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  • TWIP – Oktoberfest Leaks, Primus Pinball?, Interviews with Roger Sharpe and Joe Schober, Beatles Rumors, More

TWIP – Oktoberfest Leaks, Primus Pinball?, Interviews with Roger Sharpe and Joe Schober, Beatles Rumors, More

— This Week’s Top 5 Stories —

1. Oktoberfest Leaks, Preview, and Interview

Last week during the The Whiterose Gameroom Show in York, Pennsylvania, we saw some previews of the Oktoberfest artwork.  First, PinballSTAR Amusements  shared this walkthrough of the York Show, which included our first glimpse of the new images at around the 19:30 mark.  The images below were then captured from the video walkthrough and posted on Pinside:

One of our TWIP Correspondents was attending the York Show, and shared some higher quality images.  Oktoberfest swag was found at the PinballSTAR and the Cointaker booths.  Here are a few images:

Josh Kugler also shared an image on Pinside, showing off the two buttons that are shown on the right side of the cabinet, and we get a peak of some of the side art:

Joe Schober Interview on The Eclectic Gamers Podcast

The Eclectic Gamers Podcast released their most recent podcast with Joe Schober, who joined the American Pinball team several months ago.  Listen to the full episode here!  Joe shared quite a bit about on Oktoberfest, here are just a few highlights:

On Oktoberfest Design and Theme:

With Oktoberfest I’ve had more opportunity to be involved earlier in the process which has been really exciting and fun…The layout is pretty interesting, it’s pretty distinct, it’s hard to say he [Joe Balcer] has any signature style from one game to the next. The playfields are all radically different and unique and I think that’s certainly the case with Oktoberfest. People are going to be seeing elements that haven’t seen before. And on the ruleset side of things, I think it’s fair to say we’re trying to take it in places that people aren’t expecting. If you read some of the online forums about what people are expecting from Oktoberfest, it’s kind of limited. It’s going to just be chugging beer constantly and all that. And that’s definitely not the direction we’re going. We are embracing everything that is Oktoberfest – it’s really a festival, a fall festival is what Oktoberfest essentially is. There’s lots of elements in the huge festival and we’re trying to incorporate them all in the game and hopefully people will love what we’ve done with it.

On Music:

[Oktoberfest] is associated with music and I think polka is well-known, but certainly at the festival it’s all sorts of music. Don’t get yourself boxed in. There’s certain people that I think would literally not want to own or buy the game or play the game if it was just polka music non-stop.

On Software:

When I join the team which was back in late May or early June, Josh [Kugler] was still getting Houdini wrapped up…So the first couple months I was pretty much solo on the coding for Oktoberfest. I was doing all the work myself. We certainly were communicating regularly, pretty much on a daily basis so we could agree on the details of the rules. Basically the way that I do game design and I’ll even say code design, I need a road map. If I don’t have a road map I’m just wandering aimlessly…essentially the first thing I did was wrote the entire rule book to an absolutely nit-picky level of detail… the rule book that I wrote was done via Google Docs so Josh could be monitoring or anyone in the company could be monitoring down to the character if they want, as I was working on the document. I wrote up a rule book for the game, the absolute nit-picky detail.  I have all sorts of fancy color coding for what’s been proposed, whats been rejected, what’s been completed, etc. And it all gets nicely rainbow colored that way. And I followed the guidebook of what we’re going to be doing and so in that sense I wrote all the rules…And Josh became available from his Houdini work, he’s joined the fray right now and where working now and close conjunction, he’s dedicated to Oktoberfest now as am I, and we’re pounding through it to make an awesome game.

We’re all pretty excited about it. Just yesterday I got a FaceTime video call from Josh while he was walking around the factory and yesterday was a Saturday so it tells you you those guys are busy over there. He was walking around the factory showing me all the pieces of the games and all the games under construction and all, and it was really exciting to see everything coming together. I think it’s fun. It’s just a fun and joyful game and I hope that everyone, when they see it in the coming weeks feel the same way about it. I would tell everyone don’t worry about your preconceptions of Oktoberfest. It’s definitely an Oktoberfest game, it probably won’t meet anyone’s exact preconception but I think everyone should have a lot of fun with it.

