style of the other designer would dominate and that's why his games seem so different from one another.

    #12 3 years ago

    I've posed this question before but how many faults and positives can we attribute to a designer in a game? It seems there are some designers like Trudeau that just love making the trajectory and angles of the playfield and move on once that's done. I'm sure there are others that take a more active role in the software side which greatly impacts the perception of the game by players. Then art and license invariably influences some people's opinions on games.

    #13 3 years ago
    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    Man I love Champions Pub. It's got a Punch-Out feel with the colorful characters you fight and the toys are really neat.

    I REALLY wanted to like this game too. But after a while the video spitoon mode and jumping rope became a distraction from playing pinball. Once the downward spiral kicked in... From an operator's POV, it was a nightmare. I'm glad you like it, but my preference is to play other tables.

    #14 3 years ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    Jpop, he's the only one who took my money and gave me nothing in return.

    That's the best answer for this thread. Every pin designer had their ups and downs...but only Jpop is a vile piece of vomit and not a human being.

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    The thing about Oursler is that he did all his games in collaboration with another designer. So, quite often the style of the other designer would dominate and that's why his games seem so different from one another.

    His designs pre-Space Shuttle were his own. These are my favorite designs from him earlier on in his career.

    1978-11 Phoenix
    1979-09 Time Warp

    Gorgar, while not my favorite game, was his biggest seller.

    1981-02 Jungle Lord
    1981-07 Solar Fire Williams
    1981-09 Barracora Williams
    1982-06 Cosmic Gunfight Williams
    1982-12 Defender
    1983-03 Time Fantasy
    1983-04 Joust
    1984-06 Star Light

    I also have a great memory anchor when I was a kid playing Space Shuttle. I love the Rolloercoaster trilogy (ok, 2 outta 3 ain't bad) Grand Lizard, Pinbot and Space Station are all players. I'll admit to even playing Fire! whenever I can. And later on in the DMD era, Dr. Who, Draculer and Durty Harry are all well respected players.

    IF you can't find a game you like from that list... I am happy to session you out with my Solar Fire for an afternoon and see if I can at least get you to like ONE of his games. PM for for address and we will set an appointment.

    #16 3 years ago
    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    I've posed this question before but how many faults and positives can we attribute to a designer in a game? It seems there are some designers like Trudeau that just love making the trajectory and angles of the playfield and move on once that's done. I'm sure there are others that take a more active role in the software side which greatly impacts the perception of the game by players. Then art and license invariably influences some people's opinions on games.

    I was lucky enough to sit down on the patio with JT (we only use each other's initials when we are drinking) at the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown a few months ago and we talked about pins. While not trying to gush, I told him that GB was the best of CftBL and Congo in a single pax. The first thing he did was give praise to Dwight Sullivan for the programming work that he did on the game. About a month later I was playing Trent Augenstein at the GB release party at Press Play in Boulder (guess who came in 2st...) and he hit the button code in for the credits. His name was listed as a beta tester. Now if Stern is tapping the best players in the world for feedback with their designs and code as an outside source, this is a great step in the right direction. It takes a village... right? John Trudeau's work is FINALLY getting the treatment it deserves at Stern. I for one, am ecstatic and look for more awesomeness from the Stern Team.

    Back to shots and angles, he said that Steve Ritchie is a big fan of the fan. His more recent designs show this. He placed himself closer to Pat Lawlor's philosophy of every shot is to utilize the entirety of the PF. Flow is good, risk/reward through chaotic shots is better. Keeps play times lower and profits to the operator higher. While he recognizes the pull of toys of the PF, he is more focused on using the paths available to the player through ball travel. He also stated that if things work as well as he thought they would with the magno-slings, that we may be seeing more of them in his future designs. I an't wait to see what he comes up with next.

    #17 3 years ago

    Ok,not all Oursler games...

    However that Harley Davidson ,Popeye and Hurricane got approval to go into production is beyond understanding.....

    I'd rather play his Cyclone than Hurricane....

    #18 3 years ago
    Quoted from Flippermatt:

    I personally think Barry Oursler games suck.

    Quoted from Flippermatt:

    Ok,not all Oursler games...

    That's good because you've got four of them in your current collection.

    #19 3 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    Skateball are genius.

    I wouldn't exactly credit that to him.

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    #20 3 years ago

    Edit: Never mind. (Fathom was made 8 months after Skateball).

    #21 3 years ago
    Quoted from Caucasian2Step:

    I was lucky enough to sit down on the patio with JT (we only use each other's initials when we are drinking)

    He calls me, Fuck Face. But with affection.

