THIS WEEK IN PINBALL: January 28th, 2019

— This Week’s Top 5 Stories —

1. deeproot’s Quinn Johnson Interview on Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast

Quinn Johnson, the Narrative Game Writer and Designer at deeproot Pinball, joined Chris Kooluris on Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast last week! Here are just a few highlights:

Chris Kooluris: How early on in the process are you sitting down with these designers and these coders and saying, what is the story we’re trying to tell here?

Quinn Johnson: It is a pretty cool process, it is very collaborative. Typically the way that its happened is that – I’ll talk to Dennis [Nordman] or Barry [Oursler] or whoever is coming up with the main design of the game – what the layout is going to be, what are the main features going to be on this game, what are some of the main mechs and stuff on the playfield going to be. And a lot of times they may have the beginnings of a story in their mind or at least a genre. So I just take it from there. What happens most of the time is they come up with this game design, this theme idea, and they say – you do whatever you want to do with it, take it from here. Which is really cool, it is really cool to work with these talented legends. We take it from there – generally I’ll just start writing, who the main characters are going to be, what the story is going to be, and build it from there.

CK: …do you have an ability to [have input] on what physically goes into the game?

QJ: Yes…there have been tons of times where I have come up with something and I say – in my mind it would be really cool if there was this feature on the playfield that did this and this, what do you think? Then the designer and the mechanical engineers and those that are involved in the physical side of it say – yeah, that sounds like a cool idea, lets see if we can make it work…And there are times they say – yeah that is physically impossible, so lets think of a different thing that would also be cool that would serve that purpose [laughs].

CK: Coming from the world of video games…there are obviously things that happen in video games that we’ve never seen in pinball. For example, in a video game you can save your game and return where you were. Is that something you guys are exploring with pinball?

QJ: Ummm…possibly [laughs]. He says very noncommittally [laughs].

CK: Something you said [at Expo] was that limitations are being taken away from pinball over at deeproot. Can you articulate what some of those limitations are that you guys are removing from the traditional experience, that we might see in a deeproot experience?

QJ: I can say that one of the limitations that we’re really tackling that I think people will really really like is just expressing to the player what they’re supposed to be doing. Kind of taking away that struggle of – you’re playing a game and you drain all three balls and you have no clue what just happened…we’re doing some really cool innovations that will tackle that…everything you can think of that drives people crazy about pinball, we are finding really cool ways to tackle that.

CK: What kind of balance [between unlicensed and licensed themes] are we going to see from deeproot?

QJ: I would say – yes we do have some IPs that people know and love which is really cool. But I would say our heaviest focus is on developing our own original IP. Which is really really cool to come up with something that no one has ever done before. So I would say the balance would shift more towards original IP.

Quinn also talked about challenges with displays on pinball machines, how to get the player “into the machine”, into the theme and let them know what they’re supposed to do and what they’re supposed to shoot at. He also discusses the original Magic Girl the Magic Girl that deeproot is working on. Listen to the full episode here!

2. Beatles Topper

We got our first look at the Beatles topper last week – check it out!

3. Chicago Gaming Company Addresses Monster Bash Delays/Playfields

There have been some delays with Monster Bash Remakes Limited Edition production, and last week Ryan White from Chicago Gaming Company addressed it in the following post on Pinside:

The statement that…

“I believe with few exceptions the playfields we have shipped in every Monster Bash have been beautiful. We do hold even higher standards for playfields going into LEs. To date, our production has yielded less LE worthy playfields than we hoped. As a result, we have produced more SEs and CEs than originally scheduled (and less LEs).” 

…led to a discussion regarding the quality of playfields in all models. Chicago Gaming Company addressed those concerns in a couple posts on Pinside. First, Doug Duba (President of CGC) shared this post on Pinside:

Doug went on to share this post

4. Ben Heck Talks Monty Python on Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast

Image result for monty python gif knight

In addition to Quinn Johnson, Ben Heck also joined Chris Kooluris on Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast last week! Ben talks about his time at Spooky Pinball, his frustrations, and how he can be moody. But he also discussed a Monty Python pinball machine that never came to be:

Chris Kooluris: Let’s talk about 2016 and your next title that was slated to be a Spooky release…what were you expecting with that game and its release and what happened…?

Ben Heck: One part of it I can say because Charlie said it during a convention, which I guess means it is public knowledge, is that originally I was going to do Monty Python and the Holy Grail as a license…I think they [the licensor] pitched it to Stern but Stern turned it down, probably because at that time they had Medieval Madness and Game of Thrones coming out – similar themes. So Charlie was like I think we can get you that. So I started designing a black knight, because of course the main toy has to be the black knight, and the idea was – I had a rotating cam for his legs, kind of like a music box…the cam would rotate in such a way that I think it was either weights or gravity or magnets, his legs would fall off. The cam would rotate 20 degrees, one leg would fall off, it would rotate 20 more degrees, the other leg would fall off, then there was an arm that lowered his body, and then his arms would also – they wouldn’t fall off but they would go behind his back. So basically every time you hit him you would dismember part of him…And I wanted one of those World Cup Soccer vari-targets that go back and forth, I wanted to have one of those in front like a shield, that would be moving. And if you hit that he would give you a negative retort, and if you got the ball past it, that’s when you would take a piece of his armor off.

On why Monty Python didn’t happen:

Ben Heck: One of the Flying Circus guys got dementia…and it is one of those deals where everybody has to sign off on something. So there was a period there where they weren’t really able to make any deals. And that is when that license moved away.

5. James Bond Moved to Rumors on TWIP

Rumor [roo-mer]: noun :: a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts

Keep in mind this is a RUMOR. But at TWIP, we now believe there is enough evidence of a possible Stern James Bond pinball machine to move it into the credible rumor stage (is credible rumor a thing?).

Image result for james bond shaken not stirred gif

Identify the pinball machine pictured below for a chance to win a limited This Week in Pinball Lapel Pin!  Drawing will be held monthly!

Last Week’s answer: Indiana Jones

Email guesses to [email protected], correct answers will be entered into the drawing for the limited TWIP Lapel Pin!

— Presented by —

This Week’s Mod of the Week is the Walking Dead Pinball Terminus Cafe Sign from Mezel Mods!

It is all-you-can-eat with the Walking Dead Pinball Terminus Cafe Sign. Bon appetite! This sign adds a killer finishing touch to your Woodbury ramp or the left plastic (see photos for mounting ideas). Made from sturdy acrylic plastic and attaches using existing game hardware.

Check it out!

Disclaimer: Any articles, interviews, or mentions of pinball manufacturers or pinball products is NOT an endorsement.

Join the conversation

or to participate.