Taco Meat Sweats

Custom Pinball Leads the Way, NACS Champ, TPF Hype, Stern Drama & More!

We’ve got a 3-meat platter of a TWIP edition for you this week. Log in or subscribe to read!

  • Song of the Week

  • Pinball News of the Week

    • Custom Pinball Leads the Way

    • Get Hyped for TPF

    • GnR Code Update Coming

    • New North American Pinball Champion

    • Arcade Highlights from Past Times Arcade

  • Topper of the Week

  • Creator Highlights of the Week

  • Post of the Week

  • Comment of the Week

  • Meme of the Week

  • Poll of the Week

Song of the Week

For those of you headed to the Texas Pinball Festival, this is a short, high-energy earworm from Peelander-Z. It’s about their love for tacos, particularly those from the great state of Texas. Should you find yourself on the other end of an indulgent night, remember that few things will cure your ills like a couple of good breakfast tacos from a sketchy food truck and a cold bottle of Topo Chico.

Pinball News of the Week

Custom Pinball Leads the Way

Loved the interview this week on Pinball Innovaters & Makers podcast between Dan Rosenstein and Jake Danzig, the founder of the Strictly Custom Pinball Machines! group on Facebook and originator of the award-winning Dukes of Hazzard custom pin.

I wanted to riff for a minute on a segment that I found to be particularly interesting. Dan shares high-level insights from a detailed analysis of all 399 custom games shared to the Facebook group over the years.

He uncovers a number of trends, including 25 titles that would eventually be produced commercially, 22 that are currently rumored titles, and a general passion for titles in the sports and video game genres.

The big takeaway (for me, and probably for Dan too) is that the custom and homebrew community acts as sort of the grassroots of pinball where themes, designers, and more bubble up from the community, eventually finding their way to commercial productions.

I also wanted to see how some of this data lines up with what we track in our Hype Index.

Of the 399 custom games tracked by Dan:

  • 32% are original themes

  • 18% are based on movies

  • 8% sports

  • 7% TV shows

  • 6% video games

This is a pretty different makeup from our Hype Index, where the breakdown looks more like this:

  • 33% movies

  • 17% bands

  • 16% TV shows

  • 5% video games

My takeaway here is that free from the constraints of needing to generate a profit; people are much more likely to explore non-licensed themes for their games, which are, at the end of the day, creative endeavors. Like Dan, I also see the gap in video game-themed titles. There’s definitely a hunger for games based on IP like Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario, and Legend of Zelda, among others.

Mapped directly against the Hype Index, here are a few notable titles with strong demand by the pinball community for a commercial game:

  • Back to the Future - #1 in the Hype Index

  • Harry Potter - #3

  • Evil Dead - #4

  • Pokemon - #7

  • The Matrix - #12

  • Van Halen - #13

  • Big Trouble in Little China - #18

  • Friday the 13th - #19

  • Futurama - #22

  • Indiana Jones - #24

  • Mario - #28

  • Mad Max - #30

Get Hyped for TPF

Texas Pinball Festival kicks off next Friday. Long one of the highlights of the pinball convention circuit, the show generated buzz last year when just about every pinball manufacturer released a new game at the same time.

There’s quite a bit to look forward to.

GnR Code Update in Q2

Jersey Jack announced that a “significant” code update would be coming to Guns n’ Roses in Q2 of this year, primarily to address scoring imbalances. And GnR owners on Pinside rejoiced in unison.

New North American Pinball Champion

Eagerly awaiting the comic version of this pic.

It’s Dalton Ely! Streamer of streams and maker of comics. Dalton’s a great dude, so congratulations! Check out the full bracket of results here.

Arcade Highlights from Past Times Arcade

Oops, how did this get here? It’s not pinball news, but classic arcade games are like jelly to pinball’s peanut butter, so we’re going to include it anyway. On Kineticist, we welcomed Matt Owen to the team with his first article, a round-up of some of the can’t-miss arcade games from the pristine Past Times Arcade collection in Ohio.

Creator Highlights of the Week

Post of the Week

Stern is running a group high-score contest through Insider Connected called March Machine Mania. It’s a low-stakes affair and, more or less, a fun-seasonally appropriate marketing campaign. Well, a competitor from the state of Florida discovered a bug in the Jaws code (a bug that admittedly required a high level of skill to discover) and ended up with a cool 4.1 trillion points by the time he was done, causing havoc with the March Machine Mania rankings.

Stern called a foul on the play and the Pinball Community was not having it.

Read this like Kenneth from 30 Rock, and it changes things.

Comment of the Week

This leads us to our comment of the week, Daniel Rone's chuckle-inducing response in the same thread.

Topper of the Week

This week Pinball Brothers shared a video of their new Alien Queen interactive topper for Alien Pinball, in partnership with Lior at The Art of Pinball. Toppers are usually hit-or-miss for me (as a New Englander with a sub-7ft basement ceiling, there’s not much I can do with them), but I appreciate the artistry and extra immersion some of them bring to the game.

The Alien topper looked particularly impressive in this video (which it better at a cost of $1,395 + shipping), and I would definitely consider purchasing one if I were an Alien superfan looking to bling out my game.

Poll of the Week

Which upcoming pinball show are you most likely to attend?

And if you're inclined, let us know why you're excited for the show!

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Last Week’s Poll Results

A Tony Hawk Pro Skater Pinball Machine. You in or out?

🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️ IN (39)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 OUT (51)

I've been leading a one-man PR campaign since I bought my first NIB Stern in 2021. When you used to register your game online pre-Insider Connected, there would be a text-field where Stern would solicit theme ideas, and I would always put TONY HAWK. Now, I just share TH stories on my IG (@spin.a.rip) and tag Stern, haha.

“A pinball machine based on a fast and flowing sport?! Hell Yeah!! And my god... the music... ”

“Great video game for the time! Lame theme for Pinball ”

“no interest in theme. would have to be super fun shooter and deep logical game play”

Meme of the Week

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