    #22 3 years ago

    Tommy Hilfiger. All his designs are just obnoxious to me

    download_(resized).jpg

    #23 3 years ago
    Quoted from Flippermatt:

    I personally think Barry Oursler games suck. Deep down there is also Joe Kaminkow.

    I never cared for Oursler games either until I got BSD which may be my favorite game ever.

    #24 3 years ago
    Quoted from Otaku:

    I wouldn't exactly credit that to him.

    totally different goemetry! Skateball plays great. Flash is a turd.

    #25 3 years ago
    Quoted from Flippermatt:

    However that Harley Davidson ,Popeye and Hurricane got approvl to go into production is beyond understanding...

    I asked Larry DeMar once how a game like Popeye got made. He explained that managing creative people is very difficult, especially when you have set in stone production deadlines and you're past the point where you can put the brakes on.

    I'd blame Python for games like Popeye and Hurricane more than Oursler, as per my previous statement. And now that I mention it, Python holds a lot of responsibility for dropping some serious turds in the punchbowl - his "creativity" killed two different pinball companies!

    #26 3 years ago

    With apologies in advance to the OP who is looking for least favorite designers, I’d like to qualify his thread title and offer a name for most underrated: Mark Ritchie. He’s the creative genius behind the greatest pinball ever assembled – Williams Indiana Jones – and is responsible for a number of other gems such as Fish Tales, Diner, Taxi and Police Force. If memory serves, Pinball Magic is also largely his vision as well. To me, he is the greatest designer this hobby has ever known. Period.

    #27 3 years ago

    I dont think there is a designer I dislike. I find interesting and fun things from all of them.

    #28 3 years ago
    Quoted from CaptainNavidad:

    With apologies in advance to the OP who is looking for least favorite designers, I’d like to qualify his thread title and offer a name for most underrated: Mark Ritchie. He’s the creative genius behind the greatest pinball ever assembled – Williams Indiana Jones – and is responsible for a number of other gems such as Fish Tales, Diner, Taxi and Police Force. If memory serves, Pinball Magic is also largely his vision as well. To me, he is the greatest designer this hobby has ever known. Period.

    His sample size is too small to call him the greatest, but his success rate was very high for the one's he did design or helped design.

    #29 3 years ago

    Wait, what did Python do?

    Also, everyone's gonna hate this but among the major designers, I like Steve Ritchie the least. I know he's the "master of flow" or whatever but I feel like I'm at a batting range when I play his pins and it's really annoying (but I also really love Lawlor's stop and go style so I'm entirely biased).

    #30 3 years ago
    Quoted from trunchbull:

    Wait, what did Python do?
    Also, everyone's gonna hate this but among the major designers, I like Steve Ritchie the least. I know he's the "master of flow" or whatever but I feel like I'm at a batting range when I play his pins and it's really annoying (but I also really love Lawlor's stop and go style so I'm entirely biased).

    I'm with you on Steve Ritchie and probably Lawlor is my second least favorite. There are games of theirs that I like but the hype is bigger than the goods in my mind. I tend to enjoy Gomez, Borg, and Trudeau a lot more or more regularly.

    #32 3 years ago

    +1 on Balcor. Not a fan of his layouts in general.

    #33 3 years ago

    I'm weird

    I go to CP & 90% of the time I only play Stern games for some reason.

    That said my least favorite are SR games

    Love RBION, TSPP, FGY, LOTR, TWD & MET

    No SR games in there you may notice

    I don't hate his games. I just don't prefer em.

    I did play GOT & ACDC this weekend but MET & TWD just grabbed me by the balls & wouldn't let go.

    #34 3 years ago
    Quoted from FlipperMagician:

    That's good because you've got four of them in your current collection.

    Yes, good intrades and they are leaving except for Grand Lizard.....

    #35 3 years ago

    Most designers are talented. Some tend to listen more to management, or let management interfere in their designs which usually doesn't benefit the game. Some designers had great designs that ended up less than great due to budget restraints. So if I had to point a finger I would point at managers who tend to look at the costs of a mech instead of what it can make the company by benefitting the game.

    #36 3 years ago

    Did Oursler pay attention to studying common ball trajectories in his gamess, or he saw them but didn't care, or it wasn't studied at all in generall too deep. PinBot/Jackbot a great portion after every ball launch, will send the ball from the southern most bumper to the left outlane drain. Baam, game can be over in 27 seconds and there is jack s**t one can do about it. The same thing with Space Shuttle.... Game is prone to take the right outlane drain as the top wall is angeled straight for it. The ball savegate is there of course but is ridiculously hard to reopen. Gorgar is another typical example though early in his career and must be forgiven. In very few of the games except for Hurricane, the ball is served to the flippers leaving the player in immediate control... I like Junk Yard but is Oursler's creation less than 50% as he was sacked by Williams in the middle of the project 1996. Interestingly this was long prior to when BWS shut down in 1999.. I asked him about J.Y but knew of no details in the gameplay and referred to Dwight who was in it and finished the project.

