• This Week in Pinball
  • Posts
  • TWIP – Oktoberfest Confirmed, Deadpool Premium/LE, Zen Studios, Info on Homepin’s Second Game, More

TWIP – Oktoberfest Confirmed, Deadpool Premium/LE, Zen Studios, Info on Homepin’s Second Game, More

— This Week’s Top 5 Stories —

1. American Pinball Confirms Oktoberfest

At the Vancouver Flipout Pinball Expo, American Pinball confirmed that the heavily rumored Oktoberfest would be the theme of their second pinball machine!  A huge thanks to Pinball Magazine for allowing TWIP to use these pictures from the Vancouver Flipout.  Jonathan Joosten from Pinball Magazine was on site in Vancouver at the seminar, and wrote up an article that didn’t just cover the seminar but the entire show.  Check out the article here, which also shares more details about Oktoberfest!

They shared a black and white sneak peek of the playfield:

They also shared a pic of one of the characters from Oktoberfest:

As for what we know currently about this machine, lets take a quick look back at some interviews and coverage over the past several months:

This past week, we learned that American Pinball has “Houdini” trademarked for pinball machines (more on that below).  In looking at what OTHER trademarks American Pinball has, we found one other – OKTOBERFEST.  See the link here that shows both trademarks.

What is Oktoberfest?  

It is basically the world’s largest beer festival.  According to Wikipedia, “Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year… The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since the year 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations that are modeled after the original Munich event.” According to TIME Magazine, “The German festival is now a worldwide phenomenon celebrating Bavarian culture and flowing pints of beer.”  For more, check out this Wikipedia page and this TIME Magazine article.

In discussing game number two, Joe Balcer shared that it was a nice title and a nice layout, and that they are hoping to unveil it at Expo and start shipping a month or two after showing it.

Question from Pinball Magazine: The second game for American Pinball will be Oktoberfest. The theme has been suggested several times over the years and there has been some concern that the name may be limiting sales as it is aiming at October. As the game is most likely about beer and bratwurst, have you considered making the same game under a different name as well to expand sales?

Joe B: “Well to answer and not answer that question at the same time, we haven’t come out to officially announce an Oktoberfest themed game. Its all over the internet that it is…but, being Oktoberfest, if it is, there are so many elements to that festival – it definitely isn’t just a beer drinking bratwurst eating kind of game. One thing we do want to keep in our pocket is that – our games will be more family friendly games. We don’t want to come out with games that only dad can play with his buds in the basement. That’s not the way we want to go. There area lot of elements – not just to Oktoberfest, but any game that might have beer and you know, drinking or whatever that is frowned upon type of thing going on in the world now, and that’s fine. If we use humor and we bring in all the other aspects of any title, we’ll definitely make it work in that way.”

On American Pinball’s second game: “Well it is an unlicensed theme, it is a very well known theme…the layout is completely different than Houdini.  One of the things about Joe Balcer is that there is no set rules of how he does a game…South Park and Apollo 13, not sure you can get more opposite.  WOZ and Hobbit…that is one of the things that is great about Joe, the playfield he’s done for game 2 is just completely different, you wouldn’t realize it was the same person.  So obviously the implication there is it is a mostly open playfield.  There are no tight shots.  I don’t think Joe has revealed this yet, so this is a scoop for you guys – and I’ll probably get grief from Joe when he hears this or if he hears this.  It is a three flipper game.  Which I like, I’m a big fan of the three flipper game, I like having those additional shots.  We’ve got a couple of really interesting toys planned.  If it comes together as the design looks like right now, where we are and where the rules are going, I think it is going to be a great game.  I am really pleased with how it is progressing right now.”

When asked if the aim is to reveal game #2 sometime this year: “What Joe said at the Northwest Show, and I was a little taken aback by some of his comments at that show but they’re out there.  It is our goal to hopefully show it in the fall at Expo.  Expo is here in our hometown, we’d like to support Expo, that is when we’d like to do it.  But if the game is not ready we’re not going to show it.”

On status of where game 2 is right now: “All that works in parallel, so a lot of the art is done at this point.  We don’t have a shootable whitewood yet, I expect we’ll have one in the not too distant future.  So all of those things happen in parallel, the rules, the code, very much like we did the last time.  [Ryan C: So if you haven’t shot the game yet, how do you know how the shots aren’t tight?]  *Josh laughs* – Well I can tell just by looking at them, I can assure you they’re not tight, I can take the ruler to them and measure them and I can tell you they’re not tight shots…”

To summarize:

  • Three flippers

  • Family friendly

  • Mostly open playfield

  • No tight shots

  • Goal to reveal it at Expo

Of course all of those items mentioned are subject to change.

