Tony Hawk's Bass Pro Shop

Also please don't eat food from our kitchen or fridge.

We’re in a bit of a lull from a hard-hitting pinball news perspective, but we won’t let that stop us. We have content to share. It’s about pinball. And hopefully, you want to read it.

In this edition, you’ll find:

  • Song of the week

  • The insatiable demand for a Tony Hawk Pro Skater pinball machine and where it’s coming from

  • Pinball news of the week

    • A fresh Jaws tutorial

    • A trip report from Tycoon Arcade

  • Poll of the week

  • Creator highlights of the week

  • A new pinball podcast

  • A pinball code of conduct you should read and steal

As always, TWIP is free to read, but since digital media is imploding and we refuse to let Zuck and Elon own our relationships, you’ll need to fork over your email to read it.

Pinball Expo returns for its 40th year this October 15-19th at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, IL. Tickets on sale now! 

If you’re interested in sponsoring an upcoming newsletter, send a note to [email protected], and we’ll get you sorted!

Song of the Week

The Song of the Week is Police Truck by Dead Kennedys. Released in 1980 as a B-side of the Holiday in Cambodia single. It’s a song about police corruption and brutality that rose to prominence (for my generation) as a featured track in the 1999 smash video game hit Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

Pinball Theme of the Week

This leads us to our Pinball Theme of the Week. On Kineticist, we track the top 250 IPs the pinball community is most excited about in our Hype Index. The pinball community can record how hyped they are for each theme whenever they want, but we only update the underlying data and master rankings every few months.

Following our most recent update, we noticed a substantial jump for a property that would be squarely targeted towards Millennial nostalgia, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, the skateboarding video game franchise initially released for the PlayStation 1 in 1999.

That franchise had already been top 100 in our rankings before this update, but it jumped up 53 spots and is now sitting at #32, sandwiched between G.I. Joe and Cobra Kai.

As far as I can tell, the jump is mainly due to the discussion generated by pinball celebrity Jack Danger wearing a parody Tony Hawk Pro Skater/Bass Pro Shops hat on a recent stream. Still, people are legitimately excited about the prospects of a THPS pinball machine.

You can buy this very same hat on Etsy.

By and large, modern pinball licensing is about finding that sweet spot of an IP that is large enough to have its own market of fans, triggers nostalgia, and lines up with pinball’s core buying demographic, primarily men between the ages of 40-60+ years old.

One of the things that we’ve started doing in the Hype Index is calculating an IP’s “Nostalgia Factor.” If you were between the ages of 5 and 15 when the IP in question originated, how old are you now, and does that align with what we know about the typical pinball buyer?

Recent releases more or less line up with what you would expect:

  • The Godfather, Jaws, and Scooby Doo: someone who was 5-15 when these were first released are in their 50s-60s today.

  • Princess Bride & Labyrinth: someone who was 5-15 when these movies were released is in their 40s-50s today.

  • The most significant outliers from recent releases are Pulp Fiction and Foo Fighters, where the age range of a nostalgia-fueled buyer is someone in their 30s-40s today. Both of these games have sold quite well, so the idea of starting to develop games around IP that might be more nostalgic to the Millennial buying demographic may not be that far-fetched.

A Tony Hawk Pro Skater pinball machine would be on the younger end of the Nostalgia Factor spectrum (29-39 years old today) but isn’t too far off from other rumored titles like Pokemon (32-42 years old) or Harry Potter (31-41 years old).

Given the iconic nature of the series' original soundtrack, if you could make the licensing work, I’d wager there would be more excitement for a THPS pin than there ever was for Rush, and there ever will be for the rumored Journey.

Pinball News of the Week

Princess Bride Goes Viral

Okay, it didn’t really go viral in the traditional sense, but Multimorphic’s streaming debut of the game with Buffalo Pinball did seemingly hit the front page of Twitch, as when we tuned in, there were well over 12,000 active viewers of the stream.

It’s always good when pinball gets larger market exposure, but I wonder how many of those “new-to-pinball” stream viewers will convert to game buyers or even new regular players.

Regardless, I thought the game showed pretty well for a reveal stream, and it was nice to see everyone's excitement for the game in the chat.

New Jaws Tutorial

Noah Crable returns with a new detailed gameplay tutorial for Stern Pinball’s Jaws, based on its current 0.85 code state. Personally, I love it when Noah gives us these early guides to new releases because even though we know the code will change substantially over the next year, these are helpful for anyone who just wants to get the lay of the land for a launch party or tournament. Plus, we update these guides when major code updates hit, so bookmark it or something if that’s still a thing you do.

A New Premium Arcade Takes New Hampshire by Storm

We have a new trip report from Kineticist contributor Derek Karamanian covering his recent experiences with Tycoon Arcade (formerly known as Glimmerhold), a new premium arcade experience that’s going through a soft opening in Manchester, NH. It’s one of those rare arcades that is willing to put a bunch of hard-to-find and premium-trim level games on the floor, and they have some bigger business ambitions that we also found interesting.

Steampunk Pinball

It's not new news, but an older article featured on TWIP in 2021 is making the rounds again, so we thought we’d highlight it here for those who haven’t seen it yet. This article is from Paul Clarke, who did a custom steampunk retheme of a Black Knight 2000 game. It’s awe-inspiring work, and we’re aligned with anyone wanting to create a “giant kinetic piece of art.”

Poll of the Week

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

Assume it features Superman by Goldfinger prominently.

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Last Week’s Poll Results

Which pinball manufacturer will be the first to incorporate large-scale generative AI into a production art package?

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ Stern Pinball (11)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Jersey Jack Pinball (21)

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Spooky Pinball (9)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Chicago Gaming Company (1)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Barrels of Fun (7)

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Multimorphic (9)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Pinball Brothers (1)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Dutch Pinball (2)

Bug just seems like the type of guy to think about it and think that this is a great idea unless he sees this survey and god… i hope he sees this survey.

Anon Reader

AI assets in gaming is already a thing; enviro etc is standard, unfortunately. That's why I would assume P3 first as they often use more videogame-asset for playfield interactions. Also, tech minded like Jerry seem to be ok with it more than artists. I would hope the big guys would stay away from it as they are closer with the videogame debates.

Anon Reader

House Rules of the Week

It’s highly likely you’ve never heard of The Lower Playfield. It’s a private home collection that primarily focuses on running regular IFPA tournaments for New Englanders. The guy who runs it (Derek Correia, aka MutterFudder) is active in the pinball community and local to me. While I have yet to visit his establishment (having a kid really eats into your availability for pinball tournaments), I’ve heard excellent things from everyone who plays there.

Anyway, they released a new player Code of Conduct, which by itself is a great idea that other venues should replicate (I believe this is adapted from the Holy Frijoles league in Baltimore), but I found a nugget of the code to be hilarious, and I so badly want to know the story about why this rule is necessary and who was behind the original infraction. People are weird. 😂

Creator Highlights of the Week

Let us know what you think!

How was this week's newsletter?

😍  |  🙂  |  😑  |  🙁  |  😡

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Solid feedback last week, friends; here are a few comments that stood out.

I love bulleted lists, and I appreciate the freedom to go read the additional links/videos at a later time. This feels like a proper e-newsletter and I’m living for it 😁👍

Anon Reader

Keep experimenting. I love your comentary and openness about twip. Im excited to see where you take it.

Anon Reader

Good issue…little too much philosophizing. Just stick to the news, as well as your POV on the happenings…that is what I enjoy

Anon Reader

Join the conversation

or to participate.