    Die hard pinballers love Dracula but I know of operators who blocked one drain just to have some positive return to play factor..... I personally like it.

    As for Joe Kaminkow I think his engineering and game idea shames the beautiful artwork done by Paul Faris. Such a beautiful game but inferior substandard game in itself. It could have been a killer machine. Check out the gap between those flippers. Don't know if true but Gary Stern got rid of him first thing when he took over...

    John T and George G are my true favourites.

    #37 3 years ago

    Oursler Would be my least favorite. There are lots of his games I really don't care for.
    I've always thought I didn't care for Lawlor games, but I have 3 of them, and Whirlwind is my favorite game of all time. So, that goes out the window.

    -1
    #38 3 years ago
    Quoted from tamoore:

    Oursler Would be my least favorite. There are lots of his games I really don't care for.
    I've always thought I didn't care for Lawlor games, but I have 3 of them, and Whirlwind is my favorite game of all time. So, that goes out the window.

    One can't even begin to compare Oursler with Lawlor... So incredibly shallow save perhaps Jackbot & Dracula... Looking at his record the focus has been more on quantity than quality...

    -1
    #39 3 years ago

    I will say that John T and Lawlor are by far my favorite designers!

    I think John has done the best job of consistently putting out new and fun games over the years. mid 80s GTB games that are amazing, mid 90s Creature (I hate this one because of code but still like the layout) and Congo, and now the new era with GhostBusters (possibly his best package due to design and combined with great foundation code (still pleanty of room to grow and looking forward to what Mr Sullivan does with it)

    #40 3 years ago

    Isn't John Trudeau the designer that likes to space the flippers further apart. I would be all over Ghostbusters if it wasn't for that.

    #41 3 years ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    Isn't John Trudeau the designer that likes to space the flippers further apart. I would be all over Ghostbusters if it wasn't for that.

    have you played the game much? Teh flipper gap is really not an issue. the game has lots of safe shots with safe returns for controlled play. For example both scoop kickouts are designed so they perfectly kick out to opposing flipper for a passive bounce to the other flipper. Both ramps return to flipper. Orbits are safe returns. Game has alot of safe controlled play and if anything the flipper gap helps to make the game the right amount of difficult. I guess if you want it easier you can install the cheater post but that is not what the designed intended.

    -1
    #42 3 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    have you played the game much? Teh flipper gap is really not an issue. the game has lots of safe shots with safe returns for controlled play. For example both scoop kickouts are designed so they perfectly kick out to opposing flipper for a passive bounce to the other flipper. Both ramps return to flipper. Orbits are safe returns. Game has alot of safe controlled play and if anything the flipper gap helps to make the game the right amount of difficult. I guess if you want it easier you can install the cheater post but that is not what the designed intended.

    If 95% of all modern DMD games have a fixed distance between flippers why change that formula. If the intention was to make the game more difficult then design it that way with the layout and not cheat by making flippers further apart. We are all used to the way the ball bounces from one flipper to another and with this design we need to fundamentally change the way we play such as dead stops, bounce overs etc. The wider flippers seem like an afterthought in that since the game layout was too forgiving or easy the quick solution was to make the flippers wider. Other than that I love Ghostbusters, just not the wider flipper distance.

    #43 3 years ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    If 95% of all modern DMD games have a fixed distance between flippers why change that formula. If the intention was to make the game more difficult then design it that way with the layout and not cheat by making flippers further apart. We are all used to the way the ball bounces from one flipper to another and with this design we need to fundamentally change the way we play such as dead stops, bounce overs etc. The wider flippers seem like an afterthought in that since the game layout was too forgiving or easy the quick solution was to make the flippers wider. Other than that I love Ghostbusters, just not the wider flipper distance.

    John T has been using his own style of bottom (non-Italian) for multiple decades now. He has also never been afraid to play with the bottom geometry (slings, inlane/outlane, nudgeback, and flipper gaps) It you go measure you will find that each designed actually has subtle differences in flipper angle and spacing in realtion to shot geometry. If anything, the majority of all games have some variation.

    Wider flipper game is a signature John T thing and definately not an after thougt. If you know the Flash, he is a very cohesive designer. GB is a thing of beauty and really well thought out. The added special sauce is that Dwight obviously really pays attention to the physical nature of the game and worked tightly with John during design so the overall game is very cohesive.

