(Topic ID: 217503)

Why doesn’t Stern use subways?


By nicknack66

1 year ago



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    #1 1 year ago

    As I read posts, and also from playing their pins, anyone know why Stern is so adverse to subways on their pins? They make so many games you would think they would include at least one subway from time to time.

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    #2 1 year ago

    Probably cost?

    #3 1 year ago
    Quoted from nicknack66:

    As I read posts, and also from playing their pins, anyone know why Stern is so adverse to subways on their pins? They make so many games you would think they would include at least one subway from time to time.

    Not to bash Stern as I am a fan but I think it just comes down to cost. Stern does everything they can to keep their cost down and if it weren't for other companies "raising the bar" you wouldn't see a lot of the features that are now in the Stern machines. Look how long it took Stern to start using color monitors. IMO Stern is not a leader in the industry but someone who waits to see what else is being done, is it popular and then implements it! I feel if it weren't for these other companies Stern would still be producing titles like Big Buck Hunter, Rolling Stones, to name a few, and you would have only one edition (Pro would be it)! Again, not bashing them, just my opinion!

    #4 1 year ago

    A few modern Sterns have used small subways that are integrated with some pretty cool physical ball locks. Metallica premium / LE uses a small subway for its ball lock that works in conjunction with the hammer toy on top of the playfield. Ghostbusters premium / LE has a small subway that is integrated with the subway ramp and functions as a ball lock.

    #5 1 year ago

    I heard the next Stern will have 3 subways and more toys than TZ

    #6 1 year ago

    I think I heard it explained that for new pinball users, if the ball doesn't come out where they think it will, that surprises them?

    #7 1 year ago

    There was a little mini subway in GBLE/Premium

    #8 1 year ago

    Really bad from a maintenance standpoint, always getting filled with dirt. The cost of a simple one is pretty low, just a few metal or plastic walls, no moving parts (as long as you already have a scoop in your game).

    Iron Maiden has a small one too on the premium

    #9 1 year ago

    The ball is too wild for GS.

    #10 1 year ago
    Quoted from lordloss:

    I think I heard it explained that for new pinball users, if the ball doesn't come out where they think it will, that surprises them?

    Usually games are pretty good with using flashing lights to indicate where the ball is coming out. Subways can be seen as making a game clunky too, and we all know how much everyone loves SR and fan designs ( )

    But after a shot or two, you should be able to figure out where ball ends up if you're paying attention.

    I do agree that Stern is always looking for the cheapest BOM and highest profit margin and they stick to what they know will sell. Buyers play a huge part in that. Why innovate when you know you will sell machines, sight unseen? Money spent in R&D is wasted money when you have blind buyers.

    #11 1 year ago
    Quoted from FatPanda:

    Usually games are pretty good with using flashing lights to indicate where the ball is coming out. Subways can be seen as making a game clunky too, and we all know how much everyone loves SR and fan designs ( )
    But after a shot or two, you should be able to figure out where ball ends up if you're paying attention.
    I do agree that Stern is always looking for the cheapest BOM and highest profit margin and they stick to what they know will sell. Buyers play a huge part in that. Why innovate when you know you will sell machines, sight unseen? Money spent in R&D is wasted money when you have blind buyers.

    I’m sure you’re right, that’s its about cost - but why exactly does a subway add to the BOM? Is it the fixed cost of Another ramp mold? The actual plastic can’t be too expensive, and an opto or switch must be incorporated even if the ball is going into a section above the PF

    #12 1 year ago

    It's for safety. If Stern put a subway in a pin, Panzer would EXPLODE!

    #13 1 year ago
    Quoted from Guinnesstime:

    It's for safety. If Stern put a subway in a pin, Panzer would EXPLODE!

    Lol. There's one in my Ghostbusters premium and it's awesome!

    Not sure when, if ever, Stern has put in a larger subway such as those used in either Dialed In, Hobbit, TZ, etc.

    #14 1 year ago

    5D92F1EB-A97C-486D-9442-71A1E1FC1A03 (resized).jpeg

    #15 1 year ago

    I''d rather have some extra flippers, metal ramps, and spinners than a subway. Thanks guys!

    10
    #16 1 year ago
    Quoted from dookski:

    I''d rather have some extra flippers, metal ramps, and spinners than a subway. Thanks guys!

    28B3BDEE-A7B7-41CE-80DD-58D65A1420A8.gif

    #17 1 year ago
    Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

    I’m sure you’re right, that’s its about cost - but why exactly does a subway add to the BOM? Is it the fixed cost of Another ramp mold? The actual plastic can’t be too expensive, and an opto or switch must be incorporated even if the ball is going into a section above the PF

    I'm sure part of it is the R&D needed to develop a playfield that utilizes the design of the subway, the development of the mold, the stronger plastic needed to withstand balldrops, of course you need more VUKs, scoops, and wireforms for said transitions. It's more than just the plastics themselves. It's all the other associated parts as well.