Hopefully we will be seeing this machine soon!

2. Primus Pinball Coming?

So we here at This Week in Pinball have been hearing some rumors the last few months or so that Stern has been working on another “Supreme style” pinball machine – a very limited run for a specific brand.  This week we may have received a clue as to what that machine may be.  First, we had this Instagram post from pinball artist Zombie Yeti:

This Week in Pinball reached out to Zombie Yeti (aka Jeremy Packer) to ask if he could share anything more about this “latest pinball project”.  He shared:

“Not yet – other than I have been working solely on pinball projects for over a year now and you could not pay me enough to hop on another at this point. Will see how I feel after some time off…I love the team at stern and the pinball community as a whole – so just understand I say this as I know my boundaries and the last thing I want to do is dumb down my approach to meet a deadline. I need to regroup mentally from a personally rough year.”

Selfishly we would love for Jeremy to continue in pinball but clearly he has taken on a ton of work this year, and we wish him the best in both his professional and personal life.

Regarding his work in pinball, his first pinball machine (with Stern) was Ghostbusters, then this year he was the artist on both Iron Maiden and Deadpool.

He refers to his “latest pinball project” being in the home stretch, which we can confirm is nothing to do with Iron Maiden, Deadpool or Ghostbusters.  So that leaves us wondering – what is it?

From here we’re going to have to speculate, which we do from time to time here on TWIP.  We may have gotten some more clues this week.

After the Zombie Yeti post above, a Pinside thread was started called “Here they come… Primus Pinball”.  The first post shared the following:

“On their current tour, Les has been making comments during the Q&A about an upcoming Primus pinball machine. Anyone else been hearing rumors? With Zombie Yeti’s long history of doing Primus concert posters, I could really get my hopes up for the art package.”

“Les” refers to Les Claypool, Bassist and Lead Vocals for Primus.

The Instagram post from Zombie Yeti was shared on October 9th.  The Pinside thread was created on October 10th.

As mentioned in that post, Zombie Yeti has also done quite a bit of work with Primus in the past – for example, he has done Gig Posters for them in 2015 (see it here) and a couple Gig Posters in 2017 (see one here and the other here).

So make of that what you will.  Obviously this is not enough to confirm anything.  If there is a Primus machine being worked on, and it is the “Supreme-type” machine that has been rumored, we would expect it to be a very low run and probably a re-themed layout, but that is just speculation.  If it is in the home stretch, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out!  We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.

3. Roger Sharpe Interview on Head 2 Head Podcast

The Head 2 Head Pinball podcast released a two part interview with the one and only Roger Sharpe!  He shares a bunch of interesting stories.  Click here to check out part 1 of the interview, and check out part two here!

H2H: When it comes to licensing…how easy or difficult is it to get a license these days?

Roger Sharpe: It depends on what license theme you’re looking for. Is it difficult? No. Is it impossible? At times absolutely. Is it cost prohibitive? It can be. It becomes relationships. I’ve been involved with licensing for over 30 years. There isn’t anyone out in that world that I haven’t worked with or don’t know or can’t get to ______ for me. That experience is a bit different than it is for others that are venturing into that for the first time or don’t know what they can or can’t get away with or are afraid to ask.

H2H: In the last couple years, how much has it changed – is there an extra element now because you’re competing against x number of companies for the same license whereas before you could just call up a company you can talk, negotiate, and set up a contract, whereas – is it now that extra layer of “they’re going to tell the other pinball manufacturers that I want this license” and it becomes a bidding war perhaps?

