100% Confirmed*

DPX Teases Alice | New World Record | Blood Bank Billiards | Data Updates (Hype Index & IC Badges) | More!

*Confirmed to come out at an eventual point in time. Maybe.

This Week in Pinball is a bit of a catch-up week. There were a bunch of news items and a few things worth highlighting that we missed during our Stern Influencer Day coverage.

It’s also a catch-up week in that we did a bunch of behind-the-scenes data updates on Kineticist, from which I’ll highlight a few insights.

This Week’s Pinball Agenda:

  • Song of the Week

  • Pinball News of the Week

    • DPX Teases Alice

    • New Guinness World Record

    • Blood Bank Billiards Release

    • A New Pinball Podcast

    • Kineticist Updates (Hype Index, IC Badge Data, TWIP Experiment)

  • Brand Activation of the Week

  • Creator Highlights of the Week

  • Poll of the Week

Song of the Week

I’ve been listening to Madrid’s Hinds for most of their career, dating back to at least their first full release in 2016, Leave Me Alone; however, prior to that release, they operated under the name Deers.

They’ve got a fun brand of pop-coated garage rock that I find appealing. It’s popcorn music, but gourmet popcorn music. This track gets the nod this week for a few reasons—it’s new, it’s got good time summer vibes, and there’s a cool story to this iteration of the band.

Specifically, Hinds used to be a quartet; however, in 2022, their drummer and bassist both departed. Undeterred, the remaining members of Hinds decided to carry on, describing themselves as “Millionaires in friendship.” Their upcoming album, Viva Hinds, will be their first since the lineup change, and Boom Boom Back, I think, is one of their best in recent memory.

Plus, how cool of a flex is it to nab Beck for guest vocals after an experience like that?

Pinball News of the Week

Dutch Pinball & DPX Tease Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Dutch Pinball’s sub-brand, DPX, officially teased the release of a not-very-well-held-secret, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland. The game is based largely on John Popadiuk’s concept work while operating as Zidware pinball back in 2013. The assets to this game were acquired by DPX alongside a few other failed pinball projects (deeproot’s RAZA and Zidware’s Magic Girl), which we touched on in a prior newsletter.

The game is expected to be released in the third quarter of 2024. Details are still light on the game; however, Internet rumors mostly state that DPX plans on a run of fewer than 500 units, with pricing under $15,000 USD. More details can be found on Dutch Pinball’s Facebook page.

Rob Berk Sets Guinness World Record

Huge congratulations to Rob Berk (Pinball Expo & Past Times Arcade founder) for setting the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of pinball machines (a whopping 1,041 games). The award was presented during celebrations for the 1-year anniversary of his latest arcade venture, Past Times Arcade, on June 1st.

Ian Harrower Releases Blood Bank Billiards

This release was a bit lost in the shuffle of the Stern media tour, but I wanted to make sure it got some coverage here. Ian Harrower Games (Bird Watcher) released a new Multimorphic P3 add-on game called Blood Bank Billiards, which leverages the Drained playfield module from For Amusement Only Games.

The game is a nod to pinball’s rich history of billiards-themed games like Target Pool and Eight Ball Deluxe. In a recent interview with Pinball Profile, game developer Ian Harrower talked about how he’s using his work as an independent games developer as an opportunity to learn new skills and challenge himself.

I respect the hell out of that.

Kineticist Updates (Hype Index, IC Badges, TWIP Expirement)

  • The underlying data for the Pinball Hype Index, which tracks the popularity of potential pinball themes among pinball enthusiasts, has been updated this week.

  • Data has also been updated for our Stern Insider Connected Badge Tracker. I added stats for the last month or so of Quest Campaigns and updated as many Milestone badges as we could find data for. Notable to me are:

    • The results of the JAWS campaign, where the easiest badge to earn (Blood in the Water) was registered 17,710 times, and the hardest (Shark Master) was registered 328 times over a month-long period.

    • The seasonal badges. John Borg had a dedicated badge, as George Gomez did late in 2023. The Gomez badge was earned 3,889 times, while Borg was earned 1,295 times. Gomez’s badge required 2 eligible machine scans, and Borg’s required 3. Is that rule change responsible for the difference in badge earns? Or is it more a reflection of games found on location?

    • On the Milestone side, right now, I like looking at Total Games Played as an indicator of the size of the engaged audience. It’s the easiest of the “habit badges” to earn, so it demonstrates users who have reached some stage of intentional repeat use. There, the 5 Total Games badge has 108,146 earns. Last time I looked at this, it was at 99,173 earns. I don’t know what the highest rung of this ladder is, as it seems to expand to accommodate user behavior, but I have seen 73 users earn the 6,000 Total Games badge.

  • On the TWIP front, we’re running an experiment to see if a less rigid type of content gating will affect subscription and churn rates. Web viewers should now only be presented with a dismissable pop-up instead of a hard login request. If you approve of the change, share it with a friend! It’ll be easier for them to read now.