    -1
    #18 1 year ago

    To add, when was the last time we saw any wireforms from Stern? Or VUKs? Reserved for Prem/LEs only at increased price levels? All speculation of course. I'm sure they have their reasons.

    #19 1 year ago
    Quoted from FatPanda:

    To add, when was the last time we saw any wireforms from Stern?

    Um, Iron Maiden?
    I have heard that subway use is thought to confuse new players.
    It makes a bit of sense, a confused newb might not continue to play.
    So tired of everyone's answer about Stern being cost, from the same folks.
    I would hope this might change as far as subways go, as I kind of like them.
    But at the same time, they don't make or break a game.

    #20 1 year ago

    More mechs needed ..... vuk or upkicker

    #21 1 year ago
    Quoted from hoby1:

    More mechs needed ..... vuk or upkicker

    ...and when a wire comes off, the game is completely down, making subways a reliability liability.

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from FatPanda:

    To add, when was the last time we saw any wireforms from Stern?

    Aerosmith & Kiss

    #23 1 year ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    ...and when a wire comes off, the game is completely down, making subways a reliability liability.

    This isn't really a thing - since most sterns have a scoop of some kind, and that's essentially a one entry/one exit subway. Still needs to kick the ball up/out or gameplay is broken just like you're describing.

    #24 1 year ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Lol. There's one in my Ghostbusters premium and it's awesome!
    Not sure when, if ever, Stern has put in a larger subway such as those used in either Dialed In, Hobbit, TZ, etc.

    Rollercoaster Tycoon has a Subway.

    -3
    #25 1 year ago
    Quoted from epthegeek:

    This isn't really a thing - since most sterns have a scoop of some kind, and that's essentially a one entry/one exit subway. Still needs to kick the ball up/out or gameplay is broken just like you're describing.

    only one ball can get stuck in a broken scoop, and the game can compensate and still function.

    #26 1 year ago

    Archer did have a big subway. But Stern did cut it completely out of Iron Maiden. And replaced it with captive balls and standup-targets.

    I really like NGG and TZ subway.

    #27 1 year ago

    A. Gary Stern.

    1. You can see where balls are stuck.
    2. Cost

    Look back at the games made by Data East (with tunnels), before Gary bought DE.

    #28 1 year ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    only one ball can get stuck in a broken scoop, and the game can compensate and still function.

    Fair point, but not always true. The mystery scoop on metallica can hold several balls; but something like the one on GOTG isn't going to have that problem.

    #29 1 year ago

    I am sure the BOM has something to do with it. More design complexity and increased maintenance costs might also have something to do with it.

    Unlike a video game - you are much more limited with what you can do with a physical pinball machine. I like subways and Stern has done the typical fan-layout so many times now that it is getting a little old - so maybe it is time for something old (subway) to become new (fresh) again. Stern has been trying some fresh new stuff which is good to see - now if they would add even more variety that would be great.

    Many pinball fans are tired of some of the tried-n-true Stern recipe's (Themes: Super Hero & Rock Bands; Fan-layouts; Useless up-top triangular pop-bumpers). Adding some additional play-field variety would be great going forward.

    I say bring back subways and vari-targets from time to time. Mix it up a little more. Hey Stern appears to be a little more open to change these days - which is great to see.

    #30 1 year ago
    Quoted from Midway-Man:

    Archer did have a big subway. But Stern did cut it completely out of Iron Maiden. And replaced it with captive balls and standup-targets.
    I really like NGG and TZ subway.

    Me too. Only one of my games (NGG) has a subway, but I like having it. I enjoy my other games, which don't have subways, but I wish Stern would offer a longer subway from time to time, at least on the Premium/LE models. Between ramps, magnets, extra flippers, mini-playfields, and most of what else pinball in the past offered, it would be nice for Stern to include a longer subway in a current game, but I guess for the reasons many others have stated, that may not be happening anytime soon.

    #31 1 year ago
    Quoted from snakesnsparklers:

    I heard the next Stern will have 3 subways and more toys than TZ

    #32 1 year ago
    Quoted from snakesnsparklers:

    I heard the next Stern will have 3 subways and more toys than TZ

    True, but sadly that will eat into the already low BOM for coil counts...so most likely they will be hand/lever operated.

    #33 1 year ago
    Quoted from snakesnsparklers:

    I heard the next Stern will have 3 subways and more toys than TZ

    I can dig it.

    golden_state.jpg

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    #34 1 year ago

    Well the obvious answer is because the L doesn't quite extend to Elk Grove Village. Stern is very close to O'Hare though which does have a subway station on the blue line. I suppose if they were willing to relocate a little bit they could start using the subway.

    #35 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mike_M:

    Well the obvious answer is because the L doesn't quite extend to Elk Grove Village. Stern is very close to O'Hare though which does have a subway station on the blue line. I suppose if they were willing to relocate a little bit they could start using the subway.

    mwc (resized).png

    edit: that was supposed to be a reluctant upvote

    #36 1 year ago

    Lack of subways really limits what you can do with the design of the playfield. Watching the NYC Championships this weekend, that really hit home watching all the games on Kiss. No subway in Gene's head, so the ball spits straight out, and they basically programmed a ball save to compensate for the guaranteed SDTM shot, which every player just let drain, every time. This just screams poor design. In the old days a subway to the scoop, or to a VUK>wireform to the left inlane, would be a no-brainer way to deal with this.