Roger Sharpe: Let me answer the question this way. The assumption is the marketplace today is more diverse better populated, so that it becomes more competitive to secure a particular license theme. Let’s see…granted I had Williams and Bally so I was overseeing two different distinct pinball companies. I also had Premier. I also had Data East. We were somewhat formative in regard to going after the same stuff. If anything the stakes were higher. It made for some interesting negotiations. I think today it becomes easier. It becomes easier fundamentally on the basis of what your projections are, what is your business model. If you are a smaller company and let’s face it there is Stern and Jersey Jack and everybody else in some way shape or form. That’s not to say – I’ll use my own personal experience. good bad or indifferently, I’ll preface it that way. I was able to secure Aliens for Heighway Pinball. They didn’t even have Full Throttle out in the marketplace yet. I had nothing to validate getting into a relationship with this company other than it was me negotiating on their behalf which gave them a little more credibility, I say with some level of modesty. I think there are ways you can go after licensed content with the understanding that this is what it is. Now are there bidding wars that go on? Sure their can be. I’ve been involved in a couple of them. In some ways I was able to undercut what an offer was just because of personal relationships. And others I was able to be as competitive if you will. The best part that pinball has is it as unique unto itself and at times decisions are being made by the licensor are done by emotion rather than financial. It’s not going to generate as much money as the T-shirt license or the action toy or, in all honesty, the video game. But we’d like to have a pinball machine. That would be kind of neat and novel to have. So I think there’s a unique positioning for pinball. Having said that there are times…where are there some absolutes when it comes to finances that just don’t make sense and you just walk away…

H2H: Let’s talk about a hypothetical license. This is definitely not going to become a pinball machine, say like the Beatles pinball machine [laughs]…

Roger Sharpe: Yes…[laughs]

H2H: At what point would you walk away from something like that versus paying an insane amount of money for something. Is it the assets that would become available or the licensing restrictions. When do you say no? Is it a dollar amount or is it what comes with the license?

Roger Sharpe: I’ll use a different hypothetical because the Beatles that you mentioned, I actually was able to get that license about 25 years ago. I had a chance to get it with seven songs, I had a designer all lined up at a price point that would be difficult for most people to believe because it was as inexpensive as it was…

H2H: What company were you working with back then?

Roger Sharpe: Williams, Williams Bally. Had it all done and upper management, one person in particular said “nah I don’t think so”. So if anybody were to ever do the Beatles going forward, I’m sure they would do it on the basis of it being affordable and within budget. Having said that since it was all hypothetical, let’s say that somebody wanted to do something based on the movie Ben-Hur. And whether or not there is anything like that I don’t know [laughs], and maybe there is, I’ve heard some talk about some type of God themes that may or may not be coming. Ben-Hur not necessarily being God-like…[When approaching that license] I would go over to the studio and I would say hi I want to do Ben-Hur. And this is something that I do now on a regular basis for my full-time career as well as my part-time career. But you wind up asking what are the assets. I need some film footage of a chariot race. I need to have the likeness rights of Charlton Heston. I definitely need the likeness rights Stephen Boyd…so you go down a hit list of what you need and what you need to find from the studio is what they actually cover…In this case will use Charlton Heston as an example because he’s no longer alive. I need to contact the estate for his likeness rights and the ability to feature his Image in stills and/or in footage, so I have to pay for that separately. So you end up pro-rating out – the music soundtrack that I want I have, to go and get that…So you wind up going through basically your shopping list to figure out exactly precisely what it is exactly that I’m potentially buying and once you see all of the things that are available you need to make a decision internally Which is what we used to go through at Williams Bally and what I’ve gone through subsequently on projects for other companies since then is “is this enough”? Is this sufficient? If it’s not then we walk away. If it is sufficient now I get to roll up my sleeves and figure out what is the cost going to be. There’s going to be a guarantee, there’s going to be some back end royalty. Is it affordable? Does it make sense? And if it does you go forward and if it doesn’t you effectively walk away.

