Streak Breaker

“Pinball” Geoff Interview | Multimorphic Updates | JAWS Behind the Scenes | More!

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This Week in Pinball (technically last week in pinball), I broke my publishing streak of 22 straight weeks of updates. For those of you chasing your own steaks of various kinds, I have no doubt you feel some of my pain.

It’s a weird quirk of today’s digital environment, where it feels good to keep a streak alive (savvy app developers know this) and bad to break them. Streaks can provide a helpful amount of motivation but also contribute to a level of burnout with the behavior the streak is meant to encourage in the first place.

Studies have shown that those who start a streak and break it are generally less likely to resume the underlying activity. Maintaining a streak can be such a powerful motivator that some companies (Duolingo, for example) offer users a means to remedy their broken streaks (for a charge).

It makes for a challenging mix of incentives for app users and app builders alike. On the one hand, app builders want to do everything in their power to encourage repeat use by their users. On the other, it may not always be in the app users’ best interests to engage in a specific act as often as the app builder would like.

Despite having strong psychological motivations to keep my publishing streak alive and slowly progress the digital counter from 22 weeks to 23, 24, and beyond, I took a break. My streak counter reset to zero. All my progress was lost! Except not really. I’m publishing again. A new streak has started (and with the July 4th holiday next week, it will likely not be a streak at all). Life goes on.

So take a break. If it’s become a chore, or you need a change of pace, go ahead and end your consecutive days of pinball played streak and start a new one! As a regular streak starter and streak breaker, trust me when I say that none of it is going anywhere.

This Week’s Pinball Agenda:

  • Song of the Week

  • News of the Week

    • Pinball Geoff Interview

    • Silverball Heroes vs Video Invaders

    • Multimorphic Updates

    • JAWS Behind-the-Scenes

  • Links of the Week

  • Poll of the Week

Song of the Week

This week, I’m excited to share a brand-new discovery from this year that’s caught my ear in a rare way. The song is called Heavy by the Irish post-punk band SPRINTS. It’s off their debut album, Letter to Self, which was released in January 2024. The whole album has a raw, biting intensity that’s typical of the genre, and I particularly enjoy the sound of frontwoman Karla Chubb’s Irish accent against the head-bobbing instrumentation. Heavy is a great starting point if you’re new to the band, but I also quite enjoy Adore Adore Adore, Cathedral, and Up and Comer. For those of you who like to wear headphones (and actually listen to music) when playing pinball, this whole album is one I’d recommend to get yourself in the flipping zone.

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Interview with Pinball Geoff

Pleased to dust off the “Around the Playfield” interview series with a conversation with “Pinball” Geoff Harvey of the UK this week. He’s long been a pinball personality that has captivated my attention despite having a bit of a lower profile stateside than some of his contemporaries. It’s clear he’s got an incredible passion for pinball, and that’s been demonstrated throughout his life in all sorts of ways, from sleeping under pinball machines as a youth to operating games at the mega Glastonbury music festival.

Related: check out this experimental short film from 1982 that Geoff starred in. It starts out as a standard arcade documentary before evolving (devolving?) into an absurdist fantasy piece depicting a group of “Silverball Heroes” fighting “Video Invaders” for global supremacy.

Multimorphic Updates

Gerry Stellenberg sent Multimorphic customers a general company update this week. They expect the first batch of their latest release, The Princess Bride, to roll off the production line starting in August. Once the first batch is complete, it’s anticipated to take a month to complete each subsequent batch, with 5 batches already in the queue.

Slightly buried in the update was a fascinating stat that paints a picture of Multimorphic traction that might run counter to some prevailing market narratives.

Specifically, “94% of all P3s remain registered to and in use by their original owners.” Taken at face value (and to be clear, my instinct is to poke holes in the metric and figure out the “why” of it), that is an incredible statistic.

To borrow some metrics from other industries, you could say that the P3 effectively has a minuscule 6% churn rate! Given the proclivity of most Pinball Enthusiasts to buy, sell, and trade games with frequency, the low churn rate stands out even more. Is it because of extreme owner satisfaction or a more challenging secondary market for the product?

After receiving the update, I checked in with Gerry, who shared some additional context that spoke to some of my questions.

He recognizes general owner satisfaction but also traction in customers’ understanding of the value proposition of the P3 platform, which is that once you’ve made the initial investment in the system, it’s more cost-effective to get new game experiences relative to the cost of a new game from a competing manufacturer.

I’m generally inclined to process marketing language with a heavy dose of salt, but again, taken at face value, I can see how this would be an extremely exciting finding for the Multimorphic team.

Behind the Scenes with JAWS

I enjoyed Stern’s behind-the-scenes video of the JAWS game production, which was released this week. There was a lot more detailed information shared about the engineering of the game, as well as some helpful context around certain creative decisions (i.e., no ball-eating shark) than what players might have encountered in other places.

Subtle tweak this week: instead of “Creator Highlights of the Week,” I’m broadening the scope to “Links of the Week” as there’s some other content worth sharing that’s not directly pinball but is pinball adjacent that I think some of you will enjoy.

New Paid Subscriber Perk: Pinball Heroes Pins

Thanks Tycoon Arcade!

Did you know we have paid subscriptions? 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 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.

Poll of the Week

How many plays do you need on a game before you can tell if it's good?

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Last Week’s Poll Results

Who is your favorite active pinball manufacturer?

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ American Pinball (5)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Barrels of Fun (10)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Chicago Gaming Company (23)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Dutch Pinball (6)

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Jersey Jack Pinball (25)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Multimorphic (7)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Pinball Brothers/Pedretti Gaming (2)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Spooky Pinball (15)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Stern Pinball (68)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Turner Pinball (4)

“JJP Collector’s Editions includes everything since day one, I love Stern too, ….. but hate to pay $1,000 after, for a non-creative topper like JAWS’s, also Stern lowered quality in the past years.(That’s a fact!)”

-Selected Jersey Jack Pinball

“Grew up on Gottlieb/Williams/Bally EMs and enjoyed the rhythm of the solenoids, bells and chimes. Could easily tell the difference between games as each had unique features, character. I find Spooky continues that tradition of real uniqueness between their games. While I own a few other modern manufacturer's games, I find some in particular strike me as overly busy (artwork, chrome and lighting): After awhile, it's difficult to differentiate the games without reading the name on the cabinet bottom. Like billboards on the side of the road, you stop noticing them after a while.”

-Selected Spooky Pinball

“BOF has a great topper and price, made a quality game on time, AND they are not from Chicago (slightly biased here in Houston).”

-Selected Barrels of Fun

“Very beautiful machines with timeless themes, good manufacturing quality, very reliable and which have nothing to envy of the original models. A MUST HAVE!!!”

-Selected Chicago Gaming Company

“Not that the others aren't good, but Stern is clearly the leader.”

-Selected Stern Pinball

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