    #37 1 year ago
    Quoted from westofrome:

    Lack of subways really limits what you can do with the design of the playfield. Watching the NYC Championships this weekend, that really hit home watching all the games on Kiss. No subway in Gene's head, so the ball spits straight out, and they basically programmed a ball save to compensate for the guaranteed SDTM shot, which every player just let drain, every time. This just screams poor design. In the old days a subway to the scoop would be a no-brainer way to deal with this.

    A bit of an aside, but I'm surprised a mod maker hasn't come up with some way to redirect that kickout to not be so lethal.

    #38 1 year ago
    Quoted from epthegeek:

    A bit of an aside, but I'm surprised a mod maker hasn't come up with some way to redirect that kickout to not be so lethal.

    mod makers would just be showing Stern how to make an ass on mod so fix their shotty designs
    They've already ruined the (horrible but relevant) topper market.

    #39 1 year ago
    Quoted from lordloss:

    I think I heard it explained that for new pinball users, if the ball doesn't come out where they think it will, that surprises them?

    Yup. I've talked with people at Stern who say exactly this, they want the ball to be visible, or come back out of where it went in, not appear somewhere else.

    I honestly can't say I can argue with it. Once you're used to it, sure it's cool, but Stern always thinks about location play as part of their strategy, and it's hard for new players. And I mean new to the game, not just new to pinball.

    I'm not gonna bash the new game I played last weekend at Golden Gate Pinball Festival, but the ball randomly appearing wasn't magical, it was annoying.

    #40 1 year ago

    Subways seem to be overrated on pinside. Sure they are kinda cool when the design calls for them, but I dont think most games need one.

    #41 1 year ago

    We should compile a list of design things that are what they are "Because; Gary Stern". This subway thing being one of them, but I've also heard that he insists all games need pop bumpers because it's the beating heart of the pinball machine.

    #42 1 year ago
    Quoted from scott_freeman:

    Look back at the games made by Data East (with tunnels), before Gary bought DE.

    huh? DE pinball was always Gary Stern and Joe Kaminkow, and later Sega, then Stern Pinball.

    #43 1 year ago
    Quoted from epthegeek:

    We should compile a list of design things that are what they are "Because; Gary Stern". This subway thing being one of them, but I've also heard that he insists all games need pop bumpers because it's the beating heart of the pinball machine.

    There was some 'must have elements' Gary used to mandate had to be in games. That talk came out after the first big layoff in the 00's. probably from keefer

    If memory serves... he insisted on 3 pop bumpers, a shooter rod, and something else...

    #44 1 year ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    If memory serves... he insisted on 3 pop bumpers, a shooter rod, and something else...

    Easy bash toy for multiball probably.

    I seem to recall the insistence on shooter rods really annoyed Keefer and/or Steve for World Poker Tour, and it is pretty ridiculous on that game.

    #45 1 year ago

    There are no subways that run to Elk Grove. I’m sure lots of Stern employees use public transit, but subways simply aren’t an option.

    #46 1 year ago
    Quoted from MapleSyrup:

    There are no subways that run to Elk Grove. I’m sure lots of Stern employees use public transit, but subways simply aren’t an option.

    your joke is about 4 hours late.

    Quoted from Mike_M:

    Well the obvious answer is because the L doesn't quite extend to Elk Grove Village. Stern is very close to O'Hare though which does have a subway station on the blue line. I suppose if they were willing to relocate a little bit they could start using the subway.

    #47 1 year ago

    I always loved subways. I remember back in the 90's when I'd play a game with a subway, my mind was always trying to figure out what the underside of the play field looked like. It wasn't until about 2012 before I finally saw. So in the 90's, the system and mechanics used under the playfield was much more complex in my mind than what was actually there. I thought pinball machines used the full depth of the cabinet.

    #48 1 year ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    There was some 'must have elements' Gary used to mandate had to be in games. That talk came out after the first big layoff in the 00's. probably from keefer
    If memory serves... he insisted on 3 pop bumpers, a shooter rod, and something else...

    I remember something like that too and think it included an Italian bottom design, 2 flippers and .... coin slots.

    #49 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mike_M:

    Well the obvious answer is because the L doesn't quite extend to Elk Grove Village. Stern is very close to O'Hare though which does have a subway station on the blue line. I suppose if they were willing to relocate a little bit they could start using the subway.

    Gary uses it when he goes from his apartment to The Redhead Piano Bar.

    #50 1 year ago
    Quoted from InfiniteLives:

    your joke is about 4 hours late.

    Your collection is 40 years late!

    Haha. I’m just kidding. I couldn’t think of a good comeback!

    I’ve been shamed, and will never comment again without reading every prior post first... actually that’s probably not true.

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