We’ll have more coverage of this machine in the coming weeks, and look forward to seeing more of this machine!

2. Deadpool Premium/LE Stream

The Deadpool Premium/LE stream took place on Wednesday on Dead Flip’s Twitch channel!  Check out a couple highlights here:

The stream also included Deadpool breaking through the fourth wall Deadpool – check out the full stream here!

Photo Shoot Mystery Solved!

There has been some speculation regarding what the message “Photo Shoot” meant in the Deadpool Feature Adjustment Menu – this was in version 0.81 and was removed in version 0.82:

Well here is the story from Stern, “The Photo Shoot adjustment turns all of the playfield lights on solid so that it easier for us to take photos of the game for sales and marketing materials. This is a development feature – it is a bug that it is available in v0.81. The bug is fixed in v0.82.”

So there you have it

3. Interview with Mike Kalinowski from Homepin

On the most recent episode of the Pinball Magazine & Pinball News podcast, Martin Ayub and Jonathan Joosten interviewed Mike Kalinowski from Homepin.  Always colorful, Mike shared several thoughts, including some clues about Homepin’s second game.  Here are a few highlights from the interview:

On who designed Thunderbirds:

Mike: “We didn’t have any one person design the game. It was a collaborative effort between several people including myself. I had people submit things to me and parts of things – not of the entire playfield – bits and pieces and we took some good parts of this and deleted some bad parts of that, and basically fudged it all together to what we believe became a workable machine. There are a couple little errors and a couple little areas we believe we could improve, but it is what it is. There certainly wasn’t a single person you could attribute the design to.”

On forums:

Pinball Magazine & Pinball News: “Gary [Stern] isn’t the only guest that has come to visit your factory – I understand that…Tommy from Nitro Pinball has visited you, possibly a couple others?”

Mike: “Yeah, we’ve had many interesting visitors. I used to put them up on one of the forums but I’m not sure how well that was received by some people. Some people have a vested interest in trying to pull me down. I don’t know what it is. Whether it is tall poppy syndrome or they’re jealous or something, I’m not sure. But there are a handful of people out there that seem to have a bee in their bonnet about me successfully building a pinball machine I guess. I can’t really say why that is.”

PMPN: “Has that made you feel negative about sharing information online?”

Mike: “Absolutely. I mean, if I put up information and then someone tears you down and all I’ve done is show some pictures of what we’re doing, that is rather disappointing to see somebody trying to stir trouble or create problems or twist what you say – it doesn’t matter what you say, they’ll find some way to twist it in a negative way, so I’ve basically just stopped buying into nonsense.”

PMPN: “Do you think that will have any negative impact on sales?”

Mike: “I don’t think so either way. And it disappoints me that I’m not able to put that sort of information up. I do keep updating the Homepin Factory Facebook page…I have people that look at that website for me, they put up pictures for me, and at least we can control that. And if people get out of hand we can look after that which you can’t do on forums. And I guess that’s why Stern – as one example – do the same thing really. They look after their Facebook page and if people get out of hand they just get zapped off and that’s it. I’m happy to share information with people, that’s never been a problem with me. It just disappoints me that there is a small handful of people that seem to have a bee in their bonnet about something, I don’t know what it is, maybe they need medical help.”

On LCD Displays:

PMPN: “Thunderbirds is probably the last pinball that has a dot matrix display. For future titles, do you intend to continue with the dot matrix display or are you switching to LCD?”

Mike: “I’d love to switch to LCD, don’t get me wrong. Because it’d be a quarter of the cost. LCD is very very cheap, especially where I am in Shenzhen. An LCD screen is 20 dollars. And I can tell you that the DMD costs us many times that. So I’d love to switch to LCD. But it is the support for the LCD that is the problem. I think if you have a critical look at the other machines that are out there with LCD, there is a lot lacking…”

PMPN: “You mean the quality of content?”

