(Topic ID: 326126)

Why does Stern use separate designers for Home versions/etc?

By JakeFAttie

79 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 7 posts
  • 6 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 79 days ago by 7oxford
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#1 79 days ago

I'm just curious where the logic behind having Elwin design the 3 normal version of JP and then Jack Danger does the home version? The home version seems to use art/toys from the regular version but the design is totally different.

Same with Star Wars; Ritchie does the regular versions but Gomez does the Home version?

And now with Bond, Gomez does the regular designs but Elwin is going to do a special 60th anniversary version? I assume it will reuse some of the regular art/toys?

Is this just to split the work or create a friendly rivalry or is there another explanation? I would think the designer of the main version would want to do all the versions... ?

#2 79 days ago

For the Home Pins: Stern re-used a mostly existing layout from Spiderman on Star Wars. They mostly just reskinned it and tweeked a couple of things. Extremely cheap to do compared to designing a new machine.

On Jurassic Park and Jack Danger, this was Jack Danger's first pin, a non-pinball designer. This was a big risk for Stern, but Jack has a substantial following in the community and using him was a great way to get the word out about a new pin with comparatively little risk.

On the Elwin 60th, this is not going to be a Home Pin, and will be a VERY expensive pin. I'm guessing these go for $15,000+ each. There are a chorus of Elwin fanboys in the pinball community. He has yet to release a stinker, and the best pins of our age, arguably of all time are from him. By putting his name behind the pin, they pretty much guarantee a sellout. If the next pin was "The Muppets" featuring Keith Elwin it would sell out day 1.

#3 79 days ago

Home versions aren't at all the same machine.

Nothing like the same machine at all.

They may share some graphic and sound elements, there may be some 'inspiration' in the ruleset of a home version, but it really is a completely different machine.

I think of it like this:

When Stern contracts with a pinball designer, they ask for a 'Premium' pinball experience. Then the art team gives it a different art package, adds a few things like better speakers, headphone jacks, etc... and a tag that says 243 of 1000 ever made and calls those machines 'LE'. Then for the operators, they try to subtract $1500 of stuff and still keep the machine playable for the 'Pro'.

Sometimes they cut too deep and the Pro really feels as though it is lacking something. Sometimes the Pro ends up having a 'feel' to the game that is quite different than the Premium. Sometimes the Pro is actually more fun than the Premium (fewer ramps/toys end up being a faster layout!).

The 'Pin' machines are a completely different type of design. They try to re-use a known good whiteboard pinball for the layout, and it's just a matter of skinning it with artwork and adapting the graphics/sounds to what is already pre-determined.

I actually like the 'Pin' pinballs. They are simple and fun. They are nothing like coin-op pinball machines, and should be considered separately, in their own category.

#4 79 days ago

cool... thanks for the info guys.

#5 79 days ago
Quoted from sataneatscheese:

If the next pin was "The Muppets" featuring Keith Elwin it would sell out day 1.

Well, yeah. It's The Muppets!

#6 79 days ago
Quoted from sataneatscheese:

For the Home Pins: Stern re-used a mostly existing layout from Spiderman on Star Wars. They mostly just reskinned it and tweeked a couple of things. Extremely cheap to do compared to designing a new machine.
On Jurassic Park and Jack Danger, this was Jack Danger's first pin, a non-pinball designer. This was a big risk for Stern, but Jack has a substantial following in the community and using him was a great way to get the word out about a new pin with comparatively little risk.
On the Elwin 60th, this is not going to be a Home Pin, and will be a VERY expensive pin. I'm guessing these go for $15,000+ each. There are a chorus of Elwin fanboys in the pinball community. He has yet to release a stinker, and the best pins of our age, arguably of all time are from him. By putting his name behind the pin, they pretty much guarantee a sellout. If the next pin was "The Muppets" featuring Keith Elwin it would sell out day 1.

Whatchoo talking about. Muppets = dream theme.

#7 79 days ago

Elwin said he usually has his next design locked in before his current game is released. Therefore he’s designed his next cornerstone game before the release of Godzilla. But Stern are only releasing 2 cornerstones this year, so Keith is left twiddling his thumbs.
Chances are he designed the Bond LE on the back of a napkin in his lunch hour. “Hey Keith, design me a single level home pin and we’ll slap an LE price tag on it.”
Most buyers will go ga ga over it, whilst damming it with faint praise by saying “it’s fun”.

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