Roger Sharpe: I will share two things from you that may or may not have been ever revealed buy me before. One I came really close to buying Premier when they were going out of business. I got a group of folks behind me who are willing to fund it and, unfortunately, looking at the balance sheet and everything else the determination was that there was no way in heck it was going to be a good investment. So we walked away from it. When Williams Bally shut down pinball, I absolutely approached them to see if I could buy the assets and take over the company and at that point in time there was not a desire to sell the company. If you look back historically at things it was better to be done as a tax write-off which is why subsequently Gene [Cunningham] ended up picking up bits and pieces, replacement parts in what have you as did Wayne [Gillard]. Unfortunately they did not take my offer seriously. So I had two chances to potentially take over pinball companies and effectively run them the way they could have and should have been run…

Roger Sharpe also talks about Wizard of Oz with Jersey Jack Pinball, and more on Alien with Heighway Pinball.  Check out the full interview here!

4. TWIP Podcast – Hints on Machines We’ll See at Expo, Monster Bash Remake Cosmetic Feature

This Week in Pinball – the Podcast version – had a new segment this week called Show Me Yours and I’ll Show You Mine.  According to TWIP Host Zach Meny, it is a “segment of pinball media flexing its muscles”, give a little nugget of info that people may not know.  Last week, Zach was joined by Ken Cromwell of the Special When Lit podcast and they tried out the new segment:

Ken: I’m trying to offer a nugget without being an idiot…so this will be my nugget…I am hearing, reliably, that we may see a machine at Expo that we weren’t anticipating seeing a week ago…

Zach: So you’re saying that Oktoberfest is not the only new thing we’re going to see in the pinball industry at Expo?

Ken: Might see something else!

Zach: Monster Bash Remake. What many of you do not know, is that on the front portion of this pin – so say you cut a pin in half from front to back – the front of it features something on the Limited Edition model – a cosmetic feature that you have not seen on Medieval Madness Remake or Attack from Mars Remake. Boom.

Ken: Wow, so something new?

Zach: Has yet to be seen. Cosmetically. And might I add, it is frickin’ awesome.

5. Beatles Pricing

On the Head 2 Head Pinball Podcast, Martin and Ryan also discussed what they had been hearing about Beatles pricing.

Ryan: We got some information about two weeks ago about Beatles and we did a little podcast about it. Like a 10-minute segment, and we decided not to air it because that information wasn’t public.

Marty: Because I thought it was bull**** was really the summary of it, you were excited about it but I was like yeah I’m just not sure whether it’s true.

Ryan: Plus it wasn’t public so we didn’t want to be the people to …

Marty: We always do that, we are those guys.

Ryan: Well I didn’t. Anyway. The information is now out there on pinside in some form so we can now talk about it…Now the reason we’re talking about Beatles is there’s been a lot of pricing rumors that are just starting to come out, and I guess the reason why the price – maybe the price is starting to come out because Stern might be talking now to distributors, and distributors might be then talking to their best customers because they’re trying to say – hey you need to start saving up money, would you buy one because I need to know…

Marty: Come on Ryan, what do we know? Everyone wants to know…how much are these things going to cost? We put this on our patreon page, we went out there you said what it was, what’s the price Ryan?

Ryan: Where do you want me to start from?

Marty: Isn’t there like a silver gold and platinum edition?

Ryan: Yes. That has actually changed, it’s the Diamond version is a top one because I think the Diamond sales for albums is more than Platinum, so Diamond is the top, Platinum is the second, and gold… Apparently in the bottom end machine which is still gold is about 1960 something, 1964 for argument’s sake…

Marty: That’s how much is going to cost? Or…

Ryan: How many units. Apparently 15 grand USD… I don’t know if these prices are real but everyone is saying them so there must be some truth to them.

Ryan: The Limited Edition version which is the Platinum version apparently is about 25000 US dollars. and then there is the Diamond version which apparently I’ve heard is 100 units but who knows, and all these things could change as well and the price could be bull****…50,000 USD.

TWIP has been trying to track down what the Beatles pricing is going to be for some time now.  What we’ve heard has been all over the map, even moreso than normal rumors.  We messaged someone at Stern to see if it is true, someone at that should know.  Their response was “lol, not true”.  But we’ve also heard from several people that the prices will be 15k/25k/50k, or something similar to that.  Is it possible that Stern is feeling this out by leaking this info?

BONUS: Beatles Spinning Discs?

Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast reported on several Beatles rumors that were also covered on the Head2Head Podcast above, but he did add this additional nugget:

“What they’ve added to Seawitch is – some spinning discs have been added to the game.  So go Google Seawitch and they have added spinning discs to the game itself.”

Since the info is now out there, we will share what we’ve heard here at TWIP.  There is a spinning disc on the playfield (confidence 95%).  There are not multiple discs, but one disc (confidence 95%).  We have also heard rumors that the spinning disc is some sort of mock up of a vinyl record (confidence 87%).

BONUS: Elvira 3 Rumors

Since we’ve been hearing questions about this, Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast also shared this:

“Somebody contacted Cassandra’s agent, now you know Cassandra, she’s Elvira.  Now somebody contacted her agent and inquired about pinball and when games are coming out.  And Cassandra’s agent confirmed to this source that Elvira 3 was contracted to come out by the end of this year.  So that throws a monkey wrench into everything I was just saying – do you think Elvira 3 is the mystery Stern pinball machine that is coming out in 2018?  And that we’ve been played for fools by Stern making us all believe its either Munsters or the Beatles.  So I am telling you right now, that I have a source that heard from Cassandra’s agent, that they were told, that Stern was going to reveal Elvira 3 this year.  Holy sh*t!  I wasn’t even expecting to read this email, so I’m just going to stop there and let you guys chew on these incredible, incredible exclusives that I am hearing about Stern launch titles…do you think Elvira might be the secret title that we’re going to see early November?  That is a perfect Halloween reveal, I could see it.  Stern releases Elvira this Halloween.  Let’s see what happens everyone.”

According to what TWIP has heard, Elvira 3 coming out by the end of the year is 100% false.  We have heard that Cassandra’s agent was contacted and the initial plan was for Stern to have it out this year, but that is no longer the case.

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— What Else You Need to Know Today —

Dutch Pinball – Get Well Soon Jaap

Dutch Pinball release a newsletter update last week and we’re sorry to hear that Jaap is going through treatment for cancer.  Here is the newsletter:

Here’s a small update and other news regarding Jaap.

At this point there’s nothing I can tell about the negotiations concerning the production of the games. As soon as we have more news we will share it with you.

The main reason things are going slow at the moment is because Jaap is undergoing treatment for cancer. I know there are some rumors and speculations, and unfortunately I have to confirm they are true. So for me and Dutch Pinball there’s only one thing important right now and that’s Jaap’s health. Today is the end of week six of his seven week treatment (chemo and radiation therapy) and after the treatments are finished we have to wait how soon Jaap will feel better and how the treatment went. Of course we all are confident that Jaap will get better soon!

Some of you who already knew this already sent us best wishes and other kind messages for Jaap. I really want to thank everyone who did, also on behalf of Jaap; it really means a lot to receive this support.

As soon as I have more news about Jaap or production of the games I will let you know.

Kind regards,

Barry (& Jaap)

We’re thinking about you Jaap, get better soon!


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: No Good Gofers

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 Guardians of the Galaxy Pinball Vine Dome Cover from Mezel Mods!

Check it out!!

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

Have a scoop or anonymous rumor?  Email us at [email protected]

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Licensed Title  |  Scott Danesi Second Game

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P3 (Multimorphic)

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Lexy Lightspeed  |  Cannon Lagoon  |  Cosmic Cart Racing

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deeproot Pinball


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The Pinball Circus Remake  |  Kingpin


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Unlicensed Title

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