Mike: “Exactly – that involves a whole new level of skill, of costs, of time, of approvals with licensors, you need a whole new level of things. We had enough problems with the DMD scenes on Thunderbirds, getting them approved. We had to submit them frame by frame. People have said to me “But if you had an LCD you could just have clips from Thunderbirds series” – yeah, maybe, but that is not the whole story. We’re a small company, 20 people. We just don’t have that infrastructure…we have actually spent some time and effort on color – both LCD and on RGB – with mixed results. We like some of the things, but we didn’t have the money or the resources to implement that on Thunderbirds. And it would’ve stretched things out again even further. And as you’re well aware, we’re already behind the eight ball with that and we needed to get it to market. So we had to drop a lot of things.”

Mike: “The biggest problem with that [LCDs] is the content, and that is what we’re basically avoiding right now. We don’t want to get tied up on spending all our development money on that. Our machines currently…sell for a considerably lower price than some others on the market. Should we suddenly start going LCD and incorporating different requirements and extra people and staff and companies and more time…it is going to increase the price, and that’s not our game. I don’t believe that an LCD is a big part of pinball. For me, playing a pinball myself, I don’t even see the DMD so it is not relevant to me playing a pinball. To me, a pinball machine is a mechanical game. It is the ball flying around doing things – I would rather spend our development money more on mechanical things rather than an LCD. Because an LCD is a video game. If you want to look at a video game go buy a video game. Don’t buy a pinball machine.”

On their next machine:

Mike: “Our next machine is directly targeting the Chinese market. But we believe that it’s a broad appeal – it is an unlicensed title by the way – but its broad appeal will be sought in the West as well. We believe that there are many bars and arcades and things where the Chinese will be happy to put the machine because they’ll know what it is. At the moment, Chinese – a pinball machine is a waste of time, they don’t know what a pinball machine is. The few people that we’ve had play our Thunderbirds machine on site and so on are quite intrigued and quite happy to play it, but they have no clue what Thunderbirds is, and similarly they have no idea what The Walking Dead is or AC/DC or Pirates of the Caribbean. They have no idea. Because those things aren’t seen in China, they simply aren’t available. So firstly they don’t know what a pinball machine is, then they don’t know what the theme is, they’re just not attracted to it no matter what. And that includes Thunderbirds. So our goal is to put a theme out there that the Chinese do know and are attracted to first, and then find out that it is pinball second.”

PMPN: “Does that mean the game has to be more simplistic so you’re not overwhelming people?”

Mike: “It will certainly be simplistic but simplistic in the way that Thunderbirds is simplistic. I don’t think Thunderbirds is such a simple game myself but some people do. The ones that do are very keen competitive competition pinball players, and that is not our target market for Thunderbirds and it certainly isn’t the target market for the second machine either. We believe that a game with enough rules but a simple enough ruleset that can easily be understood, we’ll be able to target that market. The market in China is vastly different than the Western market. Yes there are two billion people, but to say I’m going to sell to two billion people is a little bit tricky because – if you’re trying to sell two billion a can of Pepsi, that is easy to do. But to sell them a pinball machine is a whole different story because they don’t have a house like we know a house in the West. They don’t have a stand alone house where they can put six pinball machines. It doesn’t happen that way. The majority of them live in apartments and they simply are never going to own a pinball machine regardless. So our target market is not the private buyer, it is arcades and it is bars. And operators as an extension of that.”

PMPN: “If you find that this is a success within China and you are getting good sales, could you see a future title be entirely targeting the Chinese market and not the West at all?”

Mike: “Possibly. I wouldn’t discount that at all. This title – the one we’re working on currently – is along the lines of Kung Fu which is a Chinese thing but it is well known in the West. It’s not Kung Fu but it is along those lines, where it is definitely aimed at Chinese but it is also known in the West. Even though we’re deliberately targeting this at China and Chinese customers, the rest of the world would have some interest in it as well.”

PMPN: “Is it bilingual game then?”

Mike: “Yes it will be, it will be Chinese and English. As a Kung Fu game would also work as a bilingual game.”

On time frame for the second game:

Mike: “We hope to have a very finished prototype about middle of next year. We’ve got things in motion now, we’ve got a whitewood that is not quite finalized but it is certainly made and in the works. And that will ramp up a little bit. We’ve had to put that aside a little bit in the last couple months because we’ve been gearing up to get Thunderbirds out the door. We’ve had to put a few other things aside as well to get Thunderbirds out the door. Because people were getting a bit nervous if you like, or restless, that we hadn’t actually released it, and there seemed to be delay after delay. And most of the delays are easily explained, but people don’t understand those delays. They don’t see the reasoning behind them. And they don’t need to or want to, to be honest. They’re not really interested, they just say “you’ve taken too long” and that is all they see. So we didn’t want to delay it any further, we wanted to get it out.”