    #44 3 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Wider flipper game is a signature John T thing

    In response to the OP's question thats why I like John T the least.

    #45 3 years ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    In response to the OP's question thats why I like John T the least.

    Couldn't disagree more. Games that punish you for bad shots and make ball control a real challenge keep you coming back for more and most importantly make you a better player. JT has some of the most creative layouts ever made that still have great flow and don't punish you just for the sake of punishing you. Plus he's not bash toy happy like the rest of the design world is these days. Slimer is the only bash toy I can think of on his games. Great designer and a really great down to earth guy.

    #46 3 years ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    If 95% of all modern DMD games have a fixed distance between flippers why change that formula. If the intention was to make the game more difficult then design it that way with the layout and not cheat by making flippers further apart. We are all used to the way the ball bounces from one flipper to another and with this design we need to fundamentally change the way we play such as dead stops, bounce overs etc. The wider flippers seem like an afterthought in that since the game layout was too forgiving or easy the quick solution was to make the flippers wider. Other than that I love Ghostbusters, just not the wider flipper distance.

    I love Trudeau's non traditional layouts and wide flipper gaps. Stern has Gomez, Ritchie, and Borg doing traditional stuff so let John T alone for those of us that don't want the same old, same old. A lot of Jpop's popular features in his Williams designs were revived tricks from the EM era so there are some things to be learned from the past. If there was no innovation, we would all still be playing without flippers.

    #47 3 years ago

    Balcer, Jpop, and post-TZ Lawlor.

    #48 3 years ago
    Quoted from Flippermatt:

    Problem with Oursler is he never paid attention to studying common ball trajectories in his gamess, or he saw them but didn't care, or it wasn't studied at all in generall too deep. PinBot/Jackbot a great portion after every ball launch, will send the ball from the southern most bumper to the left outlane drain. Baam, game can be over in 27 seconds and there is jack s**t one can do about it. The same thing with Space Shuttle.... Game is prone to take the right outlane drain as the top wall is angeled straight for it. The ball savegate is there of course but is ridiculously hard to reopen. Gorgar is another typical example though early in his career and must be forgiven. I once asked Oursler about PinBot and the next to 50/50 chance of the immediate left drain and he told me he had never heard about it nor that his outlanes would be wider and more brute than others.... Beta playing in 86 wasn't common ? In very few of the games except for Hurricane, the ball is served to the flippers leaving the player in immediate control... I kind of like Junk Yard but is Oursler's creation less than 50% as he was sacked by Williams in the middle of the project 1996. Interestingly this was long prior to when BWS shut down in 1999.. I asked him about J.Y but knew of no details in the gameplay and referred to Dwight who was in it and finished the project.
    Die hard pinballers love Dracula but I know of operators who blocked one drain just to have some positive return to play factor.....
    As for Joe Kaminkow I think his engineering and game idea shames the beautiful artwork done by Paul Faris. Such a beautiful game but inferior substandard game in itself. It could have been a killer machine. Check out the gap between those flippers. Don't know if true but Gary Stern got rid of him first thing when he took over...
    John T and George G are my true favourites.
    Edit. Snuck out in my gameroom and had a few games of Hurricane and my god it sucks so bad one can't even begin to imagine. No modes, logically then no wizard mode. No ballsave, no multiball restart, pointless multiball, only seven (7) things to shoot for counting the banks as one aim. The playfield is cramped with 50 % wasted and rest blank open.. Did I say it's shallow ? Luckily it is leaving sooner than ever or better torching it.

    Speaking of ball trajectories on Dracula, I'm always amazed how often the ball falls in the asylum. It's a shot you can't shoot for yet once a game the ball falls in there.

    I'm not sure which game you're speaking of when you talk about Joe K but he was around the whole time Gary Stern was at DE and Sega. I don't know this for sure but I assume Joe left because pinball was dying and he went to other game industries. I know he worked for mobile games maker Zynga and he some slot manufacturers. There is a podcast that has an interview with him I want to listen to.

    #49 3 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    It's kind of a silly question. I think all designers have good and bad layouts

    Nope, to my knowledge Brian Eddy only produced awesomeness.

    #50 3 years ago
    Quoted from Rarehero:That's the best answer for this thread. Every pin designer had their ups and downs...but only Jpop is a vile piece of vomit and not a human being.

    I get it, really...I do.

    But if it wasn't for the fond memories I had of playing WCS back in college when it came out and looking for one on eBay...I never would have bought my ST and I wouldn't be thinking of buying a second machine.

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