New Paid Subscriber Perk: Pinball Heroes Pins

Thanks Tycoon Arcade!

Did you know we have paid subscriptions? Maybe not. I have a nasty habit of burying the CTA (call-to-action in marketing speak) at the bottom of posts. We have a few different levels offered, from a simple thank you to a supporter-level subscription. $4.99/mo is a great starting point for most people.

Plus, for those who subscribe at the $4.99/mo level or higher, we now have a fun perk: your choice of a custom Pinball Heroes pin, courtesy of our friends at Tycoon Arcade. Right now, we have the options shown in the photo: Pinball Ranger, Pinball Rogue, Pinball Wizard, Pinball Druid, and Pinball Tinkerer.

Podcast of the Week

Anytime a new pinball-focused creator comes on the scene, I like to give it a few episodes before making up my mind on whether to add it to my regular rotation. It often takes time for creators to find their voice and work out kinks in their process, so I tend to find it unfair to make a judgment too soon.

Despite only being active since April of this year, BASH Pinball Podcast has already released 9 episodes of solid pinball content. I think it helps that co-hosts Matt and Don come from a music and audio-engineering background, reflected in every episode's construction and sound quality.

Subscribe, follow, listen, whatever floats your boat, but keep an eye out for this one!

Brand Activation of the Week

Thanks to a reader for sending this in! As part of a PS5 brand activation in London in conjunction with the UEFA Champions Festival, Sony created a giant pinball machine for fans to play. I want to see it come to Pinball Expo!

Creator Highlights of the Week

  • I’m slowly dipping my toes more and more into other media spaces. I was extremely excited to talk with Orbital Albert on the Pinball Nerds Podcast, a show I’ve been listening to for some time. We covered a lot of ground and had a few laughs along the way. After recording, he even gave me a virtual tour of his homestead, complete with chickens, puppies, prized collectibles, and lots more.

  • Okay, so this is a glorified ad, but it’s a friggin’ creative one, so highlighting Flip n’ Out Pinball’s pinball ASMR video of a John Wick unboxing.

  • Tim Sexton set the competitive pinball world ablaze with his latest video about everything wrong with pinball tournaments. Surprisingly, the IFPA shared it on their website? It's a bit of a head-scratcher move if you ask me, but, uh, kudos for facilitating the conversation, I suppose!

  • Few leftover bits from the Stern Influencer Day, which were not published in time to make our update last week, but that you should definitely check out:

  • Pinball News & Pinball Magazine released a 3-hour and 30-minute podcast this week that’s got a ton of industry news and an interview with David Fix. Due to the length, I’m only about halfway through, but their work is always worth a listen.

Poll of the Week

Which rumored upcoming game will we see first?

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Last Week’s Poll Results

Are the people who attended Stern's Influencer Day shills?

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ Yes (21)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 No (43)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Let me explain... (7)

“no, but it could lead to shilling at some point. The creators need to balance it carefully or people will go down the route of accusing them to be shills.”

-Selected “Let me explain…”

“I don’t think the people who say that are worth the time of day. Ignore!”

-Selected “No”

“No. Being invited indicates a certain level of influence and power in the industry. However, anyone who after attending then turns around and tries to sell John Wick as tho it’s the greatest game ever; or recommend others buy it while they themselves would never buy it… well then yes, those people are not honest.”

-Selected “No”

“Just because you are invited and like Stern, does not mean you are a shill for their products. The reall “shills” are those who adopt a really negative view of the event because they were not invited. Just like in the real world…words have consequences. So, don’t personally attack people and then get mad because you are left out of an event where you will need to interact with those people face-to-face.”

-Selected “No”

“No different than how companies manipulate politicians”

-Selected “Yes”

“Had the opinion been more like that of WOTC/Hasbro in recent years (blatantly trying to push product by any means necessary) I might agree. All everyone has said about this ID meet-up has truly been to help build the relationship and optics of Stern. And I’m very much ok with that”

-Selected “No”

“Any respectable source of industry news/reviews has to be careful when it has to be stated, "we received free things." An inherent bias is unavoidable. The flip-side of passing on a paid for opportunity when the presented can be a deal breaker too. TWIP has to do it or risk being out-of-the-loop. That puts the onus on subscribers to try and see through it all. It's pretty much the same in all enthusiast pursuits.”

-Selected “Let me explain…”

“Attendees aren't shills if they maintain a healthy criticality, objectivity. Gaining access to any corporate entity is a unique opportunity to see how a place may actually run, think of itself and its culture. The other side of this argument - gobsmacked and self-dealing, then there's a shill. ”

-Selected “No”

On this note, I put another 15-20 games on a John Wick (Pro) on location (Flat Top Johnny’s). The shots are tight and were hard for me to find on this copy. The code is also very very early, but I kept wanting to play it, so I think it shows promise.

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