4. Williams Bally Pinball License Acquired by Zen Studios

In case you missed it, Zen Studios announced last week they had acquired the Williams Bally pinball license!  The first four games being released are Fish Tales, Medieval Madness, Junk Yard and The Getaway: High Speed II.

Check out some of these great links for more information:

There will be a LOT more to come out of this announcement and Zen Studios’ plans for these tables – stay tuned!

5. Dead Flip Teaser

Dead Flip’s most recent newsletter contained an interesting tidbit:

“We have another HUGE reveal stream this month, but I can’t reveal anymore info than that. Middle of the month is all I can say. GET. READY.”

We have confirmed that this is NOT referring to the Deadpool stream, and that it IS pinball related.  We have also confirmed that this reveal stream will take place next Monday, September 17th…check out the Dead Flip on Facebook and Twitter to be the first to know!  And check out the Dead Flip Twitch Channel on the 17th!

Get alerts for new posts from This Week in Pinball – follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or sign up by email:

What is the smoothest shooting flowiest pinball machine?

 — VOTE HERE!! —

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: Dirty Harry

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 Deadpool PRO Pinball Motorized Disco Ball from Lermods!

“We are excited to offer an INTERACTIVE Disco Ball option for Deadpool Pro. Our version of the Disco ball runs on a low power and fused motor that is lit underneath by a green, blue and red led.  The motor and lights are housed in a custom 3D printed base.  It mounts on the side ramp and will activate when the “disco” insert is lit.”

— To Those Who Make This Hobby Better —

Shoutout to the Cleveland Pinball and Arcade Show!!  And apologies for forgetting to include this show in last week’s TWIP…oops.  It will NEVER happen again, unless of course I accidentally overlook a show again.  Check out their website here and make sure to check out this show next year!!

Get alerts for new posts from This Week in Pinball – follow/like us on Facebook, Twitter, or sign up by email:

DisclaimerAny 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]

Stern Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Aerosmith   AC/DC Vault Edition  |  Star Wars  |  Guardians of the Galaxy  |  AC/DC Luci Vault Edition  |  Iron Maiden  |  Deadpool


Elvira 3

Rumors of Future Titles

The Munsters?  |  The Beatles?  |  Steve Ritchie Black Knight 3000?  |  Superman 1978?  |  Beetlejuice?  |  Godzilla?

Jersey Jack Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Wizard of Oz  |  The Hobbit  |  Dialed In  |  Pirates of the Caribbean

Rumors of Future Titles

Willy Wonka?  |  Toy Story?  |  Guns N’ Roses?

Chicago Gaming/Planetary Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Medieval Madness Remake  |  Attack From Mars Remake


Monster Bash Remake

Rumors of Future Titles

Cactus Canyon Remake?  |  Theatre of Magic?  |  Big Bang Bar Remake?

Spooky Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International  |  Dominos (*contract game)  |  Jetsons (*contract game)  |  Total Nuclear Annihilation (*contract/house game)  |  Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle

Rumors of Future Titles

Licensed Title  |  Scott Danesi Second Game

American Pinball

Most Recent Titles


Announced/Confirmed <<–NEW

Oktoberfest <<–NEW

P3 (Multimorphic)

Most Recent Titles

Lexy Lightspeed  |  Cannon Lagoon  |  Cosmic Cart Racing

Team Pinball

Most Recent Titles

The Mafia

deeproot Pinball


Fire and Brimstone  |  Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland  |  Magic Girl  |  Alice in Wonderland  |  Dennis Nordman Unlicensed

Circus Maximus


The Pinball Circus Remake  |  Kingpin


Most Recent Titles


Rumors of Future Titles

Unlicensed Title <<–NEW

Pinball Brothers

Rumors of Future Titles

Queen?  |  Barry Oursler’s Original Theme?  |  Playboy?

Dutch Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Bride of Pinbot 2.0  |  Bride of Pinbot 3.0 (on hold)  |  The Big Lebowski (production/legal issues)

Silver Castle Pinball



Phénix Pinball


Goblin Contest

Get alerts for new posts from This Week in Pinball – follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or sign up by